Nikon Coolpix L28 Review

April 12, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


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.

Nikon Coolpix L28 Nikon Coolpix L28
Front Rear

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.

Nikon Coolpix L28 Nikon Coolpix L28
Front Top

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.

Nikon Coolpix L28 Nikon Coolpix L28
Memory Card Slot Bettery Compartment

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.

Image Quality

All images were taken at full resolution in the review with the exception of the resolution test shot. At full resolution (denoted on the camera as 20M*) the camera churns out files around 8Mb in size. Knock it down to 20 megapixel with only a normal compression rate and the file size is just over 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 option to adjust the ISO on the Coolpix L28. The camera controls everything, which is good if you simply don't care about what the noise looks like on a picture. We adjusted the lighting to try and force the camera to increase the ISO. This worked to a degree and we managed to get shots up to ISO 400. Noise is evident as salt & pepper noise at ISO 80. It's a bit of a shame, but not a surprise on a camera at this level. Going to ISO 110 doesn't change much, which is to be expected as it's only around a third of a stop difference. At ISO 200, it starts to smooth out a little showing that noise reduction software is at work.

We managed to get an ISO 320 test shot which, again, doesn't show much difference but there is an increase in colour noise on the ISO 400 photograph. We can only surmise that going over this setting will start to produce some colour noise which will get quite shocking.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 110 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 320 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The actual focal length of the Nikon Coolpix L28 is 4.6–23mm which is 5x optical. We tend to refer to the 35mm equivalent which in this case is 26-130mm. There are 6 lenses in 5 groups which means only two lenses are clustered. There appears to minimal lens distortion at the wide-angle setting.




Using the sharpening tool on a photo editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop is up and down with the L28. If the camera has used a low ISO, there won't be much noise on the picture and that's what deteriorates the benefit of sharpening. Any noise in the pictures seems to exacerbate, which isn't a good thing.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix L28 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 (8.03Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (4.30Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration is an issue for the L28, but then we expected it to be. It's most prevalent at the edges of the frame and also seems to worsen as the contrast gets harder. We did find evidence of it near the centre of the frame too.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)


The close focusing of the Nikon Coolpix L28is 10cm (approx. 4inch) which isn't all that great for getting those ultra close-up shots of wildlife. However, because it's not that close, there's less barrel distortion which can lead to bowed lines.


Macro (100% Crop)


The built-in flash on the Nikon Coolpix L28 is pretty intelligent. It stabilises the amount of light in the shot without messing around with it. In our sample shot without flash, there's more light to the right side of the frame from the ambient source. Using flash retains that light, but makes it more constant and less dappled. There's a small amount of vignetting seen at the corners of the frame on the fully zoomed shot with no flash. This is removed when the flash is fired to create an even light spread.

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

The Nikon Coolpix L28 does have a red-eye reduction mode but there's little point in using it. Whenever we tried it, the flash with out red-eye never captured any.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)


Taking night pictures in the night scene mode gives a better exposure. We recorded at 0.77seconds while the Auto mode used a shutter speed of 1/4second. However, everything else remains the same from the aperture to the ISO. It seems that the Auto mode doesn't have a long enough shutter speed available to take effective pictures in the dark. The downside is they both used a high ISO 800 setting which means there's lots of noise in the shot.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)


Nigh Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix L28 camera, which were all taken using the 20 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 31 second movie is 100Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix L28

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix L28

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix L28

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix L28

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix L28

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix L28

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Modes

Nikon Coolpix L28

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix L28

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Mode Menu

Nikon Coolpix L28

Top of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Bottom of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix L28

Memory Card Slot

Nikon Coolpix L28
Battery Compartment


The Nikon Coolpix L28 hasn't been dressed up as something it isn't. What you get for a low price is a simple point and shooter that will do everything for you with little scope for change. As photographers, we don't like the lack of ISO control, but we think that considering the demographic that the camera is aimed at, it's not that big a deal. However, what is interesting is that it has manual white-balance control. We can't fathom why they have one feature but not another.

Using the L28 is extremely easy to do. In fact, deciding whether to use the digital colours was the only thing preventing us losing interest. But the L28 is a camera for taking out when an opportunity arises and taking a picture. It's not intended to be used as a camera for furthering your photographic talent. If that's what you're intending to do then look for a different camera. The lack of ISO control alone will stall you at the first hurdle. Another downside we found to the L28 is the download times of the pictures to memory card. The processor in the camera is an EXPEED C2 which is a direct descendant of the DSLR processors. So why is it so slow? It takes a long time to process the images onto the memory card (class 4). In reality it's a few seconds, but if you're wanting to take another shot, the camera will seem like forever downloading. The frustrating part is that it locks up all other features while doing it.

There's been a few cameras come out recently for about half the price of the L28 but with roughly the same features. This could cause problems for Nikon because people will look at price before the features. If the differences are minimal, another camera at half the price will be tempting. Still, the Nikon Coolpix L28 is a decent little camera for everyday happy snapping, so if that's what you're after, give it a go.

3.5 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix L28 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix L28 is a compact camera with a 20 megapixel sensor. It also has a 5x optical zoom, runs on AA batteries and is available in pink, red, silver and black for around £80.
Read the full review »


¹ Based on CIPA Standards for measuring life of batteries.
² When recording a single movie.

Product name COOLPIX L28
Type Compact digital camera
Number of effective pixels 20.1 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CCD; approx. 20.48 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), 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 7.5 cm (3-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. 98% horizontal and 98% vertical (compared to actual picture)
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 27 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) 20M (High) [5152 x 3864(fine)]; 20M [5152 x 3864]; 10M [3648 x 2736]; 4M [2272 x 1704]; 2M [1600 x 1200]; VGA [640 x 480]; 16:9 [5120 x 2880]
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 six images are captured continuously at a rate of about 1.1 fps), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16
Movie 720/30p (default setting): 1280 x 720/16:9/approx. 30 fps, 480/30p: 640 x 480/4:3/approx. 30 fps, 240/30p: 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 (-2.6 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]: 0.5-4.3 m (1 ft 8 in.-14 ft); [T]: 0.8-2.1 m (2 ft 8 in.-6 ft 10 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, Bengali, 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, 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 ¹ Still pictures: Approx. 280 shots when using alkaline batteries, Approx. 890 shots when using lithium batteries, Approx. 530 shots when using EN-MH2 batteries; Movies (actual battery life for recording) ²: Approx. 1 h 5 min when using alkaline batteries, Approx. 2 h 40 min when using lithium batteries, Approx. 1 h 30 min when using EN-MH2 batteries
Tripod socket 1/4 in. (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 95.4 x 59.8 x 29.0 mm (3.8 x 2.4 x 1.2 in.) (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 164 g (5.8 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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