Nikon Coolpix L27 Review

December 18, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix L27 is an affordable, lightweight and easy to use digital compact camera that features a 16 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x optical zoom, EXPEED C2 sensor and AA battery compatibility. Designed for simple point and shoot photography, the Nikon Coolpix L27 costs around £55 and is available in black, red, white, silver and purple.

Ease of Use

Along with the Nikon Coolpix L28, the L27 is a lifestyle digital compact camera designed for point and shoot simplicity. It's primary function is to be a picture taking machine that takes all of the thought process away from establishing the shot. That way, the photographer needs to point and click. And zoom a bit if necessary.

The styling of the L27 harks back to the earlier digital compacts of around 10 years ago. They had a grip to one side, although because of the sheer size of them, they were needed. The grip on the L27 coupled with the lightweight build makes the camera easier to shoot one handed. It also houses the 2x AA batteries that power the unit. They slot into the bottom of the camera which has a simple slide to open battery door.

The memory card also goes in there next to the batteries. Although there is a small amount of internal memory (20Mb), the camera accepts SD memory cards up to and including SDXC. This relatively new format has a theoretical top capacity of 2Tb (2048Gb). The L27 also accepts Eye-Fi wireless connection memory cards. These cards link to the internet when in a wi-fi hotspot and will transmit your pictures to a computer or tablet for you to upload online or store. Great for if you're not getting access to a computer for a while.

Nikon Coolpix L27 Nikon Coolpix L27
Front Rear

Interestingly, there's the same amount of buttons on the back of the Nikon Coolpix L27 despite the simplified user experience. In the top right corner, the video button will start recording video whenever you press it, regardless of the mode you're in at the time. The button with the green camera will enter a Mode menu which allows you to alter the shooting mode you're in.

You can choose from four options: Smart auto, Scene mode, Smart portrait and Auto. The smart modes have been programmed to make your life easy. For example, the Smart auto mode will analyse what the camera is pointed at and change the mode of the camera to suit. So if you're taking a picture of a person, the camera will see the face, recognise the scene as a portrait and automatically optimise the camera for portraiture. It changes features such as switching the flash on with red-eye reduction, enabling face detection and adjusting the shutter speed and aperture to get the best exposure.

Smart portrait is designed to make sure you get the best pictures of people possible. When you select it from the Mode menu, it switches on face detection, red-eye reduction and also enables Blink detection and Smile shutter. These are the more intelligent features. Blink detection will notice when someone is blinking in the frame and alert you on screen. It will then ask you to take another picture. The Smile shutter will automatically take a picture when it sees someone smiling in the frame. It's a feature that Sony developed a few years ago and has become popular in the automatic portrait systems ever since.

Nikon Coolpix L27 Nikon Coolpix L27
Front Top

The Main menu opens up three pages of options and modes you can set on the camera. The first page has only four options for adjusting the shooting modes. You can change the resolution, white-balance, continuous shooting and colour options. These latter options will offer a little bit of fun for you while you take pictures. You can choose from Vivid, Black & white, Sepia or Cyanotype which is a bluish colour that replicates the process invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842 for replicating notes and diagrams. These were referred to as “Blueprints”.

Other features to help you improve your photographs include flash options such as Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, two flash over-rides to force it on or off and a slow-sync. This last option will take a long exposure to light up a dark background while a burst of flash will expose a subject in the foreground. Despite using something to steady the camera is essential for the background to be sharp. On top of this is an Exposure compensation button to either increase or decrease the amount of light entering the lens to lighten or darken the picture overall.

Start up time from cold is around 2.6 seconds which is a little over the average for a camera of this classification. The difference is around a hundredth of a second, so it's nothing to lose sleep over. The continuous shooting mode of the Nikon Coolpix L27 is slow to say the least. It's designed for a short burst over a long sustained amount of exposures. Nikon say that the camera will take three photos at 1.2fps. We recorded a similar result with a slight delay which we put down to reflexes. The main downfall of the camera is the download time. After running a 10 second continuous shooting test, it took a further 20 seconds to download them onto the card and have the camera ready for shooting again.

