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Nikon Coolpix L1
Although dated now, this camera has served me well. I'm not particularly technologically minded, but after moving to Japan in 2004 I figured it was about time I upgraded to a digital camera. It still took me around a year to do it, and I finally bought this camera in 2005. I've been using it ever since.
The camera cost me approximately 29000 yen new, which at the time was about 150 quid. Even then it was only a lower range camera, although the 6.2 megapixels and the 5 times zoom have been totally sufficient for my needs.
This camera uses an SD card and regular AA batteries. I use Pansonic rechargables which, while expensive, last very well - last year when I visited Singapore and Malaysia, a single freshly charged pair lasted the entire six days of the trip, during which I took some 150 photos and a handful of short video clips. In general, though, no cheap batteries are strong enough to even start it, and even something like Duracell only last a day or so, being a handful of photos and perhaps a couple of short video clips.
I'm a pretty unspectacular camera user - I like to take pictures but I'm not one for playing around with colours or anything like that. This camera does have certain functions such as sepia, cyanotype and straight black and white if you like that kind of stuff. It also has certain picture settings like extreme close-up, portrait and landscape, though I find they all work more or less the same so I don't play around with the options much.
I've always been pretty happy with this camera. The pictures on my computer screen are a good quality and while I'm thinking of upgrading to a newer one it's more because I feel the need to change with the times rather than because its stopped working or anything. It still works just as well as the day I bought it, even though the casing is getting a little scratched now.
My major criticisms of it are that the video quality is poor - during playback on my computer there is a background buzzing sound and the picture isn't very clear. It's passable, but in comparison my wife's iPhone 3 video is about five times better than this. It's also very chunky - one of my hobbies is snowboarding and it's quite a lump to have in your pocket, particularly when most cameras these days are so streamlined. The batteries also die a lot quicker in cold conditions.
One last thing that annoys me is that it takes ages to delete stuff. You can select all the photos you want deleted at the same time, then it still does each one individually while a little timer icon revolves on the screen. It shouldn't take long just to erase a file, surely?
The camera came with a connector wire so you can attach it to the computer and download the pictures. It came inclusive with a CD-Rom for a program called "Picture Project", which you have to install on your computer, although I'm sure if you have an SD card reader (I don't) it would work just as well. The CD-Rom also has lots of other cool programs (most of which I've never used) such as a Panorama Maker, which is fun if you want to create landscapes from several different photographs joined together.
Overall, a decent camera. Out of date now, for sure, but still one that's perhaps a good first camera for a child if you find one on the cheap somewhere.
Gets four out of five for service, probably only a two or three by today's standards, though.
With a powerful 38-190mm Zoom-Nikkor lens (35mm equivalent), the COOLPIX L1 gives you much greater freedom to compose shots as you wish, letting you zoom in for tight portraits or zoom right out to capture wide-open scenery. It also features a CCD specially designed to deliver higher performance within smaller dimensions - contributing to the overall highly portable dimensions of the camera, while packing in an impressive 6.2 effective megapixels for a refinement in clarity that's noticeable at a glance. The COOLPIX L1 also features a large, bright, easy-to-view LCD monitor that makes it easy to compose shots and fun to play back the results right there on the spot. As for its design, the COOLPIX L1 is simple, streamlined and attractive. It features a curved grip that gives the camera an appealing look while contributing to comfortable, stable shooting. It is also ideally suited to carrying anywhere, with truly compact dimensions, a surprisingly light weight and the advantage of AA-size battery compatibility. Such batteries are widely available in lithium, rechargeable or other forms, making it easy for the user to keep on shooting in different countries around the world. Easy operation begins with the simple-to-use multi-selector button and a Graphic User Interface (GUI) that enables users to select functions by either name or icon.
A range of unique Nikon capabilities give the user the power to improve recorded images in-camera with automated ease. Available in Playback Mode, the D-Lighting function lets users select images with excessive backlight or insufficient flash. The COOLPIX L1 then automatically creates a copy of the selected image with added detail and light wherever necessary. The Face-priority AF function is able to detect the location of a human face within the frame, providing sharp focus on it automatically to produce pleasingly sharp portraits no matter where the subject is positioned in the frame. The In-Camera Red-Eye Fix function detects the red-eye effect that can sometimes be caused by flash, then automatically corrects it in-camera for consistently better portraits in low light. The COOLPIX L1 offers a Blur Warning function too that alerts users whenever a shot has been compromised by camera shake, giving them a chance to take a better shot before leaving the scene.
With a choice of 15 Scene Modes, the COOLPIX L1 makes it easy to achieve pleasing results in a wide range of common situations. Simply select the Scene Mode best suited to the subject at hand and the COOLPX L1 automatically selects the optimal settings for results you can be proud of. Four of the handy Scene Modes also offer the additional benefit of Scene Assist, which helps the user to take shots with better composition. The COOLPIX L1 is compatible with widely available SD memory cards. Furthermore, it features 10MB of internal memory that makes it possible for the user to keep on shooting even when no additional memory media is available and allows images to be easily moved from one SD card to another. The COOLPIX L1 offers movie-shooting capability with sound at up to 30fps too, with a choice of TV-size, small-size, and smaller size shooting. With the COOLPIX L1, ease of use and enjoyment also continue beyond shooting. PictBridge capability enables the camera to be connected to a compatible printer for printing without the need for a computer. USB connectivity makes it easy to transfer data to computers and other peripherals. And the COOLPIX L1 also comes complete with Nikon's PictureProject software, which offers simplified image editing, organizing and sharing with a range of user-friendly functions.