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on June 24, 2013
I added the video above, not a review but a sample video from the camera of some deer playing in our back yard. I used the included software to edit the video remove the sound. Bear in mind that the video size/quality had to be reduced to share on Amazon.

My wife and I did a lot of research online looking for a camera with a 10x or larger zoom, video capability, low light w/o flash and most of all easy to use. We first purchased the Coolpix L610 Nikon COOLPIX L610 16 MP Digital Camera with 14x Zoom NIKKOR Glass Lens and 3-inch LCD (Black) at our local Best Buy because it was on sale and over $100 cheaper than the L820. This was a mistake, we got the camera home and it just didn't take the pictures we expected (flash picture came out almost black and the zoom wasn't as awesome as I had hoped for :) plus more poor reviews than I had noticed). After reading about this camera the L820 and finding that it was actually only $50 more than the L610, we exchanged the L610 for the L820 and we couldn't be happier.

I am not a photographer but I like to take pictures and I like them to come out well. This camera allows you to set the camera to Auto mode and not have to think about much else besides finding something to take a picture of. The camera is laid out well, making it easy to choose from the many different modes and preset features to allow you to take best pictures possible, so I think it suits the novice and an intermediate photographer. The zoom is in two places on the top near the shutter release and on the left side of the lens housing which is a nice touch.

The 30x optical zoom is amazing, allowing us to take close up pictures of wild life without disturbing them and the detail is stunning. So far, we have taken some beautiful pictures of flowers and deer. I will continue to update the review as we take more pictures and some video as well.

We purchased a 16gb memory card which can hold over 3500 pictures on the highest setting or over 2 hours of HD video. We also bought this charger and batteries eneloop NEW 2000mAh Typical, 1900mAh Minimum, 1500 cycle, 4 Pack AA, Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries with 4 Position Charger so we will never have to worry about buying batteries again. We will get another set for back up sometime soon.

The only issues I have with the camera so far is that the lens cap is secured to the case and not the lens, so you must make sure to take the cap off before turning on the camera. Also, I wish they included the micro HDMI cable like Mediabridge Micro-HDMI to HDMI Cable with Ethernet - (6 Feet) - FLEX Series High Speed then you can hook up your camera to your TV and show your HD videos you shot in HD. The cable that is included is your simple RCA inputs and that wont display in HD.

Overall for $200 we couldn't have asked for more. 30x zoom, 16 mp, awesome low light capabilities, easy to shoot, fast turn on time and many more features. I would recommend this camera to anyone looking for a powerful camera on a budget.

Updated 6/28/13 - We added a few pictures to the image gallery to show the quality pictures the camera takes. We are by no means photographers but the camera does all the work for us. We are very pleased with this camera.

Update 8/6/13 - We have taken probably 100+ pictures and at least 10 minutes of video and we are still on the original batteries after 6 weeks of use. We still love the camera and we haven't found a real fault yet! The videos have come out amazing, we couldn't be happier.

Amazon has removed the pictures we posted, looks like all customer images are being removed, which is a shame.

We have been able to transfer pictures with out using any software or drivers on my 10 year old spare XP laptop using the provided USB cable. The file transfer speed is very quick. I would suggest if you have any troubles with transferring pictures that a card reader is a great way to go and easy to use method of transferring files from any type of card. IOGEAR SD/MicroSD/MMC Card Reader/Writer GFR204SD (Green/Gray) would work excellent for this.

Update 12/2/13 - Used the timer feature and a tripod for Thanksgiving pictures and they couldn't have come out better. The flash on the camera is bright and accurate taking pictures of what you see with great color. Again, the camera has not disappointed yet.

Update 6/19/14 - Still using and loving the camera. Visit my profile for a link to my blog for more pictures we have taken with the L820!

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments and I hope I can answer any questions you may have.

Thanks for reading and I hope my review was helpful!
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on June 28, 2013
I got this camera primarily because of the reach that a 30x zoom allows me, really that's it. I'm not a professional photographer. I'm just a guy who goes on photo kicks now and again to indulge my inner paparazzi. I think everything needs to be commemorated and documented for the purpose of later boring my friends and family. A flower, a bird, spilled ice cream... it's all gold! While I'd love a DSLR with a telephoto lens, I just can't justify the cost. Enter the L820. I had a Fujifilm FinePix S4200 Digital Camera which has a nice zoom, but I couldn't get it to focus on what I wanted it to focus on. I'm glad I didn't see a Yeti while using that camera, because the image would be blurry and no one would believe me. The Fuji has good reviews, but I wasn't satisfied so I returned it. I continued my hunt and found the L820. Good reviews, though relatively new so not as many as the Fuji, a good zoom, a good brand. I got a smokin' deal on it from an Amazon reseller (over $100 cheaper than Wal-Mart, and $30 cheaper than Amazon itself) so figured I'd give it a go. Pros and cons are a tried and true review method, so why mess with success?

