The Nikon Coolpix P300 is the company’s first dabble into the world of the pocket-sized advanced compact. Clearly looking to shake up the Canon S95’s grip on the market, can the P300 deliver the goods to succeed? The What Digital Camera Nikon P300 review finds out…
Nikon Coolpix P300 Review
Nikon Coolpix P300 review – Features
To suit the more demanding user, the 12.2-megapixel Nikon P300’s higher-end specification includes a 4.2x optical zoom (24-100mm equivalent) lens with image stabilisation and an f/1.8-4.9 aperture equivalent. At the 24mm wideangle end this can produce bright, shallow depth of field of images that are out of reach for most compact cameras.
Add full manual controls, a 3in, 921k-dot LCD screen, an 8fps burst mode (up to seven frames max) and 1080p movie capture and there’s plenty here to get excited about.
However, unlike similar competitor high-end compacts, the P300’s 1/2.3in CCD sensor isn’t as large as the 1/1.7in size found in the likes of the Canon PowerShot S95, Olympus XZ-1 or Panasonic Lumix LX5. Indeed this is a significant difference, as the P300 is more realistically aligned with the likes of the Panasonic Lumix FX77 or Samsung WB2000 and, therefore, those looking for the very best in high-end specification may demand a larger sensor size than the P300 offers.
As well as manual controls, the Nikon Coolpix P300 also adds Auto for point-and-shoot ease; Easy Panorama for 360 or 180 degree real-time captured panoramas; Backlighting and Night Landscape modes plus a variety of Scene options.
Nikon Coolpix P300 review – Design
The Nikon Coolpix P300’s rectangular form is small and pocketable, yet unlike run-of-the-mill compacts there’s the addition of a mode dial atop the camera as well as top and rear rotational wheels for control.
The overall format is rather ‘angular’ however, and the ever-so subtly rounded edges don’t help soften the rather brutalist appearance.
Nikon P300 review sample image – click for full size gallery
Although there’s a one touch movie button on the camera’s rear and a main Menu button, the lack of a quick menu fails to offer quick on-screen adjustments. This is a fairly large misgiving for speed of adjusting some controls, though the dual rotational wheel formation is excellent for setting up exposures in manual mode.
The lack of a hotshoe means there’s no possibility to add external flash (a user-controlled, pop-up flash is already built into the body) or an additional viewfinder onto the camera in the future. While electronic viewfinders are often expensive, the very possibility of being able to add one on could have provided vast benefits for many users.
To charge up the camera’s li-ion battery there’s a USB-to-mains connection to charge the battery inside the camera itself.