Top positive review
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Surprisingly Good For The Price
on July 2, 2013
July 13, 2013, Update
I have taken more photos since writing the initial review and am even more impressed with this little camera now than I was then. I am amazed how clear and sharp the photos are right out of the camera.
I can't do as much with this camera as I can with my Canon 60d DSLR. The latter has much better zoom capability, is much better for action shots, etc., but it costs many times more than this one so you would expect it to do more. However, for the typical family shots and street photography, this camera is a much closer second place to the 60d than I realized when I wrote the first review.
And the fact that you can carry it in your pocket, always ready for use, is a huge plus. I now find myself using this camera for family activities much more than I do the 60d.
My present primary camera is a DSLR Canon 60d. However, with its lenses, it is much too large and heavy to carry wherever I go when I am out and about. I wanted a small camera I could carry in my pocket, one that took very good photos and did not break the bank. The Coolpix S3500 fills that need very nicely.
Compared to my Canon 60d. which cost many times more what I paid for the S3500, it is a 2 or a 3. But considering what you get for your money, the S3500 is a strong 5.
The photos are clear and sharp, the colors (I have it set in "standard") are very natural appearing, and it handles "noise" up to ISO 1600 about as well as any camera.
At ISO 100 & 200 there is negligible noise and an increasing amount thereafter. But even at 1600 the noise removal software I use cleans up the photo as easily as it does my Canon 60d. Quite surprising for a camera of this price.
This camera has just about anything anyone could want for casual photography. And it takes good photos.
One thing I especially like is that it uses standard SD cards. I'm using an 8GB card so that I will have space if I want to shoot some video. The greater capacity of the card, the more photos and video clips it will hold.
Also, both surprising and welcome, is the 7X optical zoom. Typically cameras of this type, even more expensive ones, have an optical zoom of only 4X or 5X.
(Note: This camera, like virtually all others, has both optical zoom capability and an option of digital zoom. My advice is to make use of the optical zoom of 7X and turn off the digital zoom since all that does is to crop the photo to make the subject look larger. With the optical zoom you can actuallyincrease the size of whatever you are shooting.)
A Quick Start guide comes with the camera. Don't be fooled by the thickness of the book, there are only a few pages in English.h The rest of the book is repeating the same basic information in 3 other languages.
2 DVD's come with camera. One, and the most important to me, was the user manual. It too includes 4 languages, but you can download and save the language portion that you want. It is well done and I recommend using it when you set up the camera rather than the very basic quick start guide. Don't install everything on your computer, just the portion in the language of your choice.
The second DVD gives you tools for processing, printing, and uploading to Facebook your photos. I didn't install it because I have other software that I use.
Also in the box are a hand strap, battery, and charging device, there is no SD card, but the camera does have 25MB of internal memory that will allow you to take a few photos while you get an SD card, and no case. You charge the battery when it is in the camera using the cable.
If you are looking for a small, relatively inexpensive camera for family photos and other casual shooting, this camera deserves very serious consideration. I'm glad I chose it even though I thought I would never own any brand except Canon.