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Nikon launches Coolpix L610 14x, AA-powered compact superzoom camera

By dpreview staff on Aug 9, 2012 at 04:01 GMT

Nikon has announced the Coolpix L610 - a 14x compact superzoom camera that takes AA batteries. The L610 includes a healthy feature set - 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor, 25-350mm equivalent, image-stabilized zoom lens and 1080p30 HD video capability. However, reflecting its position at the top of Nikon's more affordable 'L' series of compacts, it uses the widely available, though relatively inefficient AA battery type. It will sell at around its suggested selling price of $250.

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Press Release:

NIKON'S NEW COOLPIX L610 COMPACT CAMERA WITH INCREDIBLE ZOOM LENS MAKES IT EASY TO CAPTURE A FAMILY'S ACTIVE, ALWAYS ON-THE-GO LIFESTYLE

MELVILLE, N.Y. (August 9, 2012) – Today, Nikon Inc. introduced the new COOLPIX L610, an affordable compact digital camera featuring an impressive 14x optical Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens and an Easy Auto Mode to help ensure the capture of stunning photos and Full HD (1080p) video. Whether shooting on vacation in the tropical sun or capturing a night game from the stands, the 16-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor helps conquer challenging lighting conditions for picture-perfect memories.

The COOLPIX L610 offers performance and versatility not commonly found among affordable super zoom cameras. Featuring a precise autofocus system, a large 3-inch LCD monitor that provides a bright display with faithful color reproduction, and the convenience of AA-size battery support, the L610 ensures a memorable shooting experience to capture memories with great images and HD video.

"The new COOLPIX L610's 14x zoom lens and CMOS sensor give consumers the boost they need to capture their favorite moments wherever life takes them," said Bo Kajiwara, Vice President of Marketing, Planning and Customer Experience, Nikon Inc. "Lightweight and compact, the L610 is the essential camera for any family activity."

Versatile Performance for Everyday Adventures

Photographers can experience amazing depth and sharpness in their photos thanks to the 14x optical zoom that covers from a wide-angle 25mm to a distant 350mm (35mm format equivalent), making this an ideal camera to cover near, far and everything in between. This high-performance NIKKOR lens has two ED glass elements and lens construction consisting of 11 elements in 10 groups. For photographing close-up subjects, macro shooting is possible from as close as approximately 0.4 in/1 cm (at wide-angle setting). Additionally, optical VR image stabilization minimizes the effects of camera shake to help users create sharp, clear photos and videos in challenging light or while handheld. With a 16.0-megapixel backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor, image details can be beautifully reproduced even in low-light.

Easy to Capture Memories Through Photo and HD Video

To create consistently great images, Nikon's Easy Auto Mode automatically selects from among six Scene Modes including Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Night landscape, Close-up and Backlighting to fit the most common challenging scenes. By simply framing the subject, the most appropriate Scene Mode is automatically selected according to the shooting situation. This allows the photographer to be ready for any possible occasion, whether it is a flattering portrait of a friend in front of a nighttime city skyline, or a subject that is backlit from the sun. What's more, the COOLPIX L610 adds the convenience of easily accessible AA battery power, so at home or far away, power will always be within reach even if an outlet is not.

Furthermore, users can enjoy recording impressive movies in Full HD 1080p with stereo sound. The conveniently located Movie-Record button enables one-touch recording at anytime. To make sharing simple, the HDMI mini connector and USB/audio video connector make it quick and easy to upload videos and photos.

Price and Availability

The Nikon COOLPIX L610 will be available in September 2012 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $249.95* in a variety of colors including Red, Black and Silver. For more information about this COOLPIX camera or other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time. Specifications, equipment and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.

Nikon Coolpix L610 specifications

Body type
Body typeCompact
Sensor
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
Image
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatUnknown
Optics & Focus
Normal focus range50 cm (19.69)
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39)
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3
Screen dots460,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD with anti-reflection coating
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Videography features
FormatH.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage included28 MB
Connectivity
USB USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
Physical
BatteryAA
Battery descriptionAA Alkaline X2, AA Lithium X 2, EN-MH2 (available separately) X2, AC adapter EH-65A (available separately)
Battery Life (CIPA)120
Weight (inc. batteries)240 g (0.53 lb / 8.47 oz)
Dimensions108 x 69 x 34 mm (4.25 x 2.72 x 1.34)
Other features
GPSNone

Additional images

Comments

Total comments: 62
atetuna
By atetuna (Aug 16, 2012)

I hope whoever tests this camera is smart enough to test it with Eneloop's or lithium's instead of being the common nitwit that uses alkaline's and then whines about short battery life. I have a hard time taking a review of a digital camera seriously when the tester does that.

