The Nikon Coolpix L810 has plenty of zoom power (26x) and is available at a lower price than the majority of digital cameras with a similarly long lens. It has 16 megapixels and can shoot High Definition Movies. One of the reasons the Coolpix L810 has a lower price tag is because it does not have the manual exposure controls you usually find on this type of camera. This means that if you are looking for a digital camera with plenty of zoom power that operates as a simple point and shoot model then you will not be paying for features you will never use.
A quick look at the menu system confirms that Nikon have gone for simplicity rather than packing the camera with a lot of advanced features. The emphasis has been solidly placed on making this camera as easy to use as possible.
Compared with other digital cameras with this much zoom power the Coolpix L810 has the following:
What it Does Have
What it Doesn't Have
If you are looking for a lot of zoom power, but you don't need a lot of added features the Coolpix L810 is a good choice.
Megapixels and Zoom
The Coolpix L810 has 16 megapixels and a 26x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 22.5 - 585mm in 35mm format. This really pushes the boundaries for a digital camera, especially when it comes to taking wide angle shots with the lens zoomed all the way out so that you can photograph a wide scene.
You can use SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards to store your photos and movie clips.
Unlike most other digital cameras the Coolpix L810 uses AA batteries for power. Nikon suggests a set of four batteries should last for up to 300 shots.
High Definition Movies can be recorded. The maximum resolution is 1280 x 720p. The recording speed is 30 frames per second. Stereo sound can be recorded.
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.
Nikon have built in a range of pre programmed shooting modes. These are Back Light, Beach, Close Up, Copy, Dusk/Dawn, Fireworks Show, Food, Landscape, Museum, Night Landscape, Night Portrait, Panorama Assist, Party/Indoor, Pet Portrait, Portrait, Scene Auto Selector, Snow, Sports, Sunset and 3D Photography.
For close up shots the Coolpix is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject.
Nikon has included Image Stabilisation with this model. This helps to reduce any unwanted blur in photos.
3D Shooting Mode
There is a shooting mode for producing 3D still images
Picture Quality Summary
Tthe Coolpix L810 produces a set of shots that are mid range in terms of quality. The only test where the camera really struggles is when the lens is zoomed out. Aside from that test picture quality is perfectly acceptable without really hitting the heights.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
This first shot sums up the camera quite well. If you were to view the picture at full size on a computer screen you would notice a slight haze that reduces the clarity of the picture. In reality it is unlikely you will choose to view your pictures that way very often. Looking at a standard sized print you are unlikely to see the imperfections unless you tend to look at your photos with a very critical eye.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
If you compare this test shot to ones taken with other cameras you should notice one major difference. A much wider area has been squeezed into the picture. This is because the minimum focal length of the lens is equivalent to 22.5mm in 35mm format as opposed to the more standard 24mm. This may not sound all that different, but it will make a noticeable difference to your shots.
You may be surprised to know that digital cameras tend to find it harder to maintain picture quality when the lens is zoomed out rather than being zoomed right in. That is true even for a lens as long and powerful as the one on this camera. The picture quality here does suffer when the lens is zoomed right out. In fact it is the softest test picture I can remember seeing in a long time. This is especially true as you move away from the centre of the shot. You will just about get away with picture quality if you make smaller prints. Anything much above snapshot size will start to show the loss of clarity. If all you are planning to do is share photo on the Internet you should not have much of a problem there either. The reduction in picture quality is a trade off for the wider scenes you can photograph.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Picture quality improves considerably when you zoom right in on a subject. As with all cameras with longer lenses there is a touch of purple fringing when you enlarge the image to full size. This is not to any great degree and is unlikely to show in your prints or when you are sharing photos online.
The definition showing in this shot does not quite match up to the very best cameras. As in the first test shot there is a slightly hazy look if you blow up the shot to a very large size. This is unlikely to be an issue unless you are looking to make extremely large prints from your pictures.
This is a fairly typical portrait shot. The camera has no problems focusing when close in. You should be able to produce plenty of pleasing portrait shots outside in daylight.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
The Coolpix L810 gets the lighting levels just about perfect. The light is spread evenly and despite the power of the flash unit the camera seems to know more or less exactly how much light is required not to overpower the shot.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Without flash the Coolpix L810 continues to work well. It is true for this test the lighting is not especially challenging, but a lot of other digital cameras struggle to show the same level of detail and keep noise under control to the degree shown here. Skin and hair colour take on a more natural look when flash is not used.
If you check out the macro test shot you will notice it is not always easy to get the Coolpix L810 to focus exactly where you want it to. It can take a bit of practice to get the best results. Once mastered, you can get in very close to your subject. The colours have a bit of added warmth to them.
Nikon digital cameras produce colourful pictures with a touch of extra brightness. That is the case with this camera too.
In the main noise is handled fairly well, but as noted above pictures taken at distance can suffer from a hazy look.
Panasonic DMC FZ48 Rating 87/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review
Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100
The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.
Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review
Canon Powershot SX40 HS Rating 85/100
Your decision to buy the Canon Powershot SX40 HS is likely to be based on whether or not you prefer the simplicity and lower price of a digital camera with a fixed lens or whether you prefer the ultimate flexibility of a Digital SLR. If you prefer a camera where one lens covers just about all photo opportunities then the Powershot SX40 HS is hard to beat. There are no real issues with picture quality and it has a set of features that few other models can match. Recommended.
Read Review: Canon Powershot SX40 HS Review
Review Date: May 2012
The Nikon Coolpix L810 offers something different as it gives you the power of an extra long lens, but with the simplicity of a point and shoot digital camera. This helps to make it somewhat cheaper than the more fully featured models with similar zoom power. Picture quality does not match up to the more expensive models in this category, but it is only if you are planning to make extra large prints that you are likely to see much difference between photos taken with this camera and those that give you that bit of extra quality. This camera is a good choice if you are looking for simple operation and a powerful lens.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
76.3 x 111.1 x 83.1mm
SD, SDHC, SDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
The classic Digital SLR like design makes the Coolpix L810 very easy to take a hold of. Its larger size creates extra room for fingers and thumbs. There is a special rubberised area on the back to place your thumb and a large area on the front to wrap the fingers of your right hand around. You also have the option of cradling the lens unit with your left hand.
The flash unit pops up on the top of the camera. This is well away from any fingers that may block out light. Owing to the size of the camera there is still plenty of room behind the flash unit for a finger or thumb to hold the Coolpix L810 steady.
LCD Screen Quality
Most LCD screens have a resolution of around 230,000 pixels. The LCD screen on this camera has a much higher resolution of 921,000 pixels. This gives the screen greater clarity than most LCD screens offer.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Shutter response times are slower than ideal. This is true for single shots, multiple shots and for both when flash is on or off.
Design, Build Quality and Finish
As mentioned above, this camera looks like a small Digital SLR. It does have a slightly plastic feel to it. It is available in black, blue and red.
On the top of the camera is an on / button, a ring for zooming in and out and a shutter button. There is also a slider on the side of the camera that can be used to zoom in and out.
Moving to the back of the camera there is a button to shoot a movie at the top. Further down are buttons to select the shooting mode and review your photos. At the bottom two more buttons give you access to the menu system and to delete unwanted photos. There is also a circular control section. This gives you quick access to settings for flash, exposure compensation, macro mode and the self timer. In the centre of this section is a button to confirm a setting.