The P330 - Thoughts, Wineries, and Photos

Started Jun 17, 2013 | User reviews
Ben Herrmann
Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
The P330 - Thoughts, Wineries, and Photos
1

BACKGROUND INFO

Hope you're doing well in your parts of the world. I wanted to take a few moments to pass on my thoughts about the Nikon P330 - a camera that I picked up a few months back.

To set up this scenario, Our family often take a variety of one or two-day trips across our State of North Carolina as we try to discover out-of-the-way haunts, fine eateries, various wineries, etc.  As we've long discovered, rather than pursuing a series of trips outside of our areas (or overseas), we've found that there are a treasure-trove of visiting destinations right here in our State of North Carolina (and I'm sure wherever you reside).

Because I use so many different types of cameras (see my profile information), I often wind up trying to make my mind up which camera to bring to a trip or event - and sometimes that can stressfull in itself ;-). Well, this past Saturday, we went out to visit two wineries (shown below) for a quick one-day trip. I elected to bring the P330 and the Canon S100 (both of which I keep in the same small bag). I focused specifically on the P330, and I intentionally gave it a hard workout in very bright conditions - specifically in mid-day to mid/late afternoon. I knew the heavy contrasts and intense brightness would challenge the metering, the DR, and my abilities to convert the RAW files.

The State of North Carolina is rapidly becoming known as the "Napa Valley" of the east coast and as of now, there are over 120 wineries located throughout the state, with an average of 5 new ones coming on line every 3 months. So far, we've managed to visit 46 of these and the whole experience (and photography end of it) has been rewarding to say the least.

The two wineries visited on this trip (for these photos) were the Rock of Ages Winery, located in Hurdle Mills, NC - their website is here:

http://www.rockofageswinery.com/

And the second winery - a small, quaint operation - is called the Benjamin Vineyards (noooo, no relation at all), located in the Graham/Saxapahaw region of NC. Their website is:

http://www.benjaminvineyards.com/

ENTER THE NIKON P330

Alright - now let me say from the outset, that the P330 has a superb output, giving you files that could easily challenge entry-level DSLR's for their money. The camera exhibits a rich color tonality, and what I found remarkable was the amount of information that I had to play with in the RAW files (I always shoot RAW) of the P330. Metering, for the most part, was very accurate, although at times - depending on scene - the metering could be fooled into overexposing or underexposing (but this is a case for most camera meters). So overall, I was very impressed with the rich IQ output of this camera.

Ergonomically, I found the camera very comfortable to handle and yes, it is truly a pocket camera (something I used to refer only to the likes of the Canon S190/95/100/110). I attached an after-market long strap to the P330 and was able to hang it around my neck. So if you're looking for larger sensor performance in a very, very small package, the P330 is one camera you should be looking at.

OK - so it's not all good news. And remember, these are my opinions, based upon how I shoot, so keep that in mind.

AUTO-FOCUSING SITUATIONS - I don't know why Nikon seems to be regressing with regards to AF scenarios, but I lost count the numbers of time I could not get the P330 to lock focus - and we're talking outdoors in bright sun. For landscape shots - which this trip mostly involved - I would attempt to focus on distant tree-lines (many of which were fairly close), only to have the camera be unable to lock focus. For each picture taken (in these scenarios), I had to try several times to recompose and lock focus before it would take. Often-times, I had to focus specifically where the top of the tree-lines would be halfway up with the sky showing so that some type of contrast scenario lock-on could be accomplished). I also have the P7700 (which I love also), and at least in this situation, the P330 "appeared" to have a harder time of it. My Canon S100 is much better with regards to AF capabilities in a variety of settings than the P330 is.

RAW WRITE TIMES - Way behind the power curve. Now perhaps it's quicker with JPG (I would assume it would be), but if you're a RAW shooter like me, the average write times to a Sandisk SDHC (Class 10) card was 3-4 seconds. And while the camera was writing, you are unable to do anything else - whether it be to focus on another image, or whatever. This is NOT the camera to buy when you want speed in capturing fast-moving objects, or kids running around, etc. It's a camera for scenics, family shots (when not moving), and general scenes. And I have to be honest here, my Canon S100 only takes a second or so to write an image. And again, it may all be card dependent. But the RAW write times with the P330 is like shooting with a Nikon camera of some 4-5 years ago. But even then some of the earlier Nikon cameras were faster - go figure. But the RAW files for the P330 are large - that is approximately 26 - 27 megs per file!

WIDE ANGLE (SPECIFICALLY 24 MM) DISTORTIONS - If you're shooting in JPG, this should (well, may) not be an issue for you. Now to keep things in perspective, I shoot with a variety of enthusiast cameras that have a 24 MM wide end - they being the S100, the LX5/LX7, the P510, the SX-50 HS, and now the P330. Of all of these, the P330 has perhaps some of the most extreme wide end distortions of all of them. As I mentioned, if you shoot in JPG mode, many of these may be adjusted for in-camera, but if you shoot in RAW, then you have to be careful here. Luckily, I use either Lightroom 4.4 or CS6, and both RAW converters have an ability to use the P330 profiles, which eliminates a good 50% of the distortions. I then only have to use the manual sliders to bring the verticals in line. But if I were using another type of converter (with no established profiles for various cameras), the various distortions could be so severe in that in some cases, the end result look like they were captured with a fish-eye lens (no exaggeration here). This is really most evident in architectural photography (with indoors being the worst) - so keep that in mind.

