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4 out of 5 stars
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  1. 13 of 13 people found this review helpful
     Point, ZOOM, and shoot! A very nice and easy-to-use camera for beginners (and birders) 15 June, 2011 On
    We've had a few different compact cameras - mostly Nikon Coolpix compacts - and have loved the simplicity of a camera that reliably takes good pictures without a lot of fuss. I've got cameras with more manual controls, but for most ordinary situations where we take photos with the family or outdoors on a walk the ease of a point-and-shoot compact is preferable. The problem is that many of these situations require a lot more zoom power than you'd normally get with a compact (but where it's sometimes awkward to lug a big camera with a long lens and a tripod). Sometimes you just can't get very close, but you still need to get good pictures, and you still want a camera that's convenient enough to carry in a small bag or purse. School plays, soccer games, swim meets, even birdwatching. We wanted something that was simple to use, fairly inexpensive, but had a bigger lens with more zooming power than our older Nikon Coolpix. This meets our needs exactly. One of the main reasons we bought this was for my wife, a volunteer at a local bird sanctuary on the beach. She wanted a camera that she could use to shoot bird pictures, that gave her some serious optical zoom (21x!), but that wouldn't be too heavy to lug around. We went to an elementary school graduation the other day, for example, and with this camera we were able to get closeups of our daughter even from the back of the auditorium.

    It shoots very good pictures (as in, much better than you can expect from a camera phone, but not nearly as good as you'd expect from a DSLR) and good quality HD video at 720p. The sound on the video is okay, but not great, so it's best for something you might include in a vacation album or something like that. I've been quite impressed by its macro capabilities - and by how easy it is to switch into macro mode for extreme close up shots of bugs or flowers and the like. Pretty much the only manual controls you get here are the zoom and the flash (as in, you can decide whether or not to zoom and whether or not to use the flash). Beyond that, it's got the adjustments you'd expect from a compact camera. You can select a scene type and the camera will make some adjustments for you, or you can set the exposure higher or lower than what the camera calculates, and you can select white balance as needed. We've been quite happy with it. (One minor irritation: if you turn it on and you've forgotten to remove the lens cap, you have to remove the cap and then turn it back off and then on again. My Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 - the compact I tend to carry around, that doesn't zoom like this one - lets you just remove the cap and then press any button.)
  2. 12 of 12 people found this review helpful
     Surprised me and I'm loving it. 25 December, 2011 On
    After much hemming, hawing and checking out reviews I decided to purchase the Nikon L120 bridge camera. It's not exactly a point and shoot camera but it's not fully a DSLR either. It's caught somewhere in-between helping you get comfortable with using features on the DSLR and still have the simplicity of a point and shoot camera. The surprises came when I started to use it. I had my heart set on buying a Nikon D90 but those are going for $600+ on Ebay (crazy!). So that was out of my reach but I had seen this one before at Target and there was a deal at Wal-Mart and I figured let's try it out, worse comes to worse I'd return it. I'm glad I kept it and this is why.

    Surprise #1, It runs on regular AA's, 4 to be exact. You can use rechargeable but it comes with 4 Energizer AA's.

    Surprise #2, It has an internal memory. Most digital cameras do not have that. I found this out when I took pictures of my mother in front of the Christmas tree when she was all dolled up and realized after she got undressed that my SD card was still in my laptop. I pressed the image preview button on the camera and the images were there. Strange I thought but I took a chance and plugged it into my laptop and was able to download the images from the camera's internal memory. Whew, was I happy to have not lost those pictures.

    Surprise #3, The setting for kids and sports. I used it on the Macy's animated Christmas window display. They had things moving and I wanted to capture that and I took the picture of the window and the lens shut and delayed for a second or two. I figured it was going to be blurry and I moved on without looking at the photo. Later I looked at the image and saw that the camera had taken 3 separate images of the moving image in the window display and when you put them all together it was the doll moving. It looked very cool and in focus and I couldn't believe it had done that in that short amount of time.

