Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
Thumbnail image for L830_BK_front34l_on_w.jpg
  • 16-Megapixel CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch Tilting LCD Screen
  • 921k dots of resolution
  • 34x Optical zoom lens: 22.5-765mm (35mm equivalent)
  • VR optical image stabilization
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • All auto shooting mode
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • AA type battery power
  • HDMI Output
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • Auto mode produces excellent images, sharp edge to edge
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Creative filters give plenty of additional shooting options 
  • VR optical image stabilization helps with all handheld situations
  • High Res LCD screen is easy to see
  • LCD tilts for difficult shooting situations
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • HDMI Output
  • Good overall shooting performance
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Face detection only works with faces looking directly at the camera
  • High ISO images show too much noise
  • No audio input for better sound
  • High speed burst only captures 5 images
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.9 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 5/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.82 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 2.82 seconds
  • Low Speed Burst = 2.22fps
  • High Speed Burst = 6.25fps up to 5 images
  • All tests were taken using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1, 8GB SDHC memory card,Auto Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Nikon CoolPix L830 is an affordable and compact mega-zoom camera. It features incredible versatility and good image quality, while remaining as easy to use as any camera you will find. 
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for an affordable and easy to use mega-zoom camera with all the versatility that you will ever need.
Keeping Nikon competitive in the mega-zoom market is the CoolPix L830 compact digicam. Sporting a 16-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, 34x NIKKOR optical zoom lens, and a high res 3.0-inch 921k dot tiltable LCD screen, this incredibly versatile camera is a treat to use in various shooting situations. Fully automatic shooting modes allow anyone, no matter how much photography experience they have, to pick up this camera and start shooting immediately. Nikon has also built-in its VR (Vibration Reduction) optical image stabilization to help steady the camera with the large lens while you are shooting by hand. Adding to the appeal of this camera is 3 stylish color options: black, red, and purple.

With the feel of a compact dSLR/ILC camera, the L830 is comfortable to handle and weights far less than one of these other options. A large rubber grip and lens-side zoom controls really help to make the operation of the camera easier. The body has been kept simple with just a few on-body controls, including a dedicated video recording button, so you can spend less time on camera functions and more time shooting.

Composing and viewing your images is accomplished with the 3.0-inch, 920k dot tiltable LCD screen. This high resolution screen is usually found on higher end compact digicams and dSLR/ILC cameras. This allows you to see the finer details within your images on the screen. 6 levels of brightness and the option to tilt the screen will allow you to shoot with ease in all lighting conditions. 

Our outdoor sample images show good color and exposure within the images. The images are also sharp from edge to edge, but lack a few of the finer details that we would like to see. Chromatic and other aberrations were controlled very well by the camera. Framing is accomplished with the 34x optical zoom lens. With a 35mm equivalent of 22.5-765mm, you will definitely be able to shoot in most situations without even having to move. With this incredibly large zoom range, Nikon has also included its VR (vibration reduction) optical image stabilization system. This allows you to shoot handheld with the extreme zoom and keep the camera steady in lower-light situations. 

Again with our indoor images, we see a crisp image from side to side, but the finer details are lacking just a bit. At the lowest ISO settings we can start to make out the threads in the flag, but really don't get to see the full detail. The image quality when using the lower ISO settings stays high through ISO 400. But, at ISO 800 the noise really starts to become noticeable, smoothing out the fine details and adding noise to the color chart. The only image that really suffers from unacceptable noise levels, however, is the ISO 3200 image that looks more like a cell-phone image.
To help illuminate your subjects indoors ,and in other low-light situations, is a compact but somewhat powerful flash unit. This flash will work in small to medium sized rooms or from a decent distance outdoor as a fill flash. 

Shooting portraits with the L830 is very easy thanks to the assistance of the camera's face detection software. It quickly detects subjects, and does a good job of following the faces within the frame as long as they continue to look directly at the camera. Once a face turns sideways the camera tends to lose it easily. Once a face has been detected, the camera will adjust all of the settings for the face. Our samples show excellent overall portrait photos, although the camera did not always choose a fast enough shutter speed to keep up with our young subject. We can also see a little redness in the eyes of our subjects when forcing the flash to fire with each shot. 

Nikon's art filters, or special shooting modes, add a great deal of creativity to your images. The camera starts with a full-sized high quality image before applying the art filter. These filters can save you a ton of time from creating or applying these effects on a computer afterwards. 

Capturing video with the L830 is as easy as ever, thanks to the dedicated video recording button. It allows you to capture video at any time with just one push of a button. The camera's AF system does a decent job of keeping your subjects in focus, including while you zoom. Our sample video, like we saw with the S6800, did well until we introduced a subject moving at a good speed. At this point the subject becomes blurred a bit and hard to focus on. Small stereo mics captures the sound for your movies. These microphones are very sensitive and will pick up every sound that is around the camera. Background noises and wind will also be amplified when viewing your videos. With the wind, the wind reduction setting will help, but it will also lower the volume of what you want to hear as well.

For the CoolPix L830, Nikon chose to use AA style batteries, instead of a proprietary battery. This has its advantages, allowing to purchase and swap out your batteries just about anywhere in the world. On the other hand, you have to carry these extra batteries almost all the time. The camera accepts several types of batteries including Alkaline, NiMH and Lithium. Each set provides a different amount of power for the camera and at different prices. For our tests we used a set of Rayovac Platinum 2000mah rechargeable NiMH batteries. During the completion of our tests, we were able to capture over 100 images and several short videos on a single set of batteries. Nikon claims that a set of batteries can supply up to: Alkaline - 390 shots, AA Lithium - 1180 shots, EN-MH2 (NiMH) - 680 shots.

Bottom Line - Nikon's CoolPix L830 is a middle of the road mega-zoom camera. Its 34x optical zoom lens gives you a vast zoom range that will work for just about any situation. Image quality and performance are good enough to get the job done, however, neither are extraordinary. One plus is the versatile power supply, giving you excellent battery life; and new batteries can be purchased almost anywhere in the world. With a MSRP of US $299.95, it is the most affordable mega-zoom in the Nikon lineup.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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