-Zoom is powerful, and with vibration reduction and a steady hand I captured some decent images without using a tripod. I never bother with digital zoom, but there's no real need given that the optical zoom is so powerful.
-Image quality is good. It's not great, but it's good. Remember, this is basically a point and shoot with a lens on steroids.
-Shooting modes. I've only just begun to play with these. There are color filter options, so you can have a black and white photo showing only red, or blue, or green, or whatever. It's artsy and interesting, although I don't find it that useful.
-Battery life is decent. The 4 double AAs they provide got me 647 shots, and still have a bit of life left in them. I only used flash a few times, probably under 10. As soon as these batteries die I'm going with Eneloops which are the greatest batteries on the face of the Earth if you ask me.
-Flash not needed as often as other point and shoots. I have yet to do any spelunking which will probably require a flash, but in low light situations I found the flash could stay down and not be used and pictures turned out pretty good. I'm not a camera genius, but I think this my have something to do with the CMOS sensor being used rather than a CCD, but don't quote me on that.
-Low shutter lag. Isn't this what always gets you? Look, that puppy is tap dancing while twirling a hula-hoop! Quick camera, take a picture. Then you hear the "vvvvffff", "vvvvffff" sound of the lens trying to focus. You see the image get blurry, blurrier, not as blurrier, clearer, clear... and snap. The dog is now sniffing another dog's butt, and no one believes what you saw. It's not instant, but it's pretty fast.
-Good grippy material for preventing slipping. Nothing is worse than taking photos from a boat with your new camera when a rogue wave causes a shudder and PLUNK, your new photo machine goes in the drink because its smooth sides provided no friction. Where the battery housing is there lives a nice, rubbery grip that allows a steady hold. Of course, you should have the neck strap on anyway, so even if it does slip, it's still attached to you.
-AA batteries. This is the must have item for me. I hate proprietary batteries that aren't readily available. Nothing is worse than traveling and having your battery die. Sure you can charge it, but that takes time. Being able to swap out some AA batteries which are easy to get at your local stop and rob is a huge convenience.

-No view finder. C'mon Nikon, this thing is already too big for my pocket, you might as well add a view finder.
-LCD hard to see in bright sun with sunglasses. I know this might be picky, but if it's bright out, and you're outside, you're probably wearing sunglasses to keep your rods and cones from melting. I found that if I wanted to get a good look at the LCD, I had to raise my glasses and allow the UV light of our sun to start burning my retina while reviewing photos or changing settings.
-Battery housing door is a pain. I'm not sure if there is any way around this, because the batteries have to have pressure pushing up so they touch the conductive material on the battery door to give your camera power, but it's a pain to close the door. Not a deal breaker, but just something to be aware of because that's also where the SD card resides.

Final word:
If you're a pro, you might look down your nose at this camera. If you're looking at this camera, and reading this review, you're probably just a regular person like me, or a pro who understands what this camera is for. I'm pleased overall so far. I've uploaded a few pics to the gallery. One of a macro shot, one of a panorama, and one of a deer. The deer photo was taken in "landscape" mode, as I forgot to change it and I had been shooting landscapes primarily to that point. The menu is neither a pro nor a con for me. It's not as convenient as a wheel selector would be, but you get used to it fairly quickly.

If you're looking for a camera with a bit more oomph than a typical point and shoot, this is a good bet. If image quality is more important to you than zoom, there might be better options out there. Remember, I found the images to be good, but not great. But for under $200, this is a solid deal if you ask me.

Things I have yet to mess around with:
-Video, supposedly HD, but I haven't tried it out. I think it's also got a decent frame rate which might allow some interesting "high speed" camera stuff.
-Burst mode for action shots. Haven't touched it yet.
-Messing with F-stops or aperature adjustments. Also haven't tried long shutter.

If I do any of these (and remember!) I'll write updates.

