Nikon Coolpix L610 vs P510 Comparison

August 9, 2012

Nikon L610 and P510 superzooms

There is already a large selection of high quality super-zoom digital cameras.  The Nikon Coolpix L610 is another elegant addition to Nikon’s L-series. One of the most popular Nikon superzoom camera is the Nikon P510, however the L610 has a more 14x modest zoom compare to the 42x zoom of the P510.  The L610 is a superzoom camera, whether the P510 fits into the ultra-zoom camera. In this article I will be comparing the Nikon Coolpix L610 vs the P510. I will cover the new features of the L610 and also refresh your memory regarding the P510 specs.  I hope that after this comparison, you will get a better idea which camera fits you best.


Nikon L610

The Nikon Coolpix L610 was announced in October 8th, 2012.  The camera features a 16MP Back-lit CMOS sensor, 25-350mm equivalent 14x optical zoom lens, 1080p30 video recording and operates on AA batteries. Worth mentioning that the L-series is Nikon’s affordable compact cameras. That means that if you don’t want to spend too much money on a camera, but want a feature-rich compact camera, you should certainly look at Nikon L-series cameras. In this series you can also find the L810, L26 and others.  P-series cameras are more expensive and start at around $80 more than the more expensive L-series camera.

With the L610, Nikon wanted to create a stylish compact camera that hosts many of Nikon’s latest technologies and features. The first and probably most important thing is the lens. The L610 features a 14x optical zoom Nikkor ED glass lens with optical VR image stabilization to keep you images sharp, even when shooting in low light. This is a 25-350mm f/3.3-5.9 lens. It offers pretty wide-angle field of view and nice zoom range of 350 mm (35mm equivalent).

350mm can help you take pictures of subject far away from the camera. It’s a very useful range. Indeed there are camera that offer much higher optical zoom, but those are more expensive camera, roughly $80-120 more expensive (although I recommend checking the latest and updates prices to be sure). So 14x optical zoom is a very useful range, even for a travel zoom camera.

The Nikon L610 features a Back-lit 16.79MP (effective) 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. This is the same sensor size found on the Nikon P510, Canon PowerShot SX40 HS and Sony HX200. This is a small sensor, much smaller than the sensor in many MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras), like the Canon EOS-M for example, with its APS-C size sensor.


Nikon L610 sensor size diagram

Nikon L610 sensor size


As you can see in the above diagram, the Nikon L610 sensor (pointed with the white arrow) is the same size as other super zoom cameras, but much smaller then the Canon EOS M APS-C sensor. This only to illustrate the size differences.

A small sensor isn’t a good thing when it comes to image quality though. The good news is that Nikon utilizes a BSI-CMOS technology, same that is found on the other three cameras in the diagram (P510, SX40 HS and HX200V). This means that image quality will vastly improved compared to conventional CMOS sensors. The different is quite obvious and it certainly not a gimmick. Image quality will be much due to this technology.

On the Nikon L610 product page specs it’s written “CMOS”, although in the press release it’s written “With a 16.0-megapixel backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor, image details can be beautifully reproduced even in low-light.”, go figure.



Nikon L610

Nikon Coolpix L610 (silver)

The Nikon Coolpix L610 is nice looking camera I have to say. It has curvy lines, nice grip and it actually reminds me the Panasonic GF5, just a bit. AT the back you can find the 3-inch 46-K-dots LCD with anti-reflection coating.  There are a few buttons, a d-movie dedicated button at the right side to quickly access movie mode. The L610 comes with a pop-up flash.

The Nikon L610 is a compact camera. I even first made a mistake thinking that it’s a DSLR-like camera, which is of course not. Take a look at the compact camera comparison tool on camera size, so can can see how it compares to other cameras.

Another thing that I like about the L610 is that it operates on regular AA batteries. This is great, because you can purchase AA batteries everywhere. You will never left out without power.  I prefer this to a Lithium-ion battery, even if it might offer longer battery life. This is especially useful for travel cameras.  The camera can operate on AA ALkaline batteries, which will give you 120 shots or AA Lithium batteries that will give you 470 shots. Using the EN-MH2 battery will gran you 330 shots (CIPA). When you buy the camera you get two AA Alkaline batteries.

The L610 can shoot at 1.9 fps up to 4 sequenced shots. Pretty slow, but again, this camera wasn’t made to be a sports camera either. You will also find many auto-mode features that will help beginners start shoot great photos immediately, with the needing to understand anything about photography.