0 upvotes
BecTec
By BecTec (Sep 15, 2012)

This "nitwit" is testing with regular alkaline batteries to be able to compare to her older, very reliable Canon Powershot SX100. To my huge disappointment, the L610 ran out of power in the first go-round of testing, took a grand total of 21 pictures (no flash, but zoom and macro) before the batteries died. Took the same shots with the Canon (same battery lot, but they've been in the camera taking shots for a few weeks) and it's showing no signs of running down. The lithium's may last longer, but on the head-to-head test, the Canon wins hands down. Even more disappointing, the Nikon's shots had only a tad better resolution. Too bad: I really wanted to love this camera!

1 upvote
NewsView
By NewsView (Mar 7, 2013)

People with older AA-compatible point-and-shoot cameras often had no worse performance than those who are seeing as few as 200 shots on a rechargeable lithium-ion today. Per my own research, some Nikon Coolpix L610 users report good battery performance on AA batteries but they are in the minority.

Nikon doesn't specify a range but 120 shots per Alkaline set is average per review websites. The problem is that users are getting as few as 40 without flash, and some a ridiculously low 25! There's lackluster battery performance and then there's downright faulty.

Many years ago, DP Review provided reviews of entry-level consumer cameras. Not so today. It took combing other review websites to find a comment that the metering on the L610 is spotty. The camera prefers lower shutter speeds than can be hand-held and because there are no real manual controls there's little owners can do but shoot blurry action photos even in decent light. Budget-priced or not, Nikon should update the firmware.

0 upvotes
maboule123
By maboule123 (Aug 15, 2012)

My cousin who attends AA meetings thinks this is a great non addictive camera.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
canon-a-holic
By canon-a-holic (Aug 15, 2012)

You know, even though I'm a Canon person, It will be nice to have a Nikon camera that isn't as large as the L810 that runs on AA-batteries. It's surprising how many people that want a camera that runs on them...As far as resolution goes...it might be nice to be lower...but maybe they are trying to compensate for the small amount of image smudging that is in their point and shoots right now (with the exception of the P510 and AW100, which are actually nice).

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Aug 14, 2012)

16,800,000 photosites squeezed onto a 0.43-inch diagonal physical size sensor? Thanks, Nikon, but no thanks.

0 upvotes
vhlemos
By vhlemos (Aug 14, 2012)

If you remark, just right from the begining, in the title: Uh,uh, this camera uses AA batteries. That's the point. Is this a Nikon's bet? I wish the sales numbers say so, but ... time will tell if we are wrong.

0 upvotes
migus
By migus (Aug 10, 2012)

"it uses the widely available, though relatively inefficient AA battery type"

Not quite so inefficient - wrt. life time, usage and even energy density (where NiMH is closing the gap vs. LiIon). Most often the humble AA/NiMh beats the noble LiIon, except in custom shapes.

"However, the Li-On battery does have a shorter useful life, in terms of time, than NiMH batteries. A Li-Ion rechargeable battery will last about three years, starting from the time of manufacture, versus about five years for a NiMH battery. Unless you're a professional photographer, It's likely that you'll never reach the maximum number of charge/discharge cycles, before the three years is up, and the Li-Ion battery begins losing capacity. " http://batterydata.com/

"NiMH has a volumetric energy density of about 300 W·h/L (1080 MJ/m³), significantly better than nickel–cadmium at 50–150 W·h/L, and about the same as li-ion at 250-360 W·h/L." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel%E2%80%93metal_hydride_battery

7 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 10, 2012)

Interesting info.. For me, the fact that AA's are a well-established standard alone, and that they are one of the few areas where manufacturers can't "chip" them or make the shape just slightly off and proprietary and thus screw the consumers (though I would not put it past them to try to), means that I will always have a place in my heart and wallet for AA-based technology. You listening manufacturers? My next new camera purchase will VERY likely be based on this.

