Nikon updates entry-level cameras with little effort

The beginning of the year tends to herald a time for new technology, with exciting innovations from all manner of companies. Nikon even showed some innovations during CES, but has taken the week after to show that it isn’t spending much time for updates to its entry-level cameras.

The new cameras are follow-ups to models Nikon has released over the years, with Nikon upping its S2800 to the S2900, the S3600 to an S3700, and the L29 (because we never really saw much of the L30) with the L31.

Yes, it’s a time for follow-ups, and follow-up they do, with minor differences between most of the cameras, though we suspect there will be new software, new special effects, and a new box to go with that new name. Possibly even some new colours.

First up is the Coolpix S2900 (above), a 20 megapixel shooter with 5x optical zoom equivalent to 26mm to 130mm, a 2.7 inch LCD, and a rechargeable battery, with the package arriving in a fairly svelte package at a little less than 20mm.

Differences between it and the the model it is replacing (S2800) seem to be fairly scarce from what we can see, with the only real change we can see being a new digital zoom mode that can provide 10x digital, up from 4x on the S2800.

Then there’s the S3700 (above), which takes the design and features from the S3600 a year before basically adds WiFi to the package.

That is pretty much it, so if you’ve seen the S3600’s 20 megapixel sensor before, if you’ve seen the 8x optical zoom equivalent to 25 to 200mm, and if you’ve experienced the 2.7 inch monitor, you’re basically looking at the same package, except either a different name and wireless functionality thrown in by way of WiFi and Near-Field Communication.

Finally, there’s the L31 (above) we mentioned earlier, which will — like its predecessor — still take AA batteries, making it easy to power up if someone is running out of battery life, and features 16 megapixels, 720p HD video, 5x optical zoom equivalent to 26mm to 130mm, and a 2.7 inch LCD.

We’re not even sure how this one is different, with the same size and same feature set on paper as the L29; seriously, we’re not seeing how this one differs.

The L31 on the left, and the L29 on the right. Seriously, these two cameras carry identical specs and identical designs, and yet offer different model numbers. What gives, Nikon?

Unfortunately, we couldn’t tell you that, nor could we tell you the pricing for any of these models, as Nikon has joined at least one other camera company in not releasing recommended retail prices anymore, and instead advises customers to look for the best price at various shops. As such, there is no list pricing for either of the three cameras announced this week.

That said, we’ve had a look at each of the previous models, and the prices for the models should sit somewhere between $89 and $249 for the lot of them, though they’re available in the next few weeks, so you’ll be able to see for yourself.