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Nikon Coolpix L810 Digital Compact Camera Review

Daniel Bell tests the capabilities of the Nikon Coolpix L810 super-zoom compact camera.

|  Nikon Coolpix L810 in Compact Cameras
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Nikon Coolpix L810 Front Angled

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 Front

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.

Nikon Coolpix L810 Top

Key Features

  • 26x zoom optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 22.5–585mm)
  • Easy Auto mode
  • Side zoom lever
  • 16 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 720p HD video recording
  • 3.0 inch 921k-dot LCD screen
  • Lens shift VR (vibration reduction)
  • ISO 80 - 1600
  • Best shot selector (BSS)
  • 3D shooting mode
  • Smart portrait system
  • 19 scene modes
  • AA-size batteries
  • EXPEED C2 image processing system
Nikon Coolpix L810 Rear

Nikon Coolpix L810 Handling

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.

Shutter Response   0.15 seconds
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 seconds
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 - 2.5 seconds
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.3 seconds
Shot to Shot (without flash)   2.4 seconds
Shot to Shot with Flash   4.5 seconds
Continuous shooting   0.5 fps

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 Battery And Memory

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

Video Mode

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.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix L810 is currently available for £229.00. Other cameras to consider with the same amount of optical zoom are the Olympus SP-720 UZ at £199.95 and Fujifilm X-S1 EXR at £579.00. With even more zoom are the Nikon Coolpix P510 (42x) at £399.00, Canon PowerShot SX40 HS (35x) at £359.00, Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR (30x) at £234.95, Sony DSC-HX100V (30x) at £339.00 and Fujifilm FinePix S4500 (30x) at £199.00.

Nikon Coolpix L810 Verdict

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


Nikon Coolpix L810 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.1 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent22.5mm - 585mm
Optical Zoom26x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
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 resolution921k dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1500sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
ISO sensitivity80 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.2fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type4x AA
Battery Life (CIPA rating)300shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera 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

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix L810

MacroCliffs L.O.Stari Grad Dubovac IIPalm TreeOdd thingcamel ride chittaurgarh rajasthansnake charmer india jaipurCouple in bilara rajasthanVillager PaliThe slums and dwells of mumbaiSteam punk

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micola 9
23 Oct 2012 9:07AM
Dear Mr. Daniel Bell,
thanks for your reviews,i need your help to choice a camera :
olympus SP-720uz or Nikon L810
i appreciate your reply

Weasellady 20 53 United Kingdom
22 Dec 2012 7:52PM
This camera is at present on offer at Argos for 129 which is what I paid.
I bought it as a more compact camera than my others for n't want to carry anything big or heavy . I'm quite happy with it generally but I wouldn't have paid full price.
As has been said on here, it is slower so if you are looking to starting serious photography, consider a faster bridge camera or DSLR, but spsrt from the slower speed is and excellent little camera for the amount of money that I paid.
24 Dec 2012 9:25AM
Thanks for the review as it helped me a lot. I ended up getting the L310 as the I needed to take sports shots of the kids as any parent can tell you that 2 year old do not understand the concept of standing still.

I must say your reviews are way more unbiased and more helpful than what I found from visiting Camerland in Cape Town who are suppose to be our local camera authoritative source.

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