Looks can be deceptive - the age old cliche applies to the seemingly powerful Nikon Coolpix L100 too.
Measuring just 110 x 72 x 78 mm, this hot looking superzoom is smaller than most superzooms, and weighs less too (360 grams). The body's made of tough black plastic and boasts of a really good rubber handgrip and textured thumb grip, that are ergonomically placed making it a pleasure to wield. A steel finish plastic plate around the power and shutter buttons adds to the aesthetics.
The button placement's like any other superzoom - shutter and power buttons placed on top, while the preview, menu, delete and camera mode buttons are on the back of the camera, along with the navigation D-pad. Overall, the camera's sturdy, it looks powerful, and is ergonomically designed - so all physical aspects are perfect.
The sensor supports pictures of up to 10.1 megapixels, and even though the body's petite, it houses a 15x optical zoom lens. Even at full zoom - thanks to great mechanical image stabilization - the camera's usable without a tripod. Image quality was pretty good, auto-white balance was spot on (although a tad bit towards the warm sides in indoor shots) and color reproduction was vivid.
Where the camera falters is with manual functionality. Even most compact cameras have more manual features than the L100 - apart from the fact that you cannot play with shutter and aperture settings (which is forgivable), the camera doesn't even let you set ISO settings manually! There's only an auto ISO 80-3200 mode, and a high ISO scene mode that again, doesn't give you any control.
Macro performance was great though, and so was low light performance. Macro shots were averagely detailed, but the fact that you can take shots from as close as an inch is fantastic.
Shutter lag was minimal, but the camera's 7 shot burst mode took long pauses between shots at full resolution.
With such limited manual functionality and nothing out of the ordinary, the Nikon Coolpix L100 is nothing more than a point-and-shoot camera with a big zoom lens. If that's what you want, you'll be pleased with this camera since its performance in almost all areas was good. The auto-scene recognition mode will be right up your alley. If you're looking for a little more control though (which I assume most superzoom buyers would like), look elsewhere. The camera's priced at Rs. 17,000, which cannot be justified in any way.
Updated 21 May, 2013, 10:33 am IST
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