Si in short, the Nikon L610 hosts many of today’s standard features, comes with a very useful optical zoom range,  operates on AA batteries and have a slick stylish design – oh, and the price is is not high in the sky.


Nikon P510

The Nikon P510 is, in my opinion, the best travel camera yet.  One of the main attraction in this camera is the 1000 mm maximum focal length. It features a 24-1000 mm lens, with a HUGE ZOOM of 42x and a very useful wide-angle field of view too.  The L810 offers 26x zoom in comparison.  The L610 sits above the P7100 (7.1x, 28-280 mm) and below the L810 (26x, 22.5-585 mm) in terms of optical zoom capabilities.

Nikon L610 vs P510 size comparison

Nikon L610 vs P510 size comparison (via

This giant Zoom is great for shooting wildlife, London Olympic Games, car racing, the Big Ben, Concerts, shooting the moon, birds, Animals at the zoom (especially the lions, when you cannot get very close), etc. You can take that camera to your next vacation and come with photos that many few photographers will be able to shoot (only those with the same camera or with a very expensive 800mm or 1000mm lenses for DSLR cameras).

The camera is-equipped with GPS for auto geo-tagging and can shoot Full HD videos.

What 42x optical zoom looks like? – Take a look!


Amazing isn’t it. You get so close to your subject that it’s just insane.

The P510 comes with a 920K-dot high-resolution 3-inch tilting LCD, much higher resolution than on the L610 (460K-dots).

The P510 does cost more, but you really get more for your investment. The Nikon P510 is an amazing ultrazoom camera, which can compare to cameras like the Canon SX40 HS, which on of the most popular ultrazooms,, and I found its image quality even better than the P510, but not by a large margin.

The P510 is more expensive and is targeted for the more enthusiast travel photographer, or anyone who wants a very versatile camera. It’s not a compact camera, and much larger than the L610. Even so, it offers many capabilities that the L610 lacks, and you really get what you paid for.


Nikon L610 vs P510

some of you might think that it’s not a fair comparison. Even so, I think that many people might debate whether to buy a cheaper superzoom camera instead of paying more for the P510. I recommend going over the below L610 vs P510 specs comparison table, see if you find some features that you really want to have in your next camera, and right them down.

SpecsCanon Rebel T3i
(EOS 600D)
Sony SLT A65
AnnouncedFebruary 7, 2011August 24, 2011A65 is a newer camera
Sensor18-megapixels (effective)
22.3x14.9mm (1.6×)
24.3-megapixels (effective)
23.5x15.6mm (1.5×)
A65 a 6.4MP resolution advantage
ISO100 - 6400 (12800 expanded)100 - 16000A65 higher ISO top limit
White Balance Presets68More WB presets
Image StabilizationNo
(via the lens itself)
SteadyShot INSIDE lens-shift image stabilization
The A65 comes with sensor-shift image stabilization that works with every lens that you attach to the camera
Number of AF Points9 points (center AF point is cross-type)15 points (3 points cross-type)Sony A65 offers more AF points for more accurate AF, good for shooting fast moving subject and more accurate AF tracking
LCD3-inch 1040K-dots
3-inch 921,600-dots
Triple hinged tilt/swivel
The 600D has a higher resolution display, but the A65 has a more flexible articulating display that can be rotated so the panel front can face the front of the camera for self-portrait or group shots
Eye-level ViewfinderOptical (Pentamirror)

Coverage: 95%
Electronic (0.50" XGA OLED EVF, 2359k-dots)

Coverage: 95%
Some will prefer the optical viewfinder for real-time view, others will prefer the extra information that you can get on the EVF. This is a brand new OLED viewfinder, with much better resolution and clarity compared to previous SLT camera models.
Shutter Speed30 - 1/4000 sec30 - 1/4000 sec
Pop-up FlashYes (13m)Yes (10m)The T3i has a stronger flash light
Flash Sync ConnectorYesNoThe T3i has a flash sync connector (the A77 as it as well, but the A65 doesn't)
Continuous Shooting Speed3.7 fpsup to 10 fps (in Continuous Priority AE)SLT-A65 much faster burst speed due to the translucent-mirror technology. 10 fps possible with the focus locked in the first frame. Without it, you can shoot at 8 fps
Exposure Compensation±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±5 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)The 600D has the advantage of jumping with 1/2 EV steps not just 1/3
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV steps
White Balance BracketingYesNoA65 offers no WB bracketing
Movie Recording1080p30/25/24

with Stereo sound
+ stereo audio input jack for connecting external stereo mic

with Stereo sound
+ stereo audio input jack for connecting external stereo mic
A65 can record 1080p60 (progressive frames). You can plugin a high-fidelity external stereo mic for both cameras to improve sound quality. Great feature for those who need it for video recording
GPSNoYesA65 has a built-in GPS for geotagging photos
compatible Memory CardsSD/SDHC/SDXCSD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Battery Life / Type440 shots (CIPA)