Nikon Coolpix L27 Nikon Coolpix L27
Memory Card Slot Bettery Compartment

Playback on the Nikon Coolpix L27 can be accessed whether the camera is switched on or off. If the camera is off, you need to hold the button down for a few seconds and the camera will come to life. The added benefit of this is that the lens isn't stuck out while you look at the pictures. You can zoom in on detail areas of the pictures by using the zoom switch on the camera. The Playback menu is more comprehensive than the shooting Main menu. It offers editing options such as D-Lighting, Skin softening, Rotate and Copy. You can also create a slide-show, Protect the pictures and make a smaller copy.

The Setup menu is the same as when you access it in the Main menu. You can Format the card, adjust languages, change the video format and manage the Eye-Fi wi-fi upload settings.

In the box, you'll find a thick booklet which is the Quick Start Guide. It's not all in English, though so don't worry too much. The full manual is on the CD that's also enclosed in the box. Along with the manual, there's also ViewNX 2 editing software. There's also a few other accessories to get you going too, such as a USB lead to connect directly to a computer, a wrist strap and a couple of AA batteries.

Image Quality

All images were taken at full resolution in the test with the exception of the resolution test shot. At full resolution (denoted on the camera as 16M*) the Nikon Coolpix L27 churns out files around 6.5Mb in size. Knock it down to 16 megapixel with only a normal compression rate and the file size is just over 3.4Mb. This is great if you're low on memory, but have a while before you can download. You can retain resolution while freeing up space. Just be aware that if you then want to print it to a large size and there's a lot of fine detail, the normal compression file will lose more of the information in order to retain it's small size. This is called a lossy file. JPEGs are lossy, but the star resolution loses less information than the resolution without the star.


There's no manual control of the ISO sensitivity on the Nikon Coolpix L27 so we couldn't perform an effective test. We tried to force the ISO up by reducing the amount of light available but could only get from ISO 80 to ISO 200. The images are lovely and sharp at the lowest setting and we couldn't detect any noise at that level. Of course to use this effectively, you need to have a lot of light.

Move up to ISO 100 and while the image is still sharp enough, we noticed a little degradation on the sharp edges. There's also a small amount of salt & pepper noise in the darker areas. Disappointingly, image quality starts to get compromised at ISO 200. It means that as the settings go higher the image quality will get even worse and try to be neutralised by noise reduction software.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix L27 has a 5x optical zoom. The camera denotes this as a 4.6-23mm zoom lens although usually refer to it in a 35mm equivalent which is 26-130mm. There's a slight amount of barrel distortion at the wide-angle setting although it shouldn't detract too much from your viewing pleasure.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


Set at a low ISO setting, using a sharpening tool in an editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop should improve the images. However, going too high in the sensitivity scale will simply exacerbate any existing noise and make it look worse.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix L27 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 8Mb while knocking it down to the normal setting without the star will shave off roughly 3Mb of information.

High (6.59Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.39Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_high.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

One of the areas that we're really disappointed with is the chromatic aberration. It's really bad on the Nikon Coolpix L27 which is a shame because other areas of the picture taking are pretty good. It's noticeable mostly towards the edges of the frame but can also be seen creeping into the centre.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The close focusing of the Nikon Coolpix L27 is 10cm, or 4 inches. That's certainly nothing special in terms of digital compact cameras, but it depends on whether you'll use it or not. The centre of the frame is sharp enough and - as expected - it starts to degrade towards the edges.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


At wide-angle without the flash switched on, there's a slight amount of vignetting. Using flash doesn't get rid of this, but it stabilises the spread over the frame. By full zoom, the vignetting has gone.

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

There's no red-eye mode to switch on in the Main menu. It's on the flash settings. There's only one red-eye function on auto flash. Because of this, it wouldn't fire during our test period as it was too light. However, we couldn't detect any red-eye on the shot without it, so it seems unnecessary to need it in most cases.

