Nikon Coolpix L610 Review

September 18, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Nikon Coolpix L610 is a travel-zoom digital compact camera. Sporting a back-illuminated 16 megapixel CMOS image sensor for better low light photography and a 14x, 25mm wide-angle lens with lens-shift vibration reduction, the Coolpix L610 also offers Full 1080p HD video, a 3-inch 460k-dot LCD screen, 1cm macro mode and AA-size batteries. The Nikon Coolpix L610 costs £199.99 / €249.00 / $249.95 and is available in red, black and silver.

Ease of Use

With a large bulky zoom lens on the front and a pop-up flash, the Nikon Coolpix L610 is reminiscent of old 35mm compact cameras. However, if this was a 35mm compact camera, the 14x zoom lens would stretch from a wide 25mm to an eyewatering 350mm. That size zoom lens was unheard of back in the day when 35mm compacts ruled the roost.

The image goes through the lens onto an 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The main difference between CCD and CMOS is that CCD yields a sharper image but a CMOS is more fuel efficient meaning your battery will last longer. The back-illuminated system describes the design of the CMOS. On a standard sensor, the pixels are surrounded by micro-circuitry which takes the information to the processor. The circuitry partially blocks the pixels meaning less light is collected. A back-illuminated sensor has the circuitry on the reverse so if you were to look at it mounted in a camera, it looks like it's on backwards. The lack of circuitry on the front means that more light can be collected theoretically making the sensor perform better in low light.

Nikon Coolpix L610 Nikon Coolpix L610
Front Rear

On top of the Nikon Coolpix L610 the shutter release button is flush with the zoom rocker that wraps around it. A small power button sits between the shutter button and the stereo speakers/pop-up flash. A flash LED light completes the top of the L610. Instead of a more traditional command dial for switching through the various modes that the camera has to offer, there's a Scene button on the rear of the L610. There are five modes, Easy Auto, Scenes, Effects, Smart Portrait and Auto, with the last one providing the most user control.

On the back of the Coolpix L610, there's the usual medley of options on the navigation pad for flash options, macro, self timer and exposure compensation. A direct video button at the top right will start recording Full 1080p HD video whenever you press the button regardless of the shooting mode you're in at the time.

Being reasonably thick, the build quality of the Nikon Coolpix L610 looks to a higher standard that we suspect it really is. We're not implying that Nikon have cut corners but when it comes to stepped products such as the Nikon L, S and P ranges of digital compacts, you do tend to get what you pay for. This L series camera is towards the bottom of the ranges so has a good build but isn't as good as the S or particularly the P series cameras.

Nikon Coolpix L610 Nikon Coolpix L610
Front Top

However, it's worth noting that people buying the L610 aren't going to be as bothered about fantastic build quality as long as it takes good pictures. The people who buy this camera will be going on holidays with the family and want to document as much as possible, and the build quality is perfectly sufficient for that. The Nikon Coolpix L610 is a camera that will be carried around all day so the lighter materials used, the better for the casual photographer.

The Nikon Coolpix L610's main menu will vary dependent on the mode you have the camera set to. In Auto there's lots of features and the L610 sticks to the traditional Nikon colours of a black background with a grey menu and yellow highlight bar. Everything is pretty easy to work through. The menu is set into three sections for shooting, movie and set-up. Pressing right will go into the highlighted tab whereas pressing left will go back to the tabs for faster navigation.

We took numerous shots in the shutter lag test and the results were a little disappointing. An average delay from pressing the shutter button to the camera taking a picture once the camera is focused is around 0.08 seconds, but the Nikon Coolpix L610 took 0.12 seconds. On the rare occasion that this happens, we generally give the camera a chance by testing it for longer than usual in case of user error. After all, this test has human reflexes to take into consideration. But the L610 gave similar results right through.

Nikon Coolpix L610 Nikon Coolpix L610
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Start-up time from pressing the power button to the Nikon Coolpix L610 focusing and taking a picture is just over 3 seconds. That's a little slower than we're used to seeing too, the average being around 2.5 seconds. The L610 has a pedestrain burst rate of 1.9fps for 4 frames, so this isn't a camera for capturing sports or action. Pictures taken in burst are displayed on the camera as a sort of slideshow. You have to press the OK button to play them then scroll through with left and right.

In playback, the Coolpix L610 shows basic information about the picture such as the file number, date/time and position in the line of pictures on the card. Pressing OK will change the display to a smaller thumbnail and more information such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO and even a histogram. Playback can be accessed from power off by holding the playback button down. In the menu area, there's a few different editing options such as D-Lighting, an auto quick retouch option and the filter effects. These can't be used on the burst images.

