Nikon Coolpix S50 Optics

Note: These results taken from the Nikon Coolpix S50c, which is identical to the S50 except it has WiFi connectivity added.


Good results with the 3x optical zoom lens, fair performance with the 4x digital zoom.

38mm 114mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix S50's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 38-114mm range, typical among consumer digital cameras. Results were okay at wide angle, though with significant softening in the corners. Telephoto was a little better, but still soft in the corners. The 4x digital zoom is very soft, with no preservation of detail.

A tiny macro area with good detail and high resolution, though strong blurring in the corners. Flash power was too strong up close.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Nikon Coolpix S50's macro setting performed fairly well, capturing a very small minimum area of 1.29 x 0.97 inches (33 x 25 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both very good, though strong blurring in the corners of the frame interferes with detail definition. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode, but the S50's is a bit strong.) The flash produced an uneven exposure here, and overpowered most of the frame. Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the Coolpix S50.

High barrel distortion and moderately high pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 1.2%
Pincushion at 114mm is less than 0.3%

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The Nikon Coolpix S50's 1.2% barrel distortion at wide angle is higher than average among the cameras we've tested, and very noticeable. At the telephoto end, the S50's pincushion distortion was also on the high side, and again, quite noticeable in our test images.

Chromatic aberration
Moderate but bright, noticeable effect on images at edges.

Wide: moderate and bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: moderate,
top left @200%
Tele: moderate and brighter,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderate at both wide angle and telephoto, showing about 5-6 pixels of very bright coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The effect is noticeable in several of our test shots.

Corner Sharpness
Some softening in the corners of the frame, strongest in the left corners.

Wide: Soft in the
upper left corner, though others sharper
Wide: Sharp at center
Tele: quite soft in the
corners (upper left)
Tele: still slightly soft at center

The Nikon Coolpix S50 produced soft corners in a few shots, though with the strongest effect at full telephoto. At wide angle, corners were only slightly soft overall, compared to the center of the frame, though the upper left corner had significantly more blurring. At telephoto, corners showed stronger blurring, especially on the left side of the frame. Not the best performance for this class of camera, but also not uncommon.


Excellent accuracy with the LCD monitor.

38mm eq., LCD 118mm eq., LCD

The Nikon Coolpix S50's LCD monitor produced very good results here, showing just over 100% frame accuracy at wide angle, and just under at telephoto. Good performance overall.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon Coolpix S50 Photo Gallery .

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