Nikon Coolpix L5 Review
Review Date: December 11th 2006
Author: Gavin Stoker
As we reach the end of 2006, entry-level digital cameras are cheaper and offer more features than ever before, with prices squeezed by the growing popularity of DSLRs. The Nikon Coolpix L5 is a new compact digital camera aimed squarely at the point and shoot user, but which still has a number of advanced features, including a 5x zoom lens equivalent to 38-190mm and a Vibration Reduction mode for shake-free pictures. Other highlights of the Nikon L5 include a 7.2 megapixel sensor and 2.5 inch LCD screen, whilst In-Camera Red-Eye Fix, Face-Priority AF and D-Lighting aim to intelligently improve your photographs. The Nikon Coolpix L5 offers 15 different scene modes and a Best Shot Selector option, making it well suited to the beginner. With a current street price of around £175 / $225, the Nikon L5 is certainly good value for money, but does it offer the right blend of features and performance? Read our review to find out.
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The Nikon Coolpix L5 has a 7.41 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD which delivers 7.2 effective pixels. There are a range of image sizes (7M:Fine (3072 x 2304), 7M:Normal (3072 x 2304), 5M:Normal (2592 x 1944), 3M:Economy (2048 x 1536), PC (1024 x 768), TV (640 x 480)) which are recorded as JPEGs. The camera's 5x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 38-190mm lens on a 35mm format camera. The Nikon Coolpix L5 also has a 4x digital zoom. The camera has 8Mb of built-in memory and it also supports SD Memory Cards (not supplied). There is a Vibration Reduction mode which uses an Optical Lens Shift system and has three different modes (Normal, Active, Off).
The Nikon Coolpix L5 offers an Auto exposure mode, 4 modes with Scene Assist (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait) and 11 Scene Modes (Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night landscape, Close up, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy, Back light, Panorama assist). There's a Best Shot Selector option which will choose either the sharpest image or the best exposed image for you. The maximum aperture is f2.9 (wide) – f5.0 (tele) and the shutter speed range is 1/2000 - 4 secs. There is an Auto ISO speed option. There are 5 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, and Flash), plus an Auto setting and White Balance Preset. The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps.
The Nikon Coolpix L5 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (10 secs.) and 3 different Continuous modes - Continuous (approx. 0.7fps) and Multi-shot 16 (16 images arranged in a grid as part of a single image). There are 5 colour options (standard, vivid, black and white, sepia and cyanotype). D-Lighting is a playback feature which fixes underexposed and backlit images without harming the properly exposed areas of the image, whilst blur warning tells you when a photo will be un-sharp (before you take it).
The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 4cms at the wide-angle lens setting. The built-in flash offers 5 different modes (Auto, Auto with Red-eye Reduction (In-Camera Red-Eye Fix), Flash cancel, Anytime flash and Slow sync.) and has a range of 0.5 - 5.5m (W) and 0.6 - 4m (T). To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical or electronic viewfinder. The Nikon Coolpix L5 has a 2.5 inch TFT LCD Display which has 115,000 pixels. The Nikon Coolpix L5 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Nikon Coolpix L5 can record movies at 640 x 480 pixels, 320 x 240 pixels and 160 x 120, all at 30fps with sound. The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. The Nikon Coolpix L5's dimensions are 97 (W) × 61 (H) × 45 mm (D) mm, and it weighs 170g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered two AA-size battery, which have an approximate battery life of 150 shots. There is a plastic tripod mount in the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a Strap, USB Cable, Audio Video Cable, Two LR6 AA-type alkaline batteries, and PictureProject CD-ROM. Note that you can only store 2 images at the highest quality JPEG setting on the 8Mb built-in memory. You will therefore need to invest in some memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Nikon Coolpix L5 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.