Nikon Coolpix L12 Performance

Timing and Performance

Good to below average speed for a consumer camera.


Power on
to first shot

2.7 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.


2.0 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens and stow in your pocket.

Buffer clearing time

2.5 seconds
(Large/Fine JPEG)

Worst case buffer clearing time. This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.6 second

Time until first shot is captured

Record to play

4.0 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture

recorded image

1.1 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.37 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.63 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.


0.077 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
2.71 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG

2.54 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter

No, except with flash

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

1.24 seconds (0.81 frames per second);
1.5 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG

0.68 second (1.48 frames per second);
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

12 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

970 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Nikon Coolpix L12's performance is a mixed bag, ranging from quite fast to below average. Startup time was average, at 2.7 seconds. Shutter lag is very good at both wide angle (0.37s) and telephoto (0.63s), and very fast when the camera is "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure. Shot-to-shot cycle times are about average for this class, at about 2.71 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, but the camera can capture frames continuously at this rate with a fast enough memory card. Continuous-mode speed is below average these days, at 0.81 frames/second, though again, the camera captures frames continuously at this rate until the card is full, provided your memory card is fast enough to keep up. Flash recycling time is also rather slow, at 12 seconds after a full-power shot. Connected to a computer, download speeds are a little above average, so you probably won't feel a need for a separate card reader. Bottom line, the L12 is responsive enough for most family photo opportunities, but its standard continuous shooting mode may be a bit slow for sports or active kids.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Shorter battery life with standard AA alkaline cells, but much better life with NiMH rechargeables.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
AA Alkaline batteries
AA NiMH batteries
AA Lithium batteries

The Nikon Coolpix L12 uses two AA batteries for power, and a set of ordinary alkaline batteries are included with the camera. Though runtimes are increased with the NiMH batteries over alkalines, we strongly recommend you pick up a couple of sets of good-quality NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good-quality charger, as they'll save you many times their cost over the life of the camera. While Lithium single-use batteries are quite expensive, they may make a good choice for a camera that's used only occasionally, as they won't run down sitting in the camera for long periods.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

The Nikon Coolpix L12 stores its photos on SDHC / SD / MMC memory cards or in approximately 21 MB of internal memory, and no card is included with the camera.

Image Capacity with
21MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
3,072 x 2,304
6 12
File Size
3.7 MB 1.9 MB
2,592 x 1,944
- 17
File Size
- 1.4 MB
2,048 x 1,536
- 27
File Size
- 864 KB
1,024 x 768
- 94
File Size
- 254 KB
640 x 480
- 177
File Size
- 136 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC/SD memory card at least a 512 MB card, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp, a 1 GB card would give you more room for extended outings and video clips.)


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