Nikon Coolpix L310 

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Not a DSLR but not a unit that fits easily into a pocket. This is larger than most digital cameras as it charged by ‘AA’ batteries and therefore the right hand has a solid grip should you decide not to use the supplied neck strap.

Nikon COOLPIX L310 Compact Digital Camera
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The Nikon Coolpix L310 weighs 440grams and measures 11x8x7.5cm (WxDxH) when the camera is closed. A fully extended lens adds 3.5cm to the depth and pop up the inbuilt flash and that adds 3cm to the height of the unit, both those extensions would only be when shooting.

The left side has DC in and AV out behind a rubber bung and the flash pop up is on the left edge of the flash pop up. The right side is clear but the rubberised covering covers the area in front of the side right around to the other side of the finger grip to ensure a good grip even when the fingers may be wet or damp. The base has the entry point for the 4 ‘AA’ batteries and any SD card you use all behind a flip door, there is also a tripod screw.

The face has the Nikkor 21x wide optical zoom lens which is 4.5-94.5mm and set close to the main body the light reader that interprets the various settings before exposure takes place. Next the top where the shutter release which has the wide angle/telephoto adjustment around it close to the front of the battery enclosure ideally placed for the finger next to your right thumb to operate. The silvered on/off button is slightly recessed to stop accidental operation and at the left side the 2x.5cm bar flash completes the top of the unit’s controls.

Finally the rear of the unit which is dominated by the 6x4.5cm TFT display – 3 inch imperial measurement – to the right is a flash charging LED a quick movie button and a rubberised area for the right thumb which gives stability to the three fingers wrapped around the battery housing. Below this are two lines of two well marked buttons with the ubiquitous five position joystick control splitting them to complete the controls of the unit.

In image capture mode there are eight choices 14MP 4320x3240 best compression, 14MP 4320x3240 normal compression, 8MP 3264x2448. 5MP 2592x2448, 3MP 2048x1536, 3MP 2048x1536, PC 1024x768, VGA 640x480 and in 16:9 mode 4224x2376. In movie mode two choices HD 1280x720 or VGA 640x480 completes the choices.

The novice is best to start in Easy Auto Mode where all the major choices are made for you. Then there are seventeen scene modes and I suggest you start by selecting the one best suited to show you the differences they give.

The other options are Smart Portrait – it can recognise faces – a rather good continuous sports shooting mode - and Auto.

I took images at all of the settings above but mainly the 8MP option as this and zooming into portions of them produced good A4 images when printed. When required flash works well and with dull conditions flash offers an even image.

While I still tend to think of this as a digital camera it does take good video images and sound in both the available modes.

I defy anyone to use close to maximum zoom without recourse to a steadying object – such as a wall – or better still a tripod or monopod. If you use the best 14MP mode then a little optical zoom and then zooming in when on the PC produce excellent results.

The Nikon Coolpix L310 is a nice camera that is almost a bridge between a digital camera and a DSLR, however it is still a digital camera, hence it sharing a name with some of the basic Nikon offerings the Coolpix range.

Doing my searches found the Nikon Coolpix L310 at a best price of £135 with free delivery.  

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