Nikon Coolpix L5

Looks good on paper, but how well does it perform?


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Nikon Coolpix L5

The L series of cameras from Nikon are known for their high specs at affordable prices, which kind of defines the L5—a 7.2 megapixel camera at an excellent price of Rs. 11,500. Lets find out more about it.

To begin with, the L5 comes in a relatively slim body with a distinct bulge in the front that holds down a lens, that pops right out on when turned on. The back of the camera, as always has all the options for the scene modes, settings and the zoom/tele switch. The top of the camera has the power and the shutter release along with two other buttons, namely face detection and vibration reduction (VR).

Nikon Coolpix L5

The 2.5" screen sports a 115,000 pixel resolution, which works well for most purposes. It give a pretty clear idea of what the final image is going to look like, without downgrading much in the preview.

The camera takes two AA batteries, but you don't have to worry about that being an added expenditure since Nikon bundles two NiMH batteries with a charger with this camera. Nice! Maybe other camera manufacturers should take a lesson from these guys, about giving the customer some real value for their money.

Overall, the L5 doesn't look outstanding, but it does look pretty good for a budget camera.

The L5 has the Nikkor 5x zoom lens and boasts a 7.2 megapixel camera resolution, which is very impressive considering its category. Anything with 4x optical zoom and above should have a good image stabilizer, and sure enough, this one does.

It's got all the scene modes you'd need—13 in all. Besides the standard array of landscape, portrait and night modes, the L5 also features panorama assist. Every scene mode further expands to a guide mode, where you can use the helpful outlines to place your subject accordingly to make a good shot. Very helpful for newbies.
By default, the camera is programmed to give you warm colors on most of its images. The good news is that the colors otherwise are pretty much well captured with all the reds, pinks, and yellows coming out almost perfectly.

The sharpness levels were totally hit-or-miss in this one. The first thing I noticed was that the L5 took a pretty long time to focus at full zoom, and in a lot of cases it got the focus all wrong.

There was also a problem with getting the right focus in macro shots especially if the subject was red in color. The camera would automatically adjust its focus to the greens at the background.

What I did like about the L5 was the lack of digital noise in night shots. When set in the right mode, the camera selects the right ISO setting and uses a lower shutter speed instead to compensate for the light. This may not be a good thing for a lot of users, as the camera requires you to place it on a still surface when taking these shots, or else you may just give you a whole lot of blur.

The most frustrating part about the Coolpix L5 is its sluggish overall performance. Turning on the camera and taking your first shot takes 3-4 seconds and the next consecutive shot will take another 4 seconds (without flash). Even zooming in and out is extremely slow.

The street price of Rs. 11,500 make the L5 sound like a sweet deal, and it is. The thing is that it tries to do a lot and ends up giving a half-hearted result in everything. I wouldn't mind something with a lower resolution and even lesser shooting modes, as long as the camera can handle every little feature its got. For those not blinded by its paper specs, there are cameras that may not offer as much, but give you great pictures at the same price.

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