Nikon Coolpix S2500 Review: Performance

Considering the Nikon S2500 price tag, we weren't expecting flawless results but actually what we did get was a cluster of well exposed, colour correct pictures exuding good detail definition. When using the majority of the scene and shooting modes we discovered that the Coolpix was more than capable of handling tricky lighting environments – even when the subject was situated in areas of high contrast, capturing details in the highlights and shadows with ease.

If we were to forget its market placement we could argue that the S2500 did have a slight tendency to overexpose, but users do have access to exposure compensation should the need arise. The auto white balance was equally adequate and provided good colour replication especially in situations where natural, even light was employed, less so when shooting indoors or at a higher ISO.

That said, the camera's handle on sensitivity was not as bad as one might have thought for a lower-end unit and operating the Auto setting delivered images with little to complain about. The first tell-tale signs of noise only surfaced at ISO 800 but it wasn't until ISO 1600 that degradation affected colour and detail.

Results captured at ISO 3200 were largely unusable, displaying high volumes of grain, blurred and muddied details with diluted mottled colours; furthermore noise became an issue when we employed the full capacity of the camera's zoom, as textures were flattened and tones muted.

There were a only a few issues with the lens, namely that in a number of compositions displaying contrast we found evidence of purple fringing along edges and on some occasions we discovered lens flare, however scenes retain sharpness in the centre with only minor softening towards the edges.

The camera's AF system performed well, and in particular subject tracking was pleasing although the lens had a tendency to hunt noisily when used in some low contrast occasions or when the subject moved quickly. Whilst the AF system remained solid through the scene and Auto modes we can't avoid talking about the macro mode.

Users will find that the minimum focus range for the S2500 is a painful 8cm, meaning that close up captures is for the most part out of the question.