Nikon Coolpix A10 Review

June 21, 2016 | Jack Baker | Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Coolpix A10 is Nikon’s cheapest Coolpix camera, boasting an RRP of just £59.99. For that you get a 16.1MP CCD sensor fronted by a 5x optical zoom lens with an equivalent focal length of 26-130mm. The A10 will shoot 720p HD video and features six creative effect filters, as well as Nikon’s Smart Portrait mode for enhancing shots of friends and family. The ergonomic easy-grip design comes in four body colour options and each is powered by a pair of AA batteries.

Ease of Use

The first thing that strikes you about the Nikon Coolpix A10 is its power source. Where the vast majority of compact cameras are fuelled by rechargeable Li-ion power packs, the A10 uses a pair of conventional AA cells. Nikon’s Coolpix L840 is the same in this respect, and it’s a good way for Nikon to keep costs down. It’s also useful when you’re away from the mains and run out of power, and if you refuel the A10 with lithium batteries, Nikon claims it’ll snap a very impressive 700 shots, although standard alkalines are rated for a more mundane 200 shots. For every day usage, it’d make sense to invest in some rechargeable NiMH batteries to avoid throwing money away on single-use cells. Nikon recons NiMH rechargeables will manage a healthy 500 shots per charge, however their added cost does make the A10’s low price slightly less attractive. Another issue with AA battery power source is that the batteries and SD card share the same compartment, so when you go to change cards, the batteries can easily fall out if you’re not careful.

Elsewhere, the Nikon Coolpix A10 is very easy to use and refreshingly ergonomic when compared to slimmer cameras, and especially wafer-thin smartphones. The pronounced finger grip doesn’t have a rubber coating, but the camera’s fairly light 160g ready to shoot weight means it never feels prone to slipping from your hand. A textured thumb rest on the back, along with the raised video record button alongside it, help the camera feel extra secure. Whether or not the A10 would withstand a drop is another matter, as while the all-plastic casing doesn’t flex or squeak, it does feels cheap.

Nikon Coolpix A10
Front of the Nikon Coolpix A10

But the most obvious sign of exterior cost-cutting is the 2.7-inch, 230k-dot LCD screen. Its resolution is the minimum you’ll find on a camera these days, and it causes menu icons and fine detail to look pixelated. The screen’s contrast accuracy is even worse though, thanks to extremely limited viewing angles that mean you’ll need to be looking at the screen from exactly the right angle to correctly judge exposure. It’s particularly problematic in low light shooting, where shadows are displayed as large back areas and highlights easily burn to white.

Another frustrating aspect of the Nikon Coolpix A10 is its speed, or rather the lack of it. Where we’ve grown used to cameras letting you immediately view a shot after capture, the A10 requires a frustrating 3-4 seconds of processing time. This is symptomatic of a deeper issue with the camera, which is that – despite the new model number – it’s actually several years old. The A10 is identical to 2015’s Coolpix L31, which itself was the same as the L29 that preceded it. This could be seen as Nikon playing dirty, but given that smartphones have made conventional compact cameras a dying breed, it’s small wonder that Nikon isn’t investing big bucks into this section of the camera market. It’s actually surprising Nikon is even producing budget compact cameras at all, as some manufactures have simply stopped making them.

Nikon Coolpix A10
Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A10

It’s therefore small wonder that the Nikon Coolpix A10 doesn’t pack many fun or fresh features. Aside from its HD 720p video recording capability and six creative effect filters (see the Image Quality section of this review for samples), the only other point of interest is Nikon’s Smart Portrait system. Sadly the A10 has only been given a cut-down version that’ll only soften skin and enable the self-timer to snap a shot when the camera detects a smiling face. There’s one other trick that the A10’s Smart Portrait system can pull, and that’s Blink Proof, which uses face detection to alert you should someone in shot be blinking. The A10 doesn’t pack Nikon’s Glamour Retouch face enhancement effects which usually accompany Smart Portrait.