    Surprise #4, the focus can be controlled on the lens or on the click button. It takes getting use to using the one on the lens but it gives my left-hand something to do besides holding the camera. The focus itself is great. I know there have been complaints about blurry images but that's the beauty of a digital camera. You take a blurry image you'll know right away to erase it and take another one. Haven't had a chance to take images of the full moon or stars but that will be the first order of business in the spring. I'll really be able to test the focus then.

    The cons are why I can't rate this a 5-star camera.

    Con #1: The flash won't come up in auto-focus unless you pull it up. Annoying.
    Con #2: Hate the lens cap. It dangles and gets in the way and I always forget to take it off before I turn on the camera. I know it protects the lens but it's a nuisance.

    I've taken photography classes to learn the nuts and bolts of photography. I've had a Nikon N65 for years and a Canon point and shoot for years. I came to hate the Canon and it's limitations and there were many. I loved my Nikon N65 for it's fast shutter speed but it was a film camera and I wasted more film and money on bad shots than I did on good ones. Plus the price of Nikkor lens were and still are outrageous. I'm not a professional photographer and I don't want to be one. I want to take photos of things that interest me, things I want to remember, family, friends, places and moments. I want to take photos of what I like, period. And so far, this camera has helped me do that this Christmas better than all the others I've had, including my favorite which is a Fujifilm camera.

    I've shared some images that I took in New York during 2011 Christmas time visiting the store's window displays. They were taken with crowds of people all around, pushing and vying for a photo position. They are not blurry or out of focus and IMHO pretty nice for a self-described "one-notch above amateur photographer". In my opinion, anyone should always do their do diligence and read all the reviews, compare prices and features but give this one a try. This is a bridge-camera not a DSLR. It definitely looks like a DSLR but it's not. It acts like a point and shoot camera but it's not. Like I said at the beginning it's an in-between camera. If you don't have some experience with SLR you will get pissed quickly. If you have too much experience with SLR and looking for a DSLR you will be annoyed and get pissed quickly. This is just my opinion and experience with Nikon's Coolpix L120 so take it for what it's worth and happy photo taking to all.
  3. 10 of 10 people found this review helpful
     Great Camera! 24 July, 2011 On
    Over all I think that this is a great camera. I chose this one over the Canon SX 130 and I am still happy with my decision. This camera is for those people that really just want a point and shoot camera without worrying about settings. All the settings are pre-determined and you can choose things like whether you're shooting indoor or outdoor but you cant choose aperture or some of the more specific personalized settings. (if you want that then go for the Canon).
    One of the reasons I chose this camera was because of the display. It is a big display with crisp clear images that transfer well on a computer screen. (the canons screen was very grainy) also the hd video is amazing. the images come out so vivd and living and full of color.
    The only things that I have experienced that are a little irksome are 1. battery life during video. while the battery life for pictures is fairly decently long the battery life for taking video (which is one of the main reasons i chose this camera) is rather short. normal double a batteries last approximately 3 hours. this may be different for rechargeable batteries, they may last longer, i haven't tried it yet. so just be warned that if you plan on using it a lot for video taking (not just once in a while, i am talking about using it for video only, throughout the day) then you might want to get rechargeable batteries.
    2. while taking video when zooming in or out sometimes it will have to auto refocus which fuzzes the video for a second. this could just be me and my so far lack of knowing how to properly zoom. but just know that there is that issue.
    3. the rapid photo shoot mode isnt the greatest. i tried to take a rapid picture of my friend jumping off a 15 foot diving board and because of the way that rapid shoot was made i dont know when it is actually taking the picture and when its loading. ( a little timeglass comes up and sits on the screen for about 30 seconds).

