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.
Nikon Coolpix L820 Features
The Nikon Coolpix L820 has a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 30x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 22.5 - 675mm. To help keep your images as sharp as possible there is lens-shift VR (vibration reduction). You can shoot at 8 fps in continuous shooting mode.
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
8 fps continuous shooting
Nikon Coolpix L820 Handling
The Nikon Coolpix L820 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. The camera comes supplied with a lens cap, but you have to make sure you remove it before switching the camera on as the causes a lens error warning to pop up on the screen. You can view your pictures with the lens cap on, just press and hold the playback button when the camera is off.
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.
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 H
Continuous Shooting L
Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 60 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.
Nikon Coolpix L820 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 L820 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 below have been taken using the zoom at its longest length - great for shooting wildlife.
Nikon Coolpix L820 Lens test images
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
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
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
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.
The Nikon Coolpix L820 packs plenty of zoom and image quality is good. If you like shooting wide landscapes, you'll appreciate the wide 22.5mm lens, you can also zoom in to isolate your subject. It is quite heavy, but the screen has a decent resolution and the hand grip is rubberised. We also like the full 1080p HD video recording, battery life, 8 fps continuous shooting and the range of colours available.
The Nikon L820 is great for wide landscapes, zooming in on distant subjects and has good image quality.
Nikon Coolpix L820 Pros
Plenty 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 Cons
Error message if you leave lens cap on
Perhaps a little over priced
No manual controls