The lens barrel has minimal play in it and the battery door has a lock on it which is nice, as is the fact that the L610 uses easily sourced AA batteries. Nikon quote life of anywhere from 120 to 470 shots, depending on the battery type that you choose. The cover protecting the HDMI and USB ports is made of rubber and hangs off the camera. A plastic hinged version would've been nicer but is unlikely on a camera at this level. A plastic tripod rather inconveniently located right in the corner of the base of the camera completes the Nikon Coolpix L610's control layout.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix L610 produced images of good quality during the review period. Images are noise free at ISO 125-400, with limited noise and colour desaturation starting to appear at ISO 800. ISO 1600 exhibits quite visible noise, smearing of fine detail and colour desaturation, and the fastest settings of ISO 3200 is even noisier and best avoided altogether.

The Nikon Coolpix L610 dealt quite well with chromatic aberrations, with purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds limiting what you can capture after-dark. Image stabilisation is a feature that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range.

Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix L610. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso125.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix L610's 14x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

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

File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix L610 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (7.35Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.79Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix L610 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The Nikon Coolpix L610 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix L610 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Off, On and Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

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

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any significant red-eye.

Flash On

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

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


The Nikon Coolpix L610's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Fireworks scene mode, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 800.


Night (100% Crop)

night_auto.jpg night_auto1.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix L610 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine 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 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 29 second movie is 30.2Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix L610

Front of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Front of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Front of the Nikon Coolpix L610 / Pop-up Flash

Nikon Coolpix L610

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L610 / Image Displayed


Nikon Coolpix L610

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L610 / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix L610

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L610 / Shooting Menu

Nikon Coolpix L610

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix L610 / Shooting Mode

Nikon Coolpix L610

Top of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Side of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Front of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Front of the Nikon Coolpix L610

Nikon Coolpix L610

Memory Card Slot

Nikon Coolpix L610

Battery Compartment


The Nikon Coolpix L610 is a simple-to-use travel-zoom camera that delivers good results and won't break the bank, but ultimately the lack of bells and whistles, slow response and the rather chunky design means we'd recommend looking elsewhere.

If you want a longish zoom lens and decent image quality in an easy-to-use package, then the L610 certainly fits the bill. If you want any manual features beyond a smattering of creative effects and the ability to control the likes of white balance and ISO, then look elsewhere.

Ultimately the Nikon Coolpix L610 offers a versatile zoom lens and good image quality, but lacklustre performance and a sparse feature-set means that we can't recommend the L610 quite as highly as some of its rivals.

3.5 stars

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

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix L610.

Canon PowerShot SX160 IS

The brand new Canon PowerShot SX160 IS is one of the more affordable travel-zoom cameras on the market. For less than £150 / $200, the Canon SX160 offers a 16x optical zoom lens, 16 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot SX160 IS review to find out if this is the right travel zoom camera for you.

Fujifilm FinePix T400

The Fujifilm FinePix T400 compact camera offers a 10x zoom, 16 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, all for a street price of just £70 / $90. Read our Fujifilm FinePix T400 review to find out if it's a genuine bargain or one to avoid...

Olympus SZ-20

The new Olympus SZ-20 is a slim travel-zoom camera with a 12.5x, 24-300mm lens and a 16 BSI CMOS megapixel sensor. Other key features of the Olympus SZ-20 include a 3 inch screen, 1080p HD video and 9fps high-speed continuous shooting. Can the SZ-20 take on the travel zoom crowd? Read our in-depth Olympus SZ-20 review to find out...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 is a brand new travel-zoom compact camera. The stylish Panasonic SZ9 offers 16 megapixels, a 10x zoom lens (25-250mm), 3 inch LCD screen, built-in wi-fi connectivity, 10fps burst shooting and 1080p HD movies. Read our expert Panasonic DMC-SZ9 review now...

Ricoh CX6

The CX6 is the latest travel-zoom camera from Ricoh based around a 10.7x 28-300mm lens. New features for the 2012 model include an even faster hybrid auto-focus system, aperture and shutter priority modes, higher-resolution LCD screen and a 3fps burst mode with auto-focus. Read our expert Ricoh CX6 review to find out if it can keep up with the travel-zoom competition.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V is an affordable travel-zoom compact camera, with a 16x 24-384mm lens, built-in GPS tracking, full 1080i high-definition video with stereo sound, an 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, high-resolution 3-inch screen, manual shooting mode, 10fps continuous shooting, 3D photos, ISO range of 100-12800 and fast auto-focusing. Read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V review to find out if it's the right compact camera for you...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix L610 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix L610, announced in August 2012, is a compact travel zoom camera with 14x optical zoom and a 16 megapixel sensor. It is available in black, silver, or red for £154.00
Read the full review » »

