Reviews say the Nikon Coolpix L120 appeals to amateurs looking for an affordable compact camera that offers point-and-shoot ease and a long zoom lens. The 21x zoom, which spans 25 mm to 525 mm, captures a variety of scenes ranging from "everyday snapshots to landscapes to distant subjects," say editors at DigitalReview.ca. While the L120 retains the comfortable rubber grip and 720p HD video of its Coolpix L110 predecessor, it boosts megapixels from 12.1 to 14.1, doubles resolution on the 3-inch LCD to 920,000 dots, and adds a convenient zoom lever that makes it easier to zoom in and out while shooting stills and videos -- a feature not found on super-zoom rivals like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40. The L120 also boasts a hybrid image stabilization system that experts say helps reduce image blur.
Beyond its powerful zoom lens, however, the L120 remains a basic point-and-shoot. It lacks an electronic viewfinder and manual controls, and instead of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the L120 is powered by four AA batteries that add to the camera's weight. However, reviewers say the L120 is easy to handle and offers 17 scene modes including landscape, sunset and pet portrait. Image quality is mediocre with soft shots at some angles and "slightly overexposed frames" in Easy Auto mode, according to testers at TechRadar.com. Video quality is mixed; some critics rate it good while CNET Australia considers it "one of the worst we've seen on any compact camera" with grainy images appearing in video frames, although "sound from the stereo microphone is decent." If you want better video quality and more flexibility, the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS offers full manual controls, an electronic viewfinder and a larger lens, but at a greater cost.
Enthusiast websites PhotographyBlog.com, TechRadar.com and DigitalReview.ca subject the Nikon Coolpix L120 to extensive testing and provide detailed results, while a concise CNET Australia review summarizes the camera's flaws and features. Owners at Amazon.com provide a consensus on performance.
Testers here find that the "reasonably priced" Nikon Coolpix L120 is "quite capable of producing good results," offering plenty of flexibility for landscape and group shots. Video mode also rates well and the camera's LCD colors are "vibrantly" displayed. But image colors soften in telephoto mode and the L120's manual flash is a disappointment.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L120 Camera Review, Editors at DigitalReview.ca, March 21, 2011
The Nikon Coolpix L120 "delivers a solid performance on most fronts," but despite a longer zoom lens than the L110, a "gorgeous" LCD screen and a "refreshingly unique" zoom lever, image quality rates "good rather than outstanding." Still, Mark Goldstein recommends the L120 for users seeking an easy-to-use, all-around camera.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L120 Review, Mark Goldstein, Feb. 25, 2011
3. CNET (Australia)
Although the Nikon Coolpix L120's "budget price tag" will appeal to casual users, Alexandra Savvides says distortion in telephoto mode and "messy" results at high ISO levels will send experienced photographers elsewhere. Savvides also considers the L120's video quality "one of the worst" on any compact camera with HD.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L120, Alexandra Savvides, March 14, 2011
While experienced shooters may find the Nikon Coolpix L120 restrictive, editors at TechRadar.com say it competes well against other super-zoom compacts with a 21x zoom lens that "wows" and colorful, detailed images that exceed expectation.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L120 Review, Editors at TechRadar.com, April 1, 2011
Nearly all of the more than 100 owners here praise the Nikon Coolpix L120 for its comfortable grip, affordable price, bright images and simple interface. The optical zoom lens also receives high marks. However, a few complaints surface about blurry photos and grainy indoor shots.
Review: Nikon Coolpix L120 14.1 MP Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Oct. 2011