Nikon Coolpix L26 Review

4.0
February 1, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

Noise

The difficulty with the Nikon Coolpix L26 lies with its simple approach to picture taking. There's no ISO manual over-ride so we can't test the system precisely. We tried to adjust the lighting to raise the ISO but if the camera's using a fast shutter speed, it'll simply slow it down first. This was indeed the case and we only managed to get the ISO 80 and ISO 200 settings recorded. The results of those two settings are certainly disappointing though. ISO 80 shows sharp results in edge definition and overall good noise performance but there's still a degree of image breakdown on edges; similar to pixellation. The problem is with ISO 200. We'd expect to see a little salt & pepper noise and some loss of sharp edges but there's a lot more noise here than there should be.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Although the pictures don't look overly sharp straight from the Nikon Coolpix L26, they don't actually benefit from any boost in Photoshop. Adding even the standard sharpening took edges over the top.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix L26 has two compression ratings at full resolution. The highest quality has a star designation next to the image size in the main menu. A typical image at this size is around 9Mb while knocking it down to the normal setting without the star will shave off roughly 2Mb of information.

High (9.13Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (7.15Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix L26 does suffer from chromatic aberration. It tends to get worse towards the edges of the frame and can happen in low contrast areas more than high. Branches of trees against the sky seem to be the most susceptible because of the dark subject over the light background. However, we also found it on other subjects as long as it's a dark foreground over a lighter background.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

 

Macro

The macro performance of the Nikon Coolpix L26 isn't the best at around 10cm. However the results are good enough. In the lab test the pictures are sharp and in the real world we got a good narrow band of focus that would look good as a diorama effect.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

There's no light fall off towards the edges of the frame without the flash on and when using the flash, exposures remain the same. It seems that Nikon have nailed the effect of using flash without it looking like flash is being used. Whether at wide angle or full zoom there's no vignetting in the corners.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

The Nikon Coolpix L26 does have a red-eye reduction mode but there's little point in using it. Whenever we tried it, the flash with out red-eye never captured any.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Nikon Coolpix L26 has a preset mode for dealing with many situations. One of those is the night scene mode. It selects a wide aperture to let as much light in as possible while speeding up the ISO to make the sensor more sensitive to light. It also increases the noise reduction to cope with the higher ISO and keeps the shutter speed as fast as possible to avoid any camera shake.

White-balance can't be adjusted in this mode so we had to make do. Switching the camera over into auto mode will allow you to balance strong lighting and there's a preset manual option if you have something white to point the camera at. Picture quality is good though and the colours are precise.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

   

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

3 inch LCD, compact, 720p, wide-angle, 16 megapixel, nikon, beginner, 5x zoom, coolpix, wideangle, 26mm, AA battery, Nikon Coolpix L26 Review, l26, nikon l26 review

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