Nikon L31 Review
|Full model name:||Nikon Coolpix L31|
|Sensor size:||1/2.3 inch
(6.2mm x 4.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / LCD|
|Native ISO:||80 - 1600|
|Extended ISO:||80 - 1600|
|Shutter:||1/2000 - 4 sec|
3.8 x 2.3 x 1.1 in.
(96 x 59 x 29 mm)
|Full specs:||Nikon L31 specifications|
Nikon L31 Review -- First Impressions
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted 01/14/2015
With the 2015-model L31, Nikon refreshes its entry-point to the Coolpix line, providing a camera you won't think twice about letting the kids use. Even should they break it, you're only out around a hundred bucks. While no pricetag has yet been officially disclosed, the US-market predecessor model is the L30, and that listed at just US$120 in the US market, almost into impulse-buy territory.
With a friendly, compact body, the Nikon Coolpix L31 is offered in black, silver, red or purple versions, the latter featuring a tattoo-like line-art effect. It offers an extremely affordable alternative to shooting photos with your smartphone, and includes the one feature your phone almost certainly lacks: an optical zoom lens.
Based around a 16-megapixel, 1/2.3"-type CCD image sensor, the Coolpix L31 offers a relatively limited sensitivity range of just ISO 80-1600 equivalents. Burst performance hasn't been disclosed, but is likely to be fairly sedate as well, thanks to the choice of a CCD imager instead of a CMOS chip.
The Nikon L31's CMOS sensor sits behind a handy 5x optical zoom lens. With a maximum aperture of f/3.2-6.5 across the zoom range, the L31's optic sadly lacks any form of mechanical image stabilization. What it does offer, though, is a 35mm-equivalent focal range that starts from a 26mm wide angle and runs out to a 130mm telephoto in a body that's 1.2-inches thick at the handgrip.
On the rear panel of the L31 is a 2.7-inch LCD monitor that's used to frame and review images or movies. It's a bit smaller than average these days, and saves a little more on cost with a resolution of just 320 x 240 pixels. On the plus side does include five-step brightness control.
Other features of the Nikon Coolpix L31 include 720p high-definition movie capture at 30 frames per second, Nikon's Scene Auto Selector and Smart Portrait System functions for simple and approachable image capture, a selection of special effects and quick effects functions, and a skin softening function that helps your portrait subjects look their best.
Power comes courtesy of two standard AA batteries that you should be able to lay your hands on almost anywhere -- we recommend saving money with some NiMH rechargeables -- and it's rated as good for 200 shots on a set of alkalines, or 500 shots per charge with Nikon's own EN-MH2 NiMH rechargeables.
Images and movies are stored in a limited 17MB of internal memory, or on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. And you can transfer data from the camera via a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection that also doubles as an NTSC / PAL standard-definition composite video output.
No plans have been announced to sell the Nikon L31 in the US market at this time. In the UK market, the camera has been launched, but pricing and availability haven't yet been disclosed.