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back to article Nikon Coolpix P300 compact camera

Nikon's endeavour to rein in Canon’s success in the compacts market has seen the Coolpix P7000 released as a direct competitor to the Canon PowerShot G12. By introducing the P300, Nikon's first pocket-sized advanced compact, the company seems keen to cast a shadow over the Canon PowerShot S95. Nikon Coolpix P300 Small wonder: …

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Silver badge

No viewfinder = No Purchase

Just my opinion but only having a display on a 300 GBP camera takes it off the list of possible purchases which is a shame because otherwise it seems to be an ideal camera to carry about.

Also, i've asked for this before but I'll ask again, could you include in the vital statistics the time to first shot and the time between shots?

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Anonymous Coward

So?

If you want an viewfinder I'm sure your friendly Nikon salesman will be happy to point you towards the P7000. Horses for courses and all that a manufacturer likes to cover all the bases cf. Canon S90 and G12.

My biggest bugbear with all these supposedly "serious" compacts is the tiny sensor. There are all sorts of problems associated witha tiny sensor, but the biggest for me is control of dof.

Yes I have a serious compact, indeed I seldom use SLRs these days (they only come out for long lens wildlife work) my landscape work is all compact. The difference between my compact and the Nikons and Canons mentioned above is that it has an APS-C (ish) sized sensor.

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@AC

So, what've you got and how do you rate it? I'm still looking for a carry everywhere that gives me enough IQ including DoF control.

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Re: So?

As I said it's just my opinion. The S90 doesn't have a viewfinder. The P7000 and G12 only have a 7x and 5x zoom respectively which for a 400+ GBP cameras is inadequate. I suppose we can find something lacking in just about anything. I currently carry around a Canon SX10is which if it were half as thick, didn't take 1.5 seconds between shots and wasn't so noisy above 100 ISO would be almost ideal.

From what I can see compacts with APS-C size sensors run to over 1000GBP and for me no compact is worth such money, again just my opinion.

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Bronze badge

Sigma

"From what I can see compacts with APS-C size sensors run to over 1000GBP and for me no compact is worth such money, again just my opinion."

See title.

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Thumb Up

nice shots

I like the review for the sample photos - this time they've some fine shots. Thank you. The 4-legged woman in the 360deg panorama shot made me giggle. The night-time graveyard trespass is another good one: the artefacts are quite clear but then, given the available light the camera must have worked quite hard to get such good contrast and colour.

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Meh

"perfect" panoramas

It's a pretty good panorama but there are some obvious joins so I'm not sure you can call it "perfect". Although I do like the three-legged woman it has created towards the left of the 360 degree image.

The noise reduction isn't _too_ horrible at ISO 3200 but it does have the painterly splodge and crackle effect (technical jargon there) that you inevitably see on small sensor compacts.

I'm not sure this can be seen as a direct competitor to the S95 though since it lacks RAW support and manual focus. It is more like a high-quality point-and-shoot-and-upload camera.

(also: yay! a "meh" icon)

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WTF?

'perfect ... panorama views'??

As a layman maybe my expectations are unrealistic, but I thought the panoramas in the sample shots were particularly poor in terms of the joining of the pictures. Then again I don't really understand why manufacturers bloat their firmware with such features in these cameras considering the target market who I'd have thought would rather post-process in Photoshop, etc. Is it just me?

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@Oscar Pops

I'm not sure this camera is aimed at people who post-process their pics. It has no RAW support and, as you say, it is bloated with gizmos like the panorama mode. I think it is more aimed at people who go more-or-less direct from camera to flickr or facebook or [insert whatever social network the cool kids are currently using]. Possibly with a brief stop-over in Picasa.

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Coat

Arrgh... auto correcting spellcheckers!

"high reflective index zoom lens" - very flashy!

Yes, I've got my coat already.

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More spellcheck

I agree about the viewfinder - there are times when you just need one. Also, the 'fast' lens is only f1.8 at wide-angle (24mm). f4.9 at 100mm (when you need it) isn't very good at all.

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Silver badge
Happy

re: Oscar Pops

"Then again I don't really understand why manufacturers bloat their firmware with such features in these cameras considering the target market who I'd have thought would rather post-process in Photoshop, etc. Is it just me?"

no it isn't you BUT (there is one isnt there)

This camera is aimed at people who will not do any post processing. They are the sort who take their SD card into places like Boots and get stock 7x5 or 6x4 prints. These are the people who the inkjet printer makers are catering for by having SD card slots in their printers.

