The Nikon Coolpix L320 was announced in March 2013 and is a superzoom compact camera with 26x optical zoom and a 16.1 megapixel sensor, updating the popular value zoom, the L310. It is available for £175.00.
Nikon Coolpix L320 Features
The Nikon Coolpix L320 has a 16 megapixel CCD sensor and 26x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 22.5-585mm. There is lens-shift VR (vibration reduction) to keep images as sharp as possible. In continuous shooting mode it can record at 1.2 fps.
When shooting there is easy auto mode which adjusts the camera settings automatically for the detected scene. There are also 18 scene modes to choose from and the smart portrait system, which includes self-timer, blink proof alert, skin softening and red-eye fix.
Videos are recorded in 720p HD.
16 megapixel CCD sensor
26x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 22.5-585mm)
Lens-shift VR (vibration reduction)
3.0 inch 230k dot LCD screen
Easy auto mode
720p HD video recording
ISO 80 - 1600
1cm minimum focusing distance
Smart portrait system
1.2 fps continuous shooting
Nikon Coolpix L320 Handling
The Nikon Coolpix L320 has the look and feel of a small DSLR. It has a chunky rubberised hand grip and a rubber pad on the rear for your thumb. On the lens barrel is a switch for changing the focal length, you can also adjust the zoom using the zoom rocker.
There is a button the activate the pop-up flash and on / off button on the top of the camera. On the back are movie record, scene mode, playback, menu and delete buttons as well as a d-pad and OK button for cycling through the camera menus. The buttons on the d-pad can be used to set the flash, self-timer, exposure compensation and macro mode. You can view your pictures when the camera is off by pressing and holding the playback button.
The L320 menu system is easy to navigate. Nearly everything is set through the menu button. The 3 inch screen is bright and clear, but has a low 230k dot resolution. Battery life is rated at 310 shots according to CIPA test results when using alkaline batteries, so you've a good chance of a day or two shooting before requiring a change, although this will depend on the quality of batteries you purchase. You can get 810 shots if you use lithium batteries instead.
We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
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 records at full 16 megapixel resolution, although it slows down after 5 shots.
Nikon Coolpix L320 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Nikon Coolpix L320 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with good colour reproduction. Portraits have decent skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash. The last two pictures above have been taken using the zoom at its longest length - great for shooting wildlife.
Nikon Coolpix L320 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Detail is OK in the centre of the images, but are soft in the corners, particularly in the top left where they look blurry. Purple fringing isn't much of a problem in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, this does allow for a fairly decent macro shot.
Nikon Coolpix L320 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Images are low in noise at ISO 80, 100 and 200, but at ISO 400 images are soft. Some detail is lost at ISO 800, with lots of detail lost at ISO 1600 and some of the colours look smudged in places.
Nikon Coolpix L320 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the auto white balance (AWB) performs extremely well, with the incandescent preset taking a picture that has an orange cast. Again, the AWB performs well under the fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset producing a magenta cast.
Nikon Coolpix L320 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The L820 has colour options to help you take unique and creative pictures, with examples above.
Video - Below is a video recorded in 720p HD. You can also used the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
The Nikon Coolpix L320 is a decent enough camera if you want a model with plenty of optical zoom but have a limited budget. There is some issues with images being blurry in the corners, our review sample had even more blur in the top left hand corner. If you mainly share your images on the web then the quality shouldn't be an issue, particularly as colour reproduction is good.