Nikon L20

Nikon Coolpix L20 front
  • 10MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 3" Fixed Display
  • ISO 64 - 1600
  • 640 x 480 video
  • 38-136mm (F3.1-6.7) lens
  • 135g - 97 x 61 x 29mm
  • Introduced February 2009
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Nikon L20 overview

Nikon L20 is Nikon's Small Sensor Compact camera initially announced on February of 2009. The camera uses a 10MP, CCD 1/2.3" size sensor with a peak resolution of 3648 x 2736.

The L20 ranks at #243 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras and all round #1234 out of 1465 for cameras in our collection. You can test our Smart camera finder to find camera listings based on your custom criteria.

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Here is a graph of specific criteria used in the scoring system.

Nikon L20 family

The Nikon L20 is part of a family of cameras. You can read the complete list below.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Nikon-Coolpix-L28 front thumbnailNikon L28
L20 vs L28
Nikon-Coolpix-L610 front thumbnailNikon L610
L20 vs L610
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Nikon-Coolpix-L26 front thumbnailNikon L26
L20 vs L26
Nikon-Coolpix-L810 front thumbnailNikon L810
L20 vs L810
Nikon-Coolpix-L120 front thumbnailNikon L120
L20 vs L120
Nikon-Coolpix-L24 front thumbnailNikon L24
L20 vs L24
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Nikon-Coolpix-L110 front thumbnailNikon L110
L20 vs L110
Nikon-Coolpix-L21 front thumbnailNikon L21
L20 vs L21
Nikon-Coolpix-L22 front thumbnailNikon L22
L20 vs L22
Nikon-Coolpix-L100 front thumbnailNikon L100
L20 vs L100
Nikon-Coolpix-L20 front thumbnailNikon L2038-136mm
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Nikon L20 Pros and Cons

Here is a list of pluses and minuses of the Nikon L20 based on factors that are often seen as necessary in a camera.

good zoom range (38-136mm 3.6 x zoom)
has built in flash
lighter than competitors in class (135g)
nice screen size (3 inches)
very good min ISO (64)
can't use external flash
doesn't have selfie friendly display
does not have image stabilization
has no phase detect autofocus
has no RAW format
lack of aperture priority mode
lack of shutter priority mode
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
low megapixels (10 megapixels)
manual focus not available
no external mic port
no HDMI port
no headphone port
no manual control
no Time Lapse mode
pixelated screen (230 thousand dot)
screen does not articulate
slow max aperture (f3.1)
sluggish at full zoom (f6.7)
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
video res low (640 x 480 pixels)
wide angle not the best (38mm)
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Nikon L20 Sensor specs

The spec of the sensor on the Nikon L20 is 6.08mm x 4.56mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor can resolve 3648 x 2736 pixels using aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9.

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The CCD sensor boasts 10 megapixels and supports a native ISO range of 64 to 1600. Sadly, RAW format is not supported so you have less margin for error.

The graphic below illustrates the L20's sensor size in comparison to other common sizes. The L20 sensor comes with a crop factor of 5.9 and is displayed in green.

Nikon Coolpix L20 sensor size Photography Glossary

To get an idea of different aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Nikon L20 dimensions

Nikon L20 weighs about 0.30 pounds (135 grams / 4.76 oz) and the physical size of the camera is 97mm x 61mm x 29mm (3.8" x 2.4" x 1.1"). The weight of general Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 grams and the Nikon L20 is lighter as compared with its rivals.

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Listed below is a pic of the Nikon L20 alongside a soda to help you to have a feel for its size.

Nikon Coolpix L20 dimensions scale

The top view here will show you the button layout on the L20.

Nikon Coolpix L20 topview buttons dials

Nikon L20 Lens details

The L20 comes with an inbuilt lens having a focal range of 38-136mm making it a 3.6 x zoom which may not be ideal however it might be helpful in a few cases.

At it's widest 38mm, it offers an aperture of f3.1 making it rather sluggish and not great in low light occasions and you might find it hard to capture a shallow depth of field. You will also have to up your ISO setting leading to noisy photographs. On the long end, 136mm comes to f6.7 making it fairly sluggish and you will have to apply slow shutter speeds.

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Nikon L20 Connectivity

The L20 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Cameras that include NFC and / or Bluetooth compatibility can be controlled wirelessly by smartphones. You can transfer pictures and sometimes alter camera settings with no need to connect straight with the camera.

Several apps also provide a Liveview and press the shutter if you aren't close to the camera. If the camera has a HDMI out, it can be hooked up to an external display. Many cameras will allow you to charge the battery using the USB socket.

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Nikon L20 Video details

The highest video quality on the Nikon L20 is 640 x 480 and it can record in Motion JPEG format. 480p is low by today's standards. You should really go for a minimum FUll HD quality for video. The body doesn't include a mic and / or headphone jack so you have absolutely no control over your sound. It is probably a better idea to find an alternative camera should you want better sound in your video clips.

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Nikon L20 Weather Sealing

There is no weather proofing for the Nikon L20 so you have to be cautious in rainy and dusty conditions.

