Nikon L12 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix L12 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A typical 3x optical zoom lens, with good performance.

35mm
105mm
4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix L12 zooms over a typical 3x optical zoom range, equivalent to a 35-105mm range on a 35mm camera. Details are reasonably sharp at wide angle, though there is some blurring in the extreme corners of the frame and a small amount of coma distortion in the tree limbs against the sky. The camera's 4x digital zoom takes it out to 12x total, but with the loss of quality usually associated with digital zoom.

Macro
A small macro area with good detail and high resolution. Flash did a good job of throttling down, provided surprisingly even coverage.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Nikon Coolpix L12's macro setting does very well, capturing a small minimum area of 2.03 x 1.52 inches (52 x 39 millimeters). Detail and resolution are both good, with only a moderate amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash throttles down well, resulting in good exposure with fairly even coverage, somewhat unusual for digicam macro modes.

Distortion
Very high barrel distortion, no pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 1.2%
Pincushion distortion at 105mm is non-existent

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel--usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion--usually at telephoto). The Nikon Coolpix L12's 1.2% barrel distortion at wide angle is a good bit higher than average, and quite noticeable in some images. At the telephoto end, the L12's distortion is so low, it's virtually non-existent.

Chromatic aberration
Moderately high, small effect on images in edges at wide angle.

Wide: Moderately high,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Moderately high,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Very low, top left @200% Tele: Low, top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderately high at wide angle on the Nikon Coolpix L12, showing about 7-8 pixels of moderately bright coloration on either side of the target lines, but decreasing to very low levels at telephoto focal lengths. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Moderate blurring in top corners at wide angle, fairly soft results overall at telephoto.

Wide: Moderately soft
in the upper left corner.
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Very soft
in the upper right corner.
Tele: Slightly soft at center.

The Nikon Coolpix L12 produced soft corners in a few shots. The upper corners are moderately soft at wide angle (the lower corners however are quite sharp). At telephoto, the entire image is soft, though the right corners showed stronger blurring than the rest of the frame.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

35mm eq., LCD monitor 105mm eq., LCD monitor

The Nikon L12's LCD monitor showed about 102% accuracy at wide angle, and about 100% at telephoto. Very good results.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon Coolpix L12 Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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