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Nikon Coolpix L26

16.1-megapixel digital camera with 5X optical zoom

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Item #: 054L26R
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Nikon Coolpix L26

by Meredith Krebs
Nikon

Today's point-and-shoot cameras make great pictures easier than ever

From baby's first steps, to that dream vacation in the islands, these cameras make it easy to capture life's greatest hits. Today's cameras have helpful automatic features, like face detection and scene recognition that make shooting more foolproof than ever. And they all have plenty of megapixels for detailed photos that stay sharp, even when you enlarge and print them.

It's your sister-in-law's baby shower, and the whole family has gathered to wish her well. You need a camera that's small enough to slip into your back pocket so you can keep your hands free to wrangle wrapping paper. The Nikon Coolpix L26 has a snappy 5X zoom, perfect for getting a close-up of the mother-to-be's face as she unwraps a cute outfit. Face detection makes sure all your portraits of your nearest and dearest look true-to-life. The camera focuses on their faces, and even alerts you when someone blinks so you can try again.

The L26's 16.1-megapixel recording ensures razor-sharp, detailed photos with plenty of resolution. The big 3" LCD screen makes it easy to compose and review your shots. And if you want to capture short video for YouTube™, just press the dedicated movie button to start shooting 720p HD video.

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Highlights:

  • 16.1-megapixel effective recording
  • 5X optical zoom (4X digital/20X total zoom)
  • 3" LCD screen
  • records photos and video onto optional SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards
  • 35mm equivalent focal length: 26-130mm
Special Features:
  • high-definition movie mode (up to 720p resolution)
  • scene selection mode automatically recognizes the type of shot you compose and adjusts camera settings to suit
  • face priority autofocus and blink alert for better portraits
  • smile mode automatically snaps the shutter when the camera detects a smiling subject
  • in-camera automatic red-eye correction
  • best shot selector will capture up to 10 shots and save the best one
  • electronic image stabilization
  • 19MB internal memory holds a limited number of photos at top resolution
Connections and Dimensions:
Supplied Accessories:
  • two "AA" batteries
  • USB cable
  • wrist strap
  • software CD-ROM

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
LCD Screen Size 3"
Adjustable-angle LCD No
Wi-Fi No
Touchscreen No
Waterproof No
GPS-enabled No
Lens 35mm Equivalent 26-130mm
Optical Zoom 5x
Digital Zoom 4x
Filter Diameter N/A
Manual Focusing No
Manual Exposure No
Built-in Flash Yes
HDMI Output No
Memory
Internal Memory 20 MB
Memory Media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Image
Effective Megapixel Count 16.1
Total Megapixels 16.44
Image Stabilization Digital
Highest Resolution 4608 x 3456
HD Video Recording 1280 x 720
Dimensions
Width (inches) 3-7/8
Height (inches) 2-1/2
Depth (inches) 1-3/16
Weight With Battery (ounces) 5.8
Warranty
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Digital camera (red)
  • 2 "AA" alkaline batteries
  • 2' UC-E16 USB cable with a USB Type-A connector on one end and a proprietary connector on other end
  • Wrist strap
  • Nikon ViewNX2 CD-ROM
  • Reference Manual on CD-ROM
  • Quick Start Guide (Eng/Span/Fren/Port)
  • Warranty Programs sheet
  • "my Picturetown.com" sheet
  • For Your Safety sheet

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Play, Edit and Print Functions
Battery Information
Inputs and Outputs Notes
Supplied Software

Recording Features

LCD Monitor: The Nikon Coolpix L26 has a 3" TFT LCD monitor featuring approximately 230,000 pixels and a five-level brightness adjustment. The LCD monitor's wide-angle viewing area makes it easy to see and use. The LCD monitor has approximately 98% horizontal and vertical coverage in the shooting mode and approximately 100% horizontal and vertical coverage in playback mode. There is no separate viewfinder on the camera.

Image Sensor: The Coolpix L26 features a 1/2.3" CCD image sensor with a total pixel count of approximately 16.44-million pixels. The effective pixel count is 16.1-million.

