The Nikon Coolpix L810 is a 26x super-zoom digital camera, aimed at those who want a lot of zoom but are on a budget. The L810 is available in bronze, red, blue and black for £229.00.
Nikon Coolpix L810 Features
The Coolpix L810 is packed with a 16 megapixel CCD sensor and 26x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 22.5 - 585mm, ideal for shooting landscapes and close-ups of distant objects. To help take blur free images the camera has lens-shift vibration reduction and motion detection to help compensate for camera and subject movement.
Picture taking is simple with Easy Auto Mode, which automatically chooses the correct setting for the scene. You can have more control by switching to Auto Mode, there are also plenty of scene modes to choose from as well. Also found in the mode menu is Smart Portrait, which includes Smile Timer, Blink Proof, Skin Softening and Red-eye Fix. Photos can also be taken in 3D mode and viewed on a 3D TV.
The L810 records 720p HD videos with optical zoom available during recording and the camera can be connected to a HDTV via HDMI.
The L810 is made of plastic but has a generous hand grip which is rubberised, making the camera extremely easy to hold. When switching it on you have to ensure you remove the lens cap beforehand as an error message is displayed if not. You don't have to remove the lens cap or switch the camera on to view your images, simply press and hold the playback button to do so. The 3 inch LCD is bright can easy to see in all lighting conditions.
The menu systems is well laid out and easy to navigate. The buttons are typical for a compact camera, with a dedicated video recording button appearing on the back, as is the scene mode selection button. There is an extra zoom control button place on the lens barrel. The camera takes 4x AA batteries, with life being dependent on the quality of battery used.
We tested the camera's 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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
0.5 - 2.5 seconds
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Focusing speed when using the lens at longer lengths proves to be very unpredictable, if you are focusing on the same area all the time it is much quicker, but if you are trying to photograph moving subjects it's extremely difficult to get a sharp shot. Even if you switch to continuous shooting, 0.5 fps isn't quick enough to help.
Nikon Coolpix L810 Performance
The L810 produces images which are well exposed with decent colour reproduction, with purple fringing evident in contrasting areas. Detail is good in the centre of images, but around the edges and corners they are clearly softer. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, meaning you can get close enough to take a well detailed macro shot.
Nikon Coolpix L810 Lens test images
At ISO 80 images are free of noise but even at ISO 100 there is some starting to appear. Noise progressively increases through ISO 200 and ISO 400, with images produced at ISO 800 have lost their sharpness. Images at ISO 1600 have plenty of noise, with a slight loss of detail, but colour reproduction is still good at the highest setting.
Nikon Coolpix L810 ISO test images
On a clear, bright day the landscape mode takes a picture with decent blues and greens, but if it's quite dull, results are less impressive. Portraits have good skin tones and a free of red-eye when using the flash.
Nikon Coolpix L810 Scene modes
Below are further examples, with the last two using the lens at it's longest.
Nikon Coolpix L810 Sample Photos
Under the incandescent lights in our studio, the auto white-balance (AWB) and incandescent presets both produce an image with an orange cast. The AWB setting proves slightly better under the fluorescent lights, with a magenta cast appearing when using the fluorescent preset.
Nikon Coolpix L810 White-balance test images
The L810 doesn't have a range of digital filters, although there are different colour modes which can be chosen, examples below.
Nikon Coolpix L810 Digital filters
Below is a test video shot at 720p HD, optical zoom can be used during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Page.
There's no doubting the L810 has a handy amount of optical zoom and is capable of taking a decent picture, but it isn't great if you are looking for a camera capable of shooting fast moving pictures, such as sports. Focusing just isn't quick enough and it is sluggish between shots, not even continuous shooting mode is going to help. But if you are looking to take pictures of landscapes and other static objects and are looking for some extra zoom, the L810 is one to consider.
Nikon Coolpix L810 Pros
Decent image quality
Easy to use
Lots of zoom in a compact body
Nikon Coolpix L810 Cons
Sluggish focusing when using zoom
Slow continuous shooting
Lengthy wait between shots