Nikon Coolpix L26

8/6/2012 5:24:41 PM

“The build feels of a decent quality, and it’s been styled with an attractive trim”

The L26 is compatible with Eye-Fi memory cards, for wireless image transfers direct to your comouter.

Best Shot Selector takes multiple images and picks the sharpest, and Multi-Shot 16 gives you 16 photos to choose from in one click.

The in-camera editing options are Skin Softening Rotate, and D-lighting, which adjusts the lighting while retaining the detail.

Buy this if…

You’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use camera

An economical point-and shoot compact that makes things really simple for beginners

Designed with the beginner in mind, the L26 comes with everything you would need when starting out, but not much extra on the side. That’s not to say this isn’t a good little camera, because it is, and considering it can be found for less than £70 (approx $114) online, it’s great for those testing the photography waters.

Available in sliver, black, red or blue, its build feels of a decent quality for the price, and it’s been styled with an attractive trim. The basic, self-explanatory buttons on the back are easy to get to grips with. There’s a scene button to control what mode you shoot in and a menu button for more specific options like image size, sound settings and date and time. It’s impossible to get confused by this menu system, and there are quick buttons around the d-pad for self-timer, exposure compensation, flash and macro mode, as well as movie mode, playback and the trash can.

You have a wide selection of basic modes to choose from, including Auto and Easy Auto settings, and 18 scene modes that cover a wide range of scenarios.

Smart Portraits is nice added extra, which takes the shot when it detects a smile as well as a blink alert that informs you when someone’s eyes were closed. There’s also 720p video shooting, but that’s pretty much all the features, with no advanced functions or controls.

The L26 sometimes struggled to focus, and images were noisy at ISO 800 and 1600, but generally they were of a good quality, if a little undersaturated. The LCD screen is low-res, so viewing images this way won’t give you a true idea of their quality.

This clearly is a no-frills model, with no gadgetry or overly sophisticated features. However, this camera is reliable, has a decent level of image quality and enough scene modes to suit most types of photography. For such a small price, you can’t ask for much more.


The shutter button is found in a handy place and the protrusion for the batteries actually helps make the camera more comfortable to hold. Combined with a thumb grip on the back, it’s easy to grip one-handed.

Description: Vibration reduction will help reduce the impact of hand shake on your shots

Vibration reduction will help reduce the impact of hand shake on your shots

We answer your questions

I’m on a budget but don’t want a naff camera – is this a good option?

For a bargain price you get all the essential from this camera, without sacrificing too much image quality. The build is decent, and with specs like 16MP, 5x optical zoom and 720p video recording, you’re not buying a dud.

What’s good about it

ü  Easy-to-use menu system and very useful quick buttons on the back

ü  18 scene modes to suit nearly every scenario you choose to photograph

What could be better

ü  Images appeared undersaturated and were noisy when using higher ISOs

ü  More customizable controls, such as white balance and AF would be good

How good is it for

Portraits: Skin tones are flattering and Smart Portrait mode is a useful feature

Landscapes: 26mm wide angle is good for landscape but colours weren’t vibrant

Sports: BSS mode and motion detection are useful, but the zoom isn’t big enough

Low light: ISO 1600 is modest, and noise crept in once ISO reached 800

Macro: The four-inch minimum focus distance won’t let you get in close

The info

Price: $120

Megapixels / 16MP

Enough for megapixels to print large canvases or bigger frames

Zoom / 5x optical, 4x digital

A decent focal range of 26-130mm with the optical zoom

Shutter speeds / 1-1/2000sec (4sec in Fireworks mode)

Good for sport at the fast end, but you’re restricted on long exposures

ISO sensitivity / 80-1600

Modest, but it will cope in low light

Exp. modes/ 18 scenes, Auto, Easy Auto, and Smart Portrait

A great selection for beginners

Aperture: f3.2-6.5

Flash modes: A, RE, FOff, FOn, SS

Weight: 164g

Dimensions: 96.0 x 59.7 x 28.8mm

Batteries: AA: Alkaline/ Ni-MH

Storage: SD/ SDXC/ SDHC

Screen: 3 inches



Features: 3/5

Design and handling: 4/5

Build quality: 3/5

Image quality: 3/5

Value for money: 4/5

A great compact camera for beginners on a budget, but if you want more in the way of features or control over your photo results, you’ll need to invest a bit more cash: 3/5

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