Nikon CoolPix L110 digital camera

This compact Nikon super-zoom offers a lot for its price, but it is definitely targeted at novice users

Nikon CoolPix L110
  • Nikon CoolPix L110
  • Nikon CoolPix L110
  • Nikon CoolPix L110
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Large 15x zoom with good distortion control, reasonable HD movie quality, high quality LCD screen

Cons

  • No rechargeable battery, no EVF, poor control scheme with few manual options

Bottom Line

The Nikon CoolPix L110 would suit novice users looking for an ultra-zoom compact camera that's easy to use, but its appeal is limited. Poor controls and a lack of manual options mean it is only really suited to those who simply want to point, zoom and shoot.

Would you buy this?

The Nikon CoolPix L110 is a 12.1-megapixel compact digital camera with a 15x super-zoom lens that covers 28-420mm (35mm-equivalent focal range). It runs on four AA batteries, has a bright 3in LCD screen and can record movies at up to 720p.

Super-zoom cameras often look like shrunken digital SLR cameras, and the Nikon CoolPix L110 is no different. Its 15x zoom lens protrudes significantly from the rest of the camera body, and a clip-on lens cap is required to protect the front element. The right-handed grip houses four AA batteries, bringing the camera's overall weight to 406g. The camera's body is predominantly black plastic with a rubber hand-grip. We thought the build quality was mediocre, and we expected a rechargeable battery for the $399 asking price.

The Nikon CoolPix L110 has a 3in LCD. It can be seen easily even in bright conditions thanks to an anti-glare coating. We would have liked to an electronic viewfinder to be included as well, to ensure the camera was usable even in the brightest conditions.

The Nikon CoolPix L110's picture quality was acceptable but unspectacular. We like that the lens starts at a comparatively wide 28mm, making it good for capturing group shots or city snaps. Maximum zoom reaches an impressive 420mm, so you'll be able to peep at your neighbours down the street as long as you can hold the camera steady. The 15x zoom lens performs surprisingly well, with distortion under control at both the wide- and narrow-angle ends of the zoom range. The lens is reasonably sharp, but is let down overall by the CoolPix L110's tiny image sensor, which simply cannot capture a great deal of fine detail. Chromatic aberration is a problem in high-contrast scenes.

The sensor of the Nikon CoolPix L110 captures 12.1 megapixels (Mp) — for an effective image resolution of 4000x3000pixels — but unless you are in ideal lighting conditions, the results from the camera aren't fantastic. Excessive JPEG compression robs files of fine detail, and while ISO 100 shots are smooth, climbing above ISO 400 introduces significant grain and smearing from noise reduction. ISO 3200 and 6400 files are restricted to 3Mp — even at this low resolution images appear unnaturally smooth and lacking depth or detail. We'd class this camera's high ISO performance as average at best. Images from the Nikon CoolPix L110 often seem slightly washed out with subdued colours and poor highlight detail.

A combination of sensor-shift and optical image stabilisation allows images to be captured blur-free in dim lighting conditions. We managed to get consistently blur-free shots at 1/8sec at the 28mm zoom setting. It's more useful for taking photographs hand-held at maximum zoom levels, though — with both systems enabled, the image displayed on the rear screen sways smoothly rather than shaking uncontrollably.

The Nikon CoolPix L110's 720p movie mode surprised us. Recording is started by a dedicated button on the rear of the camera — it takes a few seconds to begin but the picture quality is decent and the ability to autofocus and zoom while filming (albeit slowly) is useful. A top-mounted stereo microphone captures ambient noise reasonably well, although its range is minimal.

The main sticking point with the Nikon CoolPix L110 is its simplistic control scheme. There is no manual settings option, with users required to pick between a series of scene modes, an auto mode and an easy auto setting. The only easily accessible options are exposure compensation and the camera's macro focusing mode. Navigating through the menu system takes some time and effort, with sub-menus poorly distinguished and significant lag between pressing a button and the camera responding.

The Nikon CoolPix L110 super-zoom digital camera is well suited to amateurs who don't intend on getting into photography — without an easily accessible manual mode it's intended to please the point-and-shoot crowd. Image quality isn't fantastic, but it is at least consistent across the entire zoom range.

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