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Nikon Coolpix L810 Review

As far as I can recall, this is Nikon’s longest range maxi-zoom compact. Previously there was the L20, with a 21x zoom — but nothing at this 26x level.

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There is a demand for such cameras. And, as I’ve said before, if you want long zooms, the last thing you want is to lug a heavy DSLR with a pricey and heavy lens … if you could find a DSLR zoom with a 20x plus range!

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The price you pay of course, with such a compact digicam, is a small sensor, usually around 11mm in diagonal. But the benefit with such a small sensor is a comparatively small lens. For the photographer willing to accept the compromise, it’s a win, win situation.

Of course, you lose a few advantages: JPEG is the only still image capture (aside from 3D); while metering is accomplished in matrix, centre-weight and spot modes, there is only an auto exposure mode.

Nikon Coolpix L810 Features

The L810 is a delight to hold, thanks to a substantial, textured speed grip and its light weight. Controls are grouped around the shutter button, so a thumb and forefinger can usually drive all the buttons. I have to say the camera has a marvelous ‘hold me’ appeal!
A surprisingly attractive and useful feature is a second zoom control, built into the zoom barrel’s left side, which allows firmer two-handed operation of the camera.

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The camera’s CCD can hold 16.1 million pixels, with a maximum image size of 4068×3456 pixels, sufficient to make a 34x29cm print. Movies are recorded at a maximum res of only 1280×720 pixels, which seems pretty mean to me, when there are other digicams around the same price level that can shoot Full HD.

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Many will find one rare feature with dramatic appeal, especially if you travel outside the usual spheres of commerce: the power supply is a quartet of AA batteries: you can either single use alkaline or lithium, as well as rechargeable NiCad cells. If you’re up the Limpopo river, with or without a paddle, you will doubtless have more chance of picking up a bundle of alkalines than an opportunity of plugging your charger into mains power!

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While auto exposure is the main ‘go’, there is a large bundle of scene modes which can help the raw amateur make huge leaps in ability: among these are portrait, night landscape, fireworks, panorama and so on. There’s also a 3D shooting facility, with the result viewable on suitable 3D TV sets.

Startup Time

In two seconds from startup, the camera was ready to shoot; each subsequent shot took two seconds to capture.

Distortion

A very slight indication of barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom; no sign of any problems at the tele end.

Nikon Coolpix L810 ISO Speeds

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Up to ISO 800 all seems to be ship-shape, but I figure ISO 1600 is not useable due to an increase in noise and a drop in resolution.

Nikon Coolpix L810 Verdict

Quality: about average.

Why you would buy it: longish zoom range; good balance in the hand.

Why you wouldn’t: no Full HD video capture; limited exposure options; poor ISO performance; .

The battery compartment is notoriously hard to open; I never did manage to feel comfortable with it.

The camera is available in three colours: black, red and blue.

Nikon Coolpix L810 Specifications

Image Sensor: 16.1 million effective pixels.
Sensor Size: 11mm CCD.
Lens: Nikkor f3.5-5.9/4.0-104mm (22.5-585mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Metering: Matrix, centre-weighted, spot.
Shutter Speed: 4 to 1/1500 second.
Continuous Shooting: 4fps.
Memory: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards plus 50MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4068×3456 to 640×480. Movies: 1280x720p, 640×480 pixels.
Viewfinder: 7.5cm LCD (921,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, MPEG4, MPO.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80 to 1600.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV, DC.
Power: Four AA alkaline or lithium batteries, DC input.
Dimensions:111.1×76.3×83.1 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 430 g (inc batteries and card).
Price: Get a price on the Nikon Coolpix L810 at Amazon.

Summary
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Reviewed Item
Nikon Coolpix L810
Author Rating
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Barrie Smith

Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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