Is The Coolpix L330 Worth A Shot?

| May 24, 2015

The Coolpix L330 is the upgrade from the previous model L320. It comes with a 20.2 megapixel CCD sensor, and features a higher resolution 460k dot screen. There is 26x zoom lens with a focal length of 22.5-585mm. There is lens shift vibration reduction which is used to help reduce the effects of camera shake. There is HD 720p video recording and the L330 follows the trend off the L series by running it’s power from AA batteries instead of a Li-ion rechargeable battery. This camera doesn’t give you DSLR levels of control, but it does come equipped with a Smart Auto mode, which gives you automatic detection of the type of scene you are aiming at, and then applies the most optimal shooting settings.

Nikon Coolpix L330

Nikon Coolpix L330

Modes & Filters

You can switch to a standard automatic mode if you want to gain control over ISO sensitivity and white balance. Or you can instead use one of the 18 different scene modes such as the night landscape, and portrait. There is a separate mode that is dedicated to the Nikon’s Smart Portrait feature. This means the camera automatically selects face priority autofocus, and delay’s firing the shutter until the subject is smiling. It will also warn if anyone has blinked. Once the photo has been taken the inbuilt camera processing system will fix any red eye, and also smooth the skin tone, and adjust the overall exposure for better highlights and shadow details. If this is too much for you, just switch to the standard auto mode, and you have access to various options such as monochrome, vivid, and cyanotype effects.

Image Capability

The previous model L320 featured a 16.1 Megapixel, so its nice to see such an upgrade to the 20.2 megapixel and the CCD sensor. There has been automatic noise reduction processing built into this camera to allow the generation of an unsightly image noise due to the camera’s sensitivity. It is equipped with a 26x zoom range, which will allow you to fill your frame from a comfortable distance. The L330 is different from many similar superzoom camera as it allows you to retina the impressive 22.5mm extreme wide angle setting. The lens has an aperture of f/3.1 and is impressively wide considering the focal length range and allows the camera to cope well even in low light.

Controls

The controls for the L330 are easy to use. The buttons are large and well placed with plenty of room on the rear panel for the rubberised thumb grip. If you combine this with the ergonomic main hand grip, you have a very easy to hold camera, and that includes with just one hand. The large video recording button is well positioned next to your thumb, as well as the shooting mode and playback controls. There is the usual direction pad included which incorporates basic settings such as the exposure compensation, macro mode, self timer, and flash. The left hand side of the body houses the single pop up flash button as well as the DC mains input, and USB output slot.

Taking Pictures

The L330 loads up in a fast 1.3 seconds, and greets you with a clear shooting control screen on the 460k LCD screen. It’s easy to see even when you are shooting in bright light conditions. The color accuracy is also very good. Although the screen is not touch screen, to keep the price down, the camera interface controls are very easy to navigate. When taking photos with the L330, you have varied approach with the autofocus.

In good light the autofocus automatically locks on to subjects almost instantly. If you are shooting in darker conditions, unsurprisingly the auto focus slows. If your subjects include close up items you’ll need to change to the more reliable macro mode instead of the auto focus. The exposure metering option is very dependable, allowing you to strike a good balance between preserving highlight and shadow details. When you take high contrast landscape shots it can cause a little underexposure. The L330’s auto white balance is perfect if you have this mixed light type of shot.

Video

Video mode is an underachievement however with this camera. 720p is a long way off full 1080p when you want real HD. The audio is also captured in mono instead of stereo, which is another feature that adds to the disappointment of the video. It does have an included feature not really seen on other cameras which is the Wind Noise reduction. Again though, this disappoints, rather than delights. There is continuous stills shooting facility on the camera which gives you approximately 1 fps for 5 shot bursts.

Battery

The L330 requires 4x AA batteries for its power, which is perfect if you are travelling and can’t get to a mains easily. You should get a set of NiMH rechargable batteries though to get the most out of the camera, and so you don’t burn a hole through your wallet. The L330 comes with a CIPA rated 370 shot lifespan for a single charge photo shoot, which is more than enough to capture lot’s of good memories on a single charge. With better batteries you can expect up to 580 shots.

Conclusion

This is a budget based camera that is meant for the amatur photography buff. Its great for capturing memorable family photos and for taking the type of shots that one day you might want to progress to a DSLR. It isn’t a ground breaking camera, it stays directly in line with the Nikon L series, while just packing a bit more of a punch for your money. If you don’t have a decent camera, then this will make a nice addition to your digital armoury, however it doesn’t take too much more in terms of cost to reach out for a better camera with a rechargeable battery.

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