    overall i still think it is a great camera and i would highly suggest it to those who want an easy point and shoot camers with great video quality. for those who want it to use for making video (5 minute youtube movies) i would suggest getting rechargeable batteries.
    for those of you who like to be able to pick your own settings like aperture etc. this isn't the camera for you
  4. 7 of 7 people found this review helpful
     Great Product 27 October, 2011 On
    This is a great camera. As previously stated by another review, you have to take some time to at least learn the basics as to how to properly use this camera, otherwise you could end up with a ton of blurry photos. However, once you use it and learn how to operate it correctly, it takes wonderful pictures both in motion and still shots. So far this camera has been used on a recent vacation and a school activity and has provided excellent quality shots both daytime and nighttime. The only negative I have found with the product is that you must manually raise the flash to activate auto flash. It can be seen as a positive, though. Sometimes it is annoying when you forget to raise it, and you need flash, but it is also helpful because then you
    know for a fact that you will have a picture with flash or without flash depending on whether it is raised or not. Overall, I would recommend this product to anyone who wants a camera that takes great, crisp photos.
  5. 7 of 7 people found this review helpful
     Very good for what it is. Not perfect, but very good. 29 September, 2011 On
    I do mostly non-presentation grade real estate photography, so the pictures do not have to be perfect but have to be pretty good. Mostly I use a Canon 40d but I got tired of risking it in the rain and saw this for a very good price and thought "what the hell, a cheap backup, how bad can it be?". Not at all, actually. I've used it on 5 houses so far, 2 with no electricity (and therefore no lights) perched on a monopod. It generally is shooting at around a quarter to a third of a second wide open at pretty high ISO. Worst case scenario. Well, fact is it does great. Some people here are complaining about low-light performance but I ain't one of them. I'm thrilled with what the little pup can do with just a built-in flash even in fairly dark large rooms. I won't say it does as well as the 40d with a 420ex flash. Maybe it mostly does, I just won't say it, I paid too damn much for the Canon. Best guess is that they really nailed the image stabilization algorithms. Couple times I had to pick up the monopod to get a certain angle and then it may (or may not) blur a little. So, dump $30 - $80 on a decent Manfrotto monopod
    Manfrotto 681B Professional Aluminum Monopod (Black)
    as insurance, you'll probably be happy you did if you shoot low light. Image quality is great. Focusing is sometimes tricky - it wants to do what it wants to do, but I'm learning how to get around it most of the time. Every once in a while if I change a setting, say exposure compensation or flash type, it won't trip the shutter unless I go into scene mode and back out again. Don't have to change anything, just hit the scene button twice. Hopefully a firmware update will fix it. Pretty easy to learn to use, there's really not all that much you can change, so if you play with it a couple hours trying all the settings you should be good to go. I really like the little darlin, hope to have a long and fruitful relationship. Given the quality of the photos and the fact that I can do a house in about half the time as I can with the 40d I expect I'll be grabbin this one more than half the time, save the Canon for special shoots. Nice job, Nikon. Not perfect, but really nice.
    Just as an aside, at Best Buy I saw a monopod with a swivel head. Anyone know why in hell you would need a swivel head on a monopod? I'm just askin.
  6. 5 of 5 people found this review helpful
     Great "Lifestyle" Camera 26 March, 2012 On
    Although I do a considerable amount of commercial work (or perhaps because I do!), when I'm out for the day with family or traveling, I want a camera that takes decent stills and video, has good zoom, a reasonably small form factor, and "just-take-the-shot" performance features.

    This camera does the job, and incidentally does fantastic close-ups. I mean really close-up. It has enough automatic modes that you can be very creative without needing a manual (as in, "read the manual") mode. In fact, a great deal of photographic creativity has nothing whatsoever to do with setting apertures and shutter speeds. (However, it is interesting that the camera does inform you what settings it's using for a shot.) I have another P&S, a Canon 500 HS, that gives me aperture and shutter priority modes, but I rarely use them - or need them - for lifestyle photography. Most of the time the Canon stays home because it has limited zoom, which is much more important for this type of photography than tweaking exposure settings. Plus, there's always a lot of creative things you can do with your photo editing software if you've got a good shot to start with, and this Nikon will give you lots of good shots.