The target market is not those who have Photoshop (even elements) available for post processing.

As a Nikon D700/D2x DSLR user, I might get something this as a 'carry around' camera. And before anyone says 'Use the Camera on your phone', I have an old Nokia 6310 that does not have a camera.

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Bronze badge

Target Market

The target market of something like the P7000 probably does a lot of post processing and also owns a DSLR. The target market for this camera, or indeed competitors such as the S95 is a step away from there. Somebody who wants a pocket snapper, but with the potential for a little more control when they want/need it. Most of the people I know who are like that never really step away from the scene modes or even the standard P&S "program" mode. Likewise they may own something like PSE, but they seldom use any of it's more advanced features.

Certainly for this kind of photographer a RAW mode would be wasted. I know a G12 user, a keen user who was stepping up from a more basic Canon, who made a big deal about wanting RAW. After the first week with the camera, however, he never used raw as he found the high quality jpeg images gave him what he wanted. Never uses aperture or shutter priority modes, let alone manual.

I OTOH seldom use anything other than Shutter and Aperture priority modes on my compact, even when the metering is fooled by a scene I tend to go for exposure compensation rather than step into full manual. Having said that I usually shoot auto bracket in any mode for the convenience it offers. It's easier then shooting, looking at the preview and then correcting.

Anybody who wants full control over their images is likely to buy a G12, P7000 or similar if they want a compact. If they don't want the bulk of an SLR they might even prefer one of the current crop of EVIL cameras out there.

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Why has El Reg ...

Why has El Reg not signed up Dave Weiner to do digital camera reviews?

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tas
Stop

No competitor to the S95

Without RAW, with worse image quality, smaller sensor, vastly fewer ISO modes, and shorter minimum shutter speed, this camera has about as much chance of competing with the S95 for the majority of its, by now, happily spoilt customer base as a Flip HD!

If you really wanted HD video at this average sensor size, you'd be far better off with either of the two leaders in the digital compat zoom cameras: the Sony HX9V/HX9 for best-in-class video, best-in-class panorama mode, huge feature set and superb focus performance or the Canon SX230/220 HS for the slightly better still image quality and almost as much manual control as the Canon S95.

Both the digital compact zoom leaders come with excellent 16x *optical* zoom and GPS (for the first models I listed). Also, the continuous FPS on the Sony is better than the Nikon P300's, the LCD screen is the same resolution and size, and it even has the same focal length. About the only advantage the Nikon P300 has is the F1.8 aperture!

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FAIL

Why oh why

do so few compacts have optical viewfinders? It seems the only manufacturer that still cares is Canon.

Like some earlier commenters, a "proper" viewfinder is number 1 on my "must have" list, so this camera, nice though it might be, will never make it onto my shortlist.

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Sensitive

For readers wondering why my comment above is titled 'more spellcheck' , it originally included reference to a typo, now corrected. I do proof-reading for reasonable rates...

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Facepalm

Oh, Nikon, what have you done?

This camera looks great on paper. Twin dials, decent zoom range, potentially useful apertures (at 24mm at least) and a nice compact body...but we seem to have a problem. Even at ISO160 the noise reduction is smudging away any fine detail the sensor might be providing, and without RAW output, we can't see if this could be improved with firmware, or is just a limitation of the sensor. Given the level of detail doesn't seem to get much worse at least as far as ISO400, I'd assume the noise reduction being applied is being over aggressive at ISO160, but that's just my guess.

Without a decently wide aperture at usable portrait focal lengths, and without proper detail even on the thing that's in focus, this camera will never produce proper subject separation.

Nikon, please produce a better version of this to compete with the likes of the XZ-1 and S95. Given how cheap this camera is, I'm sure you could do a larger sensor version for a competitive price too.

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Holmes

4/3rds?

I recently bought a GF2 with a zoom and pancake. So far very impressed with the IQ in RAW, the in camera processing lets down the JPEG's. But it's quick to shoot with, not quite as fast as a mid-price DSLR, but fast enough to get most candid shots.

Not so impressed with the touch screen, it may not appeal to some people. For them perhaps the ELP2 for Oly is a better choice. At least that's the feelings of Thom Hogan who is a big Nikon fan and uses the Oly as well.

The Oly has a better electronic viewfinder.

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