Nikon Coolpix L620 Review

3.5
October 14, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 18 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

Noise

Viewing pictures at a normal size shows the pictures at low ISO as being very good quality. They're smooth and nicely detailed. The camera copes well with noise when viewing pictures like that by keeping colour casts at bay. If we zoom into full magnification, though we'll be able to see how the picture changes as noise becomes more of a threat as we climb through the ISO settings.

ISO 125 looks good enough, although to be hyper-critical there's minor amounts of colour noise showing in darker areas of the pictures. It's not easy to see, but it's there. A slight amount of salt & pepper noise invades at ISO 200 but colour noise remains at the same degree of annoyance thanks to the noise reduction software.

At this point, you may be wondering where the back-illuminated sensor is coming into play. Well despite the amount of noise that's coming in, the noise reduction software isn't having to smooth the picture out.

That is until around ISO 400 where there's a little smoothing out of the detail in the dark areas. Mid-tones and highlights are still left untouched until ISO 800 where noise starts affecting the whole image. Fine detailed areas look as though they've been painted out of oils. By ISO 1600, the salt & pepper noise becomes too much and overwhelms the noise reduction system. The final setting of ISO 3200 shows pockets of colour noise showing in mid-tones.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix L620's 14x optical zoom is a 35mm equivalent of 25-350mm. Edge to edge definition seems pretty good at wide-angle although the corners do seem to drop in quality.

25mm

350mm

Sharpening

In some circumstances, adding sharpening certainly helps but in pictures that have noise in, the noise is exacerbated and simply breaks down the quality of the picture.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

We found chromatic aberrations in multiple areas and the only thing we had to be careful about was that it wasn't simply lens flare from sunlight. We found many instances of chroma on images with no sky in them, though.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix L620 can get as close as 1cm to it's subjects – which is great. Image quality does suffer vastly at this close range, though. Picture quality drops off fairly early with only the centre of the picture sharp.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

Without flash on, there's a degree of vignetting which still occurs even when the Nikon Coolpix L620's lens is at full zoom, Instead of eradicating it, using flash simply stabilises it along with the ambient light. The flash is an intelligent type, so will make the picture look as though flash hasn't been used.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (350mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (350mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

At first we thought we'd got red-eye on the picture with red-eye reduction, but we suspect it's actually a form of chromatic aberration. It only circles the white of the catch-light and doesn't look like a reflection – which is what red-eye is.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

In Night scene mode, you get the choice of using the Nikon Coolpix L620 hand-held or in tripod mode. We assumed the idea of the tripod mode was that the camera uses a lower ISO to give a smoother image. However, the L620 uses a high ISO 800 rating. We think that supported, the camera can afford to go down to ISO 125. It is possible that the extra long exposure at that setting could cause a different type of noise and there's also the problem of how slow a shutter speed the camera is capable of.

Our results show a smudged outlook from abundant use of noise control. There's less detail than we'd like because of it, but the colours are still bang on with no cast. White balance has managed to cope with the new LED lights found in Sheffield these days.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, review, 1080p, hdmi, nikon, camera, full hd, travel-zoom, coolpix, travel, travel zoom, 18 megapixel, 14x zoom, 25-350mm, aa battery, aa, Nikon Coolpix L620 Review, l620

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