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This is one of those cameras that you can pop in your coat pocket for those unexpected moment that you meet a celebrity, or need to capture a special moment where needs must.
To me the optical zoom just isn't good enough to justify being a primary camera as 3.6x is terrible and zooming in just makes the picture look grainy regardless of how many pixels it has. The higher the optical zoom the better the shot, but it's ok.
The monitor is large enough to see for those that may forget their glasses, however in the sunshine it's pretty difficult to see what you are looking out without having to move it into some type of shade, and needless to say a view finder certainly wouldn't go amiss.
Auto function doesn't always work how you want it to as the flash decides whether or not it wants to work, so it's an idea that if you are going to use it indoors at night, keep the flash on all the time you use it, then you won't end up with dark dingy looking photos that you can't make out at all.
Perfectly good second camera, or even starter camera for those who are looking for a way into digital photography.
When buying the Coolpix L22 I naturally picked one with a good name, reasonably priced (£54) with a lot of megapixels, 12 in this occasion. Not being a hard core photographer I didn't expect I would even notice any problem with image quality, but in fact with this camera I did.
I had some holiday snaps processed and blown up, and whilst they looked like real good pictures on the 3 inch LCD screen, they were a little blurry and un-edged (if you know how I mean) when the size was increased. A little research, after the fact shows this to be a common problem. In fact the other Dooyoo reviewer also noted it.
Having said that, this was the only issue I had with this camera. It is now in use fairly regularly for nights out and special occasions, and it produces great pictures which go straight on social networking sites and look well online. When I suspect I may need the photograph for something more important I'll use a different camera.
The camera itself is good to look at, mines is the plum red version. Rechargeable batteries are a must as standard ones won't last long, especially in video mode. A 4Gb SD card I picked up on ebay for less than a tenner holds over a thousand photos without problems.
At just over fifty pounds you'll get a good name, funky design and 12 Megapixels, which are all plus points. If you into serious photography and exhibiting your shots then don't expect this camera to be up to the task.
Although my main interest when it comes to digital cameras is in the cheaper end of the market, especially if there are second-hand bargains to be had, that doesn't mean that I am uninterested in the newer and/or more advanced models. In any case, sometimes I want to play about with more settings or options than many of those more basic cameras can manage! So I was interested to see not so long ago that Nikon had brought out two new compacts in its long-running Coolpix range, the eight-megapixel L21 and the camera I actually got hold of, and am testing here, the 12-megapixel L22. A lot of people will be attracted by the enduring cachet of the Nikon brand, so this camera may well sell pretty well.
You don't, of course, need 12mp on any compact, and in fact it can be an actively bad thing. Squeezing that many pixels onto the tiny light sensors that compact cameras possess is quite a task, and almost inevitably leads to an increase in image noise, especially when taking pictures in low light conditions. (It's no mere coincidence that the compacts in recent years which had the best low-light performance, Fujifilm's F10 and its immediate successors, had just 6.3 megapixels of resolution.) Still, Nikon can't really be blamed for giving consumers what they want, even if those same consumers - albeit egged on by, er, the manufacturers - are rather misguided in insisting on it.
This is a reasonably attractive camera to look at, even though this one is in silver, the least impressive of the colour options. (The others are black, red and blue.) The back of the thing, however, *is* black. It's reasonably slim, though it's a bit fatter at the right-hand side, as the photographer holds it, to allow space for the two AA batteries which power it. The battery compartment, which as usual (unfortunately) is shared with the SD/SDHC memory card, so that the batteries fall out when you change cards if you're not careful, suffers from a rather fiddly catch that may take a couple of tries to get used to. On the credit side of the ledger, this is (for once) a camera where Duracells won't run out after two minutes, though I'd still advise NiMH rechargeables for all but the most occasional use.
