The Nikon Coolpix 4300 packs a lot into its tiny frame: a 4-megapixel CCD, a 3x optical zoom (4x digital), and an excellent list of high-end features. It’s also easy to grip and can be used entirely with one hand–for right-handers at least (as usual, southpaws will just have to get used to the design).
We were able to adjust the saturation, white balance, and noise reduction of our images even before taking a shot. The 1.5-inch LCD is smaller than average, but the bright and crisp panel was clearly visible in anything but direct sunlight.
The 4300’s image quality duly impressed us–crisp, bright colors that stood up to 11-by-17-inch enlargements. You can also capture 40-second video clips, although they’re silent movies. We appreciated the Best Shot Selector feature, which let us snap up to 10 quick pictures and then have the Nikon cull out the best one for us.
We were able to get over 90 minutes of use out of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, although we had to remove it for recharging. This design works well for an optional backup battery; however, you’ll need a fully-charged battery ready to go. Nikon includes a 16 MB CompactFlash card, but you’ll want to upgrade early on–high-resolution images and video clips fill 16 MB rapidly.
One minor caveat: if we turned the camera on with the lens cap in place, the 4300 would flash a message telling us about it. Removing the lens cap didn’t work, and we had to turn the camera off and back on to clear the message and get started.
For the price, the Coolpix 4300 delivers a lot of megapixels and excellent image quality. If you’re planning on upgrading to a high-end digital camera, plan a stop right here. –J. Curtis
- Bright, crisp images
- High-end features
- Easy-to-hold design
- Have to remove battery to recharge
- Lens cap irritation