Nikon COOLPIX L830 Digital Camera Review

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*Note from Staples* We do not carry this item anymore but instead carry the newer model. For more details visit Nikon Coolpix P530 product page.

Everyone owns a camera these days—it comes attached with every smartphone. There’s hardly a need to purchase one unless you’re looking for better image quality and features that only a dedicated camera can provide. The Nikon Coolpix L830 is a digital superzoom camera for consumers who want to upgrade, but don’t want to get bogged down with settings.

The camera readily gets out of your way when you want it to and lets you tinker with a few things like ISO and white balance if you want a little more customization. There’s also its solid construction and 34x zoom lens (22.5-765 mm) to recommend it.

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Design

The Nikon Coolpix L830 looks like the younger sibling of a DSLR camera—save for the fact that its lens can’t detach. Its black matte body feels weighty in hand (1.12lb), enough to help stabilize the camera when you’re trying to ready a shot, but not too heavy that your arms will fatigue. There’s a hand grip with rubber padding on the front to wrap your fingers around and a little squared off rubber piece in the back for your thumb to grip. While shooting, I always felt like I had a firm hold on the camera and it’s construction hardly felt cheap. There’s a strap in the box for extra security while you’re shooting and a lens cap strap as well.

The Coolpix L830 runs on 4 AA batteries that are included, however, I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a rechargeable battery. Purchasing new batteries will add to the overall cost of the Nikon over time, which should be taken into consideration. It should be noted that this camera isn’t power-hungry. Also, under the same lid that holds the batteries in place is where the SD card slot resides. This coupling makes swapping the memory card out in the field a bit of a juggle, requiring the user to turn the camera upside-down so the batteries don’t tumble out while you’re retrieving the card.

 

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The lack of a viewfinder may cause some buyers to run for the hills. But Nikon does its best with the electronic 3-inch, 921,000 dot display it provides instead. It shows off previews beautifully indoors and in direct sunlight—not to mention the display can tilt. This helped on numerous occasions when I wanted to get an “above the crowd” or “low to the ground” shot without jumping or lying on the ground. Though, I still pined after a viewfinder on occasion. Whether you can live without it is completely subjective.

 

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Ease of Use

You could easily boot-up this camera and start snapping pictures from the get-go (after a few initial setup questions) without tweaking any settings. It boots up in a second, and takes little more to line up a shot, focus the image, and snap.

The Coolpix L830 has a zoom feature that sits around the shutter button and on the left side of the lens to suit whatever your style may be. The physical button layout is fairly simple after breezing through the instructions. Controls to set a timer, video, and exposure are just one click away from the main menu.

The scene button opens up more options to tailor your snapshots; Nikon provides 18 scenes to choose from. There’s a scenario for sports, indoors at a party, fireworks, even snow. The camera will set the shutter speed, ISO, and other features for you depending on your selection. If you don’t want to choose, select “Easy auto mode” and the camera will take in the scene you’re trying to capture and select the right settings for you. The icon at the top left of the display will change, letting you know what the camera thinks is the best option.

For those who may want to customize, there’s some wiggle room if you delve into the features a little. If you select Auto mode, you’ll be able to tinker with the white balance and set the ISO sensitivity (125-3200). There are no manual control settings for aperture or shutter speed, the camera handles that on its own. I may note that during a bonfire, the Nikon Coolpix L830 took some nice long exposer shots of sparks popping off the flames, which created a beautiful effect of the spark’s trail.

 

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Image Quality

The Nikon Coolpix L830’s image quality is handled by a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, which turned out some lovely photos. Daylight performance was good, but I can’t say as much for low-light settings. Indoors with dim lighting turned out so-so images that looked drab in comparison to ones taken outdoors or under warm lights.

If you like to edit your photos, I would warn you against zooming-in and cropping. At 100% you can see some slight noise and artifacts, even at its base sensitivity. Keep in mind the images on your computer screen will be 4,608 by 3,456 pixels, which is likely larger than your computer’s resolution. For the price, though, the image quality is better than what you’ll get on any smartphone and with more features to boot.

Videos were equally good, you can barely hear the lens zooming in and out when you’re adjusting focus (only in quite scenes was it ever audible). Moving from indoors to outdoors, the camera adjusts the exposure within a second. Audio is clear and distinct. Bottom line: The L830 takes good quality photos and video.

Conclusion

The Nikon Coolpix L830 is a great superzoom camera. It’s speedy, takes good daylight photos, and has a solid feature set. It’s a camera that’s ready for users that want to upgrade the quality of their vacation or travel photos, and the Coolpix L830 is easy for anyone to take advantage of its features.

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Nikon COOLPIX L830 Digital Camera
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Natalie Shoemaker

Natalie found her passion for writing about tech when she started with PCMag. She has also written for Geek, GDGT and TechnologyTell.

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