The Nikon Coolpix S5 offers generally excellent image quality for standard shots, though critical viewers may notice vignetting and other minor flaws creeping into their photos.
Colour and tonal range are excellently rendered, and its colour accuracy and exposures are generally on target. The Coolpix S5's palette is rather neutral and faithful to the scene, not oversaturated as with many other point-and-shoot cameras. The Coolpix S5's Vivid colour setting gives images a little more warmth and pop but doesn't go too far. Flesh tones are warm but not ruddy, even with flash at close range, and the camera's automatic white balance is fairly accurate under most conditions.
The lens exhibits very little chromatic aberration, which causes the purple or green fringing commonly found along strongly backlit or high-contrast edges, and it can yield quite sharp images. But lens artefacts tend to crop up, including significant softness and vignetting (darkening) at the corners of the Coolpix S5's frame, especially at the wide end of the zoom's range. We also noticed significant 'pincushion' and 'barrel distortion' -- lines curving inward at the telephoto end and bowing outward at the wide end, respectively. Thankfully, most of these image flaws will probably go unnoticed by casual viewers looking at prints. The camera's edge sharpening is occasionally too aggressive in high-contrast areas with thin lines, such as power lines in front of a white wall, which gives them light halos.
Edited by Lori Grunin
Additional editing by Kate Macefield