Nikon Coolpix L22 review
Review Date : Fri, 10 Sep 2010
Author : Matt Golowczynski
The Nikon Coolpix L22 is a 12MP camera with image stabilisation, AA batteries, and 37-134mm lens. Find our how it performed in our Nikon Coolpix L22 review
|Pros:||Large LCD screen, simple to use|
|Cons:||Not the slimmest compact, some may prefer rechargeable Li-ion battery|
The Nikon Coolpix L22 can be found for as little as £65, in a choice of four separate finishes. Predictably the camera offers nothing by way of manual control, though a number of innovations hide away inside to optimise picture quality.
These include the scene-recognising Easy Auto mode, which analyses elements within a composition to decide which scene mode will capture it best, and also a face-recognition AF mode. There's also smile detection, which automatically releases the shutter once the camera detects smiles, and a blink-proof function.
The sensor inside the Nikon Coolpix L22 contains 12MP while the lens in front of it encompasses a range from 37-134mm. Sensitivity, meanwhile, is provided over a range of ISO 80-1600, which is fairly standard for such a model.
Image stabilisation is provided, but not by either of the sensor- or lens-shifting methods employed on more expensive models. Instead, Nikon's Electronic Vibration Reduction feature is applied to images as they are captured (where necessary) while Motion Detection increases sensitivity and shutter speed to counter any camera shake on the user's part and blurring resulting from subject movement.
There's no viewfinder in the Nikon Coolpix L22, but despite its low asking price Nikon has been generous enough to fit the model with a 3in LCD screen, albeit one with a fairly standard 230,000dot resolution. Power is provided by two AA batteries, which are widely available should you need to replace them, and as with all Nikon compacts the camera accepts SD and SDHC memory cards.
Nikon Coolpix L22 build and handling
As the Nikon Coolpix L22 is powered by AA batteries, it isn't the smallest or lightest option at this price point. The space required to fit these does, however, mean that the camera offers a more substantial grip than most, and so is more comfortable to use with one hand. It's a shame it isn't better defined as on some previous L-series models as this would perhaps make it even easier to hold.
Start-up is reasonably quick, and is matched by a similarly fast power-down time. With no option to change the focusing point from the centre of the frame, the camera finds it difficult to focus on elements around the edges of the frame, often requiring you to focus and recompose (which can be slightly inaccurate in some instances). Even so, the camera manages to find focus in good time, and only hesitates when faced with featureless, low-contrast subjects.
A minor annoyance when playing back images is that there seems to be no apparent way of disabling the shot information over the images. Instead, you either need to wait around six seconds for it to disappear or alternatively activate the slide show. You can, however apply D-lighting to images where you may want to bring up shadow detail, which is both a quick and useful post-processing option.
Nikon Coolpix L22 image Quality
On the Standard colour setting, images have a lovely depth and vibrancy about them, although small inaccuracies can be observed (such as with blue skies leaning towards purple).
Metering is impressively accurate, with just minor overexposure in certain cases causing highlights to blow, but not past what could be expected for this sort of compact.
The lens clearly exhibits some barrel distortion at its widest end, but the camera noticeably processes this out and does a reasonable job of it too, although overall sharpness is noticeably worse towards the corners of the frame.
Noise is visible throughout the sensitivity range, which gives images a texture when viewed at 100%, but noise reduction takes care of the worst of this.
Possibly because of the effects of noise reduction (and other processing), the camera tends to apply a little too much sharpening, but impressively, chromatic aberrations are practically non-existent, with just minor purple fringing observed towards edges.
The lack of control over exposure and focusing are understandable at such a low price, and the Nikon Coolpix L22 is by no means the worst looking or performing camera in its class. Some may be put off by its use of AA batteries, but those who aren't could do much worse than this no-frills option.