3 upvotes
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Aug 15, 2012)

Eneloops are the best option. They are the only batteries that work in my SX130 apart from Lithium batteries. I think Duracell do an alternative now. The rule is to buy rechargeable batteries that are fully charged when sold. They cannot do this with normal NiMH as they self discharge so rapidly. I even use Eneloops in my clocks which would be impossible with normal NiMH as they go flat in such a short time irrespective of power demand.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Kc64
By Kc64 (Aug 10, 2012)

One good thing with this camera is that the buttons on the backside are made as big and contrasty as possible.
A lot of cameras, even the otherwise so good designed Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix LX series, have bad designed buttons there, requiring baby fingers or good light to be operated.

3 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Aug 14, 2012)

Also, connectivity seems to be USB 3.0, one of the first digital cameras that use this relatively new interface for downloading images/clips from the SD card.

0 upvotes
Gary Yelland
By Gary Yelland (Aug 9, 2012)

the lens is not that fast, no gps, no wifi zoom range is ok but not stella, so to sell this one the images would have to be amazing and superfast startup and shoot time.

1 upvote
ScarletVarlet
By ScarletVarlet (Aug 10, 2012)

It's nice to see Nikon keeping the AA dream alive. I carry AA powered Point & Shooters frequently because they are small, light and the packs of spare NiMH cells I have for use with other devices I carry can be easily used when batteries run low. In a pinch you can find AA batteries pretty much anywhere in the world when traveling.

2 upvotes
Ultan
By Ultan (Aug 13, 2012)

Gripe, whine, moan. WTF is with the commenters here?

This is an incredible set of features for the money. The zoom range is perfect, it's at least as fast a lens as the competition even in some much more expensive cameras, it doesn't skimp on the wide end, focuses close, and it has an optically stabilized telephoto long enough for any common use. AA batteries are great, available everywhere and cheap enough to have spare sets. It's light and pocketable. The back-illuminated sensor will be sensitive for its size, and downsized to 1-4Mp it should have good image quality even in marginal light. Bigger sensors are always nice, but for $250 with a decent lens this is amazing. It has all the most important features in a total package of usability that has no real competition at this price. I hope the shutter lag is low and the focus is reasonably fast, but even if the camera is mediocre aside from the reported features, it's still going to sell very well.

4 upvotes
shahid11235
By shahid11235 (Aug 9, 2012)

Nothing new, nothing impressive.. (sigh)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
NewsView
By NewsView (Mar 7, 2013)

One thing the reviews fail to point out is that the L610's macro performance, at 1CM is impressive, considering that it is a long-zoom camera. Most cameras offering a long-zoom for a much steeper price can't focus in less than 5CM.

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Aug 9, 2012)

> does the average tourist want an EVF?

I have a notion that the average tourist could be educated into desiring an EVF (or an OVF for that matter), just as they have been marketeered into accepting those prodigious births, cameras without viewfinders.

4 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Aug 9, 2012)

Sigh. Another day another 500 posts slagging off a camera that obviously wasn't aimed at them.

Why don't you guys try designing cameras aimed at the mass market and see what happens, does the average tourist want an EVF? No. F1.8 lens? No, most wouldn't even know what you meant.

Stick to the SLRs and give your blood pressure a rest.

3 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Aug 9, 2012)

Hi Hugo,

These often goofy posts are my principal source of laughs in an otherwise largely doofuscentric world.

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 9, 2012)

I do not think we are being unreasonable in wishing for more optical and ev finders on compact cameras. Why the arrogant tones?

3 upvotes
JacobSR
By JacobSR (Aug 9, 2012)

If a point & shoot doesn't have a viewfinder, then it should have an articulating screen. It makes the operation so much easier and you don't have to hold the camera up to your eye level all the time.

8 upvotes
RDCollins
By RDCollins (Aug 9, 2012)

I like the zoom range -- 25 to 350 (35mm equivalent) -- seems very reasonable, but only f3.3? That sucks, big time! Deal killer for me.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Aug 9, 2012)

They boast of video capabilities, but there is no microphone, even mono? What is it, 1912, the age of silent movies?

0 upvotes
pixel_colorado
By pixel_colorado (Aug 9, 2012)

From the Nikon site:

1920 x 1080p/30-fps full-HD movies with stereo sound can be recorded.

5 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Aug 9, 2012)

Lens specs are missing.

