The Nikon COOLPIX L24 is a 14 Megapixel budget point-and-shoot camera with a 3 inch LCD screen and a 3.6x optical zoom with an equivalent range of 37-134mm.
The COOLPIX L24 has ease of use features that have become ubiquitous on budget compacts including scene detection, face detection AF, Smart Shutter and a variety of scene modes.
This point-and-shoot budget compact lacks some of the novel features offered by the competition though. With a best video mode of 640 x 480 and no control over ISO sensitivity, focus or metering modes, it’s prety basic and best-suited to novices who want to get their shots without fussing around.
Compared to Canon PowerShot A1200
When comparing the COOLPIX L24 against the PowerShot A1200 the most apparent difference is the big 3 inch LCD screen on the Nikon. In everyday use, the COOLPIX L24’s 3 inch screen was bigger brighter and better than the screens of either the Canon Compacts here. Composing shots as well as playing back is a real pleasure on the COOLPIX L24.
The COOLPIX L24’s zoom lens lacks a real wide angle focal length though, so indoors and for panoramic landscapes the PowerShot A1200’s lens will make life easier and give you the scope to create more arresting compositions. Neither camera has image stabilisation, though the L24’s Electronic Vibration Reduction system which post-processes images to reduce camera shake works on full resolution images, whereas Canon’s Blur Reduction scene mode is restricted to 2M (1600 x 1200) images.
The COOLPIX L24 is very much a point and shoot model and lacks many of the adjustments and options on the PowerShot A1200. You can’t, for example, set the ISO sensitivity manually and it lacks any means of changing focus or metering modes. The COOLPIX L24 also lacks anything to compare with the PowerShot A1200’s newer features. Live Control View, Creative Filter effects and Smart shutter provide more scope for creativity and, perhaps just as importantly make picture taking a lot more fun. The A1200 also sports an optical viewfinder, which is something of a rarity on today’s compacts.
At 14 Megapixels the COOLPIX L24 produces bigger images than both PowerShots. A good thing if you like to make large prints, but its consequences for the L24’s image quality and noise performance are less favourable. The COOLPIX L24’s image quality in our real life outdoor test was markedly inferior to both PowerShots. Having said that, unless you view images at 100 percent, you’re unlikely to see much difference, if you think it might be an issue, take a look at the gallery sample images and make some comparisons of your own.
Finally, the Nikon COOLPIX L24’s maximum video resolution is 640 x 480 pixels. So if your choice of budget compact is as much about video as still shooting, the A1200’s HD advantage will be a big deciding factor.
See our Canon PowerShot A1200 review for more details.
Compared to Canon PowerShot A800
As with the PowerShot A1200, the most apparent difference between the COOLPIX L24 and PowerShot A800 is the big 3 inch LCD screen. The step up from the PowerShot A800’s 2.5 inches to the COOLPIX L24’s 3 inches makes a big difference in the handling of the two cameras. The L24’s screen is bright and punchy and composing shots as well as playing back is a real pleasure on this compact.
The COOLPIX L24’s zoom lens has a very similiar, though not identical range to the PowerShot A800’s with a slightly longer reach at the telephoto end. Neither camera has image stabilisation, although the L24’s Electronic Vibration Reduction system which post-processes images to reduce camera shake works on full resolution images, whereas Canon’s Blur Reduction scene mode is restriced to 2M (1600 x 1200) images. Neither can compete with active stabilisation though, be it optical or sensor-shift.
The COOLPIX L24 is very much a point and shoot model and lacks many of the adjustments and options on the PowerShot A800. You can’t, for example, set the ISO sensitivity manually, and it lacks any means of changing focus or metering modes along with the A800’s versatile self-timer options.
One final difference, and possibly the most important one, is the sensor resolution. At 14 Megapixels the COOLPIX L24 produces bigger images than both PowerShots. A good thing if you like to make large prints, but its consequences for the L24’s image quality and noise performance are less favourable. In our real-life resolution test there was a clear difference between the image quality of these two compacts with the COOLPIX L24 coming off worse. Revealingly the A800 with the lowest resolution sensor actually dleivered the best-looking pictures.
See our Canon PowerShot A800 review for more details.
Nikon COOLPIX L24 verdict
The Nikon COOLPIX L24 has plenty to offer anyone looking for an AA powered compact that’s simple to operate and has sufficient image resolution to produce prints larger than A3 size. It also has a big, bright 3 inch LCD screen which is unusual on compact in this price bracket. But if you already own a COOLPIX L22 from 2010, or even the earlier COOLPIX L20 from 2009 you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Both those models had 3inch LCD panels (which shows how far ahead of the competition Nikon was back then), and the lens was the same Nikkor 3.6x optical zoom.
In fact the only significant difference between the COOLPIX L24 and the L22 that preceded it is the sensor resolution. If you want to make big prints from your photos this is great news, but at full size the COOLPIX L24’s quality issues are going to be all too evident.
While the competition, namely Canon, has added exciting new features to its 2011 budget models, Nikon seems content to merely increase the sensor resolution. This might be a worthwhile strategy if it weren’t for the fact that the image quality appears to have suffered as a result. Ultimately there are better models out there.
(relative to 2011 compacts)
17 / 20
15 / 20
16 / 20
15 / 20
17 / 20