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Nikon Coolpix L840 Review

Ben Andrews reviews the Nikon Coolpix L840, an ultra zoom camera with a 38x optical zoom lens and built in Wi-Fi.

| Nikon Coolpix L840 in Compact Cameras
BUY NOW NIKON Coolpix L840


Nikon Coolpix L840 Review: Nikon Coolpix L840 (6)

The Nikon Coolpix L840 is a superzoom bridge camera with a focus on value. Its main selling point is its 38x optical zoom range, which improves on the 34x lens in the outgoing L830. The new camera also gets built-in Wi-Fi with NFC pairing and 1080p Full HD video recording.

Nikon Coolpix L840 Features

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The most obvious new addition to the L840 is its 38x optical zoom lens. This maintains the L830’s 22.5mm-equivalent wide angle focal length, but extends telephoto reach to a 35mm-equivalent 855mm. Lens-shift Vibration Reduction is incorporated to help tame camera shake, and Nikon has added a useful Snap-Back button so you can quickly zoom out if you lose sight of your subject and immediately zoom back in once you’ve found it again.

Apart from adding Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC pairing for easy image sharing and remote camera control, the L840 is much the same as the outgoing L830. The two cameras share the same 16-megapixel resolution, though the new model expands the sensitivity range one stop to ISO6400. Full HD 1080p video recording with stereo sound is also present, and the L840 will shoot full-resolution stills at 7.4fps.

An intelligent, scene-detecting automatic shooting mode keeps the L840 easy to use, and if you do fancy getting creative, nine funky filter effects are included, as well as an automatic panorama mode. There’s even a Smart Portrait mode that’ll flatter images of friends and family by softening skin and warning you if someone blinks.

Nikon Coolpix L840 Review: Nikon Coolpix L840 (10)

Key Features

  • 16.0 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 38x optical zoom lens, 22.5-855mm equivalent, f/3-6.5
  • Vibration Reduction (VR)
  • 3.0” LCD screen, 921,000-dots       
  • Full HD 1080p video recording
  • ISO100 to ISO1600 (ISO3200 & ISO6400 selectable in Auto mode)
  • Wi-Fi with NFC pairing
  • 7.4fps continuous shooting
  • Self Portrait system
  • Available in black, red and purple

Nikon Coolpix L840 Handling

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The L840 is a typical bridge camera design, measuring 113.5 x 78.3 x 96.0 mm (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.8 in.). That makes it slightly larger than the camera it replaces, though this is still relatively compact for its class. A ready-to-shoot weight of 538g is also reasonable considering the L840 is powered by four AA batteries.

The L840’s bulky design with its large rubberised grip and rear thumb rest gives you plenty to grip on to, though those with larger fingers may find the gap between the hand grip and lens barrel slightly narrow.

The control layout will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s used a regular compact camera. The only buttons that are less common are the top-mounted Wi-Fi button that instantly activates the L840’s wireless hotspot, and the side-mounted zoom controls. The rocker on the lens barrel zooms the lens at the slower of its two speeds so you can make precise focal length adjustments, whilst the button in front of it activates the useful Snap-Back zoom feature.

Nikon still hasn’t added an electronic viewfinder, but the L840’s 3” LCD monitor has a high 921k-dot resolution and wide viewing angles. It’s also tiltable up or down by 90° for easier high or low-angle shot composition, though it can’t be rotated 180° for selfie snapping.

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A camera at this price point that resorts to AA batteries for power isn’t everyone’s idea of good value, but there are upsides. When the batteries run flat, replacing them usually isn’t a problem when on the go, and there’s the potential for excellent battery life. Nikon claim that alkaline cells will power the camera for an impressive 590 shots, and a pack of premium lithium batteries could manage double that.

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Speed - 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 0.1secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.35secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.8secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 3.1secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
8fps (7 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A


Nikon Coolpix L840 Review: Nikon Coolpix L840 (9)

Nikon Coolpix L840 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. 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 L840 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Photos from the L840 immediately impress with vibrant colours and are accurately exposed. Detail is also fairly well resolved in close range subjects, but as is often the way with small-sensor cameras, fine, distant detail in landscape shots appears smoothed and slightly painterly. Indoor performance is reasonably good, with grain and colour speckling noise being well controlled, but this is mainly thanks to heavy noise reduction processing which can smooth away detail and give shots an over-processed look.