--- -- UPDATE 09-16-13 -- ---

I've had the camera about 3 months now, and am still happy with it. I've played with the high speed filming a bit more. I've uploaded a video "review," expertly crafted using high end video editing software (Windows movie maker), to show what the different speeds look like.

There are four high speed options, ranging from 0.5x - 8x. Now, it's a well established fact that men don't like to read instructions, and I'm no exception. So while there may be more info available about what those numbers mean, I didn't look into it. I'll assume, using my very basic camera knowledge, that 8x basically slows footage to 1/8 speed, and 4x is 1/4 speed, etc etc. The video at 4x is actually still fairly decent, but you can really see how grainy it's getting at 8x.

If I'm outside or in a well lit room I've very impressed with the shutter speed. If I have to wait for a flash, that slows things down, but outside shots are the fastest I've personally ever had with a point and shoot. Battery life is also still impressive. If you haven't joined the Eneloop cult yet (Sanyo Eneloop Ni-MH Charger and 8 Rechargeable AA and 2 Rechargeable AAA Batteries.Plus C & D Adpater.) do yourself a favor and drink the Koolaid. These are the best batteries I've ever owned.

I have not discovered how to use any manual settings with this camera, and I'm afraid they may not exist. These cameras are made to be idiot proof, and they don't want the end user messing with things s/he shouldn't. However, I do like doing long exposure photos of flowing water or the night sky, and I guess I'll have to keep my old, worn out Canon point and shoot for that. I think you have to get a "P" line camera from Nikon to have much control over f-stops, aperatures, shutter speeds, etc. Personally, I think Nikon should have a little more faith in me, but that's the way it goes.
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on March 31, 2013
I did a lot of research for a camera at this price point with zoom and it came down to this one and the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS. The older verse (Nikon Coolpix L810) had good reviews and specs; this newer version has a few more additional features. This is my first camera of this type to own and I bought it to capture; kids soccer/volleyball events, birthdays, etc. So far it has performed awesome, the Sports scene is great as it takes multiple shots and you can pick from the best one, like a frame by frame slow motion. For battery power,I highly recommend purchasing the eneloop XX 2500mAh Typical / 2400 mAh Minimum, High Capacity, 4 Pack AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries with 4 Position Charger and an additional 4 package eneloop XX 2500mAh Typical / 2400 mAh Minimum, High Capacity, 4 Pack AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries. In addition, my daughter is starting to get into photography and she has already figured out additional features that I did not know the camera had, very kid friendly camera.
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on September 8, 2013
I am not a professional photographer. I bought this camera to use in the field (desert & rainforest) and laboratory, imaging rocks, flora, animals, and landscapes (replacing a Nikon Coolpix S550 lost/stolen, and supplementing a bulkier D90 and an inadequate iPhone 4G). The zoom lens and macro features are great - enabling decent, illustrative shots of, say, monkeys in high tree canopies, tiny insects on the forest floor, and in-focus images in variable light settings. This camera is better than most basic point-and shoots, and it's nice that it uses AA batteries. If you have time to set up a shot and try a few different presets, you can get some fantastic images. But in the following other aspects - it is not so good.

(1) Customizable settings are non-existent - there is nothing customizable about this camera at all. You're stuck choosing from Nikon's prepackaged 'modes', which, frankly, used to be more versatile and faster to navigate. Note that this seems to be the same on all of Nikon's current point and shoots - my old camera (the S550) was more user friendly.

(2) (Edited; withdrawn complaint!) I stated intially: "You cannot turn the L820 on to review your photos without first removing the lens cap and letting the lens extend. This is a waste of time and battery life, and it's annoying when you just want to show someone a picture." Other users have pointed out that you *can* actually review photos by pressing and holding the play button with the camera off. I learn something new every day - my mistake, and apologies to Nikon for being a doofus.

(3) You cannot access the memory card without opening the battery compartment. Why do this? Well, if you're concerned about theft while you're out and about in strange places, keeping your SD card(s) stored separately from your camera isn't a bad precaution. I feel like I'm going to break the spring-loaded, sliding battery/SD card lid every single time I open the thing. It feels flimsy and badly made.

(4) The manual flash is aggravating. The camera will ask you to open the flash under many instances (unless you select 'no-flash'), costing you time.

