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Nikon Coolpix S2500, L23 and L120 are courting compacts and a seductive superzoom

Let's try something new. Today's prospective suitors, just dying to get your attention, are the Nikon Coolpix S2500, L23 and L120. Ready, aim -- speed date!

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Richard Trenholm
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Richard Trenholm
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Let's try something new. Let's do speed dating! Only with cameras; come on, you'll love it. Today's prospective suitors, just dying to get your digits, are the Nikon Coolpix S2500, L23 and L120. Ready, aim -- speed date!

First to sit down at your table is the S2500. Its sleek, minimal aluminium casing makes a good first impression, but you suspect it's a case of style over substance. Let's find out.

The S2500 boasts a 4x optical zoom and 12-megapixel image sensor. Features include smile timer, blink sensor and automatic skin softening, as well as the usual scene modes and automatic settings. You also glimpse a 2.7-inch screen at the back.

So far, so standard. The S2500 makes a last-minute rally by revealing it's available in four colours -- red, pink, black and silver -- but it's too little, too late.

The L23 bounces over next. It's certainly enthusiastic, even a little cheeky -- but is there anything going on upstairs?

The L23 is packed with more automatic features than you can shake a stick at. It's a 10.1 snapper with a respectable 5x optical zoom and another 2.7-inch screen. Sure, it's available in five colours -- a fetching blue, red, black, pink and silver -- but it also takes AA batteries. The L23 is good enough for a casual, youthful fling, but obviously isn't ready for the kind of fulfilling, mature relationship you want.

Last chance. The L120 superzoom, pictured above, dazzles straight away with its red and black colour scheme. Immediately you notice the large 21x optical zoom with a 25mm wide angle, and not one but two zoom controls. There's the usual rocker ring around the shutter button, but there's also a lever on the side of the lens itself. This is clearly a camera with depth.

Around the back is a 3-inch, 921,000-dot screen. This is looking promising. Sure, it takes AA batteries, but in this camera it's an endearingly earthy practicality rather than a sign of cheapness.

Before you know it, the 14-megapixel L120 is telling you in a casual, self-deprecating way about its 720p high-definition movie recording and stereo sound. It even mentions HDMI, but you're no longer listening: instead, you're picturing yourself walking up the aisle with the L120 in hand -- then at the end of the aisle reaching the checkout.

All three cameras are available on 24 February. The Coolpix S2500 is a cheap date at a mere £100; the Coolpix L23 has no strings attached at just £70; and the Coolpix L120 is reassuringly expensive at £250. Which one will you be giving your number?

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The S2500 in red.
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The S2500 in a champagne-type colour.
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The S2500 in black.
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The S2500 in pink.
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The L23 in blue. It's like a cute puppy.
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The L120 in red. Phwoaar.
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The L120's screen.
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The popped-up flash -- we're blushing.
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The L120's stereo mic and two zoom controls.
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The L120 also comes in black. Classy.

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