Nikon Coolpix L1 Performance

Timing and Performance

Average to below average speed for a consumer camera.

Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward.
3.9 - 8
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
3.7 / 1.0
First time is that required to display a large/fine file immediately after capture, second time is that needed to display a large/fine file that has already been processed and stored on the memory card.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
1.19 / 1.0
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button.
Shutter lag, continuous autofocus
There's generally no benefit from continuous autofocus with stationary subjects, and we have no way to reliably measure performance with moving targets.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
4.30 / 3.18
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In both modes, shoots this fast continuously, clearing the buffer after each shot.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures
(Flash at maximum power output)
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
1.77 / 1.54
(0.56 / 0.65 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages. In both modes, shoots this fast continuously, clearing the buffer after each shot.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 16 mode
(3.75 fps)
Camera captures 704 x 528 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 2816 x 2112 files. Clears the buffer in about 2 seconds, and it's ready for 16 more.
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
920 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

The L1's performance ranges from just average to slow, depending on what you're trying to do. Start up time is slightly slower than average among cameras with telescoping lens assemblies. Shutter response when the lens is set to its wide angle position is rather slow (just under 1.2 seconds), and at the telephoto end of the lens' range, the lag time of 1.00 second is also on the slow side of average. (The average numbers among competing cameras range from 0.8 to 1.0 second respectively.) On the other hand, if you "prefocus" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure, it's much more responsive, with a shutter delay of only 0.29 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are also slow, at about 4.3 seconds for large/fine JPEGs. Continuous-mode speed is about average, as well. The flash takes about eight seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, about average for this class of camera. Connected to a computer, download speeds are fast enough that you probably won't feel a need for a separate card reader, but nonetheless aren't as fast as many cameras currently on the market.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Modest battery life.

The Coolpix L1 uses two AA batteries for power. Because it uses a non-standard AC adapter, we weren't able to perform our usual direct measurements of power consumption, and so must rely upon Nikon's claims for battery life. Nikon states that alkaline AA cells will provide power for about 100 shots, NiMHs for 230 and lithiums for 400. These are reasonable numbers, but aren't up to the levels of some current cameras with which the L1 competes. We strongly recommend that you purchase a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger: The investment will pay for itself many times over, compared to the cost of constantly having to buy alkaline cells. Read Dave's NiMH battery shootout page to see which batteries currently on the market are the best, and see his review of the Maha C-204W NiMH battery charger, his current favorite.

The Coolpix L1, which has 10MB internal memory, uses SD cards for external storage but does not come with a card.

Image Capacity with
10-MB Internal Storage
2,816 x 2,112 Images 3
File Size 3.0MB
2,048 x 1,536 Images 12
File Size 850K
1,024 x 768 Images 42
File Size 250K
640 x 480
Images 90
File Size 117K

I strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/MMC memory card (at least a 128MB card, preferably a 256MB one), to give yourself extra space for extended outings.


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