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Nikon Coolpix L30 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon Coolpix L30, a budget camera with 5x optical zoom and a 20.1 megapixel sensor.

| Nikon Coolpix L30 in Compact Cameras

Nikon Coolpix L30 Review: Nikon Coolpix L30 (5)

The Nikon Coolpix L30 was announced in January 2014 and is an easy to use compact camera, with a 5x optical zoom lens and 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor. The L30 is available for £89.99 in red or black.

Nikon Coolpix L30 Review: Nikon Coolpix L30 (2)

Nikon Coolpix L30 Features

The Nikon Coolpix L30 has a 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 26-130mm. To keep images sharp there is Motion Blur Reduction.

To make the camera easy to use there is an Easy Auto mode, which adjusts all of the camera settings automatically. You can also manually choose from 18 scene modes and you can also apply a number of filter effects to your pictures. There is also a Smart Portrait System which includes a Smile Timer, Blink Proof alerting and Red-Eye Fix.

Videos are recorded in 720p HD.
Nikon Coolpix L30 Review: Nikon Coolpix L30 (6)

Key Features

  • 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 26-130mm)
  • Electronic VR (vibration reduction)
  • 3.0 inch 230k LCD screen
  • Smart Portrait System
  • 720p HD video recording
  • ISO 80-1600
  • 10cm minimum focusing distance
  • Available in red or black
Nikon Coolpix L30 Review: Nikon Coolpix L30 (7)

Nikon Coolpix L30 Handling

The Nikon Coolpix L30 has a plastic body and is thicker on one side where the AA batteries are placed. The top of the camera has an on / off button, zoom rocker and shutter release. Buttons on the rear include movie record, menu, playback, mode and delete. There is also a d-pad which is used to cycle through the menus - this also gives you quick access to the flash, self-timer, macro and exposure compensation.

Also on the rear of the camera is the 3.0 inch LCD which has a 230k dot resolution - this is a low resolution screen, but typical for a budget camera. The menu system is easy to navigate, thus making the camera even easier to use. This does mean that you lose some control over your picture taking, for example, you're not able to manually change the ISO speed.

Battery life is rated at a respectable 320 shots according to CIPA test results. If you use EN-MH2 batteries you can expect 570 shots, or 950 shots if you upgrade to lithium AA batteries. 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   0.2 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.95 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.8 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.9 secs
Continuous Shooting   1.1 fps

Continuous shooting records in full 20.1 megapixel resolution.

Nikon Coolpix L30 Review: Nikon Coolpix L30 (1)

Nikon Coolpix L30 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 L30 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have good colour reproduction and are well exposed. Performance in low light is decent, whether it be using the flash or a longer shutter speed. The Smart Portrait System allows for decent portrait shots, there is a hint of red-eye. Portraits can also be enhanced using Glamour Retouch, available via the playback menu.

Nikon Coolpix L30 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is OK in the centre of the images, but not as good around the edges and corners. Purple fringing is also an issue in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 10cm which does make it difficult to take good macro shots.

Nikon Coolpix L30 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80, 100 and 200. Images are a little softer at ISO 400 and more so at ISO 800. Images lose detail at ISO 1600, but quality isn't too bad at this setting. 

Nikon Coolpix L30 White-balance test images

White Balance PerformanceUnder the incandescent lights, both the Auto White Balance (AWB) and incandescent presets perform well, taking very similar images. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB again performs well - the fluorescent preset takes an image with a hint of a magenta cast.

Nikon Coolpix L30 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Under colour options there are five options, we've included examples of each above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in 720p HD. Quality is OK, there's no optical zoom available during recording, but you can use digital zoom.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix L30 is available for £89.99. There are plenty of other cameras available that have a similar specification. Options include the Sony Cybershot W710 at £64.99Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 at£54.99 and Canon PowerShot A3500 IS at £79.99.

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 L30 Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix L30 is a very easy to use camera and is therefore ideal to photography beginners. It generally lacks in features but there is the Smart Portrait System for taking pictures of your friends and family. Image detail isn't great, but they are fine for sharing on the web, particularly as colour reproduction is good. Another benefit of the L30 is its battery life, you can get over 300 shots from the supplied alkaline batteries, invest in some lithium AA batteries and you can get over 900 shots!


Nikon Coolpix L30 Pros

Easy to use
Images have decent colour reproduction
Good battery life
Good screen size

Nikon Coolpix L30 Cons

Lacks features
10cm minimum focusing distance
No optical image stabilisation
Low screen resolution


Nikon Coolpix L30 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.2 - f/6.5
35mm equivalent26mm - 130mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels20Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5152
Pixels (H)3864
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution230k dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus10cm
Focusing modes
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure CompNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.2fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type2xAA
Battery Life (CIPA rating)200shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, LR6/L40 (AA-size) alkaline batteries (x2), USB Cable UC-E16, ViewNX 2 Installer CD, Reference Manual CD

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix L30

PigeonGreek octopusSunset in  the farm

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