Summary: While image quality is there and controls are very responsive, certain important aspects of the P300 are slow: shot-to-shot speed, autofocus and video-recording start. Battery-life is below average as well. The more serious downsides of this digital camera are the impossibility of setting framing for video-recording and the lack of an accurate live-histogram or exposure-priority preview.
Pros: Ultra-Bright F/1.8 lens, lowers required ISO, Excellent automatic white-balance, Good image colors, Reliable metering, Uniform brightness, No noticeable distortion, Very responsive controls, Short shutter-lag, Dual-control dials in compact body, Excellent LCD visibility, Easy user interface
Cons: Visible noise at all ISO sensitivities, Slow shot-to-shot speed, Slow startup, Strong corner softness, Blank display during continuous drive, Video-recording delay, Impossible to set up video framing, Not exposure-priority, No histogram in Manual mode, EC, Short battery life
Summary: Looking at the specifications for the P300 it becomes fairly obvious why the camera earned a "P" (for performance) designation from Nikon. The inclusion of the backside illuminated sensor is a promising technology in the field of noise reduction; manual shooting controls are generally found on cameras catering to more serious shooters; full 1080 HD video is still relatively rare on compact digital point and shoots and the f/1.8 maximum aperture at the wide end of the...
Pros: Good still image quality, 1080 HD video, Better-than-average ISO noise performance versus conventional sensor, Manual controls, Fast lens at wide-angle
Cons: No RAW capability, In camera battery charging standard, No in camera sharpness or contrast adjustment, Controls not optimized for easy shooting setting adjustments
Summary: The P300 is a decent compact that provides a good number of manual shooting controls that place this camera a step above other point and shoots. Unfortunately the absence of RAW capability and over-processing at base ISO prevent this camera from achieving its potential.
Pros: Fast lens on the wide end of the zoom (f/1.8), Very wide 24mm equiv. is great for landscape and indoor shots, AF illuminator effective in low light, Relatively simple operational ergonomics provide high level of manual control, USB charging is convenient (but makes it awkward to keep a second battery charged), Good quality HD video footage (plus stereo inbuilt microphone), AE lock in video is very useful in inconsistent lighting situations.
Cons: No 'quick' menu for commonly-accessed shooting settings, No control over noise reduction/sharpening, At 100%, even low ISO images look 'crunchy' due to noise reduction and sharpening, No direct access to ISO or White Balance (you have to go through the menu system), No RAW capture option, Four-way controller and combined control dial is easy to 'mash' accidentally., f/1.8 looks impressive at the long end but lens slows quickly to f/4.9 at 100mm, f/1.8 aperture at 24mm...
Conclusion: As mentioned in the features section the Nikon Coolpix P300 does not offer quite the same range of features that some advanced compacts offer. When you compare prices though against say the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5 and the Canon Powershot S95 you will see the Coolpix P300 is a fair bit cheaper.
Pros: Picture quality, features, compact size, value for money
Summary: The name Nikon to anyone who knows anything about cameras means quality. Does this quality extend to pocket cameras ? Here I am looking at one of their latest that is little more than an oblong black shape how does it perform?
Conclusion: If you buy the Nikon Coolpix P300 thinking that it can’t get any better then you may be disappointed. Good though the camera is, it’s not quite up there with the larger-sensor (and better image quality) competitors such as the Canon PowerShot S95. However the P300 gets a lot right: good autofocus and control, a great layout that’s optimum for manual controls and a decent point-and-shoot movie mode.
Pros: Good AF system, good macro mode, 8fps burst mode, user-definable AF point adjustment
Cons: So-so image quality, no manual focus, no RAW files