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Nikon has recently “refreshed” its CoolPix brand, with a crisp new logo, some new advertising and most importantly a swathe of new camera models. The one everyone is waiting to see is the new P5000, a high-end compact designed to compete with the Canon PowerShot G7, but until that’s available I’ll have to be patient, and catch up with the other end of the line-up, the new entry-level five-megapixel CoolPix L10.
I’ve been quite impressed with many of the previous CoolPix L-series (L for life, if you were wondering) cameras. They’ve managed to bring some genuine Nikon quality to the budget end of the market, and the L10 is no exception. It costs only around £75, making it the lowest-priced digital camera I’ve ever reviewed.
At this kind of price level there isn’t a huge amount of competition. Fujifilm offers the FinePix A500 for just £65, and the 4MP A400 for about £60, while the 4MP KodakEasyShare C433 and 5MP Samsung DigiMax S500 are both around £75, but that’s about it. All the other major brands start at around £90.
Of course you can’t expect £75 to buy you an awful lot of camera, and the L10 is very, very basic. It is a simple point-and-shoot snapshot camera with strictly limited features, but the build quality and design are well up to the usual high Nikon standard. The case is plastic, but the rounded shape and compact size give it a high degree of strength and solidity. It is finished in a pleasant semi-gloss silver which resists scratches and finger marks quite well. The f/2.8-5.2 3x zoom lens retracts flush with the body, and despite using two AA batteries for power it is quite slim, measuring 89.5 x 60.5 x 26 mm. It weighs 115g without batteries, so add a couple of standard alkaline cells to that and the weight goes up to about 165g, which is quite a bit for a small camera, but it will slip into a shirt pocket quite comfortably. Using lighter Lithium AA batteries will give better duration and shave about 25g off the total weight.