Nikon L21

Nikon Coolpix L21 front
  • 8MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 2.5" Fixed Display
  • ISO 64 - 1600
  • 640 x 480 video
  • 38-136mm (F3.1-6.7) lens
  • 169g - 92 x 67 x 28mm
  • Released February 2010
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Nikon L21 overview

Nikon L21 is Nikon's Small Sensor Compact camera originally launched on February of 2010. The camera features a 8MP, CCD 1/2.3" size sensor with a maximum resolution of 3648 x 2736.

The L21 is rated #256 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras & all-around #1258 out of 1465 for cameras in our database. Remember to look at our Advanced camera filter to get camera ratings based on your personal criteria.

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

Nikon L21 family

The Nikon L21 has a history of related cameras. Listed below, you can check out all earlier and most recent models along with key specs.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Nikon-Coolpix-L28 front thumbnailNikon L28
L21 vs L28
Nikon-Coolpix-L610 front thumbnailNikon L610
L21 vs L610
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Nikon-Coolpix-L26 front thumbnailNikon L26
L21 vs L26
Nikon-Coolpix-L810 front thumbnailNikon L810
L21 vs L810
Nikon-Coolpix-L120 front thumbnailNikon L120
L21 vs L120
Nikon-Coolpix-L24 front thumbnailNikon L24
L21 vs L24
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Nikon-Coolpix-L110 front thumbnailNikon L110
L21 vs L110
Nikon-Coolpix-L21 front thumbnailNikon L2138-136mm
Nikon-Coolpix-L22 front thumbnailNikon L22
L21 vs L22
Nikon-Coolpix-L100 front thumbnailNikon L100
L21 vs L100
Nikon-Coolpix-L20 front thumbnailNikon L20
L21 vs L20
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Nikon L21 Pros and Cons

Here is a shortlist of benefits and drawbacks of the Nikon L21 based on things which are often viewed as useful in a camera.

built-in flash
built in zoom lens (38-136mm 3.6 x zoom)
very good min ISO (64)
cannot use external flash
display isn't selfie friendly
focusing manually not possible
lack of shutter priority mode
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
missing external mic port
missing HDMI port
missing headphone port
missing Time Lapse mode
no aperture priority
no image stabilization
no manual control
no moving screen
no phase detect autofocus
no RAW files
pixelated screen (230 k dot)
resolution not great (8MP)
screen is somewhat small (2.5 inch)
sluggish at long end (f6.7)
sluggish maximum aperture (f3.1)
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
video res low (640 x 480 resolution)
wide angle not good (38mm)
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Nikon L21 Sensor information

The Nikon L21 houses the Expeed C2 processor. The measurement of the sensor in the Nikon L21 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 has 8MP and includes a native ISO range of 64 - 1600. Sadly, RAW files are not supported which means that the user has less margin for error.

The image underneath displays the L21's sensor size compared to other common sizes. The L21 sensor has a crop factor of 5.9 and is showcased in green.

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To get an idea of various aspect ratios, you can refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Nikon L21 dimensions

Nikon L21 weighs around 0.37 pounds (169 grams or 5.96 oz) & the physical size of the camera is 92mm x 67mm x 28mm (3.6" x 2.6" x 1.1"). The weight of normal Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 grams so the Nikon L21 is on par compared with various competitors.

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Here is a image of the Nikon L21 alongside a soft drink to help you to get a sense of its size.

Nikon Coolpix L21 dimensions scale

The top view under will illustrate the button layout on the L21.

Nikon Coolpix L21 topview buttons dials

Nikon L21 Lens information

The L21 includes an inbuilt lens having a focal range of 38-136mm making it a 3.6 x zoom which is not exceptional but it can be valuable in some situations.

At it's widest 38mm, the lens comes with an aperture of f3.1 which will be somewhat sluggish and not the best for low light situations and you may find it difficult to get a shallow depth of field. You could also have to raise your ISO setting leading to noisy photographs. At the long end, 136mm comes with f6.7 which is quite slow and you would have to choose slow shutter speeds.

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Nikon L21 Connectivity

The L21 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Cameras that come with NFC or Bluetooth compatibility can be controlled wirelessly through smartphones. You can easily copy pictures and oftentimes alter camera settings without the hassle of connecting directly with the camera.

Some apps also enable a Liveview and click the shutter in case you aren't near the camera. If the camera features a HDMI port, it can be attached to an external display. Many cameras enable you to recharge the battery with the USB socket.

Photography Glossary

Nikon L21 Video information

The maximum video quality in the Nikon L21 is 640 x 480 and you can record in Motion JPEG format. 480p is low for today's requirements. You should really target a minimum 1080p quality for video recording. The body doesn't feature a microphone or headphone socket which means you have absolutely no control over the audio. It is perhaps a better idea to take a look at another model in case you need good audio for your video clips.

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Nikon L21 Weather Sealing

There is no weather sealing on the Nikon L21 so you have to be cautious in wet or dusty conditions.

Nikon L21 Display and Viewfinder

The Nikon L21 features a 2.5" fixed screen having a resolution of 230k dots.

