After years of hoping, I finally got my ticket to North America’s biggest music fest – Coachella. When my ticket package came in the mail, there was a huge list of rules for the kinds of stuff attendees could bring – most notably, cameras. Any interchangeable-lens camera was to be considered pro gear, and as such disallowed. And while having a top-notch DSLR on hand would have been ideal, it just wasn’t in the cards that weekend.
When I did my research, I knew I wanted a camera with great optics and zoom. My search lead me to the Nikon Coolpix L830 – unveiled this year at CES. Right out of the box, I was impressed with its intuitive controls and incredible zoom. Being that the 60,000+ people in the audience might make it difficult to get a super close-up shot, I was also happy with just how close (and sharp) a shot I could get with the camera’s 35x optical zoom.
For daytime shots, I was shocked by the clarity and sharpness of just about every single picture this camera took. They were vivid, dramatic and beyond any P&S I’ve ever had. While I’m sure being in the pit with a high-end DSLR would have certainly been better, these pictures beautifully captured the performances I remember enjoying so much, not to mention the wild installation pieces strewn throughout the grounds.
For low-light and night-time shots, I was a bit more worried. Most P&S cameras tend to find their failure points there, as their optics simply can’t perform well with the absence of light. Simply not the case with the L830. I was once again astounded at the clarity, sharpness and feel of the pictures that came out – both during the performances, and for the installations.
Coachella 2014 was a complete deluge of sights and sounds – one that my memories can only do true justice to. That said, I’m so glad I have shots that can bring them all flooding back. Crisp, sharp and evocative, I can almost remember what song was being played with each one. While we spend the majority of our time covering cutting edge, high-end photography equipment, there are some instances in life that make those things impractical to have around. This is my anecdote for one of those times. If you’re a pro, you’ve already got your horror stories of environments and conditions that made a casualty of your gear. I’m pleased to report that because of the Nikon Coolpix L830, Coachella 2014 was not one of them.