are here: Home
Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix
Nikon Coolpix L2 Review
Date: May 15, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- Coolpix L2
- No Memory Card included, but 23MB of internal
memory [Nikon sent me an optional 256MB SD memory
card for the review]
- Wrist Strap
- 2 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries and Battery
Charger MH-71 with Power Cable [for Canada,
may differ for US and other countries]
- Interface Cables: A/V; USB
- English and French Instruction Manuals: Quick
Start Guide; Nikon Guide to Digital Photography
- Software CDs: PictureProject 1.6
The Nikon Coolpix L2 is the top model
in Nikon's entry-level 'Life' line, which also
includes the L3 (5.0MP) and L4 (4.0MP). The camera's
naming convention can cause confusion, with users
easily assuming that the L4 would be the higher
model than the L3 or L2, but it's the other way
When I first saw the Nikon Coolpix L2 in a camera
store window display, I was immediately drawn
to the simple design and slim line. It looks bigger
in pictures than it is actually.
I was not able to run my usual tests with the
Nikon L2 simply because it is mostly automated
-- you can only dial in an exposure compensation
and select White Balance -- and lack slow enough
shutter speeds. This is not surprising since it
is targeted to entry-level point-and-shooters.
I was plesantly surprised to see included in
the box two rechargeable AA NiMH batteries and
a recharger. A word of caution to readers in the
US and other countries: the rechargeable batteries
may apply only to Canada since the US specifications
list 2 AA Alkaline (non-rechargeable) batteries
and no recharger. Whatever type of batteries you
use, the battery life is excellent: approx. 180
shots with alkaline, 600 shots with lithium, or
320 shots with NiMH (CIPA standard).
The Nikon L2's image quality varies from good
to very good. At low ISOs (i.e. in well lighted
environments such as "sunny outdoors"),
detail is good and image quality is very good.
The main weak point of the Nikon L2 has to be
its shutter lag. At 1 sec., and frequently approaching
2 sec., it is just too high for candid shots.
Landscape shots where nothing is moving is not
a problem, but pictures of people will be challenging
if you just point and press the shutter release
The trick (in fact, a good habit that all knowledgeable
photographers use) is to pre-focus by half-press
of the shutter release button to lock the autofocus
first (since this is where most of the lag resides),
then fully press when you want to take the picture.
With pre-focusing, shutter lag is then reduced
to practically negligible.
It is however highly doubtful that the targeted
audience will use the pre-focusing technique often
and may well end up disappointed with their purchase.
But for landscape use, it should not pose a problem.
Nikon is usually known for excellent macro capability,
but this is not the case with the Coolpix L2.
10 cm (3.9 in.) is not that close, plus the camera
has problems locking focus. In fact, I have to
step back and keep trying until I get focus lock
confirmation. I find that it is easier to zoom
max. and step back to at least 30cm (1 ft.) for
better macro coverage and focus lock.
As usual, Nikon includes easy-to-use features
to help the beginner get the picture in common
situations and when the situation is less than
ideal: 11 scene modes, plus 4 assist; D-Lighting
to brighten areas that are too dark; In-Camera
Red-Eye Fix; Blur Warning (analyses the picture
you just took to determine if it's in focus);
and Best Shot Selector.
The Nikon L2 is PictBridge-compatible so you
can print directly to a PictBridge-enabled printer.
Nikon PictureProject 1.6
The Nikon PictureProject software is now version
1.6. PictureProject is quite good, allowing the
usual basic image editing: you can remove red-eye
and edit the photo as to brightness, color booster
(for people or nature), sharpness, straighten,
photo effects (B&W, Sepia) and D-Lighting.
D-Lighting increases brightness (Low, Normal
or High level) to the dark areas of your image.
D-Lighting can be applied in camera, but you cannot
decide on which level to choose (the camera decides
for you) and, like digital zoom, it is really
a post-processing action so you don't have to
commit yourself to a particular level in camera
(though a copy of the image is made, which takes
memory card space). Since you can apply D-Lighting
at any time, what I recommend is to apply D-Lighting
to an image in PictureProject (unless you are
printing directly from camera to printer).
For Canada, Nikon has an exclusive 2-year warranty
on the Coolpix L2 (as long as it is purchased
from a Nikon Canada Authorized Dealer).
The Nikon Coolpix L2 is strictly entry-level
and should make a great present for a first-time
user. It is slim, light, easy-to-use -- and very
affordable. Recommended for "sunny outdoors"