As a point and shoot device, the Nikon COOLPIX L19 comes off as another simple device from the get go. With minimal buttons that gives it a clean look, the L19 is somewhat similar to the Canon PowerShot A480 in terms of its girth and build quality. Hence, the L19 is relatively easy on the hands, though it won't win any votes as the slimmest camera out there.
The L19 is pretty simple in its usage, with straightforward buttons such as the on/off switch and the shutter button at the crown of the device. Streamlined along the top are two additional buttons, which rotates between the camera, video and scene mode on one button, and a playback button on the other. The main navigation panel consists of the usual crowd, but what made us shrug in resignation are the flushed buttons that tend to be hard on our fingers.
Power is supplied via AA batteries that's easily replaceable along the way, though as usual, we are concerned with how the device performs with a multitude of shots taken. If you wish to share your photos on the spot, then it's time to dig out that cable and hook it up to your TV via a video cable.
Remember, the L19 is designed as an entry-level camera. So don't expect the best specifications on this piece of hardware. Armed with an 8-megapixel sensor and with ISO values of up to 1600, we would say that the L19 is decently equipped for most photography situations. But be wary of how you approach your shots.
Like all compact point-and-shoots, you don't need a discerning eye to notice the noise that comes with high ISO values for night shots. The white balance tends to be a bit iffy, coming off a little too warm for strong incandescent lighting. We were pleasantly surprised by the decent amount of details that came with our test shots. Fur details were prominent to the point that the edges are pretty distinct with no significant blurring along the edges. This gives the L19 an advantage over its competitors in a similar capacity.
It's obvious from the get-go that the L19 is designed not to overwhelm the user with complex settings and options. As far as this budget camera goes, the L19 manages to perform adequately for daytime shots. What you need to take care of, is the lighting that comes with the territory. While the L19's white balance handles itself well in daylight, there's not much it can do to correct itself when it comes to the stronger and warmer hues.
As far as entry level models go, the Nikon COOLPIX L19 is a worthy addition to the Japanese company's lineup. It might not be the most advanced compact camera out there, but it does the job pretty decently with its attention to details and degree of clarity in the resulting images. What you'll have to take care of, is night shots which might get too noisy for your liking. In the end, you get what you pay for and the $249 price tag is more than reasonable for its basic features.