Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Nikon Coolpix 300

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Nikon has released the Coolpix P300 compact with manual controls and an F1.8-4.9 lens. It incorporates a 1/2.3" 12MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 920K dot 3.0" LCD and features 1080p30 Full HD movies and P/A/S/M shooting modes.

The 'big' new feature introduced in the Coolpix P300 is 1080p, 'Full HD' video. Full HD is still relatively rare in compact cameras, and it is something that none of the P300's 'high-end' peers currently offer. In most other respects, the P300's specification sheet is comparable to our expectations of the latest compact cameras.

At the equivalent of 24mm, its lens is wider than either the Canon S95's or Olympus XZ-1's 28mm equivalent, but is slightly shorter than both at the tele end. It is worth noting that although it boasts a very fast maximum aperture of f/1.8, this gets a lot smaller as the lens is zoomed in. In fact, f/1.8 is only available with the lens set to its very widest focal length.

A fast lens usually means greater control over depth of field, but here too, all is not what it seems. Because, all other things being equal, a smaller sensor means less control over depth of field, the P300 doesn't match up to its high-end competitors despite seeming to offer a similar maximum aperture range.

Also, for good depth of field control the lens really needs to be fast at the telephoto end, and the P300's isn't. So don't expect to be able to get the same sort of blurred backgrounds with the P300 as you can with the Olympus XZ-1, for example.

The Coolpix P300 will be available next month at an estimated retail price of $329.95.

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