P300: First Impressions

Started Jul 31, 2011 | Discussions
tr4driver
tr4driver Contributing Member • Posts: 646
P300: First Impressions

Greetings,

I bought a Nikon Coolpix P300 a couple of days ago to replace a Cannon SD1000 that recently quit working. My primary camera is a Nikon D7000, but I like to have a smaller compact to carry with me in situations where I don't want the lug a big bag around. I won't go through all the detailed specs on the camera since you can find those in dpreview's detailed review. I just wanted to share my initial impressions from a real-world user's perspective.

1. Construction. This thing seems reasonably well built, but does not have the same tank-like feel of the SD1000. I never had any worries about slipping the SD1000 into my back pocket and leaving it there (even if I sat down on it). While the P300 will fit in my pocket, I doubt it would fair as well if actually sat on.

2. Controls / Menus. The control layout is fine and very usable. I like the dual wheel control. The menus are easy to navigate. I wish there was a way to program the wheel not being used in aperture to shutter priority mode to control the ISO.

3. Image Quality. The image quality is good. Not large sensor DSLR great, but good. I was concerned after reading a lot of reviews that the images might appear over-sharpened, but this is really not the case (or maybe I just prefer my images a little over-sharpened). I haven't had a chance to really put the camera through its paces, but thus far, I'm pleased with the image quality.

4. Video. I didn't buy the camera for video, but it is always nice to have that capability. The P300 has a couple of interesting modes that I haven't had the chance to play around with yet. I have shot some sample normal 1080 video, and it seems to work well enough for a P&S camera. Some reviewers have commented that the AF doesn't work well in video mode, but I found it worded perfectly well using single point AF (which it what I use 90% of thI haven't Ihaven't tried it with other modes.

5. Other Features. The camera has several other interesting scenes/features that I probably won't use on a regular basis and haven't tried out yet such as the Night Landscape mode, HDR, and Panorama.

6. Overall Impression. I like it a lot. I like the sort of retro boxy look (I hate the current rounded look of the Cannon P&S cameras). I seriously considered the Cannon S95 over this camera, but in the end went with the P300 due to the wider (and faster lens), better LCD, looks, and cheaper price. I know many feel the 1/2.3 sensor can't compete with the 1/1.7, but I honestly can't tell that much difference in the examples I've seen posted, and to be honest, they both fall well short of my D7000.

If you want a small convienent P&S camera with some manual control and decent low light performance, I don't think you'll go wrong with this camera.

Kurt

Rob Carson Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: P300: First Impressions

I just got a P300 yesterday for the same reasons. I'm a D90 shooter and wanted something pocketable to have with me when I didn't want to carry the DSLR around. I'm impressed with the P300 so far, although I do wish it were a tiny bit smaller. But I guess you can't have everything. My previous P&S, the Panasonic DMC-FX37, is tiny, but it just didn't do quite well enough on the IQ front. I'm really liking the IQ of the P300 so far, though.

noou
noou Forum Member • Posts: 73
Re: P300: First Impressions

@tr4driver

as a 2-months old owner I agree with your thoughts. The only thing I don't really like is the implementation of aperture priority mode, which I tend to use a lot with my DSLR. The issue is discussed here http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1007&message=38952389

 noou's gear list:noou's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P300 Panasonic LX100 Pentax K-x Pentax smc FA 50mm F1.4 Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL II (IF) +3 more
tr4driver
OP tr4driver Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: P300: First Impressions

noou wrote:

@tr4driver

as a 2-months old owner I agree with your thoughts. The only thing I don't really like is the implementation of aperture priority mode, which I tend to use a lot with my DSLR. The issue is discussed here http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1007&message=38952389

noou,

I've noticed that as well. I think that most of the P&S cameras I've owned in the past behaved similarly. I usually shoot in aperture priority mode as well, and find myself just setting the focal length first, then adjusting the aperture.

Kurt

tr4driver
OP tr4driver Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: P300: First Impressions

Rob Carson wrote:

I just got a P300 yesterday for the same reasons. I'm a D90 shooter and wanted something pocketable to have with me when I didn't want to carry the DSLR around. I'm impressed with the P300 so far, although I do wish it were a tiny bit smaller. But I guess you can't have everything. My previous P&S, the Panasonic DMC-FX37, is tiny, but it just didn't do quite well enough on the IQ front. I'm really liking the IQ of the P300 so far, though.

The Cannon SD1000 was really the perfect size I thought. And I really liked how everything closed up perfectly flat. However, the P300 does have much better IQ and control. I think I'm going to really enjoy it.

Kurt

Torch Senior Member • Posts: 1,979
Re: P300: First Impressions

I am trying to make this camera more fun by tricking around with WB, camera processing, and using high contrast. With a few tweaks it does interesting near black and white shots.
--

Torch

tr4driver
OP tr4driver Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: P300: First Impressions

Torch wrote:

I am trying to make this camera more fun by tricking around with WB, camera processing, and using high contrast. With a few tweaks it does interesting near black and white shots.
--

Torch

I really like the high contrast B&W scene mode on the camera.

Kurt

snapshot09 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,512
Re: P300: First Impressions

Great feedback! Glad you are enjoying the P300. It has been getting rave reviews on Amazon.com.

tr4driver wrote:

Greetings,

I bought a Nikon Coolpix P300 a couple of days ago to replace a Cannon SD1000 that recently quit working. My primary camera is a Nikon D7000, but I like to have a smaller compact to carry with me in situations where I don't want the lug a big bag around. I won't go through all the detailed specs on the camera since you can find those in dpreview's detailed review. I just wanted to share my initial impressions from a real-world user's perspective.

