Take my advice; pay a little more for the S100 or find a good S95 on eBay. For an even better camera I'd recommend the Samsung EX1 ... its a beautiful camera to use, stunning quality, awesome screen and under £200 for a mint example. The only downside is its quite heavy but this is down to its sheer quality. I owned both then EX1 and the S95 and its the later I kept ONLY as it won on size ... so one had to go, but I was really sad to see it go. It is (IMO) a better camera than the S95; its just not as small. Wouldn't know what else to recommend other than the new Sony 1" sensor (but that'll cost a bomb) or a NEX-C3 (which I also own and love). There are other options like the Panny LX5 but if you're looking at that, go for the Samsung. Samsungs are SO underrated; My NX11 blows my Nikon D5100 out the water as far as IQ and fun in using!
To summarise then; EX1, S95, S100, NEX-C3 or Sony RX100
As well as a limited budget - which reduces the choice - I'm looking for a compact camera (no interchangable lens models) and have always avoided all things second-hand (apart from school books), and never bought online.... nothing like a TRUSTED camera buff in a store! Thanks again for your help.
sderdiarian: For those who want a camera that has the design cues of the real deal (XZ-1/S100/LX5), but at a marginally lower cost and much lower performance. Put the JPEG comparison tool on the watch and even at ISO 100 it doesn't come close to matching the XZ-1 and, to a lesser degree but still quite noticeable, the S100 and LX5. Put it on ISO 400 and game over. With the LX5 currently selling at the same price, $325, I'm not sure what Nikon was thinking. Another stumble out of the gate akin to the J1.
They may have the same price elsewhere, but in Italy the LX5 is priced around 50 euros more on the Web than the price tag on the P310 in my local camera shop
Thanks for the helpful advice.... I'm already at max budget-wise, so what I am looking for is a better camera in the same price bracket... I seems from the photos that one of the models you suggest needs an external flash (it may just be very well-hidden tho'), which would raise the price further..
derfla1949: I do not get it.How can NIKON, for sure a company capable of making excellent cameras, produce such a piece of crap?How can this rip-off (scheme: if it is NIKON, it must be good) still work, and get a 69% rating, whilst it should get a loud BOOOO ?
I was considering buying the P310 - can you confirm there's nothing as good (or better!) in the same price range with f1.8 and manual control?
robmanueb: Tried reading the comments here. Eeww yuck. What a hopeless bunch of twits. People saying that any professional would choose a camera with a larger sensor are OUT TO LUNCH. This is a cheap compact with manual controls and a fast lens. Nikons compacts keep the company afloat and cameras like this are the reason why. This camera is a classic in the making. Comparing this to cameras that cost $100 more is not a comparison. Find something as cheap and as good. You might find something and then it will be equivalent, whoppee! Good on you Nikon.
I was considering buying this camera precisely for the 1.8 feature and manual controls.... can you confirm there's nothing better or as good in the same price range (without having to add the extra cost of a separate flash)?
These "comparable" cameras would seem to cost 100 euros more, even without a flash - are these comparisons justified?
I'm no expert as far as photography is concerned, but (a couple of years ago) after explaining at my local camera store that my main issues were being able to take good shoots with poor lighting (eg on the audio and lighting control platforms at concerts) and, as well as having a fool-proof "all-auto" setting, having the possibility of trying to learn how to use manual settings, they suggested the Coolpix P300.I was very happy with it, but it was stolen and I must find a replacement - fast.As I was at my budget max wiith the P300, I thought of the P310.... but have big doubts after reading the comments following this review.Can some kind soul suggest a better compact camera (with pop-up flash) in the SAME price range?