    The L120 isn't exactly a pocket camera, but it fits my belt pack just fine and I *rarely* carry a camera in my pocket anyway. It has a nice solid feel and a much better grip profile than most P&S cameras - more like a DLSR - and although I prefer knobs and dials from my old film SLR days, the touch screen is plenty fast and responsive.

    AF can be a little laggy, and at times the camera does seem to get confused about focus as some have mentioned. However, I find that releasing and re-depressing the shutter button halfway usually grabs the focus, and if not a quick off-on cycle takes care of things.

    Low light (indoor ambience, lamp light) performance is more than adequate. I like the flip-up flash (which separates it further from the lens axis than most P&S cameras), and it performs very well.

    Cycle on to first shot and shot-to-shot speed is just fine. The view/settings screen is quite sharp, although like most it does suffer some in direct bright sunlight.

    Video is just fine for this type of camera and casual short clips. Would I use it to shoot "Gone With The Wind"? Uh, no. The audio is also perfectly adequate - again, you're not working with a boom mike.

    It's a huge bonus that this camera runs on normal AA batteries, too. Although it seems to be pretty economical with battery life, there's nothing like being able to run into any 7-11 store (or most places in the world, for that matter) and get batteries if you need them. If you've ever run out of those precious electrons while traveling, you can appreciate this.

    NO camera is everything to everybody, or even everything that any one person might want. But for a camera that you can really use but that doesn't take you "out of the moment" fiddling with settings, this Nikon is my all-time grab-and-go favorite, hands down.
  7. 7 of 8 people found this review helpful
     Some pros & cons but worth what you pay 9 June, 2011 On
    First off let me start by saying...I have always used Kodak digital cameras. I did an upgrade from a Kodak 7.1 mp with x10 optical zoom to this L120. I have had it for about a month now which has been plenty of time for an adjustment period:

    -The image quality is better. (that could be from the doubling my MP)

    -Can take several shots in Sports mode/action pics. You can control the number to low/medium/high

    -The images are beautiful in low lighting. They are not blurry. Don't always have to have that flash that can sometimes white out the image.

    -The battery life is great...I used the ones that came with the camera(which were AA akline). Still have 3/4 battery life. After using camera several times a day.

    -* the mannual is on a CD! So it was really hard to figure out how the camera worked because you have to look it up answers on the computer (which was not always available)*

    -The Auto mode I do not like. My Kodak took better images in auto mode. I have tried several different scenarios alot of the time they would come out blurry. So I pick my settings. Not fully grasping the Five-way VR Image Stabilization they say the camera offers.

    -It take a few mins to adjust your settings so you miss alot of action if your not familiar with what you are doing.

    With all that said...for the money you pay it is worth it. I enjoy taking pictures and will enjoy using it hopefully for years.
  8. 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
     coolpix l120 14 February, 2012 On
    Pro:I am pleased with the promptness of this purchase. Though not a professional photographer, I use my cameras continually. The L120 is rated very high by consumer reports and is really fun to use, but takes some time to get use to. The anti-shake feature and auto mode , make picturing easy and fun. 21x zoom captures everything in fine detail. Nice buy!
    Con: a bit clunky abd heavy.
  9. 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
     Have to play around with the settings!! 27 December, 2011 On
    My mother has had this camera for months now, and i just got done borrowing it from her for a couple days. I have to say I thought the same thing as the negative reviewers when she first got this camera. It seemed like way too many were blurry.. I am happy to say that after months of her owning it, and probably having a few different people change settings and things like that, this is the best camera I've used. I didn't get one blurry shot while using it to take pictures of my 3 year old (still, and dancing)I will be buying one of my own within the next week. I highly recommend this camera.
  10. 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
     Great Point and Shoot, BUT 18 December, 2011 On
    Bought this for my daughter as a step up from her small Nikon P&S....assumed it had a viewfinder, bit it does NOT so all shots must be made via the live view screen on back. Image quality is superb, and for the money it's a good buy.My mistake in researching this camera, also not as many manual options as i would have liked. Takes standard AA's though- always a plus, especially when traveling. Recommended, just be aware of what you're buying.
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