Nikon's 7.1-megapixel Coolpix L12 tops Nikon's 'lifestyle' range and features Vibration Reduction, Face Detection and a 3x zoom.
Perfect First Compact?
Nikon’s L12 has a 7MP sensor, 3x optical zoom (35-105mm equivalent) and 15 scene modes. Where it starts to get interesting is with an ISO range of 80-1600 and optical image stabilisation.
You can get the L12 for a street price of less than £100, which also weighs in its favour. Quick to start up, its layout is simple and efficient and it has lots of features to help the novice – in fact this could be the perfect first digital camera for someone completely new to digital photography. The lens design is different from that of most cameras, as it is not centred in the middle of the zoom barrel, but slightly below centre. Very compact in size, the L12 has a small bump on the right which accommodates the AA batteries.
Manual control of the ISO range isn’t possible, so images will vary in noise due to the camera selecting a higher sensitivity in dark conditions. The time to write to the memory card can also be slow if you are using the highest-quality settings, but since the camera is unlikely to be used for high-speed work, this isn’t too much of an issue.
Usually we test how cameras perform at each ISO setting but on the L12 you can’t control this as the camera sets it automatically. Fringing is minimal and not an issue, and while noise is apparent it’s noticeable only for prints of A3 size – any size smaller would be fine. The lens does show signs of barrelling at the wideangle end, though it’s minimal at the telephoto end. Exposures are consistent and it deals well when subjected to a variety of lighting conditions.
This is a great camera for someone who doesn’t want the hassle of reading manuals, or full manual control. It is intuitive and user friendly and at a very reasonable price.