I had the opportunity to attend a Japanese Festival the other day, and so thought it might be a good idea to take several units to see how they worked.  This turned out to be a combination of bright sunlight combined with a bunch of indoor stuff.  I wanted to stay as light and portable as possible, so that basically ruled out my Panasonic GX1 or Nikon J1 – I knew it would be crowded and didn’t really want to swapping lenses in that environment Smile  Been there done that….

What I settled on was both my Fuji X10 with my Panasonic LX7 as backup (spare batteries too…), and my Panasonic ZS25 travel cam.  I also took along my Nikon S9400 (another travel cam) and a Nikon S3400 pointy shooty.  In the end, I ended up shooting a couple of hundred photos, with the majority on my X10 and ZS25.  Never needed the Lx7 or the S3400.

The one that really kind of disappointed me on this shoot was the Nikon S9400 – there was a several second lag between pics that was really annoying.  I didn’t see that on the ZS25 at all.  I know that doesn’t exist on my other travel cams until I do some shots early morning or later in the day where the cams try to gather more data, but for a standard hum drum sunlight photo?  C’mon – give me a break.  My X10 for instance didn’t even hesitate in the low light light stuff.  I guess that’s what you pay the big bucks for.

This got me thinking a little about the S9400.  IF this was the only travel cam one had, AND I guess it would depend a lot on HOW it got used, it would probably be more than adequate for the majority of shots one would take Smile  The average person probably won’t be taking the type of sequence things I do or for that matter, may not even take “safeties” Smile  in the end, I simply didn’t use the S9400 hardly at all.  I stayed with the SZ25.  Now, don’t get me wrong here – for a camera in this class, it’s actually a pretty impressive unit.  No question about photo quality – for the most things it’s going to be plenty.  HOWEVER, typical to Nikon, it is a little more automatic than others I have in this class and for the person who wants a good auto, this one probably would fit the bill quite well.  It’s about the same size as the other travel cams I have, but this is a lot thinner, so might be a little more conducive to just stuffing in your pocket.  I’m a little jammed for time today, but in another post, I’ll put in some more detailed comparison pics Smile 

Here’s a quickie comparing from left to right: Fuji F800/Panasonic ZS25 and the Nikon S9400:

Thickness Compare


I am glad, however, that I got this on sale (S9500 is out…).  It was purely an impulse buy and I really really wanted to see what Nikon had in this class.  I’ve read a lot of reviews about this series and they don’t rate them that high, but you know…. for the person who wants a pointy shooty that’s a little more advanced without the hassle of trying to “learn” and just take pics… well… this one fits that bill quite wellSmile  For this festival I basically left it in the auto mode.  Mind you, out of the 200 or so pics I took, I think I took 10 Smile    The other drawback with this unit, is that something like a moon shot at nite would be difficult.  I’m going to try one next time we get a decent moon to see if the over/under exposure can compensate enough to get a shot.  So… at the full regular price… which would be in the $279 CND range (I got mine for about $229), there’s better more versatile alternative, as the reviews suggest.  $20 or so more (plust tax of course Smile) can buy you a lot more function, believe me.. I have a few of those other units and each of them gets you full manual override for the extra. For the sale price – well, not a bad buy.  For me, having the 18X zoom was one key feature I wanted here. This does remind me of the Nikon 1 J1 I have as well – interchangeable lens compact system camera but pretty well the same – full auto with not much in the manual area, but at the same time, can take movies easily.  One thing I forgot about the S9400 – movies.  It’s supposed to do a good job there as well, but I simply don’t take movies or that many to be anything knowledgeable here.

From a portability standpoint – I was able to put everything quite easily in my Tracker bag and have it also easily accessible for any camera I needed.  From a versatility standpoint – there were a LOT of people there, and that usually equates to poor shooting positions.  PLUS having the wide angle equivalent of 24mm was almost a must in a few shots.  I did see a lot of DSLR’s there but I didn’t see that much lens swapping going on either Smile  With the crowds there, not easily done.  My travel cams were great for catching shots that I normally wouldn’t have got any other way.  There was enough for me to be able to utilize the “big zoom” on my ZS25 quite a lot.  They actually came out pretty good for what I wanted to do. 


About gkamitomo
IT Busines Analyst

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