0 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Aug 9, 2012)

So what happened in 2000 after Coolpix 990 was released? Someone at Nikon said, "Nah, this is way too cool"? Nikon apparently agreed, since 990 was the last Nikon compact that justified its "Coolpix" name.

For the benefit of those who do not remember the 990:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp990

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Aug 9, 2012)

There was the 4500 - which seems to have been the point where Nikon threw in the towel:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp4500

0 upvotes
schaki
By schaki (Aug 9, 2012)

Actually the Coolpix-downhill began or had already begun when the 990 camera came. The jpeg engine is rather bad compared to it's predecessor, the 950. Default sharpening is too high and I found the need to set it to low to get a better, more natural look. The colors also comes out weird too often. I spent a lot of time trying to tweak the in-camera parameters so that the 990 would perform as well as it might if the jpeg-engine had been what it should be. Between these two, I would reach for the 950 any day. I actually have one and it is not only as a retro-compact as it can be quite capable if one know how to use it to get the best from it.
The 950's "brother" the Coolpix 700 which uses the same ccd are also a good performer. These two belongs to an era before Nikon began to fumble around with their Coolpixes. I had the Coolpix 5400 for a short while but disliked the obvious digital look which is far less present in the pictures I take with 950. Oh, and it is also awfully slow...

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Aug 9, 2012)

Panasonic and Sony must own the patent on 1080p60 since they are the only cameras with it. "Full HD 1080p " was big deal years ago but today even my iPad shoots that if I want along with most smartphones.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Aug 14, 2012)

There is no "patent" held on 60fps videography, nor on 60fps cinematography. Anybody can do it -- but it seems that only Sony and Panasonic can. AVCHD ver. 2.0 is for 1080p60 resolution and recording frame rate.

0 upvotes
xoio
By xoio (Aug 9, 2012)

I'm getting sick & tired of this manufacturer imposed 'TREND' where they're loosing the EVF or Viewfinder, thus forcing us all to have to wave these camera's around in front of our faces like bloody Iphones.
Pathetic!

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
Rob Bernhard
By Rob Bernhard (Aug 9, 2012)

Do you have any actual experience using a digital point and shoot without a viewfinder?

1 upvote
Falcon31
By Falcon31 (Aug 9, 2012)

You must be sick for many years now. Please go and check a doctor.
P+S always had to do without a viewfinder of had a lousy optical one. What is your complaint?

3 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (Aug 9, 2012)

Why would you wave them around? I far prefer the LCD to the viewfinder/EVF when shooting. Even without glasses, the viewfinder requires that you plaster your face up against the camera, blocking your peripheral vision and smearing face oil and/or sweat all over the back of the camera. If you wear glasses, they're just awful to deal with.

There are times when they are useful, but for the size and complexity they add they're just not worth it on a consumer camera, imho.

0 upvotes
GeraldW
By GeraldW (Aug 10, 2012)

I agree. But I'm an old guy and got used to eye level finders in the 50's. I do have a couple of cameras without an OVF or EVF; but I prefer an eye level finder and would accept a smaller LCD to make room for it.

2 upvotes
sirDomenco
By sirDomenco (8 months ago)

JordanAT, If you use glasses while reading- it's good that your camera has an EVF with a diopter, you can relax, move among the people or in the countryside and take photos, and your glasses can stay in the pocket. :)
The process of photography is more intimate through the EVF (OVF) and it can only make a better photo. However, the LCD is useful for viewing captured images and movies, when the magical moments are already stored in the box. (google translated :S)

0 upvotes
Mark Schormann
By Mark Schormann (Aug 9, 2012)

As long as it takes NiMH and similar 1.2V rechargeable AA's and treats them properly - that is the biggest fault with its competitors like the Canon SX150 - they all seem to view a 1.2V rechargeable as a very flat 1.5V Lithium.

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Goodmeme
By Goodmeme (Aug 9, 2012)

relatively inefficient my ass. why don't dpreview review sanyo eneloops?! :)

9 upvotes
Maninho
By Maninho (Aug 9, 2012)

After read the first paragraph I prepare myself to write the exactly same reply as yours... :-)

0 upvotes
opiecat
By opiecat (Aug 9, 2012)

I think DPReview meant Alkaline AA's. Eneloops are in a different league.
I wonder how responsive this camera would be though. Flash recycling might be slow.