Flash On

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


In Auto, the Nikon Coolpix L27 is more restricted when taking night shots. The best thing would be to take one shot in Auto and another in the Night scene mode. The Auto mode did use a lower ISO setting which will end up in a less noisy picture. However, the difference on our test shots is negligible, so if you're in a similar situation, use the Night scene mode and get a better exposure.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

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Nigh Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

night_scene.jpg night_scene_crop.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix L27 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 73.9Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix L27

Front of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27

Front of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix L27

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Shooting Modes

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Scene Modes

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Shooting Menu

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Movie Menu

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Set up Menu

Nikon Coolpix L27

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L27 / Playback Menu

Nikon Coolpix L27

Top of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L27

Nikon Coolpix L27
Front of the Nikon Coolpix L27
Nikon Coolpix L27
Front of the Nikon Coolpix L27
Nikon Coolpix L27
Memory Card Slot
Nikon Coolpix L27
Battery Compartment


When we reviewed the big brother of the Nikon Coolpix L27 - the L28 - we commented on the fact that for half the price, you could get a similar camera and that's its biggest hurdle. At £55, the L27 is half the price and so not only compares with similarly priced compacts, but also has roughly the same features. It's an easy camera to use thanks to its fail-safe design and completely automated features.

For a photographer looking to get an easy to use camera as something to take on a day out when the full DSLR kit and multiple lenses isn't an option, then something roughly the size of the Nikon Coolpix L27 is perfect. If you're used to taking control of the picture quality, then you'll quickly grow tired of this camera. But if you're the kind of person that simply wants a picture taking machine, you don't want to have to think about what it's doing and - most importantly - you don't want to spend too much, then the L27 would be perfect.

What we don't understand is why the camera allows changing the white-balance but not the ISO. The white balance system on the Nikon Coolpix L27 is actually very accurate and can deal with 99% of scenarios on its own. We only had to change it when shooting in strong incandescent light. It's our opinion that the ISO is far more important a tool not to keep, yet it's gone.

Importantly, the picture quality of the Nikon Coolpix L27 is better than we expected. Don't raise your expectations too high, it's not perfect. But what we found was, that for around £50 you get some decent quality pictures. That's what counts on a camera in this classification and bearing in mind the consumer that will be interested in this camera, that's arguably more important than ISO control. If we're to compare once again against the L28, the slightly lower resolution has helped with the noise performance because we're much happier with the Nikon Coolpix L27's image quality.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix L27.

Canon PowerShot A810

The Canon PowerShot A810 is the cheapest model in Canon's extensive range of compact cameras, with a street price of just £70 / $80. Despite its budget nature the A810 still offers a 16 megapixel sensor, 720p movies, 5x zoom and 2.7 inch LCD screen. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot A810 review to find out if it's too cheap to be true...

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 is a brand new 10x travel-zoom camera that won't break the bank. Offering a 14 megapixel sensor, 28-280mm focal range and 720p HD movie recording, the JZ500 can be yours for less than £175 / $250. Read our Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 review to find out if it's worth a look.

Nikon Coolpix L28

The Nikon Coolpix L28 compact camera has a 20 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x wide-angle zoom lens, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, yet costs just £109.99 / $119.95. Read our in-depth Nikon Coolpix L28 review to find out if this is the right point-and-shoot camera for you...

Olympus FE-5030

The Olympus FE-5030 is a new slim, stylish and simplified compact camera that won't break the bank. Featuring a 14 megapixel sensor, 5x 26-130mm zoom lens, and a 2.7 inch LCD screen, the FE 5030 is priced at £139.99. Zoltan-Arva Toth finds out if that's money well spent in our Olympus FE-5030 review.

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.

Pentax Optio S1

The Optio S1 is the first model in a stylish new range of compact cameras from Pentax. In addition to its dashing good looks, the Pentax S1 also offers 14 megapixels, a 5x zoom lens, 2.7 inch screen and 720p movies. Available for just £119.99 / $199.95, check out our Pentax Optio S1 review to find out if it's all style and no substance...

Samsung PL70

With Christmas literally round the corner and a worldwide recession in full swing, Samsung are offering a veritable stocking full of features in the form of the PL70 / SL720 camera. Priced at just £199 / $229.99, this bargain model offers a 12 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, 3 inch LCD screen and even 720p HD movies. Is the Samsung PL70 / SL720 the answer to your cash-strapped dreams this holiday season? Mark Goldstein finds out...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-J10

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-J10 is a new 16.1 megapixel compact camera with a built-in USB connector for easier image transfer and battery recharging. The stylish Sony J10 also has 4Gb of built-in memory, a 4x zoom lens, and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. Read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-J10 review to find out if this is the right point-and-shoot camera for you.

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix L27 from around the web. »

Successor to the Nikon Coolpix L25, the Nikon Coolpix L27 is equipped with a CCD sensor with an effective pixel count of 16.1 million pixels, a 5x optical zoom Nikkor lens, a 2.7-inch TFT LCD monitor, and HD 720p movie recording.
Read the full review » »

The Nikon Coolpix L27 was announced in January 2013 alongside the L28 and is an entry-level compact camera with an RRP of just £69.99. It has a 16.1 megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom lens, available in a range of colours including black, red, white, silver and purple.
Read the full review »


Product name COOLPIX L27
Type Compact digital camera
Number of effective pixels 16.1 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CCD; approx. 16.44 million total pixels
Lens NIKKOR lens with 5x optical zoom
Focal length 4.6-23.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 26-130 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
f/-number f/3.2-6.5
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Digital zoom magnification Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 520 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Motion blur reduction Electronic VR (still pictures, auto), motion detection (still pictures)
Autofocus (AF) 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.) (wide-angle position relative to the triangle mark) to infinity (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)
Focus-area selection Center, face detection
Monitor 6.7 cm (2.7-in.), Approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating and 5-level brightness adjustment
Frame coverage (shooting mode) 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 Internal memory (approx. 20 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File system DCF, Exif 2.3, and DPOF compliant
File formats Still pictures: JPEG; Movies: AVI (Motion-JPEG compliant)
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]
Shooting Modes Easy Auto, Scene (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Black and white copy, Backlighting, Panorama assist, Pet portrait), Smart Portrait, Auto
Continuous Shooting Single (default setting), Continuous (about three images are captured continuously at a rate of about 1.2 fps), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16
Movie HD 720p (default setting): 1280 x 720/16:9/approx. 30 fps, VGA: 640 x 480/4:3/approx. 30 fps, QVGA: 320 x 240/4:3/approx. 30 fps
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 80-1600
Exposure metering mode Matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x or more)
Exposure control Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (-2.0 - +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)
Shutter Mechanical and charge-coupled electronic shutter
Shutter speed 1/2000-1 s; 4 s (Fireworks show scene mode)
Aperture Electronically-controlled ND filter (-2.7 AV) selection
Aperture range 2 steps (f/3.2 and f/8 [W])
Self-timer Approx. 10 s
Flash range (approx.) (ISO sensitivity: Auto) [W]: 0.5-3.6 m (1 ft 8 in.-11 ft); [T]: 0.8-1.7 m (2 ft 8 in.-5 ft 6 in.)
Flash control TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes
Interface Hi-Speed USB
Data Transfer Protocol MTP, PTP
Video output Can be selected from NTSC and PAL
I/O terminal Audio/video (A/V) output; digital I/O (USB)
Supported languages Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, 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 ¹ Still pictures: Approx. 200 shots when using alkaline batteries, Approx. 650 shots when using lithium batteries, Approx. 360 shots when using EN-MH2 batteries; Movies (actual battery life for recording) ²: Approx. 1 h when using alkaline batteries, Approx. 3 h 10 min when using lithium batteries, Approx. 2 h when using EN-MH2 batteries
Tripod socket 1/4 in. (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 96.4 x 59.2 x 28.9 mm (3.8 x 2.4 x 1.2 in.) (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 161 g (5.7 oz) (including batteries and SD memory card)
Temperature 0°C-40°C (32°F-104°F)
Humidity 85% or less (no condensation)
Supplied accessories Camera Strap, LR6/L40 (AA-size) alkaline batteries (x2), USB Cable UC-E16, ViewNX 2 CD, Reference Manual CD
Optional accessories Rechargeable Ni-MH batteries EN-MH2-B2 (set of two EN-MH2 batteries), Rechargeable Ni-MH batteries EN-MH2-B4 (set of four EN-MH2 batteries), Battery Charger MH-72 (includes two rechargeable Ni-MH batteries EN-MH2), Battery Charger MH-73 (includes four rechargeable Ni-MH batteries EN-MH2), AC Adapter EH-65A, Audio Video Cable EG-CP14

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