RSS Twitter YouTube

Nikon Coolpix P300 Review

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

Performance - How well does it take pictures?

Performance starts with image quality, which is the criteria used as the foundation of our digital camera ratings. Ergonomic issues may get in the way, but in the end, image quality counts the most. The Nikon Coolpix P300 does quite well in this respect. Image noise appears at all sensitivities but does not considerably impact details until ISO 800. Sharpness is well maintained as ISO increases, indicating gentle noise-reduction is applied on the BSI-CMOS sensor's output.

In absolute terms, this is behind some top compact digital cameras. However, the P300's ultra-bright F/1.8 lens lets it use at least one ISO stop less than most cameras under the same circumstances. This compensates for the higher sensor-noise. ISO 160 to 400 images can be printed up to 16x12" with beautiful results. ISO 800 can make nice 9x12" prints. Maximum print sizes drop after that but small prints are possible until ISO 3200.

The dynamic range of this digital camera is similar to most cameras in its class, save for those equipped with Fuji's SuperCCD EXR sensor which have an edge for outdoor photography where sunlight can cause extremely contrast. The general solution for photography of outdoor scenery is to wait for the right time, around dusk and dawn, when light balances out and produces scenes of much lower contrast. Metering of the Coolpix P300 is rather good. As usual, dark subjects can occasionally cause over-exposure and low-contrast ones can cause under-exposure. Even so, it rarely missed by a stop or more.

Nikon Coolpix P300

The 4.2X optical zoom lens is extremely compact considering its bright maxim aperture. Even at its longest length, which is the widest focal-length, the lens protrudes by less than one inch from its barrel. This lens is very sharp in its center with strong corner softness wide open. At F/1.8 side edges are quite soft but, when stopping down beyond F/2.8, only the corners remain soft. One stop further, corner softness is very limited. A pleasant surprise is that the P300 does not show any vignetting, which is typically seen in bright wide-angle lenses. Distortion is not noticeable either.

The Coolpix P300 only has two controls over colors, one for hue and one for vividness, both adjustable in 11 steps. The hue adjustment cools or warms image colors, with the default being almost neutral. The steps are very fine. The vividness control adjusts color saturation. At its lowest value, images become monochrome. The default middle value provides the best color accuracy. The steps are quite coarse on this scale, so saturation cannot be controlled precisely.

Automatic White-Balance performance is impressive, handling outdoor and indoor lighting without trouble. Preset white-balance options are also good but rarely needed due to the performance of AWB. Under difficult lighting, custom white-balance must be used. The results are very slightly too warm but not noticeable unless measured.

Nikon Coolpix P300

The Nikon Coolpix P300 is more responsive than its larger more-expensive sibling, the P7000. While not class-leading, it performs reasonably. The interface reacts quickly to button presses and dial turns. Changing modes is one of the slowest operations but other dials and settings respond instantly.

Power-on takes about 2 second because the power button must be held down a short while. Power-off is a litle faster, starting instantly and taking 1s to retract the lens. Focusing speed is on the slow side, taking about 1s in good light and 1½s in low-light. The P300 locks focus much more consistently than the P7000, a very welcome improvement. The shutter lag is noticeable but short. There is a black-out time of about one second after each shot. Shot-to-shot speed hovers around 3 second, which is on the slow side. Battery-life is quoted at 240 shots-per-charge which is below average for a modern digital camera.

Performance - How well does it shoot video?

This Coolpix is one of the smallest cameras to shoot full 1080p videos with stereo sound. It is also one of the few to allow zooming and continuous autofocus during filming. There are 3 modes which offer the 1920x1080 widescreen resolution. The two fastest ones operate at 30 FPS with different compression ratios. There is also a 15 FPS slow capture video which plays back at twice the speed, which is useful when filming slow action.

Nikon Coolpix P300The P300 shoots 720p video as well. It can do so at 30 FPS or 60 FPS. The 60 FPS one is played back at 30 FPS to slow action down by a factor of 2X. A 640x480 @ 120 FPS mode is also available to slow things down by a factor of 4X. A standard-definition VGA video mode rounds off video modes.

Video quality is excellent with sharp details, smooth motion and no easily noticeable artifacts. Color and white-balance are as good as in still mode. While video recording can be performed in any exposure-mode, it is always automatic. This occasionally causes visible jumps in brightness.

In the usability page, it was already noted that setting up framing for HD video is nearly impossible as no guides are present and the camera lacks a dedicated video mode. To make matters worse, there is a 2 second delay before filming starts after pressing the video-record button. The same button stops video instantly though.

The internal stereo microphone is sensitive, providing decent audio quality. Operating the optical zoom during video recording slows it down so that noise does not get picked up by the microphone.

Conclusion

The Nikon Coolpix P300 is a truly small compact digital camera with efficient photographic controls. It delivers excellent results thanks to an ultra-bright F/1.8 lens which lets it photograph the same scene at lower a ISO than most other cameras. The ultra-wide angle optical zoom lens starting at 24mm makes it a great compact for architecture and indoor photography. The BSI-CMOS sensor is put to good use and provides well-rounded video capabilities, including full 1080p HD video with stereo sound.

