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Nikon COOLPIX L810 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 26x Zoom NIKKOR ED Glass Lens and 3-inch LCD (Blue)
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Subjects can be captured in high-quality by the Nikon COOLPIX L810 Digital Camera's 16MP CCD sensor. This digital camera is capable of HD video recording at 720p to relive candid moments. Manage to capture far away subjects easily as the digital camera comes with a 26x optical zoom. Let the digital camera's 50MB internal memory save your pictures, and transfer them on SD/SDHC cards for your convenience. This digital camera is built with a 3-inch LCD monitor to let you review your pictures and videos. The Nikon COOLPIX L810 Digital Camera has a USB interface for efficient photo and video transferring.
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Comes with: Strap, four AA batteries, USB cable, audio video cable, lens cap and software CD-ROM. Didn't come with a carrying case but no biggie, found one on ebay for about $6 w/free shipping (Ebay item #380422196943)
~I chose the camera in Blue. The color is rich and I haven't had any major issues with it chipping.
~My cameras come with me everywhere, so it's been through a lot and is holding up pretty well. I have dropped it once (only about 3 months ago) and it only sustained a corner chip (that's all that is apparent). The performance of the camera has not been affected.
~When the lighting is high, especially on sunny days, photos are stunning and crisp, especially macros (the type of photos I take most often).
~This camera takes SD cards, so it was an easy upgrade (although later I purchased an SD with a higher class to improve recording on card speed).
~You can fit quite a bit in the shot when lense is fully zoomed out.
~ (might be a con for some people)Although it isn't a DLSR, it kind of looks like one.Some people have even asked me which Nikon DLSR it was! It's my dream to own a DLSR, but I don't have the money for that yet (college is expensive). This camera feels similar to a DLSR when you hold it (as close to the dream as I can get, for now).
*Because the lense is a little too big for the camera, sometimes wider shots will have curve distortions in the corners. It's not significant enough to bother me, and I have actually used this defect to take some awesome, creative perspective shots.
*Manual setting: The manual light/exposure setting is OK. The camera can be finicky.
*Setting: Sometimes settings within the camera are sometimes difficult to find, such as formatting card. This is frustrating when I need to work quickly because my subjects don't always wait for me (organisms).
*The lense has to be open/exposed too review pictures. I would have liked it if there was an option to "close lense" while reviewing pictures. My cheap $50 FujiFilm that I take along when fishing automatically closes its lense after you start reviewing images about 1 minute.
*Darker lighting shots and extreme contrast lighting tend to be very warm. This can usually be fixed with software, but I've had instances where there was no hope.
*Using the flash: Occasionally when I need the flash and pop it up (esp. for dark macro shots), the camera doesn't recognize this and I have to fight with the camera to accept the flash manually.
*Lense is very easy to destroy. Only a month after owning this camera, there was already dust under the lense. I always keep the cap on, and I never exposed my lense to extreme wind or beach conditions. The dust is not visible in most shots, but I know it is there. At certain zoom levels, one of the dust specs create a blurry spot. I am pretty sure that Nikon would fix this problem if I sent the camera in, but it's probably expensive. I never looked into it, though(and I dislike paying shipping).
*Dark lighting; This was my BIGGEST disappointment from this camera. It's horrible for low-light situations. My friend's cell phone camera was getting better quality low-light photos than me. Whenever I want a low-light shot, such as a picture of a moth at night, I have to wear a head light and hold a flashlight in my left hand while trying to take a picture. When I use the flash, it only works for objects close-mid distance away. Very close objects get super-exposed, and father objects are non-existent. Also, as the lighting gets darker, the fuzzies get harsher. I know, this isn't a pro-camera. But I would have liked it to handle low light a little better for the price.
*Energy monster: The camera takes (4) AA batteries. No battery packs here. This thing is a battery monster that's ALWAYS hungry. I have rechargeable AA batteries for it now, but not always. Before investing in rechargables, it was a bad situation.
*Focus: Like I said, I love taking macros/ close-ups. Sometimes the focus takes way too long, and very often it's challenging to get the right focus. For example, I want to get a close-up of a dragonfly. The camera will focus the face or the body, but not both. Whatever it doesn't focus is very blurry. I want a crisp, all-focus closeup. That might be asking too much for a camera like this, but I really don't know. I don't have enough experience to make such a judgement.
*Speed: The camera is much faster than my previous, but still too slow for quick, action shots like animals running. These shots tend to be clearer the more you zoom out, but sometimes I want detail. I tend to get these shots indirectly. I take a video of the action, then use editing software (like Picasa) to extract photos from the video. These "photos" are not as crisp as a regular picture, but they allow me to capture things like lightning. There is a super-fast continuous mode that puts 16 photos on one frame. You can extract individual photos from this frame later, but they have to be blown up, and that sacrifices clarity.
So, the L810 gets 4 stars overall because it is a nice improvement/upgrade from cheaper cameras. I do like it, but it can be frustrating when I can not capture the shots that I envision. Plus, it's dark-lighting shots are simply awful.
You might have more experience with cameras than me and could probably make better judgements of my complications. Or you might have less experience and feel a little overwhelmed by all the reviews for all the cameras you are looking at.
No matter who you are, the ultimate decider is YOU. This is my experience and you'll need to judge and digest it to decide if the L810 will satify you needs as a photographer.