Nikon COOLPIX L20 10.0 MP Digital Camera - Deep red Reviews
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Nikon COOLPIX L20 10.0 MP Digital Camera - Deep red

250 ratings (8 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Great value, simple, easy, only a few cons

Sep 29, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Battery Life:
  • Photo Quality:
  • Shutter Lag

Pros:Great value, good pictures, easy to use

Cons:fuzzy LCD, slow to navigate menus, don't like button placement

The Bottom Line: Inexpensive, reliable, easy to use -- I recommend it


I bought this camera for my son (age 8) because he really enjoys photography and I wanted something inexpensive but decent for him to use. My friend has an L18 and his pictures turn out well for an inexpensive camera. My friend has especially good luck with the macro shots and my son builds Legos, so I thought it would be a good fit.

I have never purchased anything but Canon cameras since my first SLR back in 1988. However, this is for my son and he liked the red color and it was a good deal for $109. I dropped in a 4GB memory card and it can shoot over 1k photos in the highest resolution.

It has 15 modes ranging from "Food" to "Portrait," "Sports" and "Landscape." There are several more, but you get the general idea. It will adjust flash, exposure, shutter speed and aperture for the type of programming you want.

It also tries to sense when someone blinks. I don't really care for this, but I guess it is helpful for some people. Sometimes you take a picture and it wastes time trying to get you to read it. With digital cameras, I use a method of "take TONS of pictures" and one of them will be good. I mean, as far as people smiling, not blinking, looking away, etc.

My son's photos, mostly taken in the Easy Auto mode, have turned out pretty well. He had taken maybe 100 photos with it on the original batteries and they still are in his room as back ups. After that, I bought four rechargeables 2500 mah) and rotate them out. They cost about $10 and have worked well.

We went to Disneyland in late September, maybe a month after purchasing the camera. I also brought my Canon point-and-shoot. The Canon takes slightly better pictures, but it is much larger. I bought it two years ago for over $200 (model A620) but I ended up using the Nikon much more and leaving the Canon in the hotel room a lot. The Nikon fits comfortably in a pocket and I bought a slim neoprene case for it.

The photos from that trip are generally sharp, especially the daytime shots. Flash at night/dark was good in the usual range (5-15 feet distance roughly) and the settings are helpful. I left it in the "portrait" mode for much of the time. I also turn the flash on to fill in faces, even in the daytime and those shots look good.

It doesn't have much shutter lag at all. I didn't notice any, except sometimes it doesn't want to take a picture if it thinks someone is blinking.

The photos download to the computer at a decent rate. About the same as my Canon. I use the USB cable, but if you don't use rechargeables, you might want to save batteries by using a card reader.

I read on other reviews that this camera lacked a viewfinder. I rarely use those anymore except with a DSLR or film SLR and I guess I am just used to the screens. With these type of cameras I have different photography style, I guess.

In review...

Good: I am happy with the results from this camera, especially considering the price. We took about 800 photos and 30 or so videos between 1 minute and 10 minutes. The photos are respectable. Good color, decent contrast and usually clear (photographer error on most blurry ones).

The videos are decent for this type of camera (not a true video camera), but the video sound is not very good. It picks up quiet sounds and normal talking fine, but loud sounds are totally distorted, even if they are far away. I took a video of the fireworks one night and everything sounds bad. I just had to turn the sound down.

I like the size and shape of the camera. It fits in a pocket and travels well. Better than my Canon for sure. I also got it wet on Grizzly River Run and it had no problems. I don't recommend getting it wet, though. I was trying to be cool, taking a video going over one of the falls.

Battery life is also good, at least with rechargeables. I never killed the batteries in a day of heavy use. I just swapped them each morning with the other two rechargeables. I know some days I took well over 100 photos.

Photos are clear for such an inexpensive camera. They look good on my 22" monitor and in 4x6 prints. We have albums full of prints that people come over and enjoy.

This camera is easy to use. My 8 year-old has taken lots of good pictures and he can figure out most of the shooting modes and decide which to use.

Bad: The LCD is not very clear. I can't really tell if a photo taken was in focus or not. This is especially true in low light situations when you are trying to take a photo. It looks extremely grainy. My canon has a smaller screen, but is much clearer.

Video sound quality could be better (previously mentioned).

I don't like the navigation buttons or the zoom function. They are useable, but could be simpler and faster. I think I have been spoiled by Canon's scroll wheel and zoom lever. It is very difficult to change settings on the go with the Nikon. A few times I left it in "video" mode and missed shots trying to get back to the still camera mode. With my Canon, I can spin the wheel in less than a second. The Nikon zoom is jumpy (not smooth) and the back buttons are all kind of close together.

There is no "manual" mode where you can set your own shutter speed and aperture. My Canon has this and I use it a fair amount. I guess the Nikon is geared more for those that want ease of operation. I don't blame them. This a very entry level camera.

Overall: I am happy with the purchase. I would recommend it,especially as an inexpensive point-and-shoot for those that don't want a lot of technical stuff to worry about.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 109
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use


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