Battery Type: LP-E8
560 shots (CIPA)

Battery Type: NP-FM500H
A65 has a longer battery life (I was expecting some else, good for Sony)
Weight (including battery and memory card)570 g (1.26 lb / 20.11 oz)622 g (1.37 lb / 21.94 oz)A65 is heavier than the T3i by 52 g
Dimensions133 x 100 x 80 mm (5.24 x 3.94 x 3.15")132 x 97 x 81 mm (5.2 x 3.82 x 3.19")T3i a bit larger than the A65

Key Difference:

  1. P510 has a much higher zoom range
  2. P510 features tilting higher resolution LCD
  3. P510 features EVF
  4. P510 offers full control over exposure
  5. P510 is much larger and weights 315g more!
  6. P510 has a faster maximum shutter speed
  7. P510 has a bit faster continuous shooting speed
  8. P510 offers a wider angle lens (24mm vs 25mm
  9. P510 offers less scene modes, lacks only the “Back Light” scene mode
  10. P510 offers more in-camera image editing capabilities over the L610, including  Crop, Rotate Image and Small Picture
  11. P510 offers more continuous shooting options
  12. P510 more flexible timer operation


As you can see from the above summary, the Nikon P510 is the better camera of the too. But that won’t come as a surprise to you, because it’s much more expensive (approx. $200 more). The things you need to take into consideration is the features that you actually need.

One of the big difference and on of the most important factors in first the size of the camera.  The P510 is much larger and heavier.  However, it’s not pocketable as you might think. It’s much larger than the Coolpix L22 compact camera, which can be easily put inside your pant’s pocket. I think that the L610 can easily be stored in a small bag and maybe can be taken larger shirt/pants’ pockets (try that in the store and tell us).

The P510 has a much bigger zoom. This is probably one of the main reasons you want to pay more for a camera like the P510 – It’s all about the zoom, amazing zoom. If you want to shoot far away subjects like birds, car race, Safari animals, people surfing at the beach, shoot the moon, etc – the P510 is probably the best way to go.

The P510 offers plenty of manual controls to experiment with and achieve more creative results. It has EVF, which can be helpful when shooting against bright sunlight.

The tilting screen can be helpful to shoot low and high-angle shots and especially useful for videos.


So How Good is the L610?

I personally think that the L610 is a compromise between an ultrazoom camera and more conventional compact cameras. It’s an all-around affordable super-zoom camera with very nice feature. Most of you might not need all the bells and whistles of the P510. It’s maybe smart going with the cheaper option instead (L610). Cheaper doesn’t mean cheap though. The L610 is really an amazing camera that can take gorgeous photos (see here), even in low light!

If you don’t want to spent a lot of money on a camera and maybe your are not satisfied with the image quality you current camera offers, the L610 is probably the best option. A compact high-zoom camera with great capabilities, a camera for beginners who don’t really want to touch the camera settings. A great camera for your kids to use and an all-around great performer.

See comparison article will be updated with sample videos as they become available for the L610.


Click here to order the Nikon L610 via B&H Photo store


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  • NewsView

    The Nikon L610 defaults to enabling something called EyeFi, which consumes batteries (it is a proprietary wireless file transfer feature that doesn’t work without a special card in one’s computer). On Alkaline, I get just 30-40 photos depending on flash usage — nowhere near the 120 touted (using new batteries!). The environmental waste is astounding. In less than a week I have consumed dozens of batteries, and reports elsewhere on the web suggest I am not alone. All but the brightest daylight pictures blur on motion, and in low light on “auto” the camera still attempts to use ISO 200, slowing down the shutter so that moving subjects blur because the camera can’t be hand-held at the speeds the camera selects (with no improvement using a scene mode). The macro performance, at just 1cm from one’s subject, is impressive but with metering issues the tradeoff isn’t worth it. I wish Nikon would update the firmware. It is clearly faulty firmware that is making the camera fall short of its potential. On a point-and-shoot, I think it would be helpful, in conclusion, for camera manufacturer’s to include a tripod icon as a warning, triggered during the pre-focus stage by shutter speeds that will require as much due to being too slow to hand-hold the shot with success. This would help the non-professional troubleshoot why their photos are always coming out blurry under low light, in particular.