Nikon Coolpix L810 review

Ben Pitt
9 May 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

A noisy sensor and unreliable autofocus undermine some impressive specifications



1/2.3in 16.0-megapixel sensor, 26.0x zoom (22.5-585mm equivalent), 430g

Some people buy digital cameras based purely on brand, specs and price, and Nikon has them in its sights with the L810. The Nikon brand carries some gravitas, and with a 26x zoom, 16-megapixel sensor, 3in 921,000-dot screen, HDMI out, a choice of four colours and a price just shy of £200 including VAT, it's bound to stand out on the shop shelves.

Nikon Coolpix L810

The 26x zoom is a little way off the similarly priced Olympus SP-810UZ with its 36x zoom. However, the L810's zoom range starts at an unusually wide 22.5mm equivalent focal length. It's not a huge gain over the 24mm focal length commonly offered elsewhere but it's still welcome for landscape and architectural photography.

The chunky lens barrel and generous rubber-coated handgrip give the air of an enthusiasts' camera, but the truth is this is a point-and-shoot camera with a big zoom. There's no electronic viewfinder, no manual exposure or focus controls and the screen isn't articulated. Elsewhere, there are signs of cost-cutting, with four AA batteries – rechargeable batteries not included – and no orientation sensor, so portrait-shaped photos must be rotated manually.

Nikon Coolpix L810

The menu options are stripped right back, with ISO speed and white balance but no control over the metering or autofocus. Even face detection isn't available in Auto mode, although it does appear in a couple of Portrait scene presets. This is worrying, as zooming in with an ultra-zoom camera gives a narrow depth of field, so it's more of a problem when the camera focuses on the wrong thing.

Nikon Coolpix L810

The self-timer function is stuck at 10 seconds, whereas virtually every other camera we test includes a two-second option to avoid shaking the camera when shooting with a tripod. This function is especially useful on ultra-zoom cameras because they're much more susceptible to shake, so it's a shame not to find it here.

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