Nikon Coolpix L28 Review
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The Nikon Coolpix L28 is an affordable digital compact camera with a slim build, 20 megapixel resolution, 5x optical zoom and complete automation. It's a camera designed for the novice, so does it really need a resolution that high? In our in-depthreview, we'll be finding that out. The Nikon L28 is available in red, black, silver and pink for around £109.99 / $119.95.
Ease of Use
Continuing on with their need for presence in every level of photography, Nikon have released the Coolpix L28, a straight forward digital compact camera designed purely for the beginner to photography. It features some impressive tech inside it considering it's position in the marketplace. Take, for example, the 20 megapixel sensor. The level of detail that a sensor of this kind of resolution will be huge. Will the person buying this camera care? That's the question and we're not sure they will. Still, it's there if you need it and you can always drop it down to a lower setting. On top of that, there's Eye-Fi compatibility for transmitting your pictures wirelessly to an external device via an Eye-Fi SD memory card.
The L28 also has a multitude of features that makes picture taking easy to do, so if you're the type of person that wants to simply point a lens at something and press a button, then this could be right up your street. Bolstering the Auto mode, the camera also has an Easy Auto mode. When the camera is in this position, it will analyse the scene and select the appropriate mode. For example, if it sees a person in the frame, it will put itself into Portrait mode, enable auto flash and start up face detection to optimise focus and metering onto the person.
If that wasn't enough, the Nikon Coolpix L28 has a Smart Portrait mode that will enable a Smile Timer which will take a picture automatically as soon as it detects a smile in the frame - even if you don't press the button. Accompanying that is a Blink detection system and Skin softening software to reduce blemishes.
To top all that off, the L28 takes 2x AA batteries to power it. You may ask what this has to do with making photography easy, but think about it. You're out on a day trip or on holiday and the batteries die. Instead of having to cart around your charger and cable, you can pop into the nearest newsagents and get replacement batteries.
The batteries slot into the bottom of the Nikon Coolpix L28 along with the memory card and the physical size of them is what makes the bulge in the front. The 5x optical zoom lens sits flush into the body next to the batteries, so that it's more centrally located on the body. A small flash is located in the far reaches of the camera's corner. The top plate has been kept minimal with only two buttons that control power and the shutter. The latter has a zoom ring wrapped around it which, when tested, we found it to be a little unresponsive. As time went on, we noticed that straight after taking a picture the camera completely freezes while it downloads the picture to the memory card.
The back of the Nikon Coolpix L28 has been reserved for all the other buttons. The 3 inch LCD screen sits slightly to the left to make more space for the buttons. At the top is a dedicated video record button which will start video recording at any time without having to select the video mode first. Below this are two buttons: The left button opens up a small menu which will scroll through the afore-mentioned auto modes. The icon of a lady is for the Scene modes, of which there are 18. The icon will change when a different mode is chosen, for example Landscapes, Sport or Museum modes. A handy hint is that if you see a white box with a question mark in it anywhere, simply twist the zoom switch and an explanation of the mode you're on will pop up on screen. Twist it again and it will revert to the original screen.
The Main menu is split into three sections: Camera, Video and Setup. The simplistic nature of the L28 means that the sections are minimal. The Camera section only has four options for resolution, white-balance, burst mode and colour options. Interestingly, there's no ISO setting; the camera handles it all. Most likely this is to reduce the amount of worry from picture taking and reinforces the market status for the camera as entry level. However, in stark contrast, the white-balance has a manual setting to it. The Video section has only two options for resolution and focus modes. The Setup menu is by far the most expansive with 17 options from formatting the card, to changing the battery type or enabling the Eye-fi upload option.
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The L28 isn't built for speed and in the standard continuous shooting mode, it can take around 0.6fps (frames per second). That's a little slow, but not overly bad for this type of camera. The first two images are taken under a second and then it slowly starts to level out. The biggest problem is afterwards as the camera processes the images and saves them to memory. It takes another 25 seconds just to do that. The other two continuous shooting modes are BSS (Best Shot Selector) and Multi-Shot 16 which will drop the resolution to 5 megapixel, take 16 shots in a second and save them all as one image as a tile effect. Start up time from cold is a little faster than the average (2.5sec) at around 2.3sec. That's with the camera getting switched on, focusing and taking a picture.
Pressing the blue arrow button will take you into the Nikon Coolpix L28's playback function. The images are full screen with the shooting information around the edges of the screen. After a few seconds, the info automatically turns off. The information is the basics such as the date, time, image number, position on the card (eg; 5 of 10), resolution and battery power. The amount of information can be altered in the Main menu under Monitor settings. Zoom out and the images will become thumbnails so you can navigate faster, but the images are obviously harder to see.
In the box, along with the camera you get a couple of AA batteries, USB cable and wrist strap. The documentation consists of a warranty card and quick start guide. It's in multiple languages, so don't dissuaded by it's size. The full manual comes on the CD that's also in the box. The CD also holds ViewNX 2, a simple editing and tagging software program, powered by ArcSoft, for your computer.