The Smart Portrait system is activated by selecting it from the mode menu using the Scene button on the rear panel. The mode menu also includes the default Scene auto selector shooting mode, along with a standard Auto mode that lets you take control of white balance and ISO sensitivity, as well as activate continuous shooting. The camera’s creative effect filters can also be accessed from the mode menu, as can fifteen user-selectable scene presets. Unfortunately these don’t contain a sweep panorama mode, or even the Panorama Assist setting that Nikon includes with the Coolpix A100.

Nikon Coolpix A10
The Nikon Coolpix A10 In-hand

Whether you’re in the all-singing all-dancing Scene auto selector mode, or plain Auto mode, you’re able to adjust image size and quality, and also apply up to +/-2EV of exposure compensation using the rear panel button that doubles as the right directional control in playback mode. The left directional button activates the self-timer, although only a 10-second delay option is available, while the up button gives you a choice of various flash modes, including a red-eye reduction option.

Despite the slow image processing, the Nikon Coolpix A10 powers up and snaps a shot in an adequate 2.7 seconds. Of course, you’ll have to wait at least the same time again to view the shot, and if you’re shooting in low light, the A10’s autofocus system will require a couple of seconds to find its mark. The camera usually indicates accurate focussing no matter what the conditions, however we encountered a disappointing number of shots that actually turned out to be out of focus.

Image Quality

Images shot with the Nikon Coolpix A10 look fairly good at first glance thanks to vibrant colour reproduction and accurate exposure metering. The aging 16.1MP sensor doesn’t capture much dynamic range though, so shadow have a tendency to be overly dark. Detail is well resolved when shooting close subjects, but the sensor limitations show up again when capturing more distant scenes like landscapes, where fine detail is soft and smoothed by image processing.

In low light, the A10 generates relatively dark shots with muted shadow detail. There’s plenty of grain and colour speckling at ISO 800, and though noise isn’t too much worse at the maximum ISO 1600 sensitivity, images are noticeably softer.

The 5x zoom lens with its 26-130mm-equivalent focal length is just as mediocre, with sharpness decreasing towards the corner of frame. Chromatic aberration is clearly visible on high contrast boundaries and can be quite distracting when viewing at 100% image size, while the lens’ lack of image stabilisation makes it hard to avoid blur from camera shake when shooting indoors while zoomed in. That’s because the Nikon Coolpix A10 won’t sufficiently increase ISO sensitivity in such situations, so you’ll need to do so manually to get sharp shots.


The Nikon Coolpix A10 has six sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 80 to ISO 1600 at full resolution.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix A10’s 5x zoom lens achieves a maximum wide-angle focal length equivalent to 26mm, and can zoom in to 130mm (in 35mm-camera terms). As you can see, with no image stabilisation and the default Scene auto selector mode’s reluctance to engage high ISO sensitivities, blur from camera shake is a problem when using full zoom.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

File Quality

Shooting the Nikon Coolpix A10 at its maximum 16.1MP resolution with Fine jpeg quality produces images in the region of 7MB each. Switching to normal quality at the same resolution brings that down to roughly 4MB. Other resolution options are also available: 8MP (approx. 2MB), 4MP (approx. 1MB), 2MP (approx. 0.5MB), and VGA 640x480 (approx. 100-150KB).



quality_fine.jpg quality_standard.jpg


The Nikon Coolpix A10’s lens will focus as close as 10cm from your subject when the lens is at maximum wide-angle. However, the camera will only consistently focus at this distance when you switch to Auto mode and manually activate macro focussing.




The Nikon Coolpix A10’s flash has four settings when shooting in standard Auto mode: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill flash & Slow sync. Shooting a white surface from a distance of 1.5m shows the flash provides even illumination with the lens zoomed in, though some minor vignetting is visible in the wide-angle shot.

