Nikon Coolpix P300 Full Review - Digital Camera Finder
Specifications:

Type:
compact

Weight (inc. Battery) [?]:
189g

Wide Angle [?]:
24mm

Max. Focal Length [?]:
100mm

Zoom Range [?]:
x4.2

Sensor Size:
1/2.3"

Low Light Support [?]:
twilight

Image Stabilization [?]:
Optical

Raw Format Support [?]:
none

Manual Exposure [?]:
yes

Video Resolution [?]:
1080p

Optical Zoom In Video [?]:
yes

Stereo Sound [?]:
stereo

Battery Life [?]:
240 shots

Flip Lcd [?]:
none

Touch Screen [?]:
none

Viewfinder [?]:
none

Freeze / Water / Shock - Proof [?]:
no

Dimensions (w-h-d) [?]:
103 x 58.3 x 32 mm

Macro Distance [?]:
3 cm

Built-in Wireless [?]:
none

Built-in GPS [?]:
none

Direct Video Button [?]:
yes

Panorama [?]:
sweep panorama

Rank: [?]
59.2

Initial Price:
$279 (change: $0, 0%)

Last Lowest Price:
$279




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Nikon Coolpix P300

Last Lowest Price: $279
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Nikon's Coolpix P300 could be considered either as an excellent premium point and shoot camera, or as a high-end camera that missed its goal.
p300
    
Nikon Coolpix P300 (photos: Nikon)
Important Note: the P300 was replaced by the Nikon Coolpix P310 (compare ).


It looks like a high-end camera. In fact, it impressively resembles Canon's S95 and also shares the Nikon P family name with the P7000 (the unfavorable stepsister to Canon's G12).

Strengths:

Apart from its sleek, black design, its extra wide-angle 24mm lens and its full manual controls, the P300's most striking feature is its large f/1.8 maximum aperture setting. This allows shorter exposure times or use of lower sensitivities when shooting in low light situations, producing less blurry or less noisy images than most compact cameras.

The imaging sensor at the heart of the P300 is a back side illuminated CMOS, which allows 1080p (30 fps) videos and 8 fps when shooting at full resolution.

The list of gadgets is long - Easy Panorama, Night Landscape, HDR, Subject Tracking, Face Detection, Smile Detection, Motion Detection, Best Shot Selection and numerous filter effects.

The first two are worth mentioning in further detail -
The Eeasy Panorama allows you to sweep the camera across the view at 180 or 360 degrees for a single automatically stiched panoramic shot.
Night Landscape is designed to lower noise and blur, taking a few consequent shots and combining them into one cleaner image.

Weaknesses:

For some reason, Nikon decided not to go all the way with the P300 and created it with four drawbacks which keep it out of High-End territory -

First, it has a regular size (i.e. - a tiny 1/2.3") imaging sensor, differentiating it from cameras like Canon's S95 (compare ), Panasonic's LX5 (compare ) and the Olympus XZ-1 (compare ).

On top of that, the P300 has no manual focusing (though you can manually choose the auto focus point), no RAW capabilities and the ISO setting is stuck in the menu with no quick access.

Another obvious shortcoming of the P300 is its lack of an orientation sensor, meaning that you will need to rotate vertical images manually, rather than have the camera rotate it automatically, as done in most compact cameras.

The Competition

The P300 does have some advantages over the S95 and LX5. Although not compensating for its smaller sensor size, it has a back side illuminated CMOS sensor, narrowing the gap with the High-End larger 1/1.6" or 1/1.7" sensors.

It terms of video, the P300's 1080p has a higher resolution than the S95, LX5 and XZ-1's 720p. More importantly, it has a functional optical zoom during video with stereo sound, surpassing the LX5 mono sound recording and the S95's lack of optical zoom during video.

As mentioned above, the P300 could also be regarded as a premium point and shoot, rather than a high-end camera. In this case, when compared to Canon's new ELPH 500 (compare ) it turns out that apart from the ELPH 500's touch screen, they are quite similar in most aspects.

It seems that Nikon did a fine job at designing the P300 to look better than what it offers. Perhaps this is the reason for price is slightly higher than that of the ELPH 500.

Who is it not for?

If you are looking for a simple, affordable camera, the P300 is probably not for you.
If you need a large zoom range, you'll have to look elsewhere.
If you want the absolute high-end of compacts, with a larger sensor and RAW format, this is not the one.

Who is it for?

If you want a highly capable, truly compact camera - the P300 is one of the best out there.
If you tend to steer away from touch screen controls, then this is an excellent alternative to the ELPH 500 and a great choice all in all, for a true bang for the buck price.

Last Lowest Price: $279
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Optical Zoom During Video:






Sample Images (hand held, out of camera, with no post processing):



1/640 sec, f/2.8, 24mm, ISO 160

1/640 sec, f/5.5, 100mm, ISO 160

1/640 sec, f/2.8, 24mm, ISO 160

1/1600 sec, f/3.3, 31mm, ISO 160

1/1250 sec, f/3.2, 24mm, ISO 160

1/10 sec, f/2.8, 45mm, ISO 800


Sample Panorama:





Rank:

Automatically compared to similar cameras, based on specifications:

Low Light:
 

Wide Angle:
 

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Weight:
 

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Total Rank:
59.2


 

Lineage:

 
 

Nikon Coolpix P300
Nikon Coolpix P300 Eyal Gurevitch June 26, 2012 $279 59.2 100

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