Optics: The Coolpix L26 digital camera uses a Nikkor glass zoom lens for superb image quality. Every aspect of the lens manufacturing process is controlled by Nikon. The Nikkor lens is designed for the specific camera and CCD combination. The Coolpix L26 uses a 5x optical zoom, that is equivalent to a 26-130mm lens in 35mm photography. Coupled with the 4x digital zoom, the camera's total zoom capability is 20x. The angle of view is equivalent to that of approximately 520mm lens (35mm format).

Electronic VR (Vibration Reduction) Stabilization: The Coolpix L26's Electronic Vibration Reduction (VR) Stabilization System effective corrects blur that commonly occurs when shooting at slow shutter speeds or when zoomed in.

Built-in Memory: The camera has a built-in 20 MB internal memory for storing still images and movies with sound. Images will be saved to the internal memory when no memory card is inserted.

Recording Media: In addition to the built-in memory, images can be recorded onto SD, SDHC, or SDXC Memory cards. When an SD Memory card is inserted in the camera, the images are automatically recorded onto the card. The camera can support SD cards up to 2 GB, SDHC cards from 4 GB to 32 GB, and SDXC cards of 48 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB.

Image Size: The Coolpix L26 records still images in JPEG format, and standard definition movies in AVI (Motion JPEG) format. You have a choice of seven still image size options and three movie options:

  • Still Images:
    • 16M: 4608 x 3456 High Quality 1:4 compression ratio
    • 16M: 4608 x 3456 Standard Quality 1:8 compression ratio
    • 8M: 3264 x 2448
    • 4M: 2272 x 1704
    • 2M: 1600 x 1200
    • VGA: 640 x 480
    • 16:9 12M: 4608 x 2592
  • Movies (Frame Rate 30 fps):
    • HD 720p: 1280 x 720--16:9 (Bit rate: 30 Mbps)
    • VGA: 640 x 480--4:3 (Bit rate: 10.7 Mbps)
    • QVGA: 320 x 240--4:3 (Bit rate: 2.7 Mbps)

Note: The maximum movie length for each movie is 29 minutes, and the maximum file size is 4 GB, regardless of the memory card capacity.

Shooting Modes: You can choose one of the following shooting modes:

  • Easy Auto Mode: The camera automatically determines an appropriate shooting mode when you frame a picture, allowing you to easily take pictures with a shooting mode that suits the scene.
  • Auto Mode: In Auto Mode, you can apply the macro mode and exposure compensation when shooting pictures. You can choose a flash mode and activate the self-timer.
  • Scene Mode: You can manually or automatically select a scene mode with settings optimized for the shooting situation: Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/Indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Food, Museum, Fireworks Show, Black & White Copy, Backlighting, Panorama Assist, and Pet Portrait.
  • Smart Portrait: Using face priority to recognize human faces, the shutter is automatically released when a smile is detected.

Continuous Shooting: You can set the camera to take one picture at a time or multiple images by selecting one of the following options:

  • Single: The camera records one picture each time the shutter release button is pressed.
  • Continuous: While the shutter-release button is held down, up to 4 pictures are taken at a rate of about 1.2 frames per second (fps) when image mode is set to 16M (4608 x 3456).
  • Best Shot Selector: The BSS is recommended for situations in which inadvertent camera movement can produce blurred pictures, or when parts of the image are prone to under- or over-exposure. When BSS is on, the camera takes shots while the shutter-release button is pressed, to a maximum of ten. The images are compared and the sharpest picture is saved to the internal memory or memory card.
  • Multi-Shot 16: Each time the shutter release button is pressed, the camera takes 16 consecutive "thumbnail" images at a rate of about 30 frames per second, and arranges them into a single 5M (2560 x 1920) image.

Self-timer: The camera is equipped with a 10 second timer for self-portraits.

Focus Area Selection: You can select between the following Focus Area Selection methods to determine where the camera focuses:

  • Face Detection: When the camera recognizes a face (front view only), the camera will focus on the face automatically. The camera can recognize up to 12 faces depending on shooting and exposure mode.
  • Center: The camera focuses on the subject in the center of the frame.

Color Options: You can shoot still images with several color options: Standard color, Vivid color, Black-and-white, Sepia, and Cyanotype.

