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
Build and handling
There are few frills about the P300. It looks slick and feels well made. Its 32mm-deep body is in a classically simple style, while the rear rubber thumbgrip and strip on the front of the body provide a sufficient hold.
The direct movie record button is found on the rear of the body. All the buttons are flush and secure, while the dials require a satisfying level of persuasion to manoeuvre, which means they are not easily knocked.
The simple layout is well suited to shooting in auto mode, but lacks direct access to some key manual exposure controls, such as ISO and white balance. Including a function button could have served one of these controls. Instead, they are accessed through the menu only, which slows down operation. However, these controls are found on the first page of the easily navigated in-camera menu.
The P300 lacks raw file capture and spot metering, so I frequently employed exposure compensation. This can be found through the control wheel on the back of the body, and exposures can be corrected to ±2EV using the wheel on the top plate. The saturation can be adjusted through the same menu in the ‘vividness’ section.
As with most current Nikon cameras, there is a good variety of in-camera post-capture editing. This includes D-Lighting to boost shadow and highlight details, quick retouch to enhance the levels, and filter effects such as fisheye and painting. These are not available for the scene modes, though.