Nikon COOLPIX P310 Review
Review Date : Thu, 10 May 2012
Author : Matt Tuffin
The Nikon COOLPIX P310 bears all of the hallmarks of an advanced compact camera, both in design and specification. The Nikon COOLPIX P310 review follows...
|Pros:||Good LCD screen, pleasing design, PASM shooting modes|
|Cons:||Lack of Raw capture, exposure and white balance a touch erratic|
As has become something of a trend of late, Nikon has paid particular attention to the model's optics. The P310 features a NIKKOR lens with a 4.2x optical zoom with an impressive maximum aperture of f/1.8 at its wide angle, although this decreases to f/4.9 at the tele end of the zoom. The lens is supported by Nikon's proprietary lens-shift VR technology that is now in its second generation.
Nikon COOLPIX P310 Review - Features
The image capture side of things is taken care of by the model's back-illuminated 16MP CMOS sensor, itself accompanied by Nikon's EXPEED processor. The sensor also offers HD video capture at 1080p resolution, complete with stereo sound capture and a dedicated recording button for quick access.
On the rear of the camera, alongside said dedicated video record button, sits a striking 3in, 921k-dot LCD screen. Not only is the screen of an impressive specification, but it also features an anti-reflective coating that will be of use in difficult lighting conditions.
The P510 features a host of shooting modes, with the advanced photographer catered for by PASM manual controls alongside a ‘U' setting for user presets. Those wanting to let the camera take care of shooting settings need not fret, as a range of scene modes, as well as a smart auto mode, also feature. Those looking for true advanced functionality will, however, be disappointed by the lack of Raw capture.
Nikon COOLPIX P310 Review - Design
The body of the Nikon P310 - which is available in either black or white - is pleasingly solid in build and simple in design. Despite offering advanced functionality the body is not overly crowded, and all the buttons feel logically placed. The model's top plate houses a mode dial, power switch, shutter release and a command dial for altering aperture or shutter speed, depending on shooting mode. The rear of the camera, meanwhile, houses all of the various other buttons for adjusting shooting settings. The front panel of the camera also houses a button, with a user-assignable ‘Fn' toggle making a welcome appearance.
These small touches - namely the pair of command dials and front Fn button - combine to make the P310 an enjoyable compact camera to use. All advanced functionality is easily accessible, with shooting parameters able to be quickly adjusted to suit the shooting situation.
The focus system on the P310 also performs well in use. The model features a prompt and accurate auto focus system, and for when you want more control over the focus settings a manual focus system is also present. One limitation of the manual focus system is that it's not a true manual focus set-up as such - instead, the camera allows the user to choose from 99 pre-determined focus points on which the P310 will then concentrate.
As mentioned, the 3in, 921k-dot LCD screen found on the rear of the P310 places it in the company of some of the better specified varieties on the market. The resolution, along with the anti-reflective coating, allow images to be reviewed and composed easily even in difficult lighting conditions.
Nikon COOLPIX P310 Review - Image Quality
Nikon quotes a continuous shooting speed of 6fps, although there is a slight catch with this measure - if you want to shoot at this speed, you're going to be limited to only shooting five full-resolution shots. A more feasible continuous shooting rate is 1fps, at which you'll be able to capture up to 30 full resolution images.
There are a few noticeable issues with regards to exposure and white balance, both of which are a touch unreliable. The P310 shows signs of varying between underexposing and overexposing between shots, whilst white balance also varies from shot to shot: although neither of these is by a dramatic amount, it is still noticeable and worthy of note.
Other elements of the model's image quality are generally sound. Colours are vibrant and accurate, while the general tone of the images is also pleasing. Noise is well controlled up to ISO 400, although beyond that image quality does begin to suffer from noise reduction intrusions.
The P310 is a respectable advanced compact that features a full specification, albeit one with a few noteworthy holes in it. Image quality and performance is generally reliable and, on the whole, it’s a worthy purchase for those looking for more from their compact.