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Nikon Coolpix L100 review

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8

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Super-zoom cameras are often also referred to as bridge cameras, because traditionally they have occupied a position between the everyday consumer territory of compact cameras and the more exotic land of the digital SLRs. Most of them have optional manual exposure, multiple metering and autofocus options and other advanced features, which can make them a bit of a daunting prospect for anyone who doesn't know the difference between aperture and shutter speed. The majority of the camera-buying public just want a camera that they can point and click, and be assured of getting a good picture in most situations, without having to fiddle around selecting the right shooting mode or worrying about the ISO setting.

Unfortunately this has meant that most consumers have been restricted to 3x zoom compacts, but now Nikon has produced a super-zoom camera with the simple controls of a point-and-click compact. It's called the Coolpix L100, and I'm taking a look at it today.

The L100 doesn't have many direct rivals, but there are other baby super-zooms which are a lot cheaper than its £230 retail price, including the Fuji FinePix S2000HD (£150) and even cheaper still the Kodak Z8612 IS (£110). Both of these models include a range of manual options and advanced controls.

At first glance the L100 is not a particularly impressive-looking camera. It is small for a super-zoom, measuring 110 x 72 x 78 mm, and looks even smaller due to the lack of the usual viewfinder turret sported by most bridge cameras. However when loaded up with four AA batteries it is surprisingly heavy for its size, weighing approximately 455g ready-to-shoot. On picking it up it immediately feels like a quality camera, and closer examination reveals Nikon's usual excellent build quality and finish, with tight fit lines between panels and solidly mounted controls. The battery/card hatch has a locking catch and the tripod bush is made of metal.

The shape of the body is similar to most other super-zoom cameras, with a prominent handgrip and large lens barrel. The grip is quite wide, to accommodate the batteries, but due to the size of the camera it is rather short, and there's not a huge amount of room between the grip and the lens barrel. Nonetheless the camera is comfortable to hold, and the rubber coating on the grip and the textured thumbgrip on the back make it secure and easy to hold steady with one hand.

The L100 has no viewfinder, but it does have a very good three-inch LCD monitor, with a resolution of 230k dots and a good anti-reflective coating. It's sharp, bright, and works well outdoors in bright sunlight, and it even has a good viewing angle all round, except from below. If you hold the camera above your head, as you might to shoot over a crowd, the viewfinder image virtually disappears.

KEITH BLACKWOOD

April 26, 2009, 11:44 pm

i have been looking for a slr style camera that is fully automatic and i thought this was the answer until i noted that, unbelievably, it does not have a viewfinder, why ,why ,why? This is because in bright sunshine you need a viewfinder as i found to my peril in California when trying to take shots of Blue whales.


Does NOBODY make a simple 'auto' camera with a viewfinder?

Geoff Richards

April 27, 2009, 11:49 pm

@Keith - I can't give you an answer, as I haven't researched every model. However, I'm personally not too hopeful. The problem you describe is genuine, without a doubt, but manufacturers have really latched on to the idea of the live-view style of shooting ie held out in front.





Like it or not, the size of the LCD screen on the back is a fairly major differentiator when it comes to choosing a camera, with most people opting for as big as they can get - 3-inches or more. Sadly, that is mutually exclusive to having a view-finder. The unfortunate reality is that an optical view-finder takes up space, adds additional cost, and will go unused by most people.





I'd like to have a solution for you... but short of buying an SLR, I fear your choices are severely limited. I'm sure all the major manufacturers are working on LCDs that perform better in daylight (transflective LCD is perfect, but pricey!), but other than that, maybe you can bodge a little hood out of an ice cream container or something similar. :(

Igor LEAHU

April 28, 2009, 4:45 pm

@KEITH BLACKWOOD: Look at the Pentax X70. It surrounds technical characteristic you was speaking about! You'll be impressed of it...I'm convinced of that!





PS: Guys, I'm still waiting for a review of it!

KEITH BLACKWOOD

April 28, 2009, 8:34 pm

Thanks for all the comments guys . To Igor , the pentax is out of my price bracket, i believe the Panasonic FZ28 @ 𧵿, local, would be my best bet, what do you think? The TRUSTED REVIEW has i think swayed me

DougM

May 7, 2009, 10:32 am

Well, I guess it was inevitable, but it's sad to see that one of the only areas of compact digital cameras (the other being premium compacts such as the P6000, G10, LX3, and GX200) that hadn't been dumbed down for the moron masses now succumbing to the same.


