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Nikon Reviews: Best Nikon Compact Cameras

While Nikon is more known for their DSLRs, they have a few compact cameras often worth a look. Nikon point-and-shoots are a bit harder to judge without a full hands-on review--we've seen a few gems, but there's also a few that really didn't pan out.

Nikon offers compact cameras for nearly every budget, and it appears that Nikon's naming strategy tends to indicate price and level as well. The S-models ex. Coolpix S6500) are mid-line options. L models on the other hand are very basic with minimal features but a low price. The P tends to designate a more advanced camera with highlighting features like a larger sensor or a bigger zoom. AW designates their rough, waterproof models. The numbers following that can also indicate their level--for example the Coolpix S3300 has fewer features than the S6300. Numbers will also indicate when it was released, with the S6500 being newer than the S6300.

Be careful with the lowest budget options, they tend to be slow and snap pretty basic shots. Nikon's advanced options have recieved several decent reviews from us in the past, with the middle options being hit or miss. Here are Nikon's best compact cameras.

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Nikon COOLPIX L32

The phrase "you get what you pay for" certainly applies to cameras, and the $120 Nikon Coolpix L32 budget cam is no exception. The basic camera might be suited for some, but as with any budget model, proceed with extreme caution.The L32 ...

Grade: C+ Price: $85.00

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Nikon COOLPIX L30

We're pleased to see that Nikon is sticking with a 1/2.3" size sensor with their budget models, instead of shrinking it down to hit the right price point. What you will sacrifice for this price is speed, with just a 1.1 fps burst mode, th...

Grade: C+ Price: $149.00

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Nikon COOLPIX L26

Nikon's cheapest camera, the L24, gets an upgrade in the L26. The sensor has been switched out for a 16 megapixel CCD, the zoom is now 5x, and video has been increased to 720p. The camera still runs on AA's, too, which is both good and bad...

Grade: B- Price: $170.00

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Nikon Coolpix AW130

There's the waterproof camera that you can take to the beach, and then there's the waterproof camera that you can dive with. With one of the highest depth ratings in its class, the Nikon AW130 definitely falls in the latter category.Nikon ...

Grade: B- Price: $447.00

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Nikon COOLPIX AW120

Nikon has certainly taken a step in the right direction with the all-weather AW120. When taking images underwater, lighting is much more limited, so a good lens is a must. The AW120 features an f2.8-4.9 lens, which is much brighter than the previo...

Grade: A- Price: $299.00

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Nikon COOLPIX AW110

Nikon has been steadily improving their all-weather lineup and the AW110 is a good choice for the rugged photographer. Capable of diving down to 59 feet for an hour, the AW110 can handle more depth than any other waterproof model for 2013. Nikon&#...

Grade: B+ Price: $249.00

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Nikon COOLPIX AW100

Nikon finally got the ruggedized camera right in the AW100, it seems. The AW100 is still a compromise in some respects (battery life), but image quality is good enough for most purposes and, with waterproofing to 33 ft and shockproofing to 5, it c...

Grade: B Price: $339.00

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Nikon COOLPIX A

Nikon enters into the world of compact cameras with full frame sensors with their new Coolpix A. The first in its line, the A uses the DX sensors found on Nikon's DSLRs. But that's not all the A shares with DSLRs, Nikon also offers various attachm...

Grade: B+ Price: $1,073.00