I've had an S6500 since September 2006 and I really like it. Good lens, low distortion, sharp, little vignetting - it really does the job. As for camera performance, good focussing, slow continuous mode (doesn't worry me). The features that I really like are the manual zoom and the very ergonomic grip combined with light weight. Control of parameters through the four-way switch and the low-resolution EVF are (minor) annoyances. The 28-300mm (equivalent focal length) covers just about all situations.
The image quality is excellent and the high ISO performance is great for a non-DSLR camera. Colours are conservative, but there is a "chrome" option to boost things. However, the default sharpening level is quite agressive. You might like to use "soft" and post-process. Similarly, I think that using low compression is also a good idea - bigger files, but they look much better when enlarged to beyond A4. I think that the RAW setting really isn't, and I can get better results by post processing (and interpolating) low compression files, with the benefit of the files being one quarter the size.
The large body with the small chip means that lens design is well worked out and (I think) one of the advantages of this camera over entry-level DSLRS - though the DSLRs have a larger imager, with attendant benefits.
Personally, I run the camera in aperture priority mode with central autofocus and spot metering (I like to meter a photo from a known value). The "matrix" (256 point) metering is quite satisfactory, though. I use ISO 100 wherever possible (helped by good lens performance at larger apertures) and it is really quite good up to ISO 400.
The movie mode is fine for its class, though you can see compression artefacts on a computer screed, though not if you record them onto DVD.
In summary, the image quality is good enough to delay my purchase of a DSLR. It takes excellent photos at A4 at default settings, and needs only a little work to do really well up to A3. A very good buy, particularly at the prices they are offering now.
Nikon DSLRs, film cameras from Leica to Linhof