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

With the flash is set to Fill Flash, red-eye is fairly obvious, and it’s not entirely eliminated by switching to Auto with red-eye reduction. The Fill Flash shot is also out of focus, despite the A10 claiming the contrary.

Fill Flash On

Fill Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Flash Auto with red-eye reduction

Flash Auto with red-eye reduction (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg


Surprisingly, the Nikon Coolpix A10 managed accurate focus for this night shot, however it’s underexposed and Scene auto selector mode’s decision to shoot at ISO 400 has resulted in a slow ½-second shutter speed that was very tough to hold steady.

Night Auto


Digital Filters

The Nikon Coolpix A10 offers six filter effects, all of which are previewed live and recorded at full resolution. Your options are: Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, Selective colour, Pop, Cyanotype, and Mirror.


Nostalgic Sepia

digital_filters_01.jpg digital_filters_02.jpg

High-contrast Monochrome

Selective Colour

digital_filters_03.jpg digital_filters_04.jpg



digital_filters_05.jpg digital_filters_06.jpg



Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix A10 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel High JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 20 second movie is 75.2Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix A10

Front of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Front of the Nikon Coolpix A10 / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix A10

Side of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Side of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A10 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix A10

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A10 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix A10

Top of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Side of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Side of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Front of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10

Front of the Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon Coolpix A10
Battery Compartment / Memory Card Slot


It’s hard to be too critical of a camera that’s as inexpensive as the Nikon Coolpix A10, however you get what you pay for. In this case, it’s a camera that’s nothing more than a renamed version of the model it replaces, which itself was a clone of the camera that came before it. In a world where mid and high-end cameras – and of course smartphone cameras – are constantly evolving with new and exciting technology, the Coolpix A10 feels and performs like a bit of a relic.

That outdated tech spec means you get a poor LCD screen, frustratingly slow image processing and unreliable autofocus. Its image quality in good light may just about satisfy casual users, but a lack of image stabilisation, combined with high ISO image noise and a maximum sensor sensitivity of just ISO 1600, means the Nikon Coolpix A10 produces lacklustre low light results. We could add the AA battery power as another negative, and it is from a cost perspective, but this can be justified by the convenience of AA batteries and the long-lasting performance of rechargeable NiMH cells.

However, the potential for good battery life certainly isn’t enough to recommend the Nikon Coolpix A10, and even its low price can’t compensate for its shortcomings. If you’re after a well-priced compact camera that’s easy to use, it’d make much more sense to save up for something like a Canon PowerShot SX610 HS. This trounces the Coolpix A10 in all areas, packs a rechargeable battery, and can currently be had for around £100.

2.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 2
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 2.5
Value for money 2

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix A10.

Canon IXUS 165

The new Canon IXUS 165 is a stylish, slim and affordable point-and-shoot compact camera. Stand-out features include a 20 megapixel sensor, an 8x 28-224mm zoom lens, and a metal body, all for around £130. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 165 review now...

Nikon Coolpix L31

The Nikon Coolpix L31 is the cheapest compact camera that Nikon currently offer, with a 16 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x wide-angle zoom lens, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, all for just £70. Read our in-depth Nikon Coolpix L31 review to find out if it's too cheap for its own good...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3

Budget doesn't have to mean cheap and nasty, and that's certainly the case with the stylish yet affordable Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 camera. A 14 megapixel sensor, 2.7 inch screen, 4x wide-angle zoom lens and even 720p movies can be your for just over £100 / $125. Check out our Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 Review to find out if this camera is less disposable than its price suggests.

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix A10 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix A10 is Nikon's entry level compact camera, priced at a wallet friendly £59.99 and available in a number of colours, the A10 features a 16.1-megapixel sensor and a wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens.
Read the full review »


    • Type

    • Compact digital camera

    • Effective pixels

    • 16.1 million (Image processing may reduce the number of effective pixels.)

