The Nikon Coolpix L24 is a cheap point-and-shoot camera with a few standout features, but reviewers agree that other inexpensive models offer more for your money. As the follow-up to the Nikon Coolpix L22 , the L24 is nearly identical except for a bump up from 12 to 14 megapixels. Otherwise, the key selling points are a huge 3-inch LCD display and convenient AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeable). The plump, 6.5-ounce plastic body comes in three colors (red, black and silver), and reviewers -- along with users at Amazon.com -- like the easy handling and simple operation, which make the camera good for novices.
However, the L24 is so basic that it has "the least control and fewest shooting options in its price range," says CNET's Joshua Goldman. The tiny 3.6x zoom lens doesn't have a true wide angle and does little to offset hand shake, whereas the Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 has a 4x zoom with optical image stabilization. The pokey L24 also lacks the manual exposure control found on many budget cameras, so you can't adjust to different light conditions. In tests, image quality is hit or miss, ranging from respectable to grainy among critics, to awful for some users, although the VGA video fares better. Given the L24's limitations, reviewers suggest alternatives such as the Canon PowerShot A1200 (*Est. $90) . It also uses AA batteries, yet doles out better photos, more shooting options, HD video (720p), a 4x zoom lens and an optical viewfinder.
PCMag.com, CNET and CameraLabs.com provide the most well-rounded, test-based reviews of the Nikon Coolpix L24 and include plenty of comparisons to rival budget cameras. ConsumerReports.org and Which? magazine conduct rigorous lab tests paired with easy-to-use rating charts, although neither provides lengthy write-ups. Users at Amazon.com also chime in with comments about how the L24 fares with daily use.
While the Nikon Coolpix L24 impresses with its unusual 3-inch LCD display, Jim Fisher says the camera's performance "doesn't live up to its facade." Underwhelming images, slow shooting speeds and the absent exposure controls chip away at the appealing price, so Fisher recommends the Samsung E80 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 as better options.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L24, Jim Fisher, Sept. 14, 2011
2. Camera Labs.com
At only 37 mm, the wide angle on the Nikon Coolpix L24 lens isn't really "a true wide angle at all," says Ken McMahon. Overall, he considers the camera "pretty basic and best-suited to novices" compared to some of the Canon PowerShot models. However, he says the 3-inch LCD is one of the "biggest and best screens" he's seen on a budget camera.
Review: Nikon COOLPIX L24 Review, Ken McMahon, May 2011
For Joshua Goldman, the Nikon Coolpix L24 is cheap, easy to use and has a nice 3-inch LCD display. However, he says the camera is "a little too crippled in the feature department" and, at best, shoots decent photos under the right conditions. "If you need more than that, don't bother," he says.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L24, Joshua Goldman, July 29, 2011
4. Which? magazine
With no manual controls, the Nikon Coolpix L24 is "essentially a compact camera for beginners," say editors at Which? magazine. Aside from respectable photos in natural light, they say the L24 "doesn't exactly pack in many other features and functions either." Even the large 3-inch LCD display is deemed "second rate" because of its mediocre resolution.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L24, Editors at Which? magazine
ConsumerReports.org puts more than 150 digital cameras through rigorous lab tests, evaluating features such as image quality, battery life and versatility, to name a few. They also offer a handy ratings chart that shows how the cameras stack up next to one another. However, editors don't provide lengthy product evaluations like other professional review sites.
Review: Point and Shoot Digital Camera Ratings and Reliability, Editors at ConsumerReports.org
Owners of the Nikon Coolpix L24 are divided: they either love the camera, or they hate it. Nearly half praise the L24 for being so simple to use and shooting great photos -- especially given the price. But the remaining users are far less impressed. "The only thing cool about this camera is its size," says one, while another adds, "I curse this camera every time I use it.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L24 14MP Digital Camera, Users at Amazon.com