Review: Nikon Coolpix L610

Our score: 3/5
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Published: October 30, 2012 9:00 AM
By Morgane Alzieu
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
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.

Handling3/5



On first contact, the L610 may feel a little unusual. The camera's plastic casing isn't particularly flattering but the L610 is evenly balanced and nice enough to handle—largely thanks to the big, deep grip handle on the front of the camera, complete with textured rubber finish. Probably in the interest of cutting costs compared with the S8200, the pop-up flash in the L610 isn't motorised—there's a little switch you need to flip each time you want to use the flash.

Nikon Coolpix L610 review - screen and controls

The L610 has a TN-type LCD screen with 460,000 dots, which isn't too surprising for a camera at this price point. Quality could clearly be better. Apart from the tight viewing angles associated with TN technology (the screen soon looks dark when viewed from below), speckles of noise appear onscreen in low light (even if the image does remain smooth) and colours aren't displayed accurately. It's therefore advisable to check your snaps on a computer screen before you go about deleting any of them.

The Coolpix L610 is a relatively easy camera to use. In fact, pretty much everything is taken care of automatically. Note that there are only a handful of manual settings on offer here, including a P mode and a Scene mode, just like the Nikon L110.

Responsiveness5/5



The results in this part of our review are almost identical to what we saw with the S8200. Start-up takes just under two seconds, which is still quite rare in the world of superzoom compacts. Photo-to-photo turnaround takes under a second and a half, which is within average. The autofocus works quickly in good light at all focal lengths, and although it does slow down in low light, it's faster here than in the S8200.

Nikon Coolpix L610 review - speed, responsiveness
The L610 we were sent to test did have one or two bugs (it was sometimes surprisingly slow) but, on the whole, this is a speedy compact that's very nice to use, especially considering its price and market position.

Picture Quality4/5



The Nikon L610 gives similar performances to the S8200, largely due to the fact that the two cameras use the same lens and sensor.

Nikon Coolpix L610 review - ISO test results

The L610 is within average when it comes to handling digital noise. Noise is barely visible at 100 and 200 ISO. It starts to appear at 400 ISO and remains at an acceptable level at 800 ISO. Beyond that, smoothing gets quite strong and detail is wiped out.

Nikon Coolpix L610 review - test scene

The L610 lens lacks a little consistency at wide-angle but sharpness levels are excellent in the middle of the frame. The image loses precision as you zoom but remains comparable with the S8200.

Video4/5



The L610 films 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second. The video image is relatively detailed, smooth and very contrasted, with darker zones that soon block up.

Audio quality is disappointing, though, as even if voices are correctly rendered, everything just sounds too metallic. Another downside is a permanent buzz noise in the background that can be heard in quieter scenes.  
3/5 Nikon Coolpix L610 DigitalVersus 2012-10-30 10:00:00

Pros

  • Good general responsiveness
  • Picture quality at wide-angle
  • Easy to use
  • Full HD video with zoom
  • Powered by AA batteries

Cons

  • TN screen, tight viewing angles
  • Audio quality in video mode
  • Poor battery life / Powered by AA batteries

Conclusion

The Nikon Coolpix L610 could suit undemanding users looking for a simple camera. However, there are many better cameras out there, including similarly priced models like the Canon SX230 HS, which also has full PSAM modes to help take beginners further.

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