The Nikon Coolpix L810 is a 16 Megapixel super-zoom with a 26x optical range and a 3 inch 921k pixel LCD screen. Its compact size and long zoom range combined with point-and-shoot features set it apart from the competition which mostly offers more advanced exposure control.
The COOLPIX L810 has Vibration reduction in addition to Motion detection which automatically increases the ISO sensitivity to avoid subject blur and camera shake.
It can shoot 720p30 HD video, has two exposure modes, one of which uses scene detection, smile-activated shutter release and 3D modes, but lacks the popular creative and gadget modes introduced by other manufacturers like Canon, Sony and Panasonic. Speaking of Canon, here’s how it compares to the newer SX500 IS.
Compared to Canon PowerShot SX500 IS
The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and Nikon COOLPIX L810 look quite similar, but are different in a number of fundamental respects. The COOLPIX L810 is a little bigger all round and, with 4 AA batteries as a power source also significantly heavier than the SX500 IS. It also has much longer battery life, providing 300 shots from 4 alkaline AA’s and more from rechargeables.
The COOLPX L810’s zoom range is shorter, at 26x, than the PowerShot SX500’s, but it starts at a super-wide 22.5mm equivalent. If it’s telephoto reach that interests you though, there’s a significant gap between the maximum 585mm of the COOLPIX L810 and the 720mm of the SX500 IS.
Both cameras feature 3 inch LCD screens, the COOLPIX L810’s has a higher 921k pixel resolution, but that doesn’t help you see it better in bright sunlight where the PowerShot SX500 IS fares better. The SX500 also provides a far wider range of exposure modes making it better suited both to photographers who like to take control as well as those who like to experiment. The COOLPIX L810 is essentially a point-and-shoot super-zoom, lacking the SX500’s PASM modes as well as anything like its Creative filters.
Both cameras offer similar video capabilities with best quality 720p modes, but the SX500 can apply its creative filters to video. They also share poor continuous shooting features, though in this instance the COOLPIX wins out, with its Best Shot Selector and Multi-shot 16 features.
In terms of image quality, there isn’t a great deal to choose between these two models, but the COOLPIX L810 does have an edge at the base ISO and its lens doesn’t suffer from chromatic aberration to the extent that the SX500 IS does (or it is at least digitally corrected). Finally it’s worth pointing out that the COOLPIX L810 is considerably less exensive than the PowerShot SX500 IS at around two thirds the price.
See my Canon SX500 IS review for more details.
Nikon COOLPIX L810 final verdict
The Nikon COOLPIX L810 is a no-frills superzoom with a long range, point-and-shoot functionality and a budget price tag. For those looking for a longer range than is currently available from compact super-zooms, and who aren’t interested in manual exposure control or fancy filters and effects, it’s an attractive proposition.
It’s not without its faults though. It’s slow to start-up, the autofocus is hesitant in anything other than optimal lighting and it takes a long while to start rolling when you press the movie record button. These hold it back from earning a recommended rating, but it has two things going for it that you won’t easily find elsewhere: its 22.5mm super-wide angle and very low price. If zoom range is your number one priority and you can live without the bells and whistles, it might just be what you’re looking for.
(relative to 2012 super-zooms)
17 / 20
16 / 20
15 / 20
15 / 20
17 / 20