Macro Mode: Macro mode is used for taking pictures of objects as close as 0.4". The flash may be unable to light entire subject at distances of less than 1 feet 8 inches.

Focus Lock: The Focus Lock feature is used to focus on off-centered subjects in the frame while shooting in Center AF mode.

AF-Assist Illuminator: If lighting is poor, the AF-assist illuminator may light to assist the focus operation when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. The illuminator has a range of about 6'-2" at the maximum wide-angle position and 3' 7" at the maximum telephoto position. You can turn this function on or off.

Blink Warning Function: The Blink Warning function is available when you are shooting in Easy Auto, Portrait, or Night Portrait mode. When the camera detects that one or more human subjects may have blinked, the blink warning screen is displayed. The subject is framed by a yellow border, allowing you to check the picture and decide whether or not to take another picture.

Exposure Compensation: You can alter the exposure from the value suggested by the camera, making pictures brighter or darker. You can adjust the exposure from -2.0 to +2.0 EV in 1/3 steps.

ISO Settings: Sensitivity is the measure of how quickly the camera reacts to light. The higher the sensitivity, the less light needed to make an exposure. The camera features automatic settings at 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600.

White Balance: You can set the White Balance to Auto, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, or Flash. You can also choose Preset Manual and use a neutral-colored object as a reference to set the white balance under unusual lighting conditions.

Built-in Flash: The Coolpix L26 has a built-in Speedlite flash with a range of 1'-8" to 11' (Wide angle) and 2'-8" to 5'-6" (Telephoto). You can choose from the following flash modes:

  • Auto: Flash fires automatically when lighting is poor.
  • Auto with Red-eye Reduction: Pre-flash fires before main flash to reduce red-eye effect.
  • Flash Off: Flash will not fire, even when lighting is poor.
  • Fill Flash: Flash will fire whenever a picture is taken.
  • Slow Sync: Auto flash combined with slow shutter speeds.

In-Camera Red-Eye Fix: If the camera detects red-eye after the pre-flash has fired, advanced red-eye reduction processing is used to further reduce red-eye, slightly increasing the time required before the next picture can be taken.

Play, Edit and Print Functions

Playback Menu: The following options are available in the playback mode:

  • D-Lighting: D-Lighting can be used to brighten dark or backlit subjects. While playing back an image, you can select the D-Lighting function, apply it, and save the corrected image without harming the properly exposed areas of the image.
  • Skin Softening: The camera detects faces in images and creates a copy with softer facial skin tones.
  • Print Order: You can select images to print and the number of copies for each.
  • Slide Show: View pictures in the internal memory or on the memory card in an automatic slide show. If desired, you can loop the slideshow so it will continuously play. Maximum slide show duration is 30 minutes without operation.
  • Protect: You can select images that you want to protect from accidental deletion. Even protected images can be erased if the camera's internal memory or memory card are formatted.
  • Rotate Image: Recorded pictures can be rotated 90-degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise on the unit's LCD screen.
  • Small Picture: You can create a small copy of a recorded image. The copy will be stored as a JPEG file with a compression ratio of 1:16. You can choose from the following sizes: 640 x 480 (suited to television playback), 320 x 240 (suited to display on web pages), or 160 x 120 (suitable for email attachments).
  • Cropping: Create a copy containing only the portion visible in the monitor.

Thumbnail Playback: During playback, you can view multiple thumbnail images (4, 9, or 16) at a time. While these "contact sheets" are displayed, you can use the multi-selector to highlight individual pictures. Highlighted pictures can be deleted, if desired.

Calendar Display: This feature displays a calendar allowing you to select and view pictures taken on the same date.

Playback Zoom: During playback, you can enlarge a still image up to 10x. Once the image is zoomed, you can use the multi-selector to scroll around to non-visible portions of the image. You can record a new picture of the cropped image by pressing the shutter button.

Multi-Language Menu: You can choose from 29 different menu display languages including English, Spanish or French.

