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The Nikon Coolpix L820 was announced in January 2013 and is a superzoom camera with a 30x optical zoom lens. It also has a 16 megapixel sensor and full 1080p HD video recording. The L820 comes in plum, blue, red or black and costs around £220.
When shooting there is easy auto mode which adjusts the camera settings for the detected scene. There are also a number of scene modes, filters and smart portrait mode. The latter includes a smile timer, blink proof alert and glamour retouch. When you've finished shooting you can edit your pictures in the retouch menu. This includes filters such as selective colour and cross screen.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound. The L820 can be connected to a HDTV for playback via a HDMI cable.
- 16 megapixel CMOS back-illuminated CMOS sensor
- 30x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 22.5-675mm)
- Lens-shift (VR) vibration reduction
- 3.0 inch 921k dot LCD screen
- Side zoom lever
- Full 1080p HD video recording
- ISO 125 - 3200
- 1cm minimum focusing distance
- Smart portrait system
- Retouch menu
- AA batteries
- 8 fps continuous shooting
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 to 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.
The L820 has Nikon's new menu layout, which is easy to navigate. Nearly everything is set through the menu button. The 3 inch screen is bright and clear and has a respectable 921k dot resolution.
Battery life is rated at 320 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 870 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.
|Shutter Response||0.175 secs|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.25 secs|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.45 secs|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||0.175 secs|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||2.4 secs|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||2.4 secs|
|Continuous Shooting H||7.1 fps|
|Continuous Shooting L||2.0 fps|
|Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps||113.7 fps|
|Continuous Shooting H: 60 fps||60.0 fps|
The continuous H & L modes record at full 16 megapixel resolution, with the 120 fps and 60 fps recording at VGA and 1 megapixels respectively.
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Nikon Coolpix L820 Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/30 sec | f/4.3 | 13.9 mm | ISO 200
Landscape | 1/500 sec | f/6.0 | 4.0 mm | ISO 125
Low Light | 1/15 sec | f/4.3 | 15.3 mm | ISO 500
Pet Portrait | 1/250 sec | f/4.3 | 15.3 mm | ISO 125
Zoom Example 1 | 1/125 sec | f/5.8 | 120.0 mm | ISO 180
Zoom Example 2 | 1/250 sec | f/5.8 | 120.0 mm | ISO 125
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 below have been taken using the zoom at its longest length - great for shooting wildlife.
Nikon Coolpix L820 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/400 sec | f/6.0 | 4.0 mm | ISO 125
Some Optical Zoom | 1/1250 sec | f/4.6 | 20.5 mm | ISO 125
Full Optical Zoom | 1/500 sec | f/5.8 | 120.0 mm | ISO 125
Macro | 1/80 sec | f/4.1 | 12.3 mm | ISO 125
Lens Performance - Detail is decent at both ends of the lens, although a little soft in the corners. There is a slight hint of purple fringing in places, but it's fairly well controlled. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm which allows for a good macro shot to be taken.
Nikon Coolpix L820 ISO test images
1/15 sec | f/4.1 | 12.3 mm | ISO 125
1/25 sec | f/4.1 | 12.3 mm | ISO 200
1/50 sec | f/4.1 | 12.3 mm | ISO 400
1/100 sec | f/4.1 | 12.3 mm | ISO 800
1/200 sec | f/4.1 | 12.3 mm | ISO 1600
1/400 sec | f/4.1 | 12.3 mm | ISO 3200
ISO Noise Performance - Images are low in noise at ISO 125 and 200, but they do become softer at ISO 400. Noise increases a touch at ISO 800 with detail lost and very soft images produced at ISO 1600. Noise causes a lot of detail to be lost at ISO 3200.
Nikon Coolpix L820 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/25 sec | f/3.2 | 5.6 mm | ISO 125
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/25 sec | f/3.2 | 5.6 mm | ISO 125
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.3 sec | f/3.2 | 5.6 mm | ISO 125
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.3 sec | f/3.2 | 5.6 mm | ISO 125
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, the auto white balance (AWB) and incandescent preset perform well, taking almost identical images. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB performs well, with a magenta cast when using the fluorescent preset.
Panorama 1 | 1/1250 sec | f/3.2 | 5.1 mm | ISO 125
Panorama 2 | 1/1250 sec | f/3.2 | 5.1 mm | ISO 125
Panorama mode - You can shoot 180° and 360° panoramas, they have a good amount of detail and are stitched together well.
Nikon Coolpix L820 Digital filters
Colour - Options Standard Colour | 1/6 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 125
Colour - Options - Black And White | 1/6 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 125
Colour - Options Cyanotype | 1/6 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 125
Colour - Options Sepia | 1/6 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 125
Colour - Options Vivid | 1/6 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 125
Filter - High Contrast Monochrome | 1/25 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 400
Filter - High Key | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 400
Filter - Low Key | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 140
Filter - Nostalgic Sepia | 1/25 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 400
Filter - Selective Colour | 1/25 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 400
Filter - Soft | 1/25 sec | f/4.4 | 16.6 mm | ISO 400
Digital Filters - The L820 has both colour modes and filters to help you take unique and creative pictures.
Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. You can also used the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page. You can also record high-speed and slow motion videos at 8x, 4x, 2x, 0.5.
Value For MoneyThe Nikon Coolpix L820 is available for around £220. Other cameras which 30x zoom include the Canon Powershot SX500 IS at £190, Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V at £269 and Fujifilm FinePix S4800 at £150. Sony have also just released the Cybershot DSC-HX50, a pocketable camera with 30x optical zoom, available for around £350.
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.
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|The Nikon L820 is great for wide landscapes, zooming in on distant subjects and has good image quality.|
Nikon Coolpix L820 ProsPlenty of optical zoom
Good image quality
Available in a range of colours
8 fps continuous shooting
Rubberised hand grip
Decent screen resolution
Good battery life
Very wide lens
Nikon Coolpix L820 ConsError message if you leave lens cap on
Perhaps a little over priced
No manual controls
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Nikon Coolpix L820 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3 - f/5.8|
|35mm equivalent||22.5mm - 675mm|
|CCD pixels||16.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||921k dot|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1500sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 1600|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||4x AA|
|Box Contents||Camera Strap, LR6/L40 (AA-size) alkaline batteries (x4), Lens Cap LC-CP25 (with cord), USB Cable UC-E16, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 Installer CD, Reference Manual CD|