Nikon Coolpix L610 (Black)
Price Range: $114.99 - $129.99
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.5 / 5
The good: The Nikon Coolpix L610 has an above-average feature set for its street price, including a backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and 14x zoom, and uses AA batteries for power.
The bad: Shooting performance, while better than most in this category, is too slow for photos of kids and pets. Battery life is short with alkaline batteries. Flash must be manually popped up and the optical zoom doesn't work while recording video.
The bottom line: Though nothing extraordinary, the Nikon Coolpix L610 is a decent entry-level compact camera that shoots slightly above its price.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
There aren't a lot of options if you want a compact camera with a long zoom lens and powered by AA batteries. Even fewer if you want that camera to be somewhat pocketable. In fact, outside of the Nikon Coolpix L610, there's really only one other current model, the Canon PowerShot SX160 IS.
The SX160 IS' advantages over the Nikon are that it has a lot more shooting options, including semimanual and manual modes, and a slightly longer lens (though the L610 starts wider). Also, the Canon can zoom while shooting movies; the Nikon is limited to digital zoom. But if you don't plan to leave auto mode much and the other two aren't deal breakers, the L610 might be the better choice.
Though picture quality isn't spectacular from either, the L610's backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor provides slightly better low-light results, and shooting performance is a touch better, too. It's also a smaller and lighter camera (though the SX160 feels better-constructed).
With both models currently available for around the same price of $150, it really comes down to what matters most to you in features and photo and video quality.
For its price and features, the Coolpix L610 shoots a bit above its class. However, that still means it does its best work outdoors under good lighting, especially if you're using the zoom lens. There's noise visible even at its lowest ISOs when photos are viewed at full size, but detail is very good up to ISO 200.
Color, white balance, and exposure are generally good, too, so, again, as long as you give it plenty of light, you'll get nice results. Going up to ISO 400 and above, photos get a little less usable at larger sizes because noise and noise reduction ramp up.
Though you can set the sensitivity up to ISO 3200, Auto ISO stops at ISO 1600 (and for good reason, since ISO 3200 looks pretty bad). However, the L610 will significantly slow shutter speeds before it starts to use ISO 800 or above. That means if you're shooting indoors or in low light, you may end up with blurry photos before you ever have to worry about noise or smeary details from noise reduction.
Video quality is good with results that are basically in line with its photos: the more light you have, the better the results. Expect more noise and softness the less light you have. Audio quality is OK, and again, the optical zoom doesn't work while recording.
Editors' note: We recently updated our testing methodology to gauge slightly more real-world performance, so the results aren't necessarily comparable with previous testing. Until we're finished refining our procedures, we will not be posting comparative performance charts.
Most lower-end cameras as well as those powered by AA batteries aren't speedy, but the L610 fared better than most. The camera's CMOS sensor helps keep shooting speeds tolerable, but it can feel slow when shooting indoors or with the lens fully extended.
From off to first shot takes about 1.9 seconds, assuming you fully press the shutter release immediately after the power button. Shutter lag -- the time from pressing the shutter release to capture without prefocusing -- was 0.3 second in bright lighting and 0.7 second in dim conditions. Extending the lens slowed that time to an average of 1.2 seconds. Shot-to-shot times averaged 1.5 seconds without the flash and 3.3 seconds with flash. However, these times were under lab conditions, so depending on what you're shooting and in which mode you use, the camera may require more processing time before it's ready to shoot again.
The L610 can shoot bursts at up to 1.9 frames per second for up to four frames. Once you release the shutter, though, you'll be waiting a few seconds for the camera to process and store the photos before you can shoot again. Also, it locks focus and exposure with the first shot, so if you're shooting a rapidly moving subject there's a chance your shots all won't be in focus.
Design and features
Yes, you can get more compact cameras than the L610 and with longer lenses. But, if you want AA batteries for power, the body has to be bigger. I was able to slip it into a pants pocket, though I wouldn't go so far as to say "comfortably."
The body is all plastic and it feels somewhat cheaply made. The zoom control on top, for instance, seems to have too much play and was occasionally unresponsive. The remaining controls were fine, though, as long as I didn't try to rush the camera to do anything. The buttons are large and well-spaced (a benefit of the larger body), and there is a one-touch record button for movies. Above the screen is a switch for popping up the flash. It doesn't lift automatically, but the camera does warn you onscreen to lift it when it is necessary.
|Key specs||Nikon Coolpix L610|
|Dimensions (WHD)||4.3x2.7x1.4 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||8.5 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||16 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS|
|LCD size, resolution/viewfinder||3-inch LCD, 460K dots/None|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||14x, f3.3-5.9, 25-350mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/H.264 AAC (.MOV)|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||4,608x3,456 pixels/ 1,920x1,080 at 30fps|
|Image stabilization type||Optical and digital|
|Battery type, CIPA rated life||AA (2, alkaline included), 120 shots|
|Battery charged in camera||No|
Like much of this camera, screen size and resolution are good for what you're paying. The screen gets adequately bright enough for all but direct sunlight, and settings and menu text are sharp and easy to read. The camera, like most of Nikon's Coolpix models, is simple to operate. You'll still want to read the full manual (included as a PDF file on a CD), but straight from the box you'll be able to start shooting without much trouble.
