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Nikon Coolpix L28 Preview

by Mike Tomkins
Posted 01/28/2013

If there's one thing consumers understand about digital cameras, it's the mighty megapixel. With the Coolpix L28, Nikon will be speaking their language, cramming even more pixels than ever into its latest entry-level L-series compact. Just how many pixels can you fit inside a camera with a US$120 pricetag? The answer, it seems, is around 0.2 megapixels per dollar, for a whopping total of 20.1 megapixels. (We know folks who'd have killed for these price-to-resolution ratios, back in the day!)

The Nikon L28's 20.1 megapixel chip -- it's a CCD -- yields an ISO sensitivity range of 80 to 1,600 equivalents, of which 80-800 is available under automatic control. The sensor sits behind a 5x optical zoom lens with a focal range of 4.6 to 23.0mm. In old money (35mm equivalents), that's 26 to 130mm, or a pretty generous wide angle to a modest telephoto. Maximum aperture falls from f/3.2 to f/6.5 across the zoom range. While that's not terribly bright, it's not unexpected in a camera at this price point. And the Nikon L28 does at least manage to fit in the ubiquitous 3.0-inch TFT LCD monitor on its rear panel, where some entry-level cameras save a few dollars on a smaller screen.

There's also a built-in flash strobe, plus Nikon's Best Smile Selector and Easy Auto mode functions. In addition, consumers will appreciate the Smart Portrait mode, which keeps things simple with face-priority autofocus, smile timer, blink proofing, in-camera red-eye correction, and skin smoothing. In other words, a whole suite of tools aimed at letting your camera take all the work out of attractive portraits, from capture to retouching. And you can even shoot HD video, although we're still awaiting specifics on resolutions and the like.

The Nikon L28 includes USB 2.0 High-Speed data connectivity. Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. There's also a not-very-generous 27MB of internal memory, enough for a few life-saving shots if you accidentally leave the house without a flash card, but you'll need to pick those shots carefully.

Power comes from four standard AA batteries, great if you're often away from home -- or other power outlets -- for lengthy periods. Nikon says that the Coolpix L28 will be capable of capturing 280 shots on a set of alkaline disposables, while the more expensive lithium disposables will get a whopping 890 shots. Unfortunately, no spec is yet available for NiMH rechargeables, which typically offer the best value over time. (To say nothing of less batteries in landfills.)

Available from February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix L28 is priced at around US$120. Three body colors will be available: red, black, or silver.