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Like the L10, and indeed like most of the other models in Nikon's L (for Life) series, the L11 is very, very simple. It has a very limited number of features and virtually no manual control at all. Even the ISO setting is fully automatic with no manual option. The automatic setting can go as high as ISO 800 though, which is two EV higher than the L10, giving correspondingly faster shutter speeds. The camera has three basic shooting modes; either program auto, video mode or scene mode, selected via a small slider switch on the rear. There are 15 scene modes, including a face detection portrait mode, panorama assist, back-light compensation and the usual array of landscape, sports, night portrait, fireworks etcetera. In program auto mode, the only menu options are picture size, white balance, continuous shooting, Best Shot Selector (an anti-blur warning system) and colour options, which are limited to just five choices. There are no metering options, autofocus options or picture adjustments.
Again in common with the L10, the L11's performance is impressive for such a low-cost camera, and embarrasses some models costing twice as much. It starts up in a little under two seconds, and in single-shot mode it has a shot-to-shot cycle time of approximately 2.3 seconds. In continuous mode is shoots at an impressive 0.7 seconds per shot, although this slows down noticeably with a slower memory card. The flash cycle time is a bit on the slow side though, taking approximately seven seconds to recharge after a typical flash shot. The larger sensor produces slight larger image files, and at full size and resolution a 1GB SD card provides enough storage space for 333 pictures, or just under 20 minutes of TV-quality video. As with any camera running on AA batteries, battery duration will depend on the type of cells used. I was running it on a pair of 2100mAh NiMH rechargeables and was able to take well over 100 shots without the charge level meter even appearing.
As with other L-series cameras, and indeed with most of Nikon's recent compact camera models, the autofocus system is something of a weak point. It performs well enough in good light, but slows down noticeably in lower light levels, and since the L11 has no AF assist lamp it won't focus at all in dark conditions.