Nikon Coolpix L340: An Unsatisfying Bridge-style Camera
Subpar image quality
Video only 720p
Manual options are limited
No touchscreen display
Powerfull powered by AA Batteries
Although the Nikon Coolpix L340 IS may look good on paper, its lens and 20.2-megapixel CCD sensor leave much to be desired in stills and videos. It's not expensive, but still it isn't worth the money.
Nikon Coolpix L340 was purchased by us to allow our expert reviewer to thoroughly evaluate and test it. Continue reading to see our complete product review.
Sometimes, you may need more zoom than what your compact or smartphone camera offers. The bridge-style camera fills the gap between DSLR and compact cameras. It offers longer zoom ranges, but is half the size of a DSLR.
The Nikon Coolpix L340 is a bridge camera that's more affordable. It was our pleasure to spend three weeks testing it and comparing its performance to other cameras.
Related Reading: Sony DSC-W800 Review: Solid Performance, Price Point
As far as bridge cameras go, the Nikon Coolpix L340 has a very standard design. For a small camera the grip is noticeable and the lens is well-designed. For reviewing and composing images, the 3-inch back screen of the camera is ideal.
The menus and buttons are well-arranged on the back. The buttons are a bit cheap, and we experienced some wobble when using the camera for a short time.
Also, the camera body feels cheaply constructed. Although the rubber grip on the camera is nice, the rest of the body feels cheaply made. It is lighter than the previous model, but it doesn't seem to have the ability to withstand a lot of abuse before it breaks. Particularly, the pop-up flash module feels extremely weak.
The Nikon Coolpix L340 setup was easy and quick. Everything you need, plus four AAA batteries are included in the box. As long as your memory card is available, you can simply insert the batteries through the hole in the camera's bottom, then place the SD card into the slot. Then, turn on the camera. It will ask for your time and date information to create metadata the first time it is used. Once that's done, you can simply turn it on to start taking photos.
Although you could still use regular batteries, it is much more convenient and cost-effective to use rechargeable ones. Panasonic Eneloops were used. They can be charged up to 2100x, which equates roughly to approximately 714,000 images that could be taken over the battery's lifetime.
Nikon Coolpix L340 has a 20.2-megapixel CCD camera and a 22.5-630mm full-frame equivalent f/3.1-5.9 zoom lens. Image stabilization is available on the L340. These specs are adequate considering the L340's price of $100. The combination of the narrow ISO range (ISO 80-1600), and the slow lens can make for disappointing results in some situations.
The images can be shared on social media or printed if you are using adequate sun. The ISO will increase if you are indoors or outdoors with artificial lighting. The variable aperture of the lens reduces light hitting the sensor by closing down when you zoom in. The increased noise reduction applied to JPEGs quickly makes images soft. Any detail in shadows and highlights are then crushed.
The onboard flash is there in the event you're indoors, but in our extensive testing, there were few situations where the built-in flash provided an aesthetically-pleasing light, and the short guide number means it isn't going to be useful for subject matter more than 10 feet from the camera.
Nikon Coolpix L340 has 720p video recording at 30 frames/second. The video can be used in brighter conditions than the default ISO, just like stills. The video became very noisy when the sun set or the lights dimmed. There was no detail in shadows, and the highlights were blurred. Mono audio is produced by the onboard microphone, making it less appealing.
Despite this, onboard image stability weighed more than its weight. The stabilization was excellent for wide shots. It kept the camera still handheld and even trembled slightly when zoomed in.
Overall, the video was about what we expected considering our experience taking still images—the quality is seriously lacking.
For $100, the Nikon CoolpixL340 is available. It is a compact camera, and especially if you are looking for bridge-style models. This makes it a good deal. Although the camera is well-designed and fun to use it, we were not impressed by its resulting still images.
Canon's Powershot SX430 IS is the closest competitor. The cameras both have 1/2.3 inch CCD sensors. However, the Powershot SX430IS has a smaller 20-megapixel sensor than the Coolpix L340's 20.2-megapixels. Both cameras can shoot at 30 frames per sec and 720p video. The Powershot SX430IS is lacking in megapixels, but it makes up in optics with 45x optical zoom, compared to 28x on the Coolpix L340.
Powershot SX430 has wireless connectivity (802.11 b/g/n Wi Fi) as well as a rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. This is far less flexible than the L340, but it also saves you from having to buy new batteries each time.
Canon Powershot SX430IS retails at $100. It's obvious that the Canon has more zoom and Wi-Fi than the L340.
Not able to justify the price.
Although the Nikon Coolpix L340 represents an improvement over its predecessor, it leaves much to be desired. Although the camera appears to perform well relative to its cost, we were disappointed by the poor image quality due to both the slow lens and the CCD sensor. The camera captured decent images in bright sunlight, which would make them suitable for sharing on social media. However, even with the best lighting conditions, it wouldn't be able to print prints greater than 4x6.