0 upvotes
IEBA1
By IEBA1 (Aug 9, 2012)

Yea, my first thought was WTF with the "opinion" slipped in the middle of the announcement there.

My GH2 has a 1500 mAh Lion battery. I can get 2700 mAh rechargeable AA's. And, if I'm out somewhere and my batter goes dead, I'm not SOL, I can just go get some alkalines and get some more pictures.

Or, if it's seldom used, a set of Lithium AA's will sit there, in a drawer for years, ready to take a picture of Bigfoot when he walks past the cabin window. Fat chance of a rechargeable lasting like that.

Man, that dig is just SO out of place for DPrieview.

3 upvotes
Goodmeme
By Goodmeme (Aug 9, 2012)

@opiecat

i agree but its really not an excuse. I imagine most dpreview readers (or people generally) are willing to buy some rechargeable aa's to use in such a camera.

At the moment I think people just don't know about the advantages of low self-discharge eneloops and their ilk because they are so new.

I would love sites like dpreview to get the word out and then mfrs will start making devices that will have battery support for a lifetime (ie through aa).

2 upvotes
disasterpiece
By disasterpiece (Aug 9, 2012)

Too bad it doesn't have an EVF. As for the batteries - you can throw a second pair of AAs in your pocket and not give a f**k when the first one runs out.

3 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 9, 2012)

I opened the article and immediately scrolled down to see if they included one. Disappointment ... If it had an EVF, I would have got one FOR SURE. As it is, I have no interest. If they did it with the P60, why can't they do it now??

2 upvotes
FRANCISCO ARAGAO
By FRANCISCO ARAGAO (Aug 9, 2012)

the vast majority of people who buy these cameras would not use the EVF if L610 had one

3 upvotes
arrow180
By arrow180 (Aug 9, 2012)

I also thought it may have a small electronic viewfinder when I saw the front of the camera. Such a shame that nobody makes a smallish camera with an EVF.

3 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 10, 2012)

"the vast majority of people who buy these cameras would not use the EVF if L610 had one"
Francisco, I could not disagree with you more in this case. If people try it, they will very likely like it, and start to use it. There are SO many benefits to a good viewfinder, but you already know this. We may just have to agree to disagree.

4 upvotes
BecTec
By BecTec (Sep 15, 2012)

I advise you to have big pockets. Alkaline batteries don't last long in this power-hog. Plus, it gets hot on the backside after only a few moments of being on; not very efficient, it seems. (As I said above, I only got 21 pictures out of the L610 before it ran out of power with Alkalines.)

0 upvotes
thomas2279f
By thomas2279f (Aug 9, 2012)

Love the shape of the compact; wonder whether this camera could have used the D3200 battery instead, that's very compact. Still wished Nikon put Raw format in more of their Coolpix range.

1 upvote
JacobSR
By JacobSR (Aug 9, 2012)

Looks like Canon SX150.

4 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Aug 9, 2012)

I totally agree. AA batteries are essential for cameras like this.

2 upvotes
joe6pack
By joe6pack (Aug 9, 2012)

Does not look half bad. Long live the AA!

1 upvote
Debankur Mukherjee
By Debankur Mukherjee (Aug 9, 2012)

Very close to Olympus design......

1 upvote
Richie Beans
By Richie Beans (Aug 9, 2012)

Put an articulated screen on it and watch Canon's market share in these types of cameras disappear.

AA batteries in compacts RULE!

4 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (Aug 9, 2012)

Looks like shrunk GF line, when do we get bigger sensors in compacts?

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Aug 9, 2012)

Ugly cousin of GF5

0 upvotes
GMart
By GMart (Aug 9, 2012)

We don't. That threatens all the companies bigger & more expensive lines too much.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Aug 9, 2012)

When? How about a month ago?

1 upvote
pizzolog
By pizzolog (Aug 9, 2012)

The L610 is NOT an ugly camera.
It looks quite efficient in its design.
AND, due to the Sony RX100 evolution,
camera companies now are forced to put larger sensors in their compacts to satisfy savvy consumers. I think they will.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Aug 10, 2012)

Sony RX100 sure, but the Fuji X100 preceded it in the "compact with APS-C" regard. And that even has an OVF :)

0 upvotes
GMart
By GMart (Aug 17, 2012)

Yeah, I even got an X100.....

0 upvotes
Total comments: 62