Nikon’s high-performance, pocket-sized P300 compact camera has a fast f/1.8 lens. Tim Coleman tests the latest addition to the Coolpix range
Shooting at 24mm and f/1.8 provides a fast enough shutter speed to eliminate any blur of the flower caused by movement in the wind
The key selling point of the Nikon P300 is its fast f/1.8 Nikkor lens. This f/1.8 setting is available at its widest 24mm focal length, and when its 4.2x optical zoom is fully implemented at 100mm the fastest aperture drops to f/4.9. Like many compact cameras, the smallest aperture possible is f/8. With an equivalent of 24-100mm, the lens offers a handy focal range for a camera at this level.
The P300’s back-illuminated CMOS sensor boasts 12.2 million pixels. The 1/2.3in (28.5mm2) sensor is almost 50% smaller than the 1/1.7in (43.3mm2) and 1/1.6in (48.5mm2) sensors used by the top-performing compact cameras, which means the photosites on the P300 are considerably smaller.
Scene modes are limited to some key types. These images show the low key, high key, high-contrast monochrome and nostalgic sepia colour modes
Full PASM controls are complemented by a refreshingly limited number of scene modes. These include key colour modes, such as high-contrast black & white and a nostalgic sepia, as well as a panorama sweep (180° or 360°). The latter mode is made possible by the P300’s Expeed C2 image processor, which also makes a full-resolution 8fps burst possible for seven frames. Video users will be pleased that the P300 captures in full 1080p with stereo sound, and offers a HDMi connection port. Moving and still images are viewed on the bright 3in, 921,000-dot rear LCD monitor.
Blur-free images are achievable in low light through the lens-shift vibration reduction and motion-detection systems, or using various shooting modes. A final feature to mention has to be the 3cm macro mode, which is impressive for a camera of any level.