Image quality is good, even without counting the advantage provided by the lens. Color accuracy and white-balance are robust and metering is very reliable. Outside of some corner softness which gets pronounced at wide apertures, the lens delivers good sharpness with no visible vignetting and distortion. While camera controls are very responsive, operating speed is about average. Shutter-lag is quick but focus and shot-to-shot speeds are on the slow side.

The interface may have a number of imperfections but notable problems are limited to the lack of an exposure-priority display and accurate histogram as well as the lack of a dedicated video mode. This makes setting up HD video framing impossible and is also most likely the cause of the 2 second video-recording delay.

Excellent
Buy from these sellers:Buy From Amazon.com

By Neocamera on 2011-03-12

Nikon P300 Highlights


Compact digital camera

Sensor-Size: 6 x 5mm

1/2.3" Sensor

Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI

12 Megapixels Fixed LensISO 160-3200
4.2X Ultra-Wide Optical ZoomShutter 1/2000-8s
Built-in StabilizationFull manual controls
8 FPS Drive, 7 ImagesCustom white-balance
1920x1080 @ 30 FPS Video RecordingLithium-Ion Battery
3" LCD 920K PixelsSecure Digital Extended Capacity
Internal Memory
Buy from these sellers:Buy From Amazon.com

Camera Bag

Clear

Your camera bag is empty. To add a camera or lens click on the star next to its name.

Your camera bag is empty.

Add cameras or lenses by clicking on the star next to their name.

Updates

    2020.02.08

  • 2020.02.08

    Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide 2020

    Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide 2020

    The Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide was fully rewritten for 2020, including all new systems from Nikon, Canon and Leica joined by Panasonic and Sigma. This new extensive 2020 Edition shows in 5 simple steps how to choose a mirrorless camera.

  • 2020.01.01

  • 2020.01.01

    Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Review

    Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Review

    This highly capable and compact mirrorless ranked as Best Beginner Mirrorless Digital Camera of 2019. Its 20 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor with Anti-Alias Filter is pared with 5-axis stabilization to maximize sharpness. Features a tilting 2.8 MP 0.39" EVF with large 0.7X view and Eye-Start sensor in a body with dual control-dials.

  • 2019.12.10

  • 2019.12.10

    Best Digital Cameras of 2019

    Best Digital Cameras of 2019

    The Best Cameras of 2019 awarded by Neocamera: Best Travel-Zoom, Best Premium Compact, Best Ultra-Zoom, Best Mirrorless and Best DSLR.

  • 2019.11.26

  • 2019.11.26

    10 Gifts Photographers Will Love

    10 Gifts Photographers Will Love

    The 2019 gift guide for photographers showcases photography gear that amateur and enthusiasts will enjoy. It is divided into 3 price categories to suit different budgets from $50 to $200 USD.

  • 2019.11.25

  • 2019.11.25

    Sony Alpha A7R IV In-Depth Review

    Sony Alpha A7R IV In-Depth Review

    The newest Sony high-resolution mirrorless packs a 61 MP Full-Frame BSI-CMOS sensor on 5-axis Sensor-Shift system. It shoots at 10 FPS, records 4K Ultra-HD video and focuses with a new 567-Point and 425-Area Hybrid AF system with Realtime tracking. This professional-grade camera features a 5.8 MP 0.5" EVF with 0.78X magnification, 100% coverage and an Eye-Start Sensor plus triple control-dials in a weatherproof body. This review shows exactly how the A7R IV performs and compares to top Full-Frame and Medium-Format digital cameras.

  • 2019.11.04

  • 2019.11.04

    Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review

    Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review

    Professional Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless sporting an ultra-high speed 20 MP sensor with 121-Point Phase-Detect AF on a 5-axis image-stabilization system effective to 7-stops. 60 FPS drive with blackout free view on a huge 0.83X magnification 2.4 MP 0.5" EVF. Even a builtin GPS in a dual-grip double dual-control-dial IPX1-rated weatherproof and freezeproof body.

  • 2019.10.17

  • 2019.10.17

    Nikon D3500 Review

    Nikon D3500 Review

    The lightest DSLR packs a 24 MP APS-C sensor with ISO 100-25600 sensitivity-range, 5 FPS drive and Full HD video capture. Basic features with simple ergonomics.

  • 2019.10.16

  • 2019.10.16

    Time-Lapse Photography for Beginners

    Time-Lapse Photography for Beginners

    Learn how to get started with time-lapse photography in 4 easy steps.

  • 2019.10.07

  • 2019.10.07

    Fujifilm X-T30 Review

    Fujifilm X-T30 Review

    The newest 26 MP 4th-Generation X-Trans CMOS sensor and X-Process 4 from the flagship X-T3 in more compact body. ISO 80-51200, 1/32000-30s, 20 FPS Continuous drive, Cinema 4K video. Dual control-dials and 2.4 MP EVF with Eye-Start Sensor.

  • 2019.09.30

  • 2019.09.30

    Nikon Z6 Review

    Nikon Z6 Review

    Nikon Full-Frame Mirrorless with 24 MP and 5-Axis Built-In Image-Stabilization effective to 5-Stops. ISO 100-202400. 12 FPS Continuous Drive. 3.7 MP 0.5" EVF with 0.8X Magnification and 100% Coverage. 4K Ultra-HD video.