Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Nikon Coolpix L830 Review: Swivel and Zoom

Nikon

recently updated its Coolpix range of cameras including the Life (L) series. At the high end of the L series is the Nikon

Coolpix L830 which is an update to the Coolpix L820. This is a bridge

camera with a 34x optical zoom lens, which is slightly lower than Sony

DSC-H300′s 35x optical zoom.


While the Coolpix L830 seems to have a lot going for it, we find out if this camera has the actual chops to capture

great images.


nikon_coolpix_l830_rear_ndtv.jpg


Design
Truly bridging the gap

between DSLRs and compact digital cameras, the Coolpix L830 is a

super-zoom digital camera trapped in a DSLR frame, only much smaller.

While it is available in plain black as well as red, the plum

colour variant which we got for review is very striking. The body is

made entirely of plastic with a glossy coat of paint on top, but it does feel sturdy. On the whole, for the amount it costs, the camera

looks premium.


The most striking feature of the camera is the variangle LCD monitor which can be tilted and lowered to an

angle of approximately 85 degrees. This makes it easy to capture

dramatic shots and we found it useful in awkward situations.


nikon_coolpix_l830_LCD_ndtv.jpg


The grip features a rubber padding that makes holding the camera

easier. On the flip side, we couldn’t hold the camera properly with both hands, like one would a DSLR, since it has a really small frame.

Holding the lens with the other hand was slightly disorienting as

either the thumb came in the way of the flash or it

got captured by the lens.


You can use the Coolpix L830 easily with a single hand, but its 508g weight (including

batteries) makes it slightly unwieldy and this adds

to image stabilization issues that are inherent to super-zoom cameras. We feel that the ergonomics are slightly off, though there isn’t much Nikon could have done in this case.


On the top edge is

the power button, with the shutter release and zoom

ring further forward on the grip. There is also an ugly-looking perforated speaker on the top which detracts from the otherwise decent design of the camera. There is another zoom control on the side of the lens barrel.

Right above this is a small button to pop the flash open. On the

left edge are the micro-HDMI and proprietary PC connection ports.

On the right edge is the DC input connector. The bottom has the tripod

socket and the compartment for four AA batteries and a memory card.


nikon_coolpix_l830_right_ndtv.jpg


Features and specifications
The

Nikon Coolpix L830 has a class-standard 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that can

capture images at 16 megapixels. This is a

super-zoom camera with a 34x optical zoom lens, which means it can go as far as 765mm on the higher end and as close as 22.5mm on the

lower end. The camera operates in the ISO sensitivity range of 125 to

3200.


nikon_coolpix_l830_battery_ndtv.jpg


The L830 can shoot in a variety of modes: Easy Auto, Auto, Special effects, Smart portrait and Scene

(which includes Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach,

Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum,

Fireworks show, Black and white copy, Backlighting, Easy panorama and Pet

portrait).


While operating the

camera, we found that the software buries the scene mode options really

deep and it was tough to actually locate them. The software fails a

little bit in this respect. Moreover, there are no manual controls at all, which will be a deterrent to users who want a little bit of flexibility in their photography. There is no Wi-Fi connectivity either, which

is a bit of a letdown.


The 3-inch TFT LCD has a 921k dot

resolution. It has really good viewing angles but the sunlight

legibility is just about average.


Performance
Despite the

small sensor size, it lets in a sufficient amount of light. The focusing

ability of the lens in macro mode is not that great, though. In our

daylight testing, we found that the camera managed to capture some

really good details, even when zoomed in all the way to 34x. Pictures had a good

depth of field, too.


When zoomed in, we noticed some amount of noise. Moreover, the photos had an overall cool tonal quality to them. Printing

pictures at full resolution might not produce ideal results, but you should be able to get away with 4×5-inch sized prints.


DSCN0250.JPG


In our more intensive ISO sensitivity test, the

camera performs below par as evident from the picture below. Looking

closely, it’s possible to discern a small dent in the upper left

corner of the image at ISO 125 and ISO 200 which becomes less visible at higher ISO levels.

This could also be why we noticed noise in Auto mode, as the

camera probably chose higher sensitivity levels to shoot images.


nikon_coolpix_l830_iso_test.jpg


Nikon

claims that the camera can go as close as 1cm of the

subject in Macro mode. We found it difficult to focus at such close

range, but the results were nothing short of stunning. In low light

mode, the the L830 does a really decent job by capturing a good amount of

light and details, and performs better than many other cameras in the

same price range. But please note that you will need a tripod or at

least stable hands to capture good shots in the night. The

image stabilization is not really good, and we ended up with a lot of

blurred shots.


The quality of captured 1080p video was decent and we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of background noise the microphones filtered out, leaving good quality sound. The flash module on the Nikon Coolpix L830 is one of the best we’ve used. It lit up the room evenly and the light wasn’t too harsh either.


DSCN0228.JPG


We mentioned earlier that the camera uses four AA

batteries, which means that battery life and the number of shots will vary

according to the type of battery one uses. We used four regular alkaline

batteries and got around 80 shots before the battery dipped to 75 percent. Lithium batteries will give you more shots per charge.


Verdict
This

low-end bridge camera is priced at Rs. 15,450 but can be found cheaper

online. At this price and with such a great feature set, the camera

might look like a killer deal but the slightly high noise levels are a downer. The

lack of Wi-Fi is also another letdown.


On the other hand, it captures

some decent shots in the night and macro photographs come out well too. We’d suggest

picking it up if size and weight are not too much of an issue, and if the

you won’t ever need to print banner-sized cutouts. Alternatively, take a look at the Sony DSC-H300 and Canon Powershot SX510.


Price: Rs. 15,450


Pros



  • 34x optical zoom lens

  • Good performance in low light

  • Good macro performance


Cons



  • Noise even in daylight shots

  • A bit too heavy


Ratings (Out of 5)



  • Build/Design: 3.5

  • Image Quality: 3.5

  • Video: 3.5

  • Battery Life: 3.5

  • Value For money: 4

  • Overall: 3.5



Nikon Coolpix L830 Review: Swivel and Zoom

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