The Nikon COOLPIX L810 offers bridge camera design and a full specification at a fantastic price. It may not have the advanced functionality of its bridge camera peers, but at its current price its worthy of consideration. Read our review to find out what we think.
If you’d have told a photographer three years ago that they’d be able to pick up a 26x optical zoom bridge camera for a little over £100, you’d most likely have been laughed at. Technological advances mean that this is no longer as far-fetched as it once was, with Nikon producing a real eye-catching model in this price range in the shape of the Nikon COOLPIX L810.
The Nikon COOLPIX L810 features a truly impressive imaging specification when you consider the cost of the camera. The model features a large 26x optical zoom with a wide angle of 22.5mm in equivalent terms, closing in to 585mm at the tele end. The lens also benefits from lens-shift vibration reduction technology, as opposed to the digital type of vibration reduction, to enable short images to be captures through the focal range.
At the core of the model sits a 1/2.3in CCD sensor with an effective resolution of 16MP, although unfortunately it’s only capable of 720p HD video capture as opposed to the full-blooded 1080p found almost as standard these days on digital cameras.
The impressive feature-set continues on the rear of the Nikon COOLPIX L810, where you’ll find a 3in, 921k-dot LCD screen complete with an anti-reflective coating. The model also features Nikon’s EXPEED C2 image processing system for both speed of capture and improved performance at higher ISO settings.
There are certain hallmarks that are noticeable when a camera is targeted towards the more affordable end of the market, and the Nikon L810 certainly bears these. To begin, the camera is powered by a quartet of AA batteries, as opposed to a single Li-ion rechargeable unit. While this isn’t a massive issue in terms of usage as rechargeable AA batteries are readily available, it does add to the bulk of the camera and its weight.
The notion of the Nikon COOLPIX L810 being an entry-level model is affirmed by the selection of shooting modes on offer. The Nikon COOLPIX L810 doesn’t offer the full manual shooting options present on more advanced bridge camera, instead featuring more simple shooting options. These include an ‘Easy Auto’ that assesses the scene and optimises all settings to suit. There’s also a ‘Smart portrait’ system that combines ‘Smile shutter’ technology, ‘Blink proof’ alerts, ‘Skin softening’ adjustments and ‘Red-eye fix’ technology. One final basic shooting mode is the Nikon COOLPIX’s ‘Best shot selector’ (BSS) setting that captures up to ten sequential images and settles on the sharpest.
Nikon COOLPIX L810 review – Design
The Nikon COOLPIX L810 looks every bit the bridge camera in terms of design. The bulk of the body is dominated by the large lens barrel and protruding handgrip to the right hand side of the body. The top plate, owing to the lack of any advanced shooting modes and thus the need for a mode dial as such, is relatively sparsely populated when it comes to controls. The only controls present are the on / off button and shutter release, which is circled by the zoom level.
The rear of the Nikon COOLPIX L810 is also relatively low on controls. Outside of the traditional buttons to access the main camera functionality, there’s a dedicated movie record button to offer access to the camera’s 720p movie capture.
One welcome feature in the design of the Nikon COOLPIX L810 is located to the left-hand side of the main lens barrel. The model features a zoom level which sits in the natural resting position for the non-shooting hand, making the process of zooming in and out a controlled affair.