I guess soon I won't be able to buy a camera with manual control over aperture, shutter speed, white balance, or ISO without shelling out for a DSLR. I mean really, how hard is it to take a few minutes to learn how cameras work? Before built in light meters, people who called themselves photographers could set the right exposure just by looking at a scene! It's like all the "computer experts" these days who can't even write a line of code if their lives depended on it.

tung

May 9, 2009, 3:16 am

Please tell me how I can convince this Camera to set an ISO Number ??? It would then


be the Perfect One for me.


Thank You veru much. Tung

Whitby

May 26, 2009, 8:19 pm

As a computer geek who has written lines of code and does so for a living I have a few observations about this camera-





1)Its a nice step up from a regular point and shoot camera that you get for about 100 bucks.





2)I very much appreciate the macro settings being so easy to use





3)The camera feel is excellent and the unit weight is low despite being powered 4 AA batteries





4)I very much enjoy the simplicity of this unit and I am very glad to take pics, win photo contests and have tell me I am not a photographer because I did not attend the school of real photogs who weant to screw around with a camera all day and miss a shot. I would rather take a pic than use a camera and day

DougM

May 27, 2009, 11:55 am

In response to the comments about LCD visibility in bright sunlight, both my Nikon P80 and Panasonic FX500 have screens that are quite usable in bright sunlight when the LCD brightness is cranked up. Of course, this is only possible with a camera that has adjustable brightness on it's LCD. Also, it doesn't take all day, but only a few seconds to set the correct aperture and shutter speed. With aperture priority, it's much easier than in manual mode, which can be more cumbersome, because then you have to set both aperture and shutter speed to match the correct exposure for the light conditions. In aperture priority mode, the camera sets the proper shutter speed for the user set aperture, so if I'm shooting at a long telephoto focal length, I set the aperture wide open for the fastest shutter speed available. If I'm shooting a wide angle landscape, I stop the lens down as far as I can for maximum depth of field and stiil get an acceptable hand held shutter speed. In auto program mode the camera may not set the optimum combination for the photo you're taking, particularly when using a long focal length where the maximum shutter speed for the scene is needed to combat camera shake. Image stabilizers aren't perfect and only give a one or two stop advantage, so even with stabilization on the camera may use a slower shutter speed and smaller aperture than optimum. This is why if you take the time to learn how focal lengths, apertures, shutter speeds and ISO interact, it will improve you're photos exponentially. And as I said before, using aperture priority mode only takes seconds, less time than setting the proper auto scene mode! That shouldn't be too hard for a computer geek. And I hope your code writing is better than your grammar and spelling.

Whitby

May 27, 2009, 10:56 pm

You have 3 run on sentences; poor form for an implied master.





My "code" writing is just fine thanks. As to the content of your reply, yes thanks. However, I do not often find myself in situations where the LCD brightness is a huge factor. I photograph abandoned structures mostly and of course, I get to do the usual family photos.





However, I am just too freaking lazy by my own addmission and I have a very hard time believing that choosing, Auto Mode, pointing the device and pressing the button is a crime against the humanities. Additionally, I do not believe that the directions you provided would be performed in a few seconds. I just have the audacity to want to take a picture and move on after hiking for 3 hours in an abandoned coal field, getting eaten by bugs and scratched to hell by thorns, I selfishly desire to point and shoot with a quality pic IN THE SHORTEST TIME POSSIBLE.





THEN I go home, crack a brew, upload the pics I took and find something I like so that I can restart my Phd in Appalachian studies.



Palak

June 13, 2009, 5:21 pm

Hi,


I just got my new Nikon L100. before I visited thousand's of website to get review. Yea. there is no ISO setting & Viewfinder but its ok. Image stabilization: lens-shift is good choice for L100.


I was still confused that Fuji's S1500 is better or Nikon's L100 ? as far I can see previous models and sample picks of Nikon is the best choice. always something about its Quality.


