The movie mode is also good, shooting at 640 x 480 resolution and 30 frames a second, with mono audio. As is often the case the zoom lens cannot be used during video shooting, but it has 4x digital zoom for the video mode.
The only real problem with the CoolPix L6 is its slow performance. It takes nearly three seconds to start up, which is a bit on the slow side by recent standards, and shooting times are also slow. In good light the AF system takes around one and a half seconds to focus, which is slow but not disastrously so. However in low light this delay grows to as much as three seconds causing a very annoying lag from the time you press the button to the moment the shot is taken. The L6 has no AF illuminator, so it doesn’t focus at all in very low light.
In continuous mode it performs well as long as the subject and camera are stationary, shooting a respectable ten frames in eight seconds, but if anything moves it pauses to refocus between shots, which slows it down again.
The biggest performance annoyance though is the flash recharge time. If you take a shot using the flash in a normal low-light setting, it takes a long 13 seconds to recharge to take another picture. This is very slow indeed.
Fortunately though, when the L6 does eventually get around to taking a picture the results are excellent. Nikon’s compact lens provides good edge to edge sharpness, much better than most lenses of comparable size, although as usual for such lenses there is significant barrel distortion at the wide angle end. Colour rendition and exposure are very good, and the camera handles unusual exposure conditions extremely well, producing excellent results despite rapidly changing light. There is no manual ISO control, and none of the shots I took pushed the automatic setting up to its maximum of 800 ISO, so I can’t really comment on its image noise handing, but suffice to say I was very impressed by the photographic results.
The Nikon CoolPix L6 is a well-made, sensibly designed pocket compact that would be ideal for holiday snaps or general snapshot photography. Its exceptional battery duration means that it won’t let you down when you need it, and the excellent image quality means you won’t be disappointed by the results. If you can live with the slow performance and lack of low-light ability then it is excellent value for money.
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