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.
Nikon Coolpix L26 Features
The L26 has a 16 megapixel CCD sensor and 5x optical zoom, which is a 35mm equivalent of 26-130mm. To help reduce blur, e-VR (vibration reduction) counteracts camera shake and motion detection compensates for camera and subject movement. To make image taking as easy as possible Easy Auto mode optimises the camera settings automatically for the scene, as well as 18 scene modes which can be selected.
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
10cm minimum focusing distance
18 scene modes
Available in black, red and silver
Nikon Coolpix L26 Handling
The L26 has a plastic body, it's small with one end slightly thicker than the other to accommodate the two AA batteries which makes it easier to grip the camera. There is a decent sized 3 inch LCD screen, which is bright and easy to view in varying lighting conditions. The buttons are fairly typical for a compact camera, with a dedicated movie record button placed on the rear. The menu system on the L26 is easy to understand and navigate.
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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
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.
Nikon Coolpix L26 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.
Nikon Coolpix L26 Sample Photos
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
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
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
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
Nikon Coolpix L26 Digital filters
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.
If you are on a very strict budget, or are buying a child their first camera, the L26 is ideal. Images produced aren't ideal for large prints, but will look great when shared on Facebook or Flickr thanks to the cameras good colour reproduction. Overall, you can't expect much for £60 and you certainly get what you pay for.
Nikon Coolpix L26 Pros
One of the cheapest cameras around
Good colour reproduction
Replacement batteries easy to find
3 inch LCD screen
5x optical zoom
Nikon Coolpix L26 Cons
No ability to control ISO speed
10cm minimum focusing distance
Camera is generally slow to use