Sony's DSC H50 is same category but very high $$$ then fuji & Nikon. when you take photo from any Auto Scene Mode you must give few second to camera to adjust and choose correct Scene Mode. its not a super computer process millions in a second.


its handling is very good, looks like DSLR camera. very user friendly.

mslaw

June 14, 2009, 11:46 pm

I've owned my L100 for 3 months and before this L100, I got an Canon IXY 80 with me in 2 years. Before buying Nikon L100, I had surfed hundred reviews and made hundred comparisons between it and other series, other brands. Just can't describe how happy I was when I first touched this camera (My bro in US bought it from BestBuy); however, just can't say how disappointed I got when I began to shoot during the very first weeks. And I have some reasons to explain to you (based on the comparison with my former IXY and Canon SX 100IS).


Note: My mother tounge is not English, so professional photography language is limited in my review.


1. L100 captures objects rather slowly, especially under not-so-good light (I know this happens to other cameras but here, I mean to compare it with an IXY and a SX 100IS). It's easy to understand if you miss some amazing shots. Furthermore, it's very annoying to take photos under the yellow or orange light because such lights always make the photos look like "flash points" though actually it's not like that at all. And most of time you can't capture moving objects without using Continuous Mode.


2. In other reviews, they say that it can capture objects from the distance of 1cm, under the Macro mode; however; I bet you'll burst into happy laughter if you can do that (quickly). I've tried lots of times, under very good light, but so rarely have I succeeded. 5 cm is better (not 1cm like what they say). Again, sadly I have to admit that this camera's capturing speed is not really satisfactory.


3. Normal photo quality. My former IXY produced normal quality photos, so does this L100. I think I'm a calm and careful person and know how to hold the camera steadily in my 2 hands. But the quality of L100's products do not meet my satisfaction, though some of them were really good and fantastic under the very perfect light condition).


I mean it's not really heaven-like like what they say in ads.


4. Certain difficulties in use. I just can't explain why it takes the camera 5s to record a photo using Flash. Honestly I don't find this point convenient. You may miss lots of interesting moments; somebody who wants to have 2 or more photos, they have to stare at you with the camera in 5s, wondering "How long could that be?"


5. Together, the most threatening point ever happened to me. Sometimes the camera just got "ill". It suddendly stopped working and seemed "frozen". Nothing you could do but open the battery and restart it. This has 4 times happened to me (since March,09) and of course, I was so worried and crazy about that. I asked my friends and they say they have never been in such a situation.


6. Take note that the photos on your LCD screen are much and much better than they're actually on the PC. It's easy to understand. With my IXY, the difference was not so big, so I didn't usually get upset. With this L100, my photos may look really PERFECT and COOL on the LCD, but sometimes they're very normal to see on the PC. Because on the LCD screen, photos/videos look rather brighter, more lively and the colors are much nicer. Forget those stuffs on PC screen!





Finally, L100 has its certain weak points (6 as I listed above), I still love it though. It's good enough for an architecture student like me and my own slogan is "Chase for photos/scenes, not the camera series", I treat my L100 like my beloved pet. I love the shutter sounds of L100 while Canon's are not my best choice. I also like the wide angle and Close-Up mode. Actually I use Close-Up mode more often than Macro mode and this wonderful mode make very good photos. I think L100 would make it best if it were easier to use when you want to change between modes. I think Canon's mode wheel is really cool and smart. It doesn't cost much time to set up. Furthermore, I like it when all I have to do is to press OK to turn back to the normal size of the photo after zooming it out/in. With a Canon's, you have to use the zooming wheel, which costs more time.





Contact me: linh.nguyen177@gmail.com


(Linh Nguyen, 19, Vietnam).






LaszloCruz

July 25, 2009, 10:11 am

I really think that the Sony H20 really competes with this camera but it has less zoom (10X) also with the feature of 720p movies and it is as easy to use as the Nikon L100


Are you going to review the Sony H20?

shelly

February 11, 2010, 10:41 pm

i just got this camera for my b-day a couple days ago! I love it! This is my 3rd nikon- one is a proffessional, muti lens (film) and the other is a point and shoot! I got this to be my in between! So far I love it! I read all the reviews before mine and i see they are all bad, however i also noticed that the people writting these are used to kodak easyshares- which is the farthest thing from compareable! Nikon is made for the photo freaks of the worls that want the freedom to adjust things like shutter speed, lighting, etc. I have to say that for the price (200.00 @ walmart) really what can you complain about!? I suggest this camera however if you are not familier with Nikons- simply READ THE MANUAL! It can be confusing at fisrt but believe me this camera works wonders when you figure all the bells and whistles out! :)

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