In terms of overall performance the L110 is actually somewhat slower than the L100. It starts up and is ready to shoot in a little under three seconds, which is about the same as the previous model, but in single-shot mode at maximum quality it has a shot-to-shot time of approximately 2.5 seconds, which is considerably slower. The shooting speed is also inconsistent, appearing to go in three shot bursts, and will refuse to shoot or focus if it’s not ready. In continuous shooting mode it is also quite slow, shooting a frame approximately every 1.8 seconds, and as with the previous model it has no audio or visual cue to let you know when it’s shooting a frame.
The autofocus system seems to be the same as the L100, with only centre-zone focusing, and the camera focuses quickly and accurately in good light, only slowing down a bit at longer zoom ranges and in lower light. The AF assist lamp has been greatly improved, and the camera will now focus reliably in total darkness at a range of several metres.
Overall picture quality is quite good, but there are a few problems. The lens has good edge-to-edge sharpness, but does suffer from quite noticeable chromatic aberration towards the corners of the frame, particularly in wide aperture shots. Colour rendition is bright but does tend to over-saturate reds, a problem which also present on the L100. The level of detail recorded by the 12MP sensor is impressive, but as with some other L-series cameras I’ve tried there is a general look of being over-sharpened and over-processed which robs the images of some fine detail.
Unfortunately the biggest problem is image noise, or rather noise reduction, which is very heavy-handed. There is colour distortion in the red channel even at 100 ISO, and by 400 ISO colour gradients look like complete guesswork, with very poor fine detail. Sadly this is likely the result of the tiny overcrowded 1/2.3-inch sensor, and is something we’re likely to see more often now that the main manufacturers have decided to resume pushing resolutions ever higher. Unfortunately the only way to get them to stop is to vote with your money.
The Nikon CoolPix L110 is a very unusual camera, a true superzoom that is as easy to use as a compact. It is well made, handles well and performs adequately, and the automation can be relied upon to produce decent results in a wide range of circumstances. It is let down by somewhat inferior image quality however, as usual caused by an overcrowded sensor.
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