(5) The pre-set image modes prevent you from taking shots the camera thinks will be fuzzy - if you're too far, too close, or too zoomed in/out, it simply won't shoot. Did that rare animal just get away? Too bad! You may think a fuzzy picture would have been better than none at all, but that's Nikon's choice to make, not yours. Can't get that weird red or green hue that is so vibrant in your subject as seen with your naked eye? Tough - Nikon knows best how to balance colors (or render them murky).

(6) The camera *looks* big and fancy, which is not ideal when you're obviously a tourist or out of place in a foreign city. While too small to misplace or drop, the L820 is too big to cram into a pocket or carry discretely.

Again, the zoom is the reason to buy this camera, and with a little set up, you can get first-rate images. So for casual still-life photographers, museum-goers, and landscape lovers, this is fine. I keep this camera around for impromptu documenting of events, quick field trips, and for taking to areas where I wouldn't want to risk damage to or theft of my DSLR (i.e., the beach, known pick-pocket areas, etc.).
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on August 4, 2013
Before buying this camera I spent about a week looking at all different types of point and shoots. I decided that I wanted something better then a small point and shoot camera, as I feel I could use my phone camera and take pictures just as well. I then started looking for something with a long zoom. I finally decided on this camera after going to the store and looking at this one and the comparable canon. This camera had many more features, took better pictures in low light, and has a good shutter speed. This camera was just what I needed for family events and our upcoming trip to Alaska. While in Alaska, this camera took great landscape pictures and portraits, sunsets, and I could even zoom into pics of bald eagles, humpback whales, and mountain goats, and get great shots. Sure, there are lots of great SLR cameras that I am sure would be better, but for the price and the ability to put this camera in my purse without having to carry extra lenses or an additional camera bag, it fits all my needs and takes great pictures. I have even made some of the pictures into a large canvas on my mantle and it turned out great and clear with detail.
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on July 29, 2013
There's already a specs & technical data sheet in the information section. You want to know HOW WELL this camera performs, and you can't find that out from someone who's just taken it out of the box yesterday. I've gone through 3 sets of rechargable batteries with mine. You'll want rechargable 2000-2200mAh NH batteries. The L820 is very busy doing a lot of stuff for you so yes, it eats batteries. You won't mind when you see the pictures, and now I'll tell you why.
First off, if this is your first "Wide-Angle to 30x OPTICAL Telephoto" lens, like they say at K-Mart, "You're gonna ship your pants!". There's no way to write what kind of reaction you're going to have. "Amazing" doesn't even start to cover it. I took a shot across a lake at full telephoto, which is combining 30x optical and digital zoom. There was a dude on the other side shoreline with a bucket. I never saw him with my eyes. The picture showed him as if he was 15 feet away from me. I could read the emblem on his shirt! Is this the most amazing thing about the camera? No.
I'm an oil painter of illusion and fine realism. The most annoying aspect of using photography as reference material is, having to un-flatten the 2D image a camera produces. Perspective, range, compression; all manner of photographic distortion occurs. I'm here to tell you, this CMOS-senor and processor gets it closer-to-realism than I thought possible! The best part about this camera is, the pictures look far more REAL than any non-DSLR I've tried (Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Samsung). This quality is so huge! You'll read a lot of griping about not having a through-the-lens. The picture quality is well-worth not having it! Going even farther, the Nikon L820 takes actual 3D photos. Yes, needing the glasses kind of 3D...which are printed to PLAIN PAPER. I've done one. It's trick and cool.
I'm not done with the list of out-of-this-world incredible this camera does but, this is a review, not a thesis. For brevity, allow me to address some of the negative reviews I've read with suggestions. Yes, throw the lens cap away. It's a pain in the neck but, you were going to lose it anyway. It's an a-u-t-o-matic camera ma'am \ sir. That means it's doing everything for you so yes, if you're trying to film the Daytona 500 or your hyperactive kids, you MUST learn how to use this camera in Manual Mode. It does have the shutter speed and ISO you need but, you must either allow time for the camera to do it or, do it yourself. In all fairness, I've gotten into a couple of minor arguments with the auto-focus taking MACRO shots. Ah wow! I forgot to add how incredible this thing is close-up! It's got a Wide-Angle lens which is far better than the point-n-shoot offers. No more, "Okay everybody scrunch in a little closer to get in the picture". Plus! I've taken great manual pictures < 1" away from the lens. Finally, I can take pictures at night, in my house, with only TV lighting the room and, they come out AS BRIGHT AS daylight. No grainy "aw shucks" disappointments. I took a picture of my dog on the bed, no overhead lighting, at night, for a test and yes, daylight results AND...I could read the title of a book across the room in the photo! Now, let's speed through the compressed list of unbelievably excellent on this camera: 1080i 30fps video in full stereo. I got the 32gb SD card and it tells me, "30 mins" of HD video. It counts like Microsoft tells time so, it's a lot long I'm told in newsgroups.
Summary: Picture quality off the charts with "hidden" values most folks with just call "great pictures". Telephoto and Wide-Angle shots offered rival those of cameras over $400. That's value! Eats batteries. The software is EXCELLENT. BUY THIS CAMERA!! You can't spend twice the money and get a better camera. <---that.
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on March 1, 2013
I wanted a simple point and shoot with great zoom better than my smart phone for when I'm in the back at school functions, concerts and want a nice zoom length, and have the ability for great outdoor shots in the woods and this camera delivers. Love the size, fits great in my hands as well. I love the zoom being on the top as well as on the size, plus the 1080p hd video is awesome. Being able to take indoor photos without the flash really makes the color on this camera great as well instead of thing being washed out with too much flash. PS-Use Lithium or rechargeable batters. Don't even bother with alkaline. They last so much longer!
Great job Nikon
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on November 15, 2013
Haven't used the camera yet, it's for my hubby for Christmas. But I did want to point out that Consumer Reports magazine,( the December 2013, Get the Best Gifts issue) rates this camera as follows:

