Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
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 newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
- 2 Oppo R15 Pro review: A compelling mid-tier option with lots of value and few compromises
- 3 LG E8 OLED TV (2018) and SK10Y soundbar review: If you've been on the fence about OLED, now might be the time to jump it
- 4 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 5 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Fujifilm launches Cashback promotion of up to $1,000
- Fujifilm unveils latest Rangefinder style GFX 50R
- Panasonic develops its first full frame mirrorless cameras
- Canon announces new PowerShot SX70HS
- Fujifilm unveils flagship X-T3 mirrorless digital camera
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- 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