Nikon Coolpix L27 Review
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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.
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.
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.
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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.