Very easy to operate
Custom white balance available
Depressing shutter button doesn't return you to shooting mode
Limited setting options
Struggles in bright light
Short battery life
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Successor to the Nikon Coolpix L25, the Nikon Coolpix L27 is equipped with a CCD sensor with an effective pixel count of 16.1 million pixels, a 5x optical zoom Nikkor lens, a 2.7-inch TFT LCD monitor, and HD 720p movie recording.
The 5x optical zoom lens built into the camera covers the wide-angle 26mm to 130mm (equivalent in 35mm format) range of focal lengths.
Nikon makes the L27 available in five colors: black, silver, red, white or decorative purple and it comes equipped with four exposure mode options. These are Easy Auto mode - where the settings are determined based on the scene you're shooting - Smart Portrait, Auto mode and Scene Selection mode. The latter offers 18 modes including portrait, sunset, pets, food and close up.
Smart portrait mode offers skin softening, a smile timer and a blink-proof option. It's worth noting that the timer and flash options are only accessible when the smile timer and blink options are turned off.
In Auto mode there are seven different tools white balance options including setting option enabling you to measure the white balance for your surroundings.
There are four drive modes - single, continuous, BSS and multi-shot 16 - and five colour options including vivid colour and black and white.
It's also equipped to shoot videos, with movie settings offering the choice of recording at 720p HD (1280 x 720), VGA (640 x 480) or QVGA (320 x 240) and single or full-time autofocus mode.
There are some basic in-camera editing options available in review mode, enabling you to rotate, resize and adjust the d-lighting. Skin softening is also available for photos taken in smart portrait mode.
The Nikon Coolpix L27 is priced at £69.99 (around US$106/ AU$104), so it sits comfortably in the budget area of the market, alongside compact cameras such as the Olympus VG-180 and the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS.
Build quality and handling
The Nikon Coolpix L27 feels light, but once batteries are inserted it has a pleasant weight, totalling 161g (5.7oz).
Once in the hand the camera is easy to hold and operate, with a grip on the right-hand side that keeps hands well away from the lens or the flash on the left.
The physical controls are all situated on the back of the Nikon L27 and are easily accessible. Although the LCD screen takes up the majority of the space, the buttons aren't cramped together and are a decent size.
The on-screen menus are basic and sometimes a little confusing - the OK button selects the option but also returns you to the previous menu instead of to shooting mode.
One major bug bear is the lack of some common options such as the ability to return to shooting by depressing the shutter button, something that quickly becomes frustrating with extended use. The record button for video is conveniently located for ease of access, and you are able to zoom the lens during recording.
It's not possible to change the information displayed on the screen or to view a framing grid while in Easy Auto mode, and even in other modes these options are only accessible after trawling though three menu levels, which is not particularly intuitive and may be missed by the more inexperienced user this camera is aimed at.
The post-shot review length is unadjustable, but it varies from two to six seconds depending on the strength of the batteries. Some users may find this bothersome since there is no way to cancel it or take another shot while it's on the screen.
The preview can also sometimes appear a little blurry, especially in macro modes, which could again be a little confusing for less experienced users.