Customer Reviews: Nikon COOLPIX S3500 20.1 MP Digital Camera with 7x Zoom (Silver) (OLD MODEL)
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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.
22 comments| 250 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 11, 2013
The camera exceeded my expectations. I actually was able to take pictures of people moving without the picture coming out blurry. Also the quality of the picture is so beautiful.
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on August 2, 2013
I must have been one of the very few hold outs for getting a digital camera, but since it has become nearly impossible to find a film developing establishment, I decided now is the time to take that leap.

Just got this little gem and have been getting acquainted with all its features. For it's size, it seems to do just about everything except wash windows. Very impressed. The set up was easy and for me a pretty low learning curve was involved to get the camera in working order...Do like how easy it is to set the exposure and also to be able to turn off the flash. Zoom and wide angle settings are excellent, and I really do like the ability to take Macro shots. So far my captures have sharp detail.

The only draw back I can see at this point is someone with large hands (a big guy perhaps) might find the function buttons difficult to manipulate since they are on the small side. That aside, if you are a casual photographer and are in the market for a digital camera, this is one heck of a camera for the price.
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on July 20, 2013
Easy-to-use, takes wonderful photos and I love the color. I got this for my aunt and it has made her photos look like a professional :)
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on October 17, 2013
After 5 weeks, my camera stopped working (lens wouldn't open). I sent it in, and received an email that the work would be covered by warranty. All good. Then, I received an email saying the camera was damaged and repair wasn't covered. I called and told them it had been returned in new condition--they agreed to send a picture (I thought maybe damage had occurred in shipping). They sent a photo showing a tiny scuff mark on the back of the camera and said due to that, it wasn't covered. It makes no sense and has nothing to do with the motor to the lens going out. I never dropped or damaged the camera, but guess what the cost is to repair? Exactly the same as a new camera. DO NOT BUY THIS CAMERA. I thought NIkon was a reputable brand, but this smacks of fraud. Also, the pictures it took before breaking were not high quality and often blurry.
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on June 27, 2013
Very easy to learn to use, slipped memory card and batteries in, turned it on and I was shooting pictures. Having fun zooming in and out. Love the purple color and slim profile. Fits well even in the smallest purse. Will go everywhere with me. I recommend this for anyone!
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on June 24, 2013
I previously owned a Nikon Coolpix and loved it. One day it just died. this is a wonderful replacement. Accidently ordered 2 and intended to send one back. My husband looked at my pics and decided he wanted it because it has a much better photo quality than the camera he was using.
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on May 19, 2013
The size and portability of this camera is really the main reason for buying it. It takes fantastic pictures and is so small it is not noticeable unless you use the flash.
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on October 3, 2013
I'm an avid photographer, in no way an amateur, and have owned many cameras over the years. I probably upgrade about once every 1-2 years. I chose this one because it was under a hundred bucks which was a great price. I also liked the upgrade from my 16 megapixel to this 20 megapixel. However, this is the SLOWEST camera I've ever used! It takes 10-15 seconds between pictures to be able to take another one, which almost defeats the purpose of taking a picture. After taking another reviewer's advice, who suggested using a name brand or higher quality memory card might fix the problem with the slowness, it DID help with that issue a little bit. It at least made the wait time between photos a little less frustrating.

After using this camera at Thanksgiving this evening, between all the trouble I had taking the photos to begin with and after getting home and seeing the photos on my computer, I just had to come back here to downgrade my original 3 star rating to a 1 star. We took photos outside around sunset, while there was still plenty of light. Between me and several other people using the camera, every person had issues with it not only being slow, but all the photos kept coming out blurry. Flash on, flash off, it didn't matter (I've never had a camera that took blurry photos with the flash on!). I tried several different settings- auto mode, indoor mode, night mode, sunset mode- the quality of the photos stayed about the same. I just could NOT get them to stop turning out blurry, and everyone was so frustrated we just gave up on taking photos altogether. After putting the photos on my computer, the quality of the photos was surprisingly horrible. They were very blurry, grainy, and either too flashy or too dark. The photos I cropped to bring the subjects of the photos in closer looked like the quality of photos my phone takes! On top of that, the 1 or 2 photos that managed to come out decent enough not to delete had white spots all over the photo- like water spots, or "ghost spots." Very disappointing :(.

This was my first try at owning a Nikon, and I can say with certainty I will never be owning one again. I will be reselling this one and I have ordered a Canon to replace it, which I should have done to begin with. I honestly don't think this camera is worth giving a try, even if you get it at a bargain price.
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on October 2, 2013
I bought this camera for my parents, who are in their early 60's. They are not what you would call 'early adapters' and wanted something that was simple to figure out. This camera is great for quick picture taking and sharing, and definitely meets their needs. They have been really happy with the picture quality and ease of use. I have yet to hear any complaints that they cannot figure it out!
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