Nikon CoolPix S520
- Fairly good overall image quality, looks good, simple interface
- Some noise issues at higher sensitivities, yellows are a little inaccurate, slow at times
Nikon's CoolPix S520 doesn't do anything out of the ordinary. It provides decent image quality, a simple set of features and has a nice design, but it does have some speed problems and the pictures aren't perfect.
Price$ 379.00 (AUD)
Sitting towards the middle of the company's new compact range, Nikon's S520 is a solid if slightly uninspiring camera. Its 8-megapixel sensor captures reasonably good quality images that will satisfy happy-snap users and while it does have a few nice features on offer, it also suffers from some speed issues which detract a little from the overall package.
These days an 8-megapixel sensor actually sits towards the middle of the pack, with many 10-megapixel compacts flooding the upper tiers of the market. Nonetheless, in general such a sensor will capture perfectly adequate shots for small and medium print sizes.
In Imatest's sharpness test the S520 proved to not quite have the same resolving power as some of the competition; however, this won't be noticeable unless you're making sizeable enlargements. Its shots had a slightly soft look but edges were still crisp and well defined.
Chromatic aberration wasn't too problematic either. Some Nikon compacts in the past have suffered heavily from flaring and haloing issues but that wasn't the case here. There was some corner softening though that is fairly normal while purple fringing was kept well under control. Similarly there was little in the way of haloing in our high contrast indoors chart tests.
Colour response was decent without being fantastic. There is a custom white balance option which helps keep colours looking accurate and it was noticeable in the rich reds and blues. Colours were perhaps a little paler than normal, particularly in shades of yellow and light green and the overall balance was quite soft. This can be tweaked using the colour settings in the camera's menu.
In our noise tests the S520 yielded interesting results. In some ways its performance was fairly standard, with shots at ISO 100 and ISO 200 coming out relatively clean. At higher sensitivities images weren't as noisy as on many other units; however, the noise correction algorithm did result in a drop in image quality. We'd recommend sticking to lower sensitivities unless you're making small 4x6in prints.
The cameras speed results were a little disappointing. In particular, its shutter lag hovered around the 0.15-second mark, which is considerably slower than the standard 0.07-0.1 that we typically see. Power up time was similarly sluggish at 3.5 seconds. Shot-to-shot time seemed to vary depending on the auto focus system (which was a little flaky); it was anywhere from 2 to 2.5 seconds. The burst mode was also quite slow, capturing 1.8 frames per second.
Features wise the S520 is a standard Nikon compact. It has face detect, Nikon's Best Shot Selector mode (which is basically a bracketing feature) and 15 scene modes. White balance can be set using the presets or with the aforementioned custom mode, and vibration reduction also returns providing some basic protection against handshake although it isn't as effective as an optical solution.
Design-wise the unit looks pretty good. It has a standard wide, slim, boxy build but is constructed out of brushed chrome metal which adds a touch of style. The controls and interface are all extremely basic and apart from a strangely labelled button, everything is easy to grasp and use.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BQLD
- TPSolution Architect - Real-Time Tracking SystemVIC
- FTWeb Developer/ReportsNSW
- FTProject Manager (Software product development)VIC
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA
- TPTechnical Report EditorQLD
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- CCAgile CoachNSW
- CCSystem EngineerSA
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- FTPerformance TesterACT
- CCTest AnalystWA
- CCProcess Improvement Specialist - Six Sigma Black BeltVIC
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- CCSME in Openstack, AWSNSW
- CCBPM Technical AnalystVIC
- CCSecurity AnalystACT
- TPMobile DeveloperWA
- CCStorage System EngineerNSW
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- CCIT Solutions ArchitectQLD
- FTJava Developer - Fixed Term ContractQLD
- CCTest Automation EngineerVIC