Nikon COOLPIX L4
- No ISO settings, Images lacking clarity
A competant but not oustanding budget offer, the Coolpix L4 will more than suffice for occasional snapshots.
Price$ 280.00 (AUD)
The 4 megapixel Nikon Coolpix L4 is an entry level digital camera that really exemplifies the saying 'you get what you pay for'. On one hand the image quality was just average and the feature set a little lean, but on the other, the sub $300 price tag will be a big selling point for some. As a budget camera the L4 performs reasonably well, and while it won't amaze you, for the occasional day-to-day snaps it will be more than adequate.
Our sharpness test was where the camera's low cost was reflected most, with the L4 scoring just 1071 in Imatest. This is a little lower than most models we test, but as this camera sports just a 4 megapixel sensor, this is somewhat understandable. In general our shots were quite clear, and while there was a little fringing and blurring at high magnifications, for 4x6 prints the quality was more than suitable.
Its chromatic aberration score of .129% was slightly better, about on par with other models in this category. At this level it results in some loss of clarity which is visible at most print sizes, but it didn't have a huge impact.
We were impressed with the L4's performance in our colour tests, where the 8.28l score is excellent for an entry level 4 megapixel model. As usual, it was the red and blue shades that exhibited the most inaccuracy, although surprisingly green also had some issues. Our test shots reflected this, with some slight over-saturation visible in leaves and grass.
The L4 also did reasonably well in our final test for image noise, scoring .50%, which is about average for a compact camera. We noticed no visible signs of noise in our shots, which were clean and speckle free.
When running this test we did however discover one of the camera's major flaws; it has no manual ISO settings. Even the most basic cameras from other companies come equipped with a variety of ISO sensitivities, usually ranging from 80-400, and so Nikon's choice to omit them from this model is quite a bizarre one. The camera sets ISO automatically, but we'd much rather have the ability to manipulate it ourselves as it gives more creative control to the user.
The rest of the feature set is fairly standard, with a variety of white balance presets, 15 scene modes, Nikon's 'Best Shot' mode (which selects the best shot from a series of shots taken) and some colour options like sepia and black and white. The video mode was a mixed bag, offering 640x480 recording at 15fps, but with no sound. We were a little disappointed by the continuous shot mode too, which only offers multi-shot, taking 16 pictures at two frames per second and tiling them together in a single image, rather than capturing multiple full frame pictures. As expected from a budget unit like this, there were no metering or focus modes available, which would have been a nice touch but aren't a necessity.
However what we did not expect from this unit was the extremely slow performance it exhibited in our speed tests. The L4 is a very sluggish camera. Taking a massive 4.5 seconds to start up, 3.8 seconds between shots and with a huge .2 second shutter lag, there is nothing fast about this unit. While we can understand that some sacrifices must be made to create a lower priced camera, these times are substantially greater than many models.
With regards to design, the L4 is a fairly basic looking unit. With a glossy silver plastic case and weighing in at 120g it is quite small but also reasonably sturdy for such a low cost unit. It feels good in the hands and the extra weight helps when taking steady shots. The rather minimalist controls are well positioned and everything is easy to access.
The L4 has a quoted battery life of 250 shots running on standard AA batteries, which is quite an impressive figure.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCNetwork Engineer/ Network AdministratorQLD
- CCSalesforce - Functional Analyst (BA)NSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!!!SA
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - NetApp SpecialistNSW
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | Enterprise Information SharingQLD
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- CCWindows System EngineerNSW
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- FTSecurity Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- TPTechnical Business Analyst - DigitalQLD
- CCTest Planner - Infrastructure/Data CentreACT
- FTFull Stack Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- FTApplications DeveloperACT
- FT.Net Azure DeveloperSA
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 requiredSA
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorACT