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 4.2x zoom lens makes this the fastest lens to appear on any Coolpix camera to date. Initial shooting in the field revealed what seemed to be quick focus acquisition times and a shutter with minimal lag. Still image quality seemed good; video quality fairly good.
After shooting the camera a while longer, a bit of the bloom has come off the rose. Shutter lag and focus acquisition times that initially seemed quick have measured out to be average. There is no RAW capability and the design of the camera controls require users to resort to internal menus to change shooting settings such as ISO, white balance and continuous versus single shooting modes.
There are no provisions for changing sharpness or contrast settings in the camera. Battery charging is accomplished in camera and a fully depleted battery takes four hours to recharge. Combine this with a 240 shot battery life and one could wonder why Nikon didn't include an external battery charger as standard equipment.
Still image quality remains good, video is fairly good and no matter what the stopwatch says, the camera feels pretty quick when shooting in good conditions. ISO noise performance appears to be a bit better than cameras with similar size and resolution conventional sensors. Overall, despite its flaws, the P300 is worth a serious look by anyone contemplating the purchase of a normal zoom compact digital.
Design/Ease of Use
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