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Nikon Coolpix L810 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £197
inc VAT

A noisy sensor and unreliable autofocus undermine some impressive specifications


1/2.3in 16.0-megapixel sensor, 26.0x zoom (22.5-585mm equivalent), 430g

Most of these criticisms also apply to the Nikon Coolpix L120, but whereas that camera made up some ground with its dependable image quality, sadly that isn’t the case with the L810.

Nikon Coolpix L810
Photos taken in low light were grainy and smudged – click to enlarge

The move from a 14- to a 16-megapixel sensor boosts noise levels more than details. In fact, because of the stronger noise reduction required in the L810, the L120’s photos also displayed sharper details in subtle textures such as hair and fabric, even in brightly lit shots. Comparisons with the L120 were even more damning in low light; neither model excelled but the L810 suffered particularly badly for noise, with grubby shadows, blotchy highlights and barely any definition to fine details.

Nikon Coolpix L810
This camera is at its best in bright light and at wide-angle zoom settings, but noise reduction has reduced these leaves to nondescript green smudges – click to enlarge

Our biggest concern is that the autofocus was unreliable at telephoto zoom positions. About 30 per cent of our test shots at the full zoom extension where a little soft, and a further 30% were completely out of focus. At least the worst offenders were easy to spot on the screen so we could have another go at capturing the scene, but on some occasions the camera was persistently unable to focus.

Nikon Coolpix L810
Focus at the long end of the zoom was hit and miss – this is one of the better examples – click to enlarge

The 720p video mode has little to commend it either, with a weedy soundtrack that picked up lens motor noises, ineffective optical stabilisation and jittery autofocus.

There are lots of pocket ultra-zoom cameras that suffer less from image noise, and while none matches the L810’s 26x zoom, various models come close and deliver much more reliable focus. The L810 may have the specs to impress but it doesn’t back it up with results.

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Basic Specifications

Rating **
CCD effective megapixels 16.0 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 26.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 22.5-585mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,608×3,456
File formats JPEG; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied 50MB internal
Battery type 4x AA
Battery Life (tested) 450 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI, DC in
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 430g
Size 77x111x89mm

Buying Information

Warranty two-year RTB
Price £197

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/3.1 (wide), f/5.9 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
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, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, smile detect, 3D

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