Nikon Coolpix L840 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The L830’s 38x optical zoom lens generates minor barrel distortion at maximum wide angle, though there’s no noticeable distortion at the telephoto end of the zoom range. There’s a marked reduction in sharpness towards the corners of frame, though this is rarely apparent in real-world shooting. Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is more problematic though, being visible on some high-contrast boundaries even when viewing at 50% image size.

Autofocussing speed is almost instant in good light and at close range, though it can slow fractionally when you zoom into a more distant subject. It’s a similar story in low light, though focussing is usually still fairly rapid. The lens will focus as close as 1cm from your subject for macro shots.

Nikon Coolpix L840 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The L840 copes well in low light up to ISO800. Grain is present at this sensitivity, but detail is still quite well resolved. However, things take an obvious turn for the worst at ISO1600, where grain is far more prominent and fine detail is lost. It’s the same story at ISO3200, though now colour specking and blotchiness are apparent too. The topmost ISO6400 sensitivity is very much a last resort due to an extreme amount of grain noise.

Nikon Coolpix L840 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto white balance performs well under both tungsten and fluorescent lighting and the camera consistently produces a neutral colour balance. The same can’t be said for the manual fluorescent preset which leaves an obvious colour cast, though the tungsten preset is much better.

Nikon Coolpix L840 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The L840 has eight filter effects which preview live and are recorded at full resolution. They are: Soft, Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, Selective color (choose from 12 colour options), Pop, Cross process, Toy camera effect 1, Toy camera effect 2 and Mirror. There’s also an Easy Panorama mode for automatic 180° or 360° pans, however the final stitched images are only 920 vertical pixels high.

Video - Videos are captured at Full HD (1920x1080) resolution with stereo sound. Optical zoom is usable during recording, as is the camera’s optical image stabilisation.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix L840 retails for approximately £190. Similar bridge cameras include the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 which has a 35x zoom lens and is currently available for £134, whilst the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 boasts a 42x optical zoom range and costs around £140. The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS also features a 42x lens and can be had for around £200.

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 L840 Verdict

There’s no doubt that the Nikon Coolpix L840 is a very easy camera to use and produces pleasing photos. Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC pairing is a welcome upgrade from the L830, and the increased zoom reach adds extra versatility. But is this enough?

Competition in the budget bridge camera sector is strong, and with rivals like the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40 sporting even more zoom range for less or similar money, the L840 does seem a little overpriced.

What’s more, the L840 only just gives you more optical zoom than a superzoom compact camera like the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS. This offers a 30x zoom reach but is far more portable than the L840 and currently costs less. Factor the L840’s requirement for additional AA batteries and it makes even less financial sense.

But pricing aside, the L840 is nevertheless a good all-round camera that doesn’t have any major performance bugbears. Once its price inevitably drops, it’ll make a sound buy if you value chunky ergonomics over outright portability.

Nikon Coolpix L840 Pros

Easy to use
Relatively compact in class
Tiltable, high-res screen
Snap-back zoom feature
Full HD video recording
Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC

Nikon Coolpix L840 Cons

Relatively high RRP
Competitors offer more zoom for the money
Image quality nothing special
Uses AA batteries
Screen not touch-sensitive
No electronic viewfinder



Nikon Coolpix L840 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3 - f/6.5
35mm equivalent22.5mm - 855mm
Optical Zoom38x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921k dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting7.4fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30/25p 60/50i
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeAA batteries (x4)
Battery Life (CIPA rating)590shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLR6/L40 (AA-size) alkaline batteries (x4), Lens Cap LC-CP31 (with cord), USB Cable UC-E16, Camera Strap

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix L840

Balanced Rock at Arches National ParkStarburstBoardwalkButterfly MigrationFuzzy BeautyFire In The SkyTwinkling TwilightBombs BurstingPeek-A-BooWe Have Lift Off100 Years Of HistoryFlying HighReflectionsOnly Memories RemainClassy white

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