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 – Performance
In use and the P300 powers up promptly for shooting and is swift to focus. In any of the manual modes (when set to Manual AF area mode), a press of the ‘OK’ button will present the autofocus area where any of 99-selectable areas can pin-point the focus more accurately. The only drawback to this is the span of the AF-area – there are borders which limit the ability to focus at the edge of the frame. Autofocus speed is on par with similar models, such as the Canon S95, which puts the P300 in a good position (the S95 doesn’t so much as allow for autofocus point adjustment – it’s centre-only). However, despite a multitude of focus options – Face Priority, Auto, Manual, Centre, Subject Tracking and Face Priorirty – it’s not possible to manual focus.
Shots are captured in JPEG format only as there is no Raw capture capability built into this camera.
The movie mode has a variety of options, including Full HD 1080p at 30fps at its best. Other settings can downgrade capture to 720p, with an additional 60fps capture mode that plays back in half speed. In a similar fashion the 1080p15 option doubles the playback speed. Focusing can be pre-determined as a single-point of focus (AF-S) or to continually adjust during recording (AF-F). In the latter mode it’s possible to lock the focus by right-pressing the d-pad to toggle focus lock on or off. There are no additional manual controls available during capture.
Stills capture includes an exposure compensation option that also doubles up as a Hue and Vividness adjustment mode too. These two added extras control the red-blue tint and colour saturation from black and white through to saturated RGB.
For close-up work the P300’s Macro mode succeeds in getting right up to the subject when at the wideangle 24mm setting. The Macro option is available on the d-pad for quick on/off adjustment and focusing as close as 3cms from the lens.
One of the P300’s key features is its ability to capture seven consecutive frames at a rate of eight frames per second (8fps). This is ideal for fast action shooting, though acquiring the focus before hand will be an essential for speedy subjects.