Design and features
Using the L830 is straightforward. The controls and menu system are fairly uncomplicated, so it shouldn't be a problem to get started shooting. The menu system is broken into three tabs: Shooting, Movie, and Setup. The layout keeps you from having to do too much hunting through settings, not that there's all that much to adjust. (For example, you can't even turn off the digital zoom.) That's not to say it won't take a little effort to get the most from this camera, but the basics of shooting a photo or movie are easy.
Anyone who's used a point-and-shoot camera should have no trouble managing the L830. The layout is fairly standard and clearly labeled. There's also a secondary control for the zoom on the lens barrel, which is a bit nicer to use for shooting video.
Again, there is no viewfinder, so you're relying on the 3-inch LCD for framing your shots. Although it gets reasonably bright if you crank the backlight up, it's still going to be difficult to see in bright sunlight. Being able to angle the screen is a nice touch, though, and something you don't typically find on a megazoom at this price.
With the camera loaded with its four AA batteries, it has a nice weight to it, and the ample handgrip gives you something substantial to hold. Unfortunately, without a viewfinder, the camera can be difficult to keep steady with the lens extended.
On the bottom is a locking door covering the SD card slot and batteries. The batteries aren't otherwise secured, so you'll need to be careful when opening the compartment. You can use alkaline, nickel metal hydride rechargeable, or lithium AA batteries. Nikon includes alkaline batteries, which will last for up to 390 shots; lithium batteries should last for 1,180 shots. Nickel metal hydride rechargeables are rated for up to 680 shots.
On the right side of the body is a covered panel with a small DC input for an optional AC adapter, while on the left you'll find a Micro-HDMI port and a somewhat proprietary Micro-USB/AV port (it's not the widely available type used with many smartphones or other devices, but is easy to find inexpensively).
Also, although this model doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi, it is Eyefi-ready, which means it's designed to work with Eyefi's wireless SD cards that can be used for sending photos on the fly to an Android or iOS mobile device or backup to a computer.
|General shooting options||Nikon Coolpix L130|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|White balance||Auto, Custom, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash|
|Recording modes||Easy Auto, Scene, Special Effects, Smart Portrait, Auto, Movie|
|Focus modes||Center AF, Face Detection|
|Macro||0.4-inch (middle zoom position)|
|Metering modes||Evaluative, Center-weighted (when using up to 2x digital zoom), Spot (digital zoom of 2x or more)|
|Color effects||Standard, Vivid, Sepia, Black & White, Cyanotype|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||Five shots|
The L830 is packing mainly autoshooting options, and almost no direct control over the results. There are two Auto modes: one is Nikon's Easy Auto mode, which adjusts settings appropriately based on six common scene types. If the scene doesn't match any of those, it defaults to a general-use Auto.
Then there is an Auto mode, which is like the Program mode on other point-and-shoots. You can change ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation as well as continuous-shooting modes, but that's pretty much it.
There are 18 scene modes with standards such as Landscape and Portrait as well as a Pet Portrait mode that will automatically shoot when it detects a cat or dog face, and an Easy Panorama mode. Just press the shutter and pan the camera left, right, up, or down to create a panorama in-camera. You also get access to an HDR option via a Backlighting mode and Hand-held Night Portrait and Landscape modes as well. I know it's tempting to leave the camera in Easy Auto, but I strongly suggest exploring these other modes, especially when it comes to difficult lighting.
If you like experimenting with filters and effects, you get plenty of those, too. There are 11 available when shooting with live preview such as the High Contrast Monochrome filter used in the photo above. But if you want to play around with a shot you've already taken, there 17 available in the Playback menu.
Video options include 1080p, 720p, 540p, 480p at 30fps as well as high-speed slow-motion settings: 1080p15, 720p60, 480p120, and 240p240 (though that last one is pretty unusable).
If you're looking for a megazoom camera that will just get out of your way and let you take some snapshots and movie clips, the Nikon Coolpix L830 is a good choice.