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Superzoom cameras are traditionally fairly complex beasts. Often also referred to as bridge cameras, they usually represent a half-way point between simple point-and-shoot compacts and the technical complexity and creative versatility of DSLRs, with most of them sporting optional manual exposure, multiple metering and autofocus modes and other advanced features. However the popularity of long-zoom compacts or “travel cameras” such as Panasonic's TZ range, Ricoh's CX series, Canon's SX series and more recently Sony's technically impressive HX5 have shown that there is a market for easy-to-use cameras with powerful zoom lenses. It is only Nikon though that has really embraced the concept of a true superzoom camera that is as easy to operate as a snapshot compact. About this time last year it introduced the CoolPix L100, a camera with a big 15x zoom lens and the SLR-style body of a traditional superzoom, but with the simple controls and limited menu options of a point-and-shoot compact. Today I'm taking a look at that camera's successor, the new CoolPix L110.
While the L110 succeeds the L100 it isn't replacing it just yet, and the two models will sit side-by-side in Nikon's line-up. While the L110 is still very easy to use it is a more advanced camera than its predecessor, offering a few more features to bring it up to date in a fast-moving market. The most obvious addition is its 720p HD video recording capability with stereo audio. Less obvious is the three-inch 460k monitor screen, double the resolution of the previous model. Inevitably the sensor resolution has also been increased from 10.1 to 12.1 megapixels. The lens is the same 15x zoom f/3.5-5.4 unit as the L100, equivalent to 28-420mm, and the camera also features sensor-shift image stabilisation, essential with a lens of this size.
The camera body is very similar to the L100 and within a couple of millimetres of the same size, although there are a few minor differences. The body is made of plastic, but as with the rest of Nikon's range the build quality is very good, with tight panel joins and good strong hinges on the battery/card hatch and pop-up flash. Although it's obviously much bigger than a compact camera it's relatively small and light for a superzoom, measuring 108.9 x 74.3 x 78.1mm and weighing approximately 406g including the memory card and four AA alkaline batteries. You could shave about 50g off that weight by using longer-lasting Lithium technology batteries instead. The body has a large handgrip with a textured grip area, and a round thumbgrip on the back. It is very comfortable to hold and easy to grip securely. It comes with a good quality neck strap.
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