In Backlighting mode the camera combines three different shots taken with different exposures to reproduce a richer tonal range. The P300 applies similar technology to allow low light handheld photography by combining several shots captured at high shutter speed into one final frame, thus avoiding the need for long exposure times.
Easily tweakable controls
Unusual for a compact, the Nikon P300 provides effective manual control by using the top plate and rear dials as dual controls for setting the aperture and shutter speed in much the same way a DSLR would. For expert users the lack of any customisable option will be a huge disappointment but, overall, controls are logically placed, sturdy enough not to be accidentally activated and designed for a pleasantly tactile experience.
The P300 uses the same easy and clear menu found on most Nikon compacts yet accessing them is hampered by the notable absence of a Quick Menu button to enable immediate access to frequent settings such as ISO, White Balance, AF mode. Indeed, more creative users will find the four steps necessary to change these settings quite tedious. Another disappointment for expert users is the lack of RAW capture, a feature we now come to expect in every high-end compact.
In designing this new Coolpix, Nikon invested in performance, lens brightness and sensor sensitivity rather than sensor size. Whereas the Canon Powershot S95 has a larger 1/1.7in sensor, Nikon’s P300 sensor is 1/2.3in 12Mp CMOS sensor, a size generally employed by average, rather than high-end compacts.
Nikon’s justification for this choice is that the P300’s sensor is back illuminated, a technology that increases sensitivity by delivering more lights onto the pixels and that a smaller sensor size allows for faster processing speeds, which make complex composite operation such as the Easy Panorama or the Night Landscape functions run smoothly.
Continuous capture at 8fps will ensure this compact has its share of fans
Certainly the Expeed C2 image processor’s resolving power applied to a normal compact-sized sensor delivers great performance results, making the P300 one of the fastest compacts ever. Starting up is less than a second, shot to shot times and shutter response are very good but the truly astonishing accomplishment is the P300 ability to continuously shoot up to 8fps at full resolution, a feature that will make sports and wildlife enthusiast photographers purr with pleasure.
Next page: Sample Shots
I agree about the viewfinder - there are times when you just need one. Also, the 'fast' lens is only f1.8 at wide-angle (24mm). f4.9 at 100mm (when you need it) isn't very good at all.
No viewfinder = No Purchase
Just my opinion but only having a display on a 300 GBP camera takes it off the list of possible purchases which is a shame because otherwise it seems to be an ideal camera to carry about.
Also, i've asked for this before but I'll ask again, could you include in the vital statistics the time to first shot and the time between shots?
"From what I can see compacts with APS-C size sensors run to over 1000GBP and for me no compact is worth such money, again just my opinion."
As I said it's just my opinion. The S90 doesn't have a viewfinder. The P7000 and G12 only have a 7x and 5x zoom respectively which for a 400+ GBP cameras is inadequate. I suppose we can find something lacking in just about anything. I currently carry around a Canon SX10is which if it were half as thick, didn't take 1.5 seconds between shots and wasn't so noisy above 100 ISO would be almost ideal.
From what I can see compacts with APS-C size sensors run to over 1000GBP and for me no compact is worth such money, again just my opinion.
I recently bought a GF2 with a zoom and pancake. So far very impressed with the IQ in RAW, the in camera processing lets down the JPEG's. But it's quick to shoot with, not quite as fast as a mid-price DSLR, but fast enough to get most candid shots.
Not so impressed with the touch screen, it may not appeal to some people. For them perhaps the ELP2 for Oly is a better choice. At least that's the feelings of Thom Hogan who is a big Nikon fan and uses the Oly as well.
The Oly has a better electronic viewfinder.