Nikon CoolPix range of cameras have been one of the few competing cameras with Canon and Sony and they have successfully manages to keep the customers happy with the incorporation of technology and features. While wide angle cameras have gained popular and a few people prefer them because of their ease of use and considering them as a single time investment, the CoolPix range of cameras have maintained their cool. The CoolPix L320 is a Nikon feature camera with super zoom as well as a decent price tag of Rs.10,500 /-.
The following review should give you all the comprehensive details about this camera and help you with your buying decision.
The L320 is a compact camera from the house of Nikon that features a 26x extreme wide-angle optical zoom with a truly affordable price tag. Built with a 16 megapixel CCD sensor, the Nikon CoolPix L320 is bundled with the super-zoom lens, alongside four automatic anti-blur functions to ensure crisp images even when zooming in close to the action and perfect for travelers. This camera has a whooping 26x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 22.5-585mm. It also features lens-shift VR (vibration reduction) that keeps your images as sharp as possible and helps you shoot continuously at 1.2 fps (continuous shooting mode).
There are various modes to spoil you for choice and provides the photographer ease while shooting. There is an easy auto mode on this camera that adjusts the camera settings automatically for the detected scene; you will also find 18 scene modes to choose from and the smart portrait system, which includes self-timer, blink proof alert, skin softening and red-eye fix. This affordable camera has a great wide-angle optical zoom lens that is probably one of the most noticeable features of this camera, and so distance shots appear quite close. As far as blur goes, the L320 has four different functions to combat blur that includes Lens-shift Vibration Reduction, motion detection and a Best Shot Selector that picks the best snap out of ten sequential shots. The anti-blur technology on this camera is coupled with the 16 Megapixel sensor that has an ISO range up to 1600 thereby, the image quality is uncompromised. In case you are a video lover, this camera can also shoot 720p HD videos with a dedicated movie button found on the camera. This camera is powered by the Expeed C2 image processing engine that comes on board and this is compatible with the Eye-Fi X2 cards that allow data transfer over an active WI-Fi connection. The CoolPix L320 is a feature friendly camera, but when it comes to the quantity of features, you cannot expect too many because of its price.
Design, Display and Handling and modes:
With 111.1 x 76.3 x 83.1 mm dimension and a weight of around 430 grams (including batteries and a memory card) the Nikon CoolPix L320 is a great camera with a good design and build quality. The shape, flexibility and the feel of this camera is almost like that of an expensive DSLR camera. This camera belongs to the budget L range but, Nikon does not compromise on the quality of the camera’s interior and exterior. Sharing the photographic genes from its older sibling (L 820) the L320 looks just about the same but with a smaller zoom range that can be operated by the zoom switch located and wrapped around the shutter release on the corner of its grip. Behind this button is a small power button and Nikon has sunk this button in so that it does not caught by accident in the heat of the moment. This camera has an incredibly large grip. The idea behind the design of the large grip is to make it easier to hold and to shoot one handed and the total weight of this camera is sufficient to counter-balance the total balance of this camera. The main controls of the camera have been placed logically on the back of the camera and are easily accessible by the thumb that will naturally rest there.
There is a video recording button that resides on the shoulder of this camera and it can be used regardless of whether you're taking pictures or not. The video mode has been removed from this camera but the video button compensates for that. There is a simple menu that allows your camera to display 4 shooting modes Easy auto, Scenes, Smart portrait and Auto The Easy auto mode is essentially an automated version of the Auto mode that is smart enough to take accurate decisions on its own and saves your precious time thereby ensuring a correctly exposed picture, it analyzes the scene as soon as you start positioning the camera on the particular subject and then selects the most apt mode that would suit the scene best. There are 18 scene modes to choose from that range from the typical landscape, portrait and sport modes to more niche options such as museum, panorama and backlit subject. The Smart portrait mode utilizes all the mode functions as well as the features available on the camera that ensures that portraits such as face detection blink detection, skin softening and red-eye fix are catered to, and the final mode is the standard everyday mode that is common for shooting on a daily basis.
The L320 has a 3 inch 230k dot TFT LCD monitor that has anti-reflection coating as well as 5-level brightness adjustment, the display is still not quite pleasing as you’d expect. The frame coverage in the shooting mode is approximately 95% horizontal and 95% vertical, whereas in the playback mode the frame coverage is approximately100% horizontal and 100% vertical. Overall, this camera feels great to hold and has the necessary components that go in for an exciting travel.
The camera has a battery compartment located on the bottom accompanied by a locking switch. Inside, there is space for AA batteries. Nikon claims that the compact is the perfect travelling buddy, due to using four AA batteries as a power source, rather than a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. That might not be necessarily true because the camera shoots approximately shots when using alkaline batteries where as it shoots 810 shots when using lithium batteries. While the alkaline batteries provide 1 h 20 min video shooting time whereas, 3 h 40 min is what you get when you use lithium batteries.
The Nikon CoolPix has an acceptable zoom range along with 1cm minimum focusing distance good for macros. Its rubberized hand grip is ideal for travel enthusiasts and its battery lasts longer than expected. However, what’s sad is that this camera has limited features as opposed to the feature friendly rivals and this camera has a low resolution screen that is a little disappointing. Overall, for a nominal price, the Nikon L320 is a good option that you can consider before buying.
Nikon Coolpix L320 Rivals:
Nikon Coolpix L820
Nikon Coolpix L810
Sony CyberShot DSC H200
Canon PowerShot SX160