I put the details down at the bottom and cut right to the chase to my opinion for what it’s worth… .02 cent
My recommendation is the S6500 for it’s pocket size portability. This is advantageous because you’ll want to take it everywhere you go and if the weather or the environment get sketchy, you can toss it in a well protected bag and it’ll be fine. This camera is geared toward portraits as the lens configuration will give you a full-body shot at 3-4ft away while the zoom will give you nice expressive close-up head shot. Also it has built in image processing to help make a nice portrait shot (no photoshop needed—if you don’t like photoshopped portraits, turn the filters off) It’s decent for everything else. The slower shutter(1/2000[SUP]th[/SUP]) speed means you CANNOT shoot with the sun in your face as it’s not fast enough to cut the extra light out (contrary to pop belief that it’s for action-NO) That said it’s not for extreme lighting conditions (i.e candle lit, blow out the candle bday shot w/lights off—doable, not great….or cloudless day at noon without shade, you’ll get sun spots. Yet, it’s an all around camera w/a lil more oompf than a smart phone camera with wireless capabilities. Yes you can take this to your children indoor play at the school auditorium and get the full stage. Oh and it has GPS so the location info can be tracked on the images you shoot.
Why the L820 is not on my list. The L820 is everything that is mentioned above minus the built in wireless capability (no big deal, they have memory cards with WiFi built in)
...but and it’s a big BUT, all the specs that looks good on paper has it’s down side. Here it is: Super Zoom (easier to break, rendering the entire camera useless. You need to be a very good photographer to use it because unsteady hand will make the extreme ends of the wide-and-tele useless. This is even more so when you use video—side to side is alright, but if you got up and down shakes…well it’s called the vomit comet effect). So let’s say you’re using this for your child’s play as mentioned above. You’ve got the zoom so you pull in on the stage, but now you have to pan left and right to get the full stage…well you just introduced the movement variable and when you get home you realize most of it is useless and you have to get on the computer to edit the video (where if you had the full stage, you’d probably just keep it still and get the BIG PICTURE/VIDEO) So the super zoom is not all that necessary…less is more. 1/4000[SUP]th[/SUP] shutter speed is nice because you can shut out extra light on super sunny day, but it will not help you get that sharp action shot. You only need 1/400th to stop action—what you really need to be FAST is auto-focus to lock on as the subject is moving. So now all the marketing hype got you believing you can capture your children’s soccer game indoors—you come home and everything is blurry—not because it’s not fast enough, but because of motion blur and out of focus cause it can’t track with the “contrast auto-focus” sensor where bright light is needed. Although it’s consider a compact, you cannot put this in your pocket and it’ll probably need it’s own bag which you’ll misplace or not use or it’ll dangle around your elbow causing you to be unsteady for that super zoom shot. Then it rains and before you can pack it away it’s got some droplets on it and you put it away without wiping it dry in your closet and forget to bring it with you and when you pull it out several months later, fungus has grown on the inside of your super zoom lens and Nikon won’t warranty that because this is not a weatherproof (neither is the S6500, but you can pocket that quicker) camera. And this camera has a plastic housing that is suppose to protect the delicate precision instrument in your super zoom. The slow-motion video at 60i is nice, but as with the super zoom issue you’ll get useless slow motion herky jerky action (vomit comet)
Paraphrase from DPreviews article
and here Nikon debuts Coolpix P520, S9500, S6500 and L820 mid-range compacts: Digital Photography Review
The S6500 offers user-friendly shooting features, controls w/ 12x zoom and WiFi capabilities. Includes Glamour Retouch effects for portraits, but also features five new effects during their photo taking:
- Brighten Face: Lightens skin tones on a person’s face
- Reduce Dark Circles: Lightens the effects of dark colors under a person’s eyes
- Whiten Eyes: Makes the whites of people’s eyes appear more sharp and white
- Whiten Teeth: Makes a person’s teeth appear whiter
- Redden Cheeks: Applies a blush-like effect to a person’s cheek to give them a livelier look, plus several colors (orange, red, blue-pink and yellow-pink) can be selected to best complement the subject’s cheeks in the photo.
The L820 compact sports a high-power 30x zoom, 3-inch monitor, ergonomic design, along with the convenience of AA-size batteries and a dedicated video button is easy and fun for users to shoot. Simply…it’s got a small lil teeny tiny grip that holds reg battery that it will chew through and spit out like bubble gum and spit.
Key Technical Features
S6500-Compact (pocket), resolution 4608 x 3465 (user select down to 1024 x 768; HD quality for online posting), 16mp (max), ISO 125-3200, image stabilization (for shaky hands when shooting), 12x Zoom (don’t be lazy, use your foot to zoom-you’ll hafta move yourself…not for the shy photographer), digital-zoom (for manual focusing that spot just right), manual focus, macro focus capable (extreme close-up of a bug), lens 25-300 f3.1-6.5 (35mm equivalent-technical stuff ignore), max 10 frames per second burst shooting, video is HD quality at 30P (progressive frame per second-smooth quality), built in flash.
L820-Compact (bridge-bulky and useless), resolution 4608 x 3465, 16mp (max), ISO 125-3200(same as S6500), image stabilization (for shaky hands when shooting and running), 30x Zoom (doesn’t mean squat if you don’t hold it REAL still), lens 22.5-675 mm f3-5.8 (35mm equivalent-technical stuff ignore), max 7 frames per second burst shooting, video is HD quality at 30P(progressive frame per second-smooth quality) and 60i (interlaced-every other frame allowing slow-motion capture but kinda herky jerky like action movies), pop-up flash.