Battery life is brief for the L610. It's CIPA-rated for 120 shots on its two, AA-size alkaline batteries. The batteries tend to exhaust much before that, however, mainly because doing anything other than taking automatic shots drains the batteries faster. Switching to rechargeable NiMH or high-power lithium ion batteries does get you much better performance, so I suggest using alkalines only in a pinch. The batteries and SD card slot are under the same flimsy locking door, and if you're not careful when opening the compartment, the batteries will fall right out.
|General shooting options||Nikon Coolpix L610|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|White balance||Auto, Custom, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash|
|Recording modes||Scene auto selector, Scene, Special effects, Smart portrait, Auto (programmable)|
|Focus modes||Face priority, 9-area auto, manual with 99 focus areas, center, subject tracking|
|Macro||0.4 inch (Wide)|
|Metering modes||Multipattern, Center-weighted (when using up to 2x digital zoom), Spot (digital zoom of 2x or more)|
|Color effects||Standard, Vivid, Sepia, Black & White, Cyanotype, Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, High key, Low key, Selective color|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||Four shots|
If you have no interest in controlling shutter speed and aperture, the L610 is for you. There are two Auto modes on this camera. One is Nikon's Scene Auto Selector. It adjusts settings appropriately based on six common scene types. If the scene doesn't match any of those, it defaults to a general-use Auto. Then there is a regular Auto mode, which is basically the Program mode you'd find on other cameras. It'll handle shutter speed and aperture settings, but you can also adjust things like ISO and white balance as well as film colors like Vivid, Sepia, and Cyanotype.
There are 19 other scene modes like Landscape and Portrait as well as modes for correcting backlit portraits, easy panorama photos (180 or 360 degrees), and handheld night shots. A separate Special Effects mode gives you some creative options like High-cContrast Monochrome and Selective Color, which turns everything black and white except a color you specify. (The playback menu also has other effects filters you can apply after you shoot, like soft focus for a toy camera look and fish-eye.)
The Nikon Coolpix L610 might not be a terribly exciting camera, but it's good for what it is. If you're considering this for regularly photographing active kids and pets or sports -- especially indoors -- you'll probably want to pass on it, or at least be willing to really learn its limitations. Otherwise, it's a solid value.
|Product Description||Nikon Coolpix L610 - Digital camera|
|Product Type||Digital camera - Compact|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||4.3 in x 1.3 in x 2.7 in|
|Supported Flash Memory||SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card|
|Sensor Resolution||16 megapixels|
|Min Focus Range||19.7 in|
|Focal Length||4.5 mm - 63 mm|
|Display||LCD display - 3 in|
|Supported Battery||2 x AA Alkaline battery ( Included ), 2 x AA Lithium battery ( Optional ), 2 x AA NiMH rechargeable battery ( Optional )|
Average User Rating: 3.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 2
4 Star: 0
3 Star: 0
2 Star: 0
1 Star: 1
Very nice camera!
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on March 14, 2013
2 out of 2 users found this review helpful
Pros: -Very nice features with lots of different scenes
-Flash is very bright
-Easy to use
-Zoom is great
-Takes very nice photos
Cons: -Hands need to be very still to take photos while zoomed (to be expected)
-Camera dies any time I try and record (Seems like it is only me)
Summary: All in all, it is a very nice camera, with great features, and seems to be worth the money I spent on it. I don't know if it is just the camera I got, but any time I try to record video, it says the batteries are exhausted, even if they are brand new. I am an ametuer at photo taking, so don't be going out buying one just off what i said, look around, and choose the one best for you. (This camera happened to be what i was looking for)
I bought this product 3 month ago. Its lens is superb
Rating: 5 / 5
on March 2, 2014
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: 1.Picture is excellent (still picture)
2.Zoom level is good.
3.Easy to carry.
4.It can take excellent picture even in dark condition
Cons: 1.There is a little bit problem in image stabilization
2 There is a little bit problem in motion detection as well.
Awful customer service. Lens problems.
Rating: 1 / 5
on November 19, 2013
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: • Took good pictures
• Easy to operate
Cons: • Cheap components
• Company does not stand behind product
Summary: Received the camera last year as a present. About a month ago, I turned it on and the lens would not extend and I received a "Lens Error" message on the screen. After looking into it online I found that this is a common problem with this camera. It's supposed to have a 1 year warranty, but I received an email telling me that this repair was not under warranty (even though it was bought 9 months ago) and that it would cost nearly as much as the camera to repair it.
Can't trust a company who doesn't stand behind their product. Look at the reviews online before buying and Google "Nikon L610 Lens Error."