    • Image sensor

    • 1/2.3-in. type CCD, Total pixels: approx. 16.44 million

    • Lens

    • NIKKOR lens with 5x optical zoom

    • Focal length

    • 4.6 to 23.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 26 to 130 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)

    • F-number

    • f/3.2 to 6.5

    • Lens construction

    • 6 elements in 5 groups

    • Magnification

    • Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 520 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)

    • Vibration reduction

    • Electronic VR (movies)

    • Motion blur reduction

    • Electronic VR (still pictures)

    • Autofocus

    • Contrast-detect AF

    • Focus range

    • [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 80 cm (2 ft 8 in.) to infinity, Macro mode: Approx. 10 cm (4 in.) (at a wide-angle zoom position) to infinity (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)

    • AF-area mode

    • Center, face detection

    • Monitor

    • 6.7 cm (2.7-in.) diagonal, Approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD with 5-level brightness adjustment

    • Frame coverage

    • Approx. 98% horizontal and 98% vertical (compared to actual picture)

    • Frame coverage (playback mode)

    • Approx. 100% horizontal and 100% vertical (compared to actual picture)

    • Storage media

    • SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal memory (approx. 17 MB), Memory card (128 GB or less)

    • File system

    • DCF and Exif 2.3 compliant

    • Storage file formats

    • Still pictures: JPEG, Movies: AVI (Video: Motion-JPEG compliant, Audio: PCM monaural)

    • Image size (pixels)

    • 16M (High) [4608 x 3456 (Fine)], 16M [4608 x 3456], 8M [3264 x 2448], 4M [2272 x 1704], 2M [1600 x 1200], VGA [640 x 480], 16:9 [4608 x 2592]

    • ISO sensitivity

    • ISO 80 to 1600

    • Exposure metering

    • Matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x or more)

    • Exposure control

    • Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (–2.0 to +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)

    • Shutter type

    • Mechanical and charge-coupled electronic shutter

    • Shutter speed

    • 1/2000 to 1 s, 4 s (Fireworks show scene mode)

    • Self-timer

    • Approx. 10 s

    • Aperture

    • Electronically-controlled ND filter (–2.7 AV) selection

    • Aperture range

    • 2 steps (f/3.2 and f/8 [W])

    • Built-in flash

    • Yes

    • Flash range (approx.)

    • [W]: 0.5 to 3.6 m (1 ft 8 in. to 11 ft), [T]: 0.8 to 1.7 m (2 ft 8 in. to 5 ft 6 in.)

    • Flash control

    • TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes

    • USB

    • Hi-Speed USB, supports Direct Print (PictBridge), also used as audio/video output connector (NTSC or PAL can be selected for video output.)

    • Supported languages

    • Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

    • Power sources

    • Two LR6/L40 (AA-size) alkaline batteries, two FR6/L91 (AA-size) lithium batteries, two EN-MH2 rechargeable Ni-MH batteries (available separately), AC Adapter EH-65A (available separately)

    • Battery life

    • Approx. 200 shots when using alkaline batteries, Approx. 730 shots when using lithium batteries, Approx. 500 shots when using EN-MH2 batteries

    • Actual battery life for movie recording

    • Approx. 1 h 25 min when using alkaline batteries, Approx. 4 h 15 min when using lithium batteries, Approx. 2 h 40 min when using EN-MH2 batteries

    • Tripod socket

    • 1/4 (ISO 1222)

    • Dimensions (W x H x D)

    • Approx. 96.4 x 59.4 x 28.9 mm (3.8 x 2.4 x 1.2 in.) (excluding projections)

    • Weight

    • Approx. 160 g (5.7 oz) (including batteries and SD memory card)

    • Operating environment - temperature

    • 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)

    • Operating environment - humidity

    • 85% or less (no condensation)

    • Supplied accessories

    • Camera Strap, Alkaline Batteries LR6/L40 (AA-size) (x2) (The included batteries are for trial use only.)

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