Considering its impressive heritage, Nikon hasn't covered itself in glory with many of the entries in the Coolpix L range over the years. Looking at the lens on the L22, you begin to worry that this may be the case this time as well. Although the 3.6x zoom range is perfectly acceptable for most uses, and it whirrs in and out quite fast and impressively quietly, controlled by a collar around the shutter button that will feel quite familiar to users of many Canon PowerShot models, there's a fairly quiet, but really irritating, brief squeak as it stops. There's also a disappointing lack of wide-angle capability, with the zoom range being 37 to 134 mm in the usual 35mm film equivalent terms. The lens is slow, too: a widest aperture of f/3.1 at wide-angle is okay if not wonderful, but f/6.7 at telephoto is the worst I've seen in ages.
The LCD is a nice big 3-inch one, which is welcome, and it's a very well constructed one too: I found it pleasant to look at and bright in almost all conditions. It didn't get grainy in low light, either, which was a very nice change from some other cameras' screens. The one real problem with this LCD is that its size means that there's very little space for anything else: the control buttons are squashed into a small area to its right, and there's hardly anywhere left to put your thumb that you won't worry about knocking a setting. Actually this isn't a particularly comfortable camera to hold all round, with no textured grip areas on either front or back. This is a big minus for me, as I'm a little bit clumsy sometimes and much prefer a solid grip on a camera.
The L22 is aimed at the casual or holiday snapshot photographer, and if you want a nice range of manual modes (PASM and so on) you should spend no more time here. In fact, as has been the case for a long time now with the L series, you can't even control ISO yourself; this is a right pain sometimes, such as when you want to force ISO to a low setting to make sure of the smoothest results. I really don't understand why any camera should remove such a useful thing from the user's control entirely. You can at least set white balance (including a custom manual option) and exposure compensation, as well as picture quality.
There are not a lot of modes to learn on this camera. The base one is "Auto", which is pretty much what it says in that you only have to change the settings mentioned above if you really want to. If even that sounds too daunting, though, there's an "Easy Auto" mode, in which you can't change *anything*, other than exposure compensation and picture quality. There's a "Smart Portrait" mode, shown on the menu by a rather unnerving smiley face, which is supposed to optimise settings for, you guessed it, portraits. It works as far as it goes, though I can't say that the results looked *that* much better than in Auto mode. Finally, there's a slew of actual Scene modes: as well as the usual stuff such as Beach/Snow and Sunset, there are the likes of "Food". I've not yet worked out why you should need a special mode to photograph your dinner, but I suppose Nikon have their reasons...
As with most Nikon compacts since the year dot, the L22 offers the genuinely handy option of the Best Shot Selector. When this is activated, you can keep the shutter held down as you take a continuous sequence of photos of the same scene, and the camera will assess them automatically and retain only the picture which looks the best. The downside of this is that it betrays the L22's lack of image stabilisation, which is a feature that is now starting to become almost a must-have even on quite inexpensive digicams. The BSS is very much second best to real optical IS, but it does work better than some of the "digital anti-blur" options you find on other cameras, which are often pretty poorly executed.
And so to picture quality. As I mentioned earlier on, 12mp is really too much for a camera like this to deal with properly, and as expected noise rears its ugly head. It's not something to fret too much about for computer viewing or normal-sized prints, but you will notice it if you blow your photos up to poster-size, especially if the picture was taken in poor light. Perhaps more irritatingly, the camera's processor is over-enthusiastic with the processing, with too much sharpening giving a slightly "overdone" effect and too much compression meaning that little details are lost; given the latter in particular, you again have to wonder what use all those megapixels actually are. Those two complaints aside, photos look quite nice, though if you're used to the vivid colours some makers (Canon, for one) give you, the slightly more restrained saturation levels from the Nikon might come as a slight surprise.
This is an average camera. I don't mean "average" in the sense it's sometimes used, to mean "actually pretty terrible"; I really do mean average. The L22 certainly has its good points - it's fairly easy to use, the LCD is very good, the zoom works well (squeak apart) and build quality is more than acceptable for this end of the market. On the minus side, there's that excessive processing, the fiddly buttons, the insecure feel in the hand and the lack of ISO control. At its absurd RRP of £119 there wouldn't be much point in looking at this camera - in fact it might only have been a two-star model at such a high price, Nikon name or not - but Jessops among others are currently selling it for £59, and at that level it's a far more reasonable proposition. Three and a half stars, rounded down to three largely because of that zoom squeak driving me up the wall!