Nikon L20 Display and Viewfinder

The Nikon L20 houses a 3 inch fixed display screen having a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Sadly the display screen is not a touch screen.

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The ViewFinder specifications regarding Nikon L20 are the following:

  • ViewFinder None

In those bright outdoor conditions that make the camera screens washed out and tough to view, viewfinders are particularly valuable.

Nikon L20 Shutter details

The maximum shutter speed is 1/2000s.

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Nikon L20 Flash and Hot shoe details

Nikon L20 includes just integrated flash lacking external flash ability.

Nikon L20 Autofocusing details

Nikon L20 includes only Contrast Based Auto Focus and lacks Phase Detect Auto Focus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot snappier & exact as compared with Contrast Based autofocusing.

Nikon L20 has not got manual focusing. Manual focusing option can be good in low light or you require more accurate focus control.

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Nikon L20 Battery life

The typical Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 comes with the highest (470) battery life in this kind of cameras.

Here is a list of Small Sensor Compact cameras which have the highest battery life:

Nikon L20 for varying forms of photography

The following bar chart indicates a analysis of the Nikon L20 for varying forms of photography. To view more, go to the specific paragraph below.

Nikon L20 as a Portrait photography camera

The Nikon L20 has a points tally of 19 which is horrible, meaning that it is not good for portraits. Taking portrait photos leans heavily to sensor specs, support for RAW photos plus the option to utilize off-camera lighting.

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lack of manual focus
manual exposure not available
can't use external flash
low megapixels (10MP)
sensor size is small (1/2.3")
lack of RAW format

Street photography with Nikon L20

Getting a decent points total of 54, the Nikon L20 is reasonably suitable to buy for street photography. A good street photography camera offers a good balance of image quality plus portability.

Photography Glossary
lighter than average in class (135 grams)
no moving screen
no image stabilization
small sensor (1/2.3")
has no RAW files

Nikon L20 Sports photography information

A horrible sports photography score of 16 means the Nikon L20 is not good for photographing sports. A camera must have good focusing and fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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lack of shutter priority mode
no image stabilization
low resolution (10 megapixels)
sensor size is small (1/2.3")
lacks phase detect autofocus

Nikon L20 as a Travel photography camera

Portability is pretty crucial when picking a camera for travel. All round, the Nikon L20 gets a decent 55 as a travelling camera which is fairly acceptable for your holidays.

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lighter than competition (135 grams)
flash built-in
does not have Timelapse recording
MP count low (10MP)
display isn't selfie friendly
wide angle not great (38mm)
sluggish max aperture (f3.1)

Nikon L20 Landscape photography advice

When you are looking to pick a camera for landscape photographs, the most critical aspect will be image quality. The Nikon L20 with it's horrible grade of 27 as a landscape camera is not good within the current market.

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screen size is good (3 inch)
focusing manually not possible
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
wide angle not good (38mm)
somewhat slow max aperture (f3.1)
manual mode not available
lack of image stabilization
low MP (10 megapixels)
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
no RAW format
missing Time Lapse recording

Nikon L20 Vlogging details

A vlogging camera really should come with a moving display screen, microphone port and if possible IBIS. Taking everything into account, the Nikon L20 is not good for vlogging as it comes to a horrible rating of 24.

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lighter than competition (135g)
wide angle not fantastic (38mm)
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.1)
screen is not selfie friendly
no image stabilization
low res video (640 x 480 pxls)
lack of external mic jack

Nikon L20 Alternatives

If you are looking for alternatives to the L20, here is a selection of the highest ranked cameras that fall under the class of Small Sensor Compact.

The line chart here offers you an overview of the L20 vs it's top ranking rivals suggested above.

Here are a handful of other cameras you may have a look at as alternatives. To check out a full comparison, click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Nikon Coolpix L20
Small Sensor Compact
Body design
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
6.08 x 4.56mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
10 megapixel
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
4:3 and 16:9
Maximum resolution
3648 x 2736
RAW support
Maximum native ISO
Min native ISO
Manual focusing
Touch to focus
AF continuous
AF single
Tracking AF
AF selectice
AF center weighted
Multi area AF
Live view AF
Face detect focusing
Contract detect focusing
Phase detect focusing
Lens support
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
38-136mm (3.6x)
Highest aperture
Macro focusing range
Crop factor
Range of display
Fixed Type
Display diagonal
3 inches
Resolution of display
230 thousand dot
Selfie friendly
Touch friendly
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Lowest shutter speed
8 seconds
Highest shutter speed
1/2000 seconds
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Set WB
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash options
Auto, Fill-in, Red-Eye reduction, Slow, Off
External flash
AE bracketing
WB bracketing
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Supported video resolutions
640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)
Maximum video resolution
Video format
Motion JPEG
Mic jack
Headphone jack
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment seal
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
135 gr (0.30 lb)
97 x 61 x 29mm (3.8" x 2.4" x 1.1")
Battery ID
2 x AA
Self timer
Time lapse recording
Storage media
SD/SDHC card, Internal
Storage slots
Price at launch