Nikon L15 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix L15 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A typical 3x optical zoom with fair performance, though noticeable blurring in the corners. Digital zoom performance is about average.

35mm 105mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix L15's optical zoom covers a range equivalent to a 35-105mm zoom on a 35mm camera, typical among average consumer digital cameras. Details are reasonably sharp at full wide angle. Coma distortion is moderate, but there's fairly strong blurring in the corners of the frame, as well as some vignetting (mostly noticeable in the top left corner). Results at full telephoto were sharper, though still with some blurring in the corners. The camera's 4x digital zoom performs about average, with losses in detail and resolution, and a pixilated, illustrative appearance in the fine details.

Macro
A very small macro area with good detail and resolution. Flash overexposes a little.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Coolpix L15's macro setting performed well, capturing a very small minimum area of 1.50 x 1.12 inches (38 x 29 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both good, with only a small amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) There is a fair amount of visible image noise, however, which shows up in the darker details of the coins and brooch. The Coolpix L15's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area and actually overexposed the entire frame a bit, with a glare on the brooch. You could use the flash in a pinch, but the best results will come from external lighting with the macro setting.

Distortion
Strong barrel distortion, though very low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 1.0%
Pincushion at 105mm is 0.04%

The Nikon Coolpix L15's 1.0% barrel distortion at wide angle is very high, much higher than average among digital cameras we test. At the telephoto end, the Coolpix L15's 0.04% pincushion distortion is quite low, and only shows up as barely a pixel's worth. 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).

Chromatic aberration
High at wide angle, but quite low at telephoto. Fairly noticeable effect on some images in the corners toward full wide angle.

Wide: High,
top left @ 200%
Wide: High and slightly bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Very low,
top left @200%
Tele: Low,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is high at wide angle, showing about 12-14 pixels of fairly bright coloration on either side of the target lines. However, at telephoto, the effect is virtually nonexistent. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Moderate blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle and telephoto.

Wide: Strongest blurring in the lower
left corner, though all corners soft.
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Soft in all four corners (upper left). Tele: Sharper at center.

The Nikon Coolpix L15 produced soft corners of the frame at both wide angle and telephoto. At full wide angle, the strongest blurring occurred in the lower left corner of the frame compared to center. At full telephoto, all four corners were equally soft.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the Coolpix L15's LCD monitor.

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

The Nikon Coolpix L15's LCD monitor showed about 103% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 100% at telephoto. A little loose at wide angle, but still quite accurate.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon Coolpix L15 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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