Please be aware that the screen has no touch support.

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The ViewFinder specs for Nikon L21 are the following:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders are really handy during sunny outdoor conditions which can easily make the camera display washed out and difficult to see.

Nikon L21 Shutter information

The max shutter speed is 1/2000s.

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Nikon L21 Flash and Hot shoe information

Nikon L21 comes with just inbuilt flash with no external flash ability.

Nikon L21 Autofocusing information

Nikon L21 comes with only Contrast Detect Autofocus & is missing Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection focusing is a lot faster and precise as compared with Contrast Detect focusing.

Nikon L21 has not got manual focus. Manual focus mode is good during low light situations or you require more exact control on focus.

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Nikon L21 Battery life

The general Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 has got the highest possible (470) battery life within this type of cameras.

Listed below is a list of Small Sensor Compact cameras that have the best battery life:

Nikon L21 for various styles of photography

The following bar chart displays a overview of the Nikon L21 for various styles of photography. To view more, go to the specific paragraph underneath.

Nikon L21 Portrait photography factors

The Nikon L21 has a points total of 19 which is lousy, meaning that it is simply not acceptable for portrait photography. Photographing portraits leans heavily to sensor dimension, support for RAW photos in addition to the option to utilize external flash.

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lack of manual focus
manual mode not available
cannot use external flash
low resolution (8MP)
sensor is small (1/2.3")
lack of RAW support

Nikon L21 as a Street photography camera

Getting a average score of 46, the Nikon L21 is reasonably suitable to buy for street photography. A very good street photography camera features a fine balance of image quality and portability.

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no articulating screen
does not have image stabilization
very small sensor (1/2.3")
does not have RAW support

Sports photography with Nikon L21

A lousy sports photography rating of 16 suggests the Nikon L21 is simply not acceptable for photographing sports. A camera needs to have very good tracking and continuous shooting for sports photography.

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lack of shutter priority mode
no image stabilization
megapixel count low (8MP)
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
doesn't have phase detect autofocus

Nikon L21 Travel photography advice

Weight is super important in choosing a travel camera. Over-all, the Nikon L21 gets a modest 50 for a travel camera which makes it relatively appropriate to take with you on your trips.

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built-in flash
doesn't have Time Lapse mode
MP count low (8 megapixels)
doesn't posses selfie friendly display
wide angle not good (38mm)
slow max aperture (f3.1)

Nikon L21 Landscape photography advice

When you're planning to choose a camera for landscape photos, the most important aspect will be image quality. The Nikon L21 with it's lousy score of 22 for a landscape camera is simply not acceptable among it's rivals.

Photography Glossary
no manual focus
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
wide angle not the best (38mm)
slow maximum aperture (f3.1)
tiny screen (2.5 inch)
manual mode not possible
does not have image stabilization
MP count low (8MP)
sensor size is tiny (1/2.3")
no RAW format
no Timelapse recording

Vlogging with Nikon L21

A camera for vlogging preferably should posses a articulating display screen, mic input and if possible IBIS. Taking all things in to account, the Nikon L21 is simply not acceptable for vlogging as it delivers a lousy score of 21.

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wide angle not fantastic (38mm)
somewhat slow max aperture (f3.1)
display is not selfie friendly
no image stabilization
low res video (640 x 480 resolution)
missing microphone support

Nikon L21 Alternatives

If you want alternatives to the L21, below is a list of the top ranked cameras that fall within the class of Small Sensor Compact.

The chart just below will give you a bird's eye view of the L21 versus it's highest scoring rivals mentioned previously.

Following are several cameras you may consider as alternatives. To read a comprehensive comparison, click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Nikon Coolpix L21
Small Sensor Compact
Body design
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Expeed C2
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
6.08 x 4.56mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
8 megapixels
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
4:3 and 16:9
Highest resolution
3648 x 2736
RAW support
Highest native ISO
Min native ISO
Manual focus
Touch to focus
Autofocus continuous
Autofocus single
Autofocus tracking
Selective autofocus
Autofocus center weighted
Multi area autofocus
Autofocus live view
Face detect autofocus
Contract detect autofocus
Phase detect autofocus
Lens mounting type
fixed lens
Lens focal range
38-136mm (3.6x)
Highest aperture
Macro focus distance
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Fixed Type
Display diagonal
2.5 inch
Resolution of display
230k dot
Selfie friendly
Touch friendly
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
DXO scores
DXO All around score
not tested
DXO Color Depth score
not tested
DXO Dynamic range score
not tested
DXO Low light score
not tested
Slowest shutter speed
8 seconds
Maximum shutter speed
1/2000 seconds
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Custom white balance
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash options
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Fill-in, Slow Syncro
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
WB bracketing
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Video resolutions
640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video file format
Motion JPEG
Mic jack
Headphone jack
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental seal
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
169 gr (0.37 lb)
92 x 67 x 28mm (3.6" x 2.6" x 1.1")
Battery model
2 x AA
Self timer
Time lapse shooting
Type of storage
SD/SDHC, Internal
Storage slots
Retail price