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Review: Nikon CoolPix L12 Camera

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My wife is the camera aficionado in the family. I’ve bought her good cameras, film and digital, for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas.

Of course, sometimes I get to borrow those. I love her Canon digital SLR, and I can borrow it whenever I need to.

She’s a schoolteacher and likes to take pictures on the fly. That’s the reason I bought her a Nikon CoolPix pocket camera a couple years ago. At the time, the camera was fairly expensive. I like the idea of having one in the car because you never know what's going to show up in life, but I wasn’t going to pay for one for myself. I'm generous to other people and stingy with myself.

Lately, with camera prices getting more purchaser-friendly, I decided to buy one for myself. I write a blog, do reviews, and occasionally go to conventions and other events where I’ve wanted to have a camera with me but forgot it. I picked up my CoolPix for $150.

One of the best things I love about my new camera is that I can shove it into a pocket easily. It travels well in the protective case and it’s always immediately to hand when I want to take a picture.

Since it uses SDRAM memory cards to store the images, I can take quite a lot of pictures without having to change film, or carry film, or even worry about an extra memory card to carry along. I can also take a lot of pictures of one thing without worrying about running out of film or exhausting memory space.

The camera is simple point and shoot operation. What you see on the camera's LCD display is what you get. Even I can do it. The 2.5 inch display is a dream to work with. I know immediately what’s going to be in my shot when I take the picture. Reviewing the pictures I’ve taken it is relatively simple. They show up in good detail on the LCD display and even better on a computer display.

Downloading to your desktop or notebook computer is simple. Just plug in the USB cord that comes with the camera to a USB port on your computer and you’re all set. All you have to do is name the file you’re going to be saving your pictures to.

The camera takes really good pictures inside and even better ones outside. It comes with a flash, but often doesn’t need the it because of the CoolPix's low-light capabilities. It seems to work really well in low-light situations. One drawback, though, is the long time it takes for a flash to process. That has been a little disconcerting, but I don’t generally take action pictures so its less important in what I’m using it for.

The 4x digital zoom optical lens works great. When you switch the camera on, the lens spins out automatically. The auto-focus feature works great as well. I also like the fact that this camera runs on AA batteries that I can pick up anywhere instead of some special hybrid batteries that I have to find a photography or specialty store when I need to replace them.

It has fifteen scene modes, a Best Shot Selector that automatically picks the best shot of a series of ten that you’re taking, voice recording capability, video recording capability, macro shooting from as close as six inches, and image stabilization.

A professional photographer might want more out of a camera than this one provides, but the Nikon CoolPix L12 really fits the bill for someone who’s on the go and just wants to take occasional shots to remember an event or post on a blog.

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