The Coolpix L610 is an affordable compact from Nikon. This camera makes no flashy technical claims but is relatively comprehensive and easy to use. It's built using the same basic formula as the Nikon S8200, from which it gets its wide-angle 25-350 mm (f/3.3-5.9) lens and 16-Megapixel BSI CMOS sensor with Full HD video mode. That'll no doubt be enough to satisfy beginners looking for a powerful zoom in a simple, fuss-free camera.
Read the full review » »

For the budget-minded, Nikon announced the all new Coolpix L610 in the latter half of 2012, which features a large 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, a long 14x optical zoom lens (25-350mm in 35mm terms), an industry standard 3.0-inch LCD monitor. You can also record Full HD 1080p video, and video mode even gets its own separate record button, for instant use no matter what shooting mode you are in.
Read the full review »


Product name COOLPIX L610
Type Compact digital camera
Number of effective pixels 16.0 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CMOS; approx. 16.79 million total pixels
Lens 14x optical zoom, NIKKOR lens
Focal length 4.5-63.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 25-350 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
f/-number f/3.3-5.9
Construction 11 elements in 10 groups (2 ED lens elements)
Digital zoom magnification Up to 2x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 700 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Vibration reduction Lens shift
Motion blur reduction Motion detection (still pictures)
Autofocus (AF) Contrast-detect AF
Focus range [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 1.0 m (3 ft 4 in.) to infinity Macro mode: Approx. 1 cm (0.4 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, target finding AF
Monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 460k-dot, TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating and 5-level brightness adjustment
Frame coverage (shooting mode) Approx. 96% horizontal and 96% vertical (compared to actual picture)
Frame coverage (playback mode) Approx. 96% horizontal and 96% vertical (compared to actual picture)
Media Internal memory (approx. 28 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File system DCF, Exif 2.3, DPOF, and MPF compliant
File formats Still pictures: JPEG 3D images: MPO Sound files (voice memo): WAV Movies: MOV (Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Audio: AAC stereo)
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, Easy panorama, Pet portrait, 3D photography), Special effects, Smart portrait, Auto
Continuous Shooting Single (default setting), Continuous (about 4 images at a rate of about 1.9 fps when Image mode is set to 4608 x 3456), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16
Movie Full HD 1080p(fine) (default setting): 1920 x 1080/approx. 30 fps, Full HD 1080p: 1920 x 1080/approx. 30 fps, HD 720p: 1280 x 720/approx. 30 fps, iFrame 540: 960 x 540/approx. 30 fps, VGA: 640 x 480/approx. 30 fps, HS 60 fps: 1280 x 720, HS 15 fps: 1920 x 1080, Wind Noise Reduction
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 125-1600 ISO 3200 (available when using Auto mode)
Exposure metering mode 256-segment matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x)
Exposure control Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (-2.0 - +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)
Shutter Mechanical and CMOS electronic shutter
Shutter speed 1/1600-1 s 4 s (when scene mode is set to Fireworks show)
Aperture Electronically-controlled ND filter (-2 AV) selection
Range 2 steps (f/3.3 and f/6.6 [W])
Self-timer Approx. 10 s
Range (ISO sensitivity: Auto) [W]: Approx. 0.5-6.0 m (1 ft 8 in.-19 ft) [T]: Approx. 1.5-3.2 m (5 ft-10 ft)
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
HDMI output Can be selected from Auto, 480p, 720p, and 1080i
I/O terminal Audio/video (A/V) output; digital I/O (USB) HDMI mini connector (Type C) (HDMI output)
Supported languages Arabic, Bengali, 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, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Power sources LR6/L40 (AA-size) alkaline battery x 2 FR6/L91 (AA-size) lithium battery x 2 EN-MH2 rechargeable Ni-MH battery (available separately) x 2 AC Adapter EH-65A (available separately)
Still pictures (battery life *¹) Approx. 120 shots when using alkaline batteries Approx. 470 shots when using lithium batteries Approx. 330 shots when using EN-MH2 batteries
Movies (actual battery life for recording) *² Approx. 11 min when using alkaline batteries Approx. 1 h 20 min when using lithium batteries Approx. 50 min when using EN-MH2 batteries
Tripod socket 1/4 (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 108.0 x 68.4 x 34.1 mm (4.3 x 2.7 x 1.4 in.) (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 240 g (8.5 oz) (including batteries and a 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-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 CD, Reference Manual CD
Optional accessories AC Adapter EH-65A, Strap AN-CP23, 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 EN-MH2 rechargeable Ni-MH batteries), Battery Charger MH-73 (includes four EN-MH2 rechargeable Ni-MH batteries)

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