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Nikon Coolpix L120 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £210
inc VAT

An odd mixture of cut-price and highly capable features, but solid image quality and a competitive price add up to an attractive deal.


1/2.3in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 21.0x zoom (25-525mm equivalent), 431g

Our expectations for photo quality were lower, in light of the 14-megapixel, 1/2.3in sensor, which past experience has taught us is bad news for noise levels. Most other ultra-zoom cameras use similarly-specified sensors, though, and the L120 fared better than usual for noise. Photos at ISO 800 and 1600 displayed smudged details – a tell-tale sign of heavy noise-reduction processing – but they weren’t the spidery, blotchy messes that rivals such as the Panasonic FZ45 produced. They weren’t as clean as the high-ISO shots from the Fujifilm HS10 with its 10-megapixel back-illuminated sensor, though. Still, those who are happy to use the flash for indoor shots should find that the L120’s noise levels are on the right side of acceptable.

Nikon Coolpix L120 sample 5

The same was true for colours and detail levels. Colours were punchy and vivid, and overexposure problems were seldom enough to be forgiven. Details sometimes looked a little over-processed with digital sharpening, and they were often slightly soft at telephoto settings, but these issues weren’t particularly visible when viewing photos on screen and printing at modest sizes.

Comparisons with the excellent Fujifilm HS10 don’t do the L120 any favours, with the HS10 boasting a bigger zoom, less noise, 1080p videos, faster performance and vastly better controls. It’s not much more expensive, either, currently available for around £250 to clear the shelves in anticipation of the launch of the HS20. The Nikon L120 is more compact, though, and its video soundtracks are much better. With ultra-zoom cameras often expected to be jacks of all trades, the L120’s dependable quality counts heavily in its favour.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 14.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 921,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 21.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 25-525mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,320×3,240
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied 102MB internal
Battery type 4x AA
Battery Life (tested) 520 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI, DC in
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables, neck strap
Weight 431g
Size 77x110x78mm

Buying Information

Warranty two-year RTB
Price £210

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/3.1 (wide), f/5.8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls none
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, face detect
Metering modes multi
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, smile detect

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