Nikon COOLPIX L25 review
Performance, Image Quality and Verdict
Nikon Coolpix L25 review - Performance and Image QualityThe L25 is actually a lot better than I was expecting at, well, almost everything really, with a couple of caveats. It starts up with a slight lag as it braces itself for work but the lens zooms quickly and takes you though the range of focal lengths on offer, from wide to tele for example, in just over one second.
Focusing is noticeably sluggish, where a press of the shutter button and getting a focus confirmation beep can take over a second, but I found the lag depends to a degree on the subject and brightness; it performed better than expected on lower contrast scenes.
HD Video is a tad jerky in playback and looks rather muddy and grainy too, but the lack of noise on the audio when zooming is impressive, though the focusing in movies seems to be problematic in that it seems to be fixed, so watch out for that.
In terms of still image quality, the camera does okay at lower sensitivities, providing bright and colourful results in the default Standard setting. However, there are big question marks over the amount of detail the camera can capture.
Image edges are soft, there's evidence of image noise suppression even at the lowest ISO80 mode, where detail is homogenized away, most noticeably in areas of one colour (skies) and on expanses of grass.
The compromised detail is a big surprise at lower ISOs (though to be fair, at normal prints sizes (6x4-nches for example) you'll not be able to see the problems) but as the sensitivity increases, so does image noise and as that creeps up, noise processing reduces detail and leaches colour too.
It is worth pointing out here too, there is no manual control over the ISO, so you really are in the hands of the camera systems here, with it running between ISO80 and ISO1600 as it sees fit, something I don't like at all, but understand given the cameras target market.
However, at ISO 400, image noise and detail loss is already very advanced and quite disappointing, ISO800 is bad and ISO1600 almost unusable.
The white balance (WB) is good though, but there's a noticeable warming using the flash setting (for flash) and an orange blush in mixed lighting in auto mode and the metering system is very good providing well balanced exposures even in very harsh lighting or lower light.
Which all means it's a bit of a mixed bag really, a lot of the camera systems do a good job, but the ones that give the final push to image quality (sharpness, detail, soft edges from lens issues and image noise) seem to fall down rather badly.
Nikon Coolpix L25 review - Verdict
The L25 is a neat little compact with an even neater little price point and it packs enough kit in to keep most snappers happy and providing enough tricks up its digital sleeve to give you scope to play.
There are oddities though. For example, why Nikon do you include Exposure compensation (it is nice to have of course) but no manual control over ISO? That would be much more useful.
Unfortunately, as much as I like this camera overall, the image quality is really quite compromised and yes the camera is inexpensive and so not aimed at the more discerning or (arguably) visually literate user, it's still disappointing.
That said, the L25 is fun and easy to use and so overall, as a budget package, the Nikon Coolpix L25 is probably, just about, spot on.