The Coolpix L6 is a pocket sized, highly automated digital camera. While not up to 35mm standards for image quality, it is a decent little snapshot camera.
Recommend this product?
6 megapixels, 3x Optical zoom (resolution-sapping digital zoom available too). Multiple 'program modes' (Nikon calls them 'scene modes', overrides for the auto flash, focus priority selections, and a handful of nifty creative tools, including a panorama maker. It has a little bit of on-board memory (23MB), and has a standard SD slot for more.
Power comes from 2 AA batteries, use Alkaline, NIMH or Lithium
(Which is recommended), which means you can buy batteries -everywhere-
Include in the package is an extensive manual, a pair of lithium batteries (yes, Batteries ARE included!), a wrist strap (does anyone use these anymore?), USB cable and PC Software.
Nikon has packed a lot of technology into this little gem, I still haven't explored all of the options and functions, but I will give you the highlights, the features that I have found useful (and a couple I have found irritating).
On the top:
The power-on button (which lacks a lock, thus it is inevitable that you will find this camera has turned on in transit and drained its batteries.)
The PHD (Push Here Dummy) picture-taking button. Which, if you push it, will do things like autofocus, fire the red-eye-reduction pre-flashes, beep at you if the flash is off and there isnt enough light, and maybe, if the planets are aligned, eventually take a picture.
On the front:
The lens, which hides behind a metal shutter, emerges when the camera powers on. This is a small, but high-quality Nikon lens. It will move in and out when zooming.
A little sensor window.
On the bottom:
Just the battery compartment.
On the side: wrist strap connection point.
SD Card slot
USB cable socket
Socket for (optional) battery charger/power supply.
Rocket launcher trigger (just kidding
wanted to see if you were paying attention).
And on the back (where the serious business takes place):
The back panel has the 2.5 inch LCD display, which is the only viewfinder.
The display not only shows either the current live image, or the image that is being played back or browsed it also displays current status and settings, and the various setup menus.
A zoom control (it zooms all the way to 3x optically, then another 3x of digital zoom, which gets you a little closer, but at the expense of picture resolution. Here is a suggestion: never use digital zoom
you can always crop and enlarge what you want after you transfer the full image to your computer. On the computer you can (in theory) blow up a single pixel to the size of a movie screen. But once you give up the resolution in the camera, you can never get it back.)
Mode selection switch:
normal photograph where you can select various flash settings (fill-in, red-eye reduction, partial flash, none) focus selections (group, close-up, landscape and more) and special modes to reduce shake (one setting BSS will take multiple flash-less pictures and save the least blurry image) This setting gives you multiple creative options, including white balance and optional tones.
scene mode scene modes are standard settings for different situations
outdoor sports/action, indoor party mode (make maximum use of ambient light, focus at the center of the viewfinder) portrait mode, landscape mode, and panorama assist mode (helps you take overlapping pictures
the included PC software will help you to reassemble the pictures into a panoramic view).
Movie mode where it will record a QuickTime format movie, complete with sound!
There is also a multifunction navigation control to let you make various menu selections, or step through the pictures you have taken.
Setting up: Easiest thing to do is stick to the scene modes, you will in time get used to the controls and want to start experimenting with the options.
If you are coming from a real camera you will need to get used to the pace of the L6. The more you ask it to do, the longer it takes from the time you push the shutter release button to the time a captured image appears on the LCD screen. It focuses, which can take some time as it needs decent contrast in the focusing hot-spot. Then, if you have red-eye reduction turned on, it fires multiple flashes, and then takes the picture.
Then it writes it to memory (which can take a while with maximum resolution and standard SD cards. High speed SD cards can help with this).
You can then do a bunch of post-capture actions in the camera, including further red-eye reduction, and resolution enhancements.
You can browse the images in your camera, and you can hook up the USB cable to upload images to your computer. (But I found it faster to pop out the SD card, and put the SD card into the SD reader on my PC. The images are good old JPEGs and QuickTime movies and can be quickly and easily copied to hard disk for storage and manipulation.
The included Pictureproject software (available for Windows and Mac) lets you do more image manipulation. It is not full-blown Photoshop, but will suffice for most users.
Very nice; the highest resolution (2816x2112) can be blown up to 8x10 without getting grainy.
This thing is sometimes annoyingly slow to take pictures. I am still trying to find a way to speed it up without losing resolution. If you are used to the immediacy of manual or semi-automated 35mm you may find it annoying too.
The power button is unprotected. I have accidentally turned it on and off several times, it gets annoying.
The Coolpix L6 offers good image quality, and some nice features, for a price not much more then toy digital cameras. Build quality is up to Nikons high standards, so it can be expected to capture many pictures.
Read more product reviews on Nikon COOLPIX L6 6.0 MP Digital Camera - Silver
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Amount Paid (US$): 200
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Flexible Enough for Enthusiasts