Printing Pictures: You can print pictures stored in the internal memory or on the memory card by using the Print Set option in the playback menu. Using DPOF (Digital Print Order Form), you can designate which images to print, and how many copies to print. Pictures can be printed as followed:

  • Printer or Photo Lab: insert the memory card into a printer, or take the memory card to a digital photo lab (images stored in the internal memory need to be transferred to a memory card prior to printing).
  • PictBridge-compatible Printer: connect the camera to a PictBridge-compatible printer via USB cable
  • Transferring to Computer: transfer the images to a computer before printing them via USB

Battery Information

Power Requirements: The Coolpix L26 is powered by two "AA" batteries. You can use alkaline (supplied) or lithium non-rechargeable batteries, or Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) rechargeables. For best performance, you should use the camera's setup menu to indicate the type of batteries being used. The approximate battery life for each type of battery is as follows:

Battery Type Still Images Movies
(HD 720p)
Alkaline
(supplied)
200 shots 50 min
Lithium 680 shots 3 hrs 20 min
Ni-MH 350 shots 1 hrs 55 min

Auto Off: When the camera is operated on battery power, the Auto Off mode will automatically turn off the monitor to reduce the drain on the batteries if no operations are performed for the length of time specified in the Auto Off menu. The time limit for the Auto Off mode can be set to 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes or 30 minutes.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

USB/Audio-Video Output: The Coolpix L26 features a single proprietary jack on the bottom of the camera for connecting the supplied USB cable or an optional AV cable (EG-CP14). This one output allows you to download your photos to your computer or printer via USB using the supplied USB cable, or view your photos on a TV using an optional AV cable. The USB interface is USB 2.0 Hi-Speed compatible. The video output is NTSC or PAL compatible.

Supplied Software

ViewNX 2 CD-ROM: The supplied CD-ROM contains the following software:

  • ViewNX 2:
    • Nikon Transfer 2: to transfer pictures from the camera to the computer
    • ViewNX 2: for viewing your images and movies on the computer
    • Nikon Movie Editor: for basic editing of transferred movies.
  • Panorama Maker 6: for creating panoramic images from the camera's recorded still images
  • QuickTime (Windows Only)

System Requirements: The supplied software will work with the following operating systems:

  • Windows 7: Home Basic, Home Premium, Enterprise, Professional, Ultimate (Service Pack 1)
  • Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate (Service Pack 2)
  • Windows XP: Home Edition, Professional (Service Pack 3)
  • Mac OS X: Version 10.5.8, 10.6.4, 10.7.2
 

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Quick impressions from the Lab

Comment by Ralph Graves Staff Writer - Creative,

Small and simple

Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 3/6/2012 1:59:00 PM

For a good, basic, point-and-shoot camera, I think the Coolpix L26 is a great choice. It has a nice, big viewscreen, and a navigation menu that's easy to figure out even without a manual.

In addition to the basic settings, such as auto mode, smart portrait, and easy auto mode, the camera offers a variety of "portrait" settings. So you can get the best shot of food, pets, fireworks, and more. Or have the camera set for the best shots of things in a museum, on the beach, in the snow, and so on.

What I really liked was that all of those settings were quickly available with a press of the "scene" button. So if something's happening, within seconds I can have the camera set the exposure properly to capture the action.

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Nikon Coolpix L26 Reviews

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2 out of 5

Nikon L26

Written By Gabe, Hawaii on Friday, July 13, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great service and fast shipping as always from Crutchfield. However, the camera itself is a bit disappointing. Photography is a hobby of mine, and this was purchased just to take around for simple shots when I didn't feel like taking my SLR. I have experimented with nearly all modes at this point and have not been impressed. There seems to be a inconsistency with photos taken on the same mode. Some pics will turn out great, and others not so great. To be completely honest I don't see any significant difference inpics with this camera and those snapped with my iphone. I would be hesitant to recommend this to a friend, unless they are buying it as a first camera for their child.
Pros:
Good price, Fast shipping.
Cons:
Cheap feel, Inconsistent picture quality, flash really washes out faces at times...even from distances of greater than 5 feet.
7 out of 9 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Nikon Coolpix L26

Written By Anonymous, santa ana ca on Sunday, April 22, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
fast shipping and good service
Pros:
5 stars
Cons:
none
7 out of 16 people found this helpful
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