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The Nikon Coolpix L26 is an entry level compact camera with a 16.1 megapixel sensor, 3 inch screen, 5x optical zoom lens, electronic vibration reduction and is powered by AA batteries. It is available in black, red and silver for £60.
The L26 also has a Smart Portrait System with Smile timer, Blink proof, Skin softening and Red-eye Fix. Videos are recorded at 720p HD. The camera is powered by two AA batteries, meaning replacements can be picked up just about anywhere in the world.
- 16 megapixel CCD sensor
- 5x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 26-130mm)
- e-VR (vibration reduction)
- 3 inch LCD screen
- Smart Portrait System
- 720p HD video recording
- ISO 80-1600
- 10cm minimum focusing distance
- 18 scene modes
- Available in black, red and silver
The batteries have a CIPA rating of 200 shots, performance will depend on the quality of battery purchased. We tested the cameras performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
|Shutter Response||0.1 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.5 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.8 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.7 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||2.3 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||6.5 seconds|
Continuous shooting mode records images at full 16.1 megapixel resolution. The L26 is slow at starting up and also slow from shot-to-shot.
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Nikon Coolpix L26 Sample Photos
Landscape | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 4.6 mm | ISO 80
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.3 | 11.8 mm | ISO 200
Sport | 1/250 sec | f/5.5 | 17.6 mm | ISO 320
Pet | 1/80 sec | f/6.3 | 15.4 mm | ISO 800
Sample Photos - in portrait mode, skin tones are good, with just the slightest touch of red-eye. Landscape mode takes pictures with good blues and greens.
Nikon Coolpix L26 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 4.6 mm | ISO 80
Full Optical Zoom | 1/200 sec | f/6.5 | 23.0 mm | ISO 80
Digital Zoom | 1/160 sec | f/6.5 | 92.0 mm | ISO 80
Macro | 1/25 sec | f/3.2 | 4.6 mm | ISO 125
Lens Performance - The L26 takes images which are well exposed with good colour reproduction. Detail is OK if you shoot with a low ISO setting, the images produced are best for sharing on the web rather than getting large prints. There is also purple fringing evident in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 10cm, making it difficult to get really close to your subject, although a decent enough macro image can be taken.
Nikon Coolpix L26 ISO test images
ISO500 | 1/125 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 500
ISO800 | 1/13 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 800
ISO1600 | 1 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 1600
ISO Noise Performance - You cannot manually set the ISO speed on the L26. The lowest ISO speed available is ISO 80 where images are noise free. Noise appears at ISO 200 (examples at these lowers speeds can be seen in other test shots in the article). These images above show the effect of noise at ISO 500, 800 and 1600. Images are quite noisy at ISO 500, but retain some sharpness, with much softer images produced at ISO 800. Although the shot at ISO 1600 is under exposed, it is still clear to see that images are very noisy at this speed, which is probably why is was hard to get the L26 to use this setting, it is best avoided!
Nikon Coolpix L26 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/4.2 | 7.9 mm | ISO 200
Incandescent Preset | 1/20 sec | f/4.2 | 7.9 mm | ISO 200
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/4.2 | 7.9 mm | ISO 200
Fluorescent Preset | 1/4 sec | f/4.2 | 7.9 mm | ISO 200
White Balance Performance - Auto white-balance (AWB) copes really well, under the incandescent lights, very similar shots were produced whether using the AWB or incandescent presets. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB setting performed well, with a magenta cast appearing when using the fluorescent preset.
Nikon Coolpix L26 Other sample images
Landscape With Building | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 4.6 mm | ISO 80
Zoom Example | 1/200 sec | f/6.3 | 15.4 mm | ISO 80
Black And White Copy | 1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 4.6 mm | ISO 1000
Nikon Coolpix L26 Digital filters
Color Options Black And White | 1/6 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 200
Color Options Cyanotype | 1/6 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 200
Color Options Sepia | 1/6 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 200
Color Options Standard Colour | 1/6 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 200
Color Options Vivid Colour | 1/6 sec | f/5.8 | 13.5 mm | ISO 200
D-lighting | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 4.6 mm | ISO 80
Skin Softening | 1/60 sec | f/5.3 | 11.8 mm | ISO 200
Digital Filters - The L26 has a few colour options to add creativity to your pictures. You can also edit images in playback, with D-Lighting and Skin Softening options available.
Video - The video below is shot at full 720p HD, optical zoom isn't available during recording.
Value For MoneyThe Nikon Coolpix L26 is priced at £60, making it one of the cheapest digital cameras available. Other entry-level budget cameras to consider include the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS (£94, 5x zoom, 16 megapixels), Nikon Coolpix S6150 (£99, 7x zoom, 16 megapixels), Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 (£99, 4x zoom, 16.1 megapixels), Nikon Coolpix S3300 (£100, 6x zoom, 16.1 megapixels), Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS18 (£100, 4x zoom, 16.1 megapixels), Olympus VR-340 (£109, 10x zoom, 16 megapixels), Fujifilm FinePix T400 (£119, 10x zoom, 16 megapixels) and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 (£120, 5x zoom, 16.1 megapixels).
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Nikon Coolpix L26 ProsOne of the cheapest cameras around
Good colour reproduction
Replacement batteries easy to find
3 inch LCD screen
5x optical zoom
Nikon Coolpix L26 ConsNo ability to control ISO speed
10cm minimum focusing distance
Camera is generally slow to use
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Nikon Coolpix L26 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.2 - f/6.5|
|35mm equivalent||26mm - 130mm|
|CCD pixels||16.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||230k dot|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 1600|
|Exposure Comp||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No|
|Box Contents||Camera Strap, LR6/L40 (AA-size) alkaline batteries (x2), USB Cable UC-E16, ViewNX 2 Installer CD, Reference Manual CD|