With no precise control over ISO, there was no way of doing our usual standardized tests for judging detail, sharpness, and image noise. These are more for reference, though, when comparing against real-life test shots; those were generally mediocre.
Photos were never sharp regardless of ISO, making subjects look very soft. Colors aren't accurate, but were still pleasing with the exception of reds and oranges, which appear too vibrant and occasionally blown out. There was also an above average amount of chromatic aberration (purple fringing) and some atypical lens flare that cast a haze on the right side of some of our test shots. It's not all bad news, though. Detail was good up to ISO 200 with little to no color noise. Best results were achieved outdoors in bright lighting, which kept the sensitivity below ISO 200. Between ISO 200 and 400 will cost you detail as the noise reduction makes pictures even softer and photos take on a painterly appearance. It's not an entirely unpleasant effect, but something to note if you plan on making prints larger than 8x10 inches. When the camera selected sensitivities above ISO 400 (the sensitivities aren't traditionally stepped, so you end up seeing ISO numbers like 586 and 720), off-color specks start showing up on top of everything else. You can't see them unless you're viewing photos at 100 percent, but they do affect color consistency.
The L100 does have a movie mode limited to 640x480-pixel resolution. The results look good, especially if they're destined for Web use, but be warned: the optical zoom does not work while recording.
The Nikon Coolpix L100 is a low-cost, easy-to-use megazoom that has a dearth of features and average photo quality. Those expecting the performance of a digital SLR simply because it sort of resembles one are going to be sorely disappointed. This is no more than a basic point-and-shoot with a wide-angle lens and a 15x zoom.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Find out more about how we test digital cameras.