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Customer Review

231 of 246 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Firmware update could make this camera great, May 18, 2013
This review is from: Nikon COOLPIX S9500 Wi-Fi Digital Camera with 22x Zoom and GPS (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
In the couple of weeks I've had the camera, I've really enjoyed it. In good light, it takes great pictures with vibrant colors and the flash works very well. The menu system is well designed which provides easy access to all of the camera's functions. I especially like the GPS features and panorama and 3D modes. Of course, the 22x zoom is great.

One big problem however is the cameras operation in even moderately low light situations. There are times when it refuses to focus even in normal indoor lighting especially when the zoom is being used. This prevents even taking a flash photo. It's especially frustrating since it seems to start out with a good focus and then veers away from it when it locks in. I'm hoping this is just a bug that could be fixed in firmware. My son's camera from a competitor works perfectly every time in identical situations.

The omission of an AC adaptor that allows operation of the camera (in addition to charging) is baffling. The cumbersome battery substitute adaptor is a poor alternative to this obvious feature. Not a deal breaker though.

Most importantly, certain basic functions are missing from the firmware. It's as if a marketing guy told the engineers to get rid of every extra item that could confuse a user rather than sensibly tucking them away into a separate area for when the user gains more experience. Here is a list of seemingly simple changes that I hope find their way into a firmware update before I have to decide whether to return the camera:

1. Get rid of the GPS log warning when powering down or at least let the user dismiss it. Waiting 10 seconds before you can put it back in your pocket gets annoying very quickly.
2. Provide basic shutter and aperture priority modes. The camera often makes wrong decisions, especially in dim light, and this would provide a fallback.
3. Provide additional focus modes for infinity (without having to be limited to a landscape scene) and maybe a distance focus control for situations where the automatic modes don't work. This may not be necessary if the engineers can get the low light focusing to work properly.
4. Allow control over how long the preview shows after taking a picture.
5. Allow edited images (zoomed, softened, etc) to be transferred via wifi. The instructions don't say they can't be transferred but they are disabled with an X through them on my iPhone with the Nikon app.
6. Allow full res images to be transferred to a smart phone via wifi.

There are probably more missing basic features but these are the ones I noticed right away. The first three especially are reason enough to return the camera if they are not fixed. It would be a shame for such a great camera to be hobbled by substandard firmware. Since I generally enjoy using the camera, I really hope Nikon is listening and has the technical skills to fix the problems.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 23, 2013 10:00:15 PM PDT
which camera does your son have? LOL

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2013 10:02:31 PM PDT
Dave L says:
Canon SX260HS

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2013 8:12:16 AM PDT
Looked at that (and the SX280), and decided to go with the Sony Coolpix DSC WX300 instead. LOL Thank you!

Posted on May 26, 2013 8:24:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 26, 2013 8:27:08 PM PDT
Agree with you on all of your points. I doubt you'll see any firmware improvements. Just getting major bugs in the S9100 fixed in the later models was an achievement. But something I know from using an old camera back before the days of autofocus assist lamps is that autofocus works best on vertical, straight lines. If you're having trouble, look for something like that nearby that's about the same distance, focus on that, then move back to the target. It usually works.

Incidentally, this camera does have three no-brainer features that Canon, Panasonic, and Sony do not include on their travel zooms for some reason. One is a voice memo tag for photos. Another is selectable ranges with maximum allowed ISO. And a third is Best Shot Selector. These three are actually so beneficial for me that I find ways to work around its other shortcomings. I actually have the S9200, but all my points apply to this camera, as well.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2013 8:33:16 PM PDT
Dave L says:
Excellent points! As a matter of fact, I was having trouble focusing on an object with horizontal lines so maybe that was more of an issue than the low light. There is actually a lot to like about the camera, including the very easy way it takes panoramas and 3D pics. I may just need to work around or put up with the other problems. Such a shame that the Nikon firmware engineers don't listen to their customers. This could be a very highly rated camera with just a few changes.

Posted on Dec 1, 2013 3:57:00 PM PST
Dave L says:
On top of all the problems I stated in my review, now the lens protector isn't retracting and I need to get it repaired. First camera I've ever had that required repair. Taking away one more star.
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