Features & Controls

Nikon equipped the Coolpix L120 with a powerful 21x Nikkor optical zoom lens with an equivalent zoom range of 25 - 525mm. It offers a maximum aperture range of f/3.1 to 5.8, and is built using 12 elements in 9 groups (with ED glass elements). Nikon has also included their VR (Vibration Reduction) technology, which on this particular model uses a combination of Sensor-shift and Electronic VR for still images, or just Electronic VR for movies. Here we can see the lens at full wide angle. The lens will retract into the large lens bezel on the camera when powered down, and Nikon includes a handy lens cap. There are no filter threads for optional filters.


Here we can see the L120's lens fully extended (full telephoto). On the left side of the barrel you can see a rocker switch with T (telephoto) and W (wide angle) labels. This is a zoom control that Nikon included on the camera, although it also has a standard zoom control around the shutter release. Why they added two zoom controls, we have no idea.

The contrast detect TTL AF system covers a focus range of 50 cm (1 ft. 8 in.) to infinity (∞); Macro close-up mode: 1 cm (0.4 in.) to infinity (∞). It is aided in low lighting conditions by a Focus-assist lamp.


Here you can see the built-in, manual pop-up flash unit. Modes offered include: Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash Off, and Slow Synchro.

The effective flash range is approx:

  • Wide: 1ft. 8 in. to 19 ft. (05. - 6.0 m)
  • Tele: 5 ft. to 9 ft. 10 in. (1.5 - 3.0m)


On top of the camera you will find the shutter release with the zoom control mounted around it and the On/Off switch. To the left, you can see the built-in speaker, and stereo microphones.


On the back is a large 3-inch LCD with 921,000 pixels of resolution. This unit serves as the viewfinder as well as for reviewing your images and movies and accessing the menu screens. This display offers 97% frame coverage, and gains up in lower lighting to help you see your subject.


Controls on the back: At the far top you can see the Movie mode shutter release, which is used to start recording video no matter what mode you are in. Next is the Scene button (green camera icon). This button toggles the exposure mode, with options for Easy Auto, Scene (choose from 17 options), Smart Portrait, Sport Continuous, and Auto (Program AE). The 'blue arrow' Play button puts the camera in Playback or review mode. Next is the 4-way selector, which is for navigating menus and selecting pictures. In record mode pressing it 'Up' selects the desired flash mode, 'Left' activates the self-timer, 'Down' enables the macro focus mode, and 'Right' will adjust exposure compensation. The center OK button accepts menu selections. At the bottom are the MENU button calls up and dismisses menu screens, and the 'trash can' button is for deleting images.


On the left hand side of the camera are the I/O (Input/Output) ports. At the top we have a small DC IN (5.0V) plug for use with the optional power adapter. Next is a combination plug used to connect either the USB 2.0 cable for downloading images to the host computer as well as direct printing, or connecting the camera to a standard definition TV with the included AV cables. Lastly we have a mini HDMI port for sending video to your HDTV; with an optional cable.


Still images and movie clips are stored on ~102MB of internal flash memory or removable SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. Shown here with a fast and spacious SanDisk Extreme Pro (45MB/s) 8GB SDHC card.

The camera is powered by four AA type batteries, like the powerful PowerGenix NiZN cells shown above. The use of AAs makes keeping the L120 powered a cinch, with these batteries being available almost everywhere. You can use rechargeable batteries, one-use Lithium cells, or even Alkaline batteries in a bind. The Alkaline cells will yield the least amount of photos. Nikon claims you can capture up to 330 shots with Alkaline batteries, or up to 890 shots with Lithium batteries; both of which are quite impressive numbers.

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.