Nikon Coolpix P500 and L120 say we want you to get close

Nikon has announced two superzoom models, the advanced model is the Nikon Coolpix P500, replacing the P100, and the entry-level point and shoot superzoomer is the Nikon Coolpix L120. 

The Nikon Coolpix P500 offers 36x zoom, giving you a run from the ultra-wide 22.5mm to a whopping 810mm (in 23mm terms). This comes with Vibration Reduction, and an ISO range that runs up to 3200 in an attempt to combat blur in longer exposures.

The form factor closely resembles the Coolpix P100 we reviewed in 2010, with the vari-angle screen on the back making it easier to grab shots at awkward angles. There is also an electronic viewfinder.

It also offers 1080p Full HD video capture along with fast or slow motion video at up to 240fps, accepting a lower resolution capture. A 12.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor sits inside the body, which measures 115.5 x 83.7 x 102.5mm. It's a fairly hefty beast.

Plenty of controls are offered, so you’ll get full manual controls along with the normal program, aperture and shutter priority shooting modes. We like the neat zoom control that’s been added to the barrel of the lens housing, making it easy to make changes on the fly.

If that all sounds like too much, the Nikon Coolpix L120 offers 21x optical zoom in a more compact body offering point and shoot zoomy action. The Nikkor lens offers up a 25mm wide angle running through to an impressive 525mm at the far end of the zoom. Vibration reduction is again present, as is the funky barrel zoom level on the top.

Unlike the P500, the rear 3-inch LCD display is fixed in place and it takes four AA batteries in the bottom for power. There are fewer controls as this camera is mostly designed to run in full auto mode and there is no viewfinder.

The 14.1-megapixel CCD sensor offers up an ISO range that runs up to 6400 (via manual selection) but overall the L120 is designed to be a simple camera for those who want plenty of zoom in their pocket, with none of the hassle.

The Nikon Coolpix P500 will cost you £399.99 and hits shelves on 3 March 2011; the L120 will set you back £249.99, available from 24 February.

Both cameras are pictured in the gallery, the P500 is the first 12 pictures, check the captions to see which is which.