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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix L2


   


Nikon Coolpix L2 Review

Review Date: May 15, 2006

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Nikon Coolpix L2

HANDLING & FEEL

The Nikon Coolpix L2 is quite slim, light and can be easily carried in a jeans pocket or fashion purse. It has 23MB of Internal Memory and uses the Secure Digital (SD) memory card.

The Nikon L2 won't win any design award but is attractive in its own minimalist way. The body is dark grey and a raised battery compartment acts as a handgrip [use of the wrist strap is highly recommended]. When retracted, the lens is flush with the body. The lens is off from the center of the lens barrel and gives it a slightly off-kilter appearance.

Startup is about 2-3 sec. Shutter lag is quite noticeable at around 1-2 sec. (dependent on AF). If you prefocus, shutter lag is practically negligible. We have some concern that the targeted audience may not particularly know how to pre-focus and will therefore be disappointed with the shutter lag performance.

STYLE
- Colours: overall dark grey with chrome accents
- Looks: ultra-compact, rounded corners
   
FEEL
- Comfortable to hold and operate but feels "small"
- Controls are on the tiny side and recessed so it can be difficult to engage them for those with large hands and fingers
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Ultra Compact: fits in a jeans pocket or small fashion purse
- Dimensions: 91W x 60.5H x 26D mm /
3.6W x 2.4H x 1.0D in.
- Weight: 120g / 4.2 oz.
- Takes 2 AA batteries (alkaline, oxyride or Lithium; rechargeable NiMH)
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup with lens extending about 2.3 cm (1 in.) and LCD turning on in about 2-3 sec.
- Shutter lag (mostly caused by AF) about 1-2 sec.; no practical shutter lag if you prefocus
   

Included in my review box were 2 rechargeable NiMH batteries EN-MH1. However, this seems to be for Canada only; depending on the country or region of purchase, you may instead get 2 LR6 alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable).

The NiMH batteries can take about 320 shots (CIPA standard) on a fresh charge. Also included for Canada is a Battery Charger MH-71 that will recharge 2 new or completely exhausted batteries in approx. 150 min. The Battery Charger comes with a power cord.

The Terminal compartment is on the left side of the camera (viewed from the back). The rubber Terminal Cover is quite hard to pull out completely but, once out, it will rotate totally out of the way for easy plug-in of the USB cable.

The flash is average and physically placed in the middle, so your fingers do not get in the way. You can set the flash to Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Off, Fill flash, Slow Synch.

Controls

Nikon Coolpix L2 Top View

The top of the camera has the Power ON/OFF button and the shutter release button on the right side (viewed from the back). The speaker is at the far left. The shutter release button is on the soft side and it's sometimes easy to accidentally take a picture when you just want to half-press to lock focus.

Almost all the functions must be accessed through the MENU button. The Mode selector is found at the back and is positioned at the very bottom right; it has AUTO, Scene and Movie.

There are 11 scene modes (Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light, Panorama Assist), plus 4 with Scene Assist (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait). Scene Assist basically superimposes framing guides for a pleasant composition.

You can record movies with sound (until the memory card is full) at either 640 x 480 or 320x240 pixels at 30fps or 15fps. Optical zoom can be preset before recording but is disabled during recording.

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise starting from the Zoom Lever)
- Zoom Lever
- MENU
- 4 Way Arrows: Flash, Macro and Self-timer
- Erase
- Playback
- Mode Selector (AUTO, Scene, Movie)
   

The SD Card compartment is on the right side [viewed from the rear]. Usable internal memory is approx. 23MB so no SD Card is included in the box. We recommend purchasing a 1GB [a one-time buy so you don't have to be concerned with swapping cards in and out] or as large a card capacity you can afford.

At the bottom of the camera, the tripod mount thread is plastic. There is a very nice Battery Compartment that accepts 2 AA-type batteries. You won't be able to change batteries when the camera is on a tripod.

LCD & Menus

There is no viewfinder but a 2.0-in LCD monitor with, surprisingly, only 86,000 pixels resolution. This low resolution shows in a display that is not as clear or sharp as we're used to see or expect nowadays. I recommend that you try the LCD out first if you are considering purchasing this camera. Most entry-level users will probably be OK with it.

Menus are simple to use since there are not a lot of options to choose from.

There is no AF-assist Illuminator and auto focus in low-light and low contrast situations can be difficult.

The Nikon Coolpix L2 is a good take-anywhere digital camera. It handles well (keeping in mind the small buttons) and succeeds in being a straightforward and simple-to-operate digital camera for the first time user. Pre-focusing will get around the slow AF, and sticking to well-lit subjects will ensure well exposed images.

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