Nikon Coolpix L340 Review

Introduction

Initially released spring 2015, the Nikon L340 is the replacement to previously released L330. It’s an entry-level bridge camera aimed at beginner and hobbyist photographers. Compared to the predecessor, it further improves on the camera’s zoom, now offering an impressive 28x optical zoom. Sometimes you want a better zoom range than what your smartphone or a compact camera can provide. And this camera aims to resolve that, while simultaneously, helps users bridge the gap between compact and DSLR cameras. Nikon directs this camera as a competitor to Canon’s PowerShot 420 and Sony’s Cyber-Shot H300. Today, we assess the strengths, weaknesses, and address whether this camera should be a consideration If you’re a beginner with little to spend.

Nikon-COOLPIX-L340-camera-specs

What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Nikon Coolpix L340?

Pros:

Image Quality

It features a 20.2MP CCD sensor and a fixed lens with image stabilization that offers a 22.5-630mm full-frame equivalent field of view. This lens delivers an impressive 28x optical zoom, which is further expandable by up to 4x using digital zoom. Such an extensive zoom range makes the camera sufficiently capable of shooting anything from wide-angle group shots or landscapes to wildlife and macro photography. Overall, the images this combination produces, given adequate light, are relatively sharp with vibrant colors.

Focusing Performance

The autofocusing performance on this camera is good and responsive, given enough light. The camera even features face-detection, which works well to ensure faces are sharp, when in the frame.

Battery Performance

Battery life is excellent. Nikon rates the camera at 960 shots over the lifespan of its lithium ion batteries, which is exceptional for this class of camera.

Display & Viewfinder

It features a 3.0-inch TFT-LCD with 99% coverage of the image area and a resolution of 460K dots. The display has an anti-reflective coating and ample brightness for ease when composing outdoors in harsh sunlight. Overall, the display provides excellent color reproduction with a pleasant viewing experience in most circumstances.

User Interface

The user interface and menus are straightforward. They function well to simplify navigating the camera when the need to alter its settings arises and are beginner-friendly.

Physical Layout & Ergonomics

The physical design is also quite simple and follows classic bridge camera design logic. However, the physical buttons featured are strategically placed and easily identifiable. And thankfully, Nikon hasn’t overcrowded the camera with any unnecessary buttons. For its size, it features a surprisingly large and textured grip, which creates both a comfortable yet, confident hold in hand. While not the smallest camera in this category, the added size goes to the benefit of providing better ergonomics than the competition. Nonetheless, the camera is still quite light, only weighing 430g with both battery and SD card installed.

Niche Features/Extras

It features a built-in flash, which is helpful to add extra light to the scene.

It features in-camera editing functionality, which allows users to trim videos and apply effects, such as skin softening. Overall, while limited, it’s extraordinarily valuable for users who don’t already own computer-based editing software, but still want to customize their images.

The lens offers image stabilization, which works quite well to ensure footage is stable, even at the lenses maximum zoom.

Cons:

Video Capabilities

While video quality in of itself is good, the camera only offers 720 HD videos up to 30 fps, not 1080p full HD. So, unfortunately, for those looking for a sharp and fully capable video camera, it’s a bit antiquated in its capabilities. Not only that, but videos immediately become noisy if the camera increases past ISO 800 when shooting in lower light.

Low Light Capabilities

The camera struggles in low light. It only offers a native ISO range of ISO 80-1,600, which is somewhat limited. It doesn’t help that the lens offers a variable aperture (f/3.1-5.9), which closes as you zoom in, further reducing available light. With that, it doesn’t supply much flexibility when shooting in dimly lit environments before images quickly turn grainy, and image quality degrades.

Autofocus Performance

The autofocus system used on this camera is contrast-detection only. These systems work great given enough light, but historically, they don’t provide good low light and video focusing performance. And, sadly, this camera falls victim to both. When shooting in low light environments, the camera struggles to find focus and often doesn’t. Overall, if you plan on shooting a lot in low light, focusing with this camera will be challenging for you.

Battery Life

The camera uses AA batteries, instead of Nikon’s more typical EN-EL batteries. With that, purchasing rechargeable batteries is a must to avoid any additional expenses and to ensure reliable battery performance.

Display

While the 3-inch LCD is sufficient in most situations, it lacks the resolution of comparable cameras in today’s market, which have screens with resolutions over 1M dots. It also offers limited viewing angles, making it hard to judge contrast and exposure accurately when not viewed directly front on.
Menus

For more advanced users, the camera doesn’t support manual exposure adjustments. Only automatic and scene selection modes are available for use. The camera also lacks any customizable buttons or preset functionality, so the default configuration is the only option.

Ergonomics

It lacks a Mode selection wheel, helpful to change between various automatic or scene selection modes. Instead, changing these settings strictly occurs through the camera’s menus, slowing down workflow. The zoom rocker also only has a single speed, limiting its ability for precise or smooth focal length adjustments.

Lacking Features

It lacks Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, so there’s no possibility of wirelessly transferring images to a connected device.

The camera’s onboard microphone only records in mono, which delivers less than ideal audio recordings. Typically, stereo microphones are preferred.

Is this a good beginner camera?

Potentially. It makes an excellent choice for users looking for a bridge camera with an outstanding super-zoom lens. However, it does come with accompanying drawbacks, namely the lack of 1080p video, poor low light performance, and inadequate manual controls for more seasoned shooters. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for an easy to use and hasslefree compact camera, it’s a solid choice.

What are the best lenses & bundles for the Nikon Coolpix L340?

Extra Batteries:

Panasonic Battery Charger Pack with 4 AA

SD Cards:

SanDisk Ultra 32GB Class 10 SDHC UHS-I Memory Card

Is the Nikon Coolpix L340 a good camera for you?

If you’re a beginner looking for a capable, compact camera, with a tight budget, this camera is worth considering. While it’s a minor upgrade over the predecessor, the increased zoom range and flexibility create a more versatile camera. It makes for an appealing option for those desiring a super-zoom camera with an affordable price tag.

For enthusiasts looking for advanced features like wireless connectivity, manual controls, or 1080p video, it’ll prove to be a disappointment to you. And, overall, it is not the best choice for those looking to pursue photography professionally, as it lacks the necessary functions.

For those looking for a strong low light camera, this is a poor choice. With its limited ISO range combined with its slow lens, it makes for a lackluster combination in these situations. This camera is best reserved for shooting outdoors or in bright lighting conditions.

But, in all, the Nikon L340 is a capable little camera, albeit limited in today’s age.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
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Summary

The Nikon L340 is a bit antiquated in today’s world. Nonetheless, it makes an excellent choice for users looking for a bridge camera with an outstanding super-zoom lens. While it comes with accompanying drawbacks, it remains capable, easy to use, and hasslefree