Under the category of Superzoom cameras: The Nikon Coolpix L820 gets an overall score of 59 out of 100. Please note that the best camera in this category scored an overall 64.

Image quality: Very Good Flash photos: Good Video quality: Very Good LCD quality: Very Good

It is considered a Consumer Reports CR Best Buy!

I bought this camera before I even got my Consumer Reports, so now I'm even happier that I bought it! Will return and review again after we've used it.
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on August 4, 2013
I would give this camera 6 stars if I could! I bought it for our vacation in Sanibel, as I take 100's of shots daily in varying light from pre-dawn to dusk. The CMOS sensor (see camera details) really delivered in low light conditions! VERY impressed with pics taken at twighlight and after sunset with no flash! Superb clarity and highly detailed shots. Very easy to use and you can switch modes rapidly. The pop up flash is a plus, but only fires in certain modes, so read the manual. I took 30 videos on this trip alone and the HD video quality is superb! Camera is sized perfectly and fits nice in your hands. Buy a high quality card for this, as that makes all the difference for speed and satisfaction. Also, don't even mess with alkaline batteries, they simply don't last. Use re-chargeables (mine lasted for a long time, 2100ma, a few 100 shots with and w/out flash) and back those up with a set of lithiums just in case. It takes 4 AA's, which I love. I have taken several 1,000 shots since I purchased this and I have ZERO complaints! And if you get the red color, it gets many compliments, it looks elegant! I have taken a course in photography and have owned several styles of cameras. If you don't want to lug your big DSLR around or a huge camera bag, this camera fills the gap perfectly!!! And the shipping was super-fast, with excellent packaging. Love it...
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on August 25, 2013
Where do I begin - to tell the story.... Well a certain generation know the song - but I LOVE this camera!! We were looking for a camera that was easy to use but had a terrific zoom - for stills as well as video - for an upcoming trip. Purchased a great SONY in January but while the pics and video were great it was just too cumbersome and having to change the lens was too much trouble. Wanted to have something "all-in-one" and this camera fits the bill! (The cost was much better also!) I live with an awesome view of the ocean and local areas - I have zoomed in on neighborhoods across the bay, used macro for super close-ups of flowers, took natural shots easily because the shutter is so quick, caught birds in flight, and have the most awesome pictures of the moon - craters and all! We have still not tried all of the settings but are working on it! Our only issue - and this is our problem not the camera is when the camera is in full zoom: 1) If you are not using the highest setting it might be pixelated and 2) it is so sensitive that when you take the shot it "offsets" from center. Of course this could be solved with a tripod but who's carrying one all the time?! The camera is with us all of the time - my mother called it "my mascot" - because you just never know when that super moment will come up!! The only con to this camera is the same as with all digitals - no eyepiece and there IS a glare in the sun. Absolutely Love it and recommend the following accessories: rechargeable batteries, a minimum 32gb, class 10 sdhc card - you will need it :) - and the screen protector. Go for it!! You will not be sorry!
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