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Nikon Coolpix L810 Overview

Posted: 01/31/2012

Do you have a vision in your mind of how you want your photos to look, but you get fed up of running back and forth, trying to frame your subjects how you want them? If so, perhaps you need a stronger zoom--and the Nikon Coolpix L810 just might be the camera for you! With a whopping 26x optical zoom lens on offer, the Nikon L810 frees you from all that moving around, and lets the camera do all the work.

Available in black, red or blue versions to match your tastes, the Nikon L810 has a body with styling reminiscent of a traditional SLR camera, although it's actually a fixed-lens model. Based around a sixteen megapixel CCD sensor, the L810 should offer plenty of resolution for larger print sizes, even after some generous cropping. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 1,600 equivalents, about typical for an entry-level model.

Its Nikkor-branded 26x optical zoom lens offers a generous range indeed, from an all-encompassing 22.5mm-equivalent wide angle to a powerful 585mm-equivalent telephoto. Of course, all that telephoto reach would be of little use if you couldn't get a steady, blur-free image, and so Nikon has included true optical VR image stabilization. Focusing is possible to as close as one centimeter in macro mode, although you may want to back off just a little so as not to lose your subject to your own shadow.

On the L810's rear panel is a 3.0-inch LCD monitor, about the norm in terms of size, these days. It's a bit higher-resolution than average, though, with a total of some 921,000 dots. That equates to appproximately a VGA array (640 x 480 pixels), with each pixel comprising separate red, green, and blue dots. You wouldn't expect to find an optical viewfinder alongside a lens with this much reach, but sadly, there's no electronic viewfinder on the Coolpix L810 either. Hence, you'll be doing all your image and movie framing at arm's length.

Catering to photographers who prefer not to deal with the subtleties of shutter speeds, apertures, and ISO sensitivities, the Coolpix L810 offers a generous 19 scene modes that let you tailor the look of your images. There's also Nikon's Smart Portrait System, which aims to make it easier to get a good portrait photo. A variety of color options such as standard, vivid, cyanotype, or black and white let you further experiment to achieve your artistic vision. There's also a 3D mode that simulates an extra dimension in your images from a single objective lens, courtesy of some clever mathematic wizardry.

As well as still images, the L810 can capture high definition movies at 1,280 x 720 pixel (720p) resolution. No information on frame rates or compression types was available at press time, but we do know that the L810 includes a stereo microphone, for a more immersive audio experience.

The Nikon L810 stores images and movies in a reasonably useful 50MB of built-in memory--enough to save the day if you forget to bring a flash card with you--or on removable Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Power comes courtesy of four standard AA batteries, and Nikon rates the L810 as capable of around 450 shots on a set of EN-MH2 rechargeable NiMH batteries. (In a pinch, you can get 300 shots with Alkaline disposables, or 740 shots with Lithium disposables.)

The Nikon Coolpix L810 goes on sale from February 2012 in the US market, priced at around US$280.