1. Construction. This thing seems reasonably well built, but does not have the same tank-like feel of the SD1000. I never had any worries about slipping the SD1000 into my back pocket and leaving it there (even if I sat down on it). While the P300 will fit in my pocket, I doubt it would fair as well if actually sat on.

2. Controls / Menus. The control layout is fine and very usable. I like the dual wheel control. The menus are easy to navigate. I wish there was a way to program the wheel not being used in aperture to shutter priority mode to control the ISO.

3. Image Quality. The image quality is good. Not large sensor DSLR great, but good. I was concerned after reading a lot of reviews that the images might appear over-sharpened, but this is really not the case (or maybe I just prefer my images a little over-sharpened). I haven't had a chance to really put the camera through its paces, but thus far, I'm pleased with the image quality.

4. Video. I didn't buy the camera for video, but it is always nice to have that capability. The P300 has a couple of interesting modes that I haven't had the chance to play around with yet. I have shot some sample normal 1080 video, and it seems to work well enough for a P&S camera. Some reviewers have commented that the AF doesn't work well in video mode, but I found it worded perfectly well using single point AF (which it what I use 90% of thI haven't Ihaven't tried it with other modes.

5. Other Features. The camera has several other interesting scenes/features that I probably won't use on a regular basis and haven't tried out yet such as the Night Landscape mode, HDR, and Panorama.

6. Overall Impression. I like it a lot. I like the sort of retro boxy look (I hate the current rounded look of the Cannon P&S cameras). I seriously considered the Cannon S95 over this camera, but in the end went with the P300 due to the wider (and faster lens), better LCD, looks, and cheaper price. I know many feel the 1/2.3 sensor can't compete with the 1/1.7, but I honestly can't tell that much difference in the examples I've seen posted, and to be honest, they both fall well short of my D7000.

If you want a small convienent P&S camera with some manual control and decent low light performance, I don't think you'll go wrong with this camera.

Kurt

Bob from Plymouth
Bob from Plymouth Contributing Member • Posts: 649
Re: P300: First Impressions

I normally use a D700 but like you guys I have just picked up P300 for a pocket camera.

I haven't had a chance to read the CD manual yet, just had a quick play with the P300 itself and it seems to be quite a nice camera. One thing I haven't figured is why it seems to be only offering Auto White Balance in the shooting menu. I guess there's an explanation for that.

I know, read the manual

 Bob from Plymouth's gear list:Bob from Plymouth's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P300 Canon PowerShot S100 Nikon D700 Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +4 more
Bob from Plymouth
Bob from Plymouth Contributing Member • Posts: 649
..and the answer is:

The Hue setting was not at zero, it disables the white balance.

 Bob from Plymouth's gear list:Bob from Plymouth's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P300 Canon PowerShot S100 Nikon D700 Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +4 more
snapshot09 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,512
Re: ..and the answer is:

How well does this camera work in Auto mode?

Bob from Plymouth wrote:

The Hue setting was not at zero, it disables the white balance.

Bob from Plymouth
Bob from Plymouth Contributing Member • Posts: 649
Re: ..and the answer is:

Well, it's not an S95/XZ-1/LX5 competitor, no control over sharpening and no RAW output but what it does is done quite well considering the price and sensor size.

Auto works just fine.

Read all about it here http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikonp300/

 Bob from Plymouth's gear list:Bob from Plymouth's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P300 Canon PowerShot S100 Nikon D700 Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +4 more
snapshot09 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,512
Re: ..and the answer is:

Wouldn't expect it to be like a S95/XZ-1/LX5, but more curious whether it works great in Auto mode; S95/XZ-1/LX5 are not necessarily intended for this setting all the type. Not concerned with RAW.

Bob from Plymouth wrote:

Well, it's not an S95/XZ-1/LX5 competitor, no control over sharpening and no RAW output but what it does is done quite well considering the price and sensor size.

Auto works just fine.

Read all about it here http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikonp300/

Bob from Plymouth
Bob from Plymouth Contributing Member • Posts: 649
Re: ..and the answer is:

I used the P300 at the weekend. One mode I tried was the Scene Auto Selector and found that it produced a couple of over-saturated shots but mostly got it right. The exposure compensation I particularly like as it shows a live histogram on the screen so you can see what effect any adjustment makes and I love the fast wide-angle zoom lens.

Obviously it's no substitute for my D700 but I can't take that everywhere with me. The P300 solicited favourable comments from other photographers I met, it's quite well specified and produces acceptable results for a realtively cheap pocketable camera.

 Bob from Plymouth's gear list:Bob from Plymouth's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P300 Canon PowerShot S100 Nikon D700 Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +4 more
techmine
techmine Forum Member • Posts: 64
Re: P300: First Impressions

I agree with your on over all IQ but I don't like over sharpening in portraits.

I like the ability to take handheld photos especially Macro. All these photos have been taken in low light; handheld. Burst mode in this camera increases your chance to get the best of the bunch..

 techmine's gear list:techmine's gear list
Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Nikon Coolpix P300 Fujifilm X10 Nikon D40 Nikon D300S +8 more
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