PURPLE FRINGING - The same issue I talked about with my P7700 is prevalent here. Normal scenes - that is, with not too much back-lighting - the P330's files show average to very little purple fringing. However in heavy back-lighting, specifically indoors with bright lighting coming through windows, the purple fringing can be rather severe and to the point that nothing can done (via any converter) to eradicate them from the image(s). Keep this in mind as you compose your images.

Those are the only issues I have with this camera and I've learned to deal with them because I realize that we often can become spoiled to the point where we feel that even small enthusiast P&S cameras should perform as DSLR's - NOT. As I mentioned when I began above, the output from this camera is fantastic with a rich color tonality and definition that belies it's size. I'm glad that Nikon used the larger 1/1.7" sensor - because it makes a world of difference. It's definitely a camera that I will be keeping as part of my collection. Unlike some folks (well, different strokes for different folks), despite some of my caveats listed above, I will NOT be returning this camera. For me it's the end result and how the images look and it is here where the P330 shines. This is a comfortable camera to use - it looks wonderful, is exceptionally well-built, and can net you images that can keep up with the best of them.

On my next posting are a variety of images taken at the two wineries mentioned above - all captured from ISO 80 - 400. Shot in RAW mode, AWB, Aperture Priority Mode. The Exif Information are included with each photo.

All images were converted with ACR 8.1 within CS-6 (all adjustments done there), and then resaved as TIF Masters. From there I added digital frames using a batch framer called IDFramer. From there I resaved the images or web display at a 1024 x 784 resolution using a superb little batch conversion software called IDSizer. The originals will obviously look a hell of a lot better than these JPG's, but nevertheless.....

Images in the next posting (give me a few minutes to get them posted though before you start replying).

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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 Ben Herrmann's gear list:Ben Herrmann's gear list
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Nikon Coolpix P330
12 megapixels • 3 screen • 24 – 120 mm (5×)
Announced: Mar 5, 2013
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Nikon Coolpix P330 Nikon Coolpix P510 Nikon Coolpix P7700 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5
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Ben Herrmann
OP Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
The Images
1

Again - all images shot in RAW (NRW) mode, AWB, Aperture Priority.  The weather was very bright and sunny and the temperatures ranged from 80 - 88 degrees (F).  Most of the indoor available light scenes were shot at ISO 400, whereas all the outdoor scenarios were captured at ISO 80.

Standing in one of the vineyards with a zoomed shot to the front of the Rock of Ages Winery building

This Rock of Ages Winery has two levels of balcony.  Here is the lower balcony level.

The upper balcony level with lots of views out to the vineyards and beyond.

Another angled view of the upper balcony level.  Just grab a bottle of wine, kick back and relax - perhaps with some cheese and sausage slices....Hmnnnnnnnn.

Standing on the second level inside of the winery building.

My wife Jane and her friend Carol (in the background) enjoying the wine-tasting experiences.

Another unfettered view of the front of the Rock of Ages Winery Building

Looking down into the lower level of the wine-tasting and lounge area.

Here is the very small, yet quaint Benjamin Vineyards, located in Graham/Saxapahaw, NC.

Even the small patio overlooking the vineyards is inviting.

Here's the gang, soaking up the rays and just enjoying the quiet and pastoral landscaping.

Of course, trying the wines at Benjamin Vineyards.

Again, another group shot.

By the shaded picnic area.

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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Holmes375
Holmes375 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,798
Re: The Images

Howdy Ben,

Nice write up and photo  set.  I'm very new to the P330 and enjoying it thus far.  I've not noticed the AF issues you mention but I've not run it through the paces nearly as much as you have.  Sounds like I have a surprise or two coming my way   Agree regarding the raw file write times.  More frustrating than expected.

I've been shooting raw and processing in CNX2 which honours the in-camera corrections but I still find the 24mm distortion excessive in some scenes.  I haven't shot jpg yet thus don't know if it makes any difference with Nikon software.

While I definitely like the camera for my use as a paddling and walkabout machine, I will have to learn more of its limitations and the best ways to minimise their effects.

Enjoyed your post and look forward to hearing more of your experience with the P330.

Best regards.

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clemcam Contributing Member • Posts: 603
Re: The P330 - Thoughts, Wineries, and Photos

What focus mode do you use?  With my P330 I have started leaving the area mode on "center normal" and I am happy with the focus performance.  I always focus first and frame second (at half shutter) so this works for me.

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Ben Herrmann
OP Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
I have it set where I can move the AF point around on the screen....

I've tried the auto mode and also the Target Tracking mode (which I kind of like), but unfortunately, any camera - when put into any Auto AF modes - makes decisions on where it wants to AF that may not be in tune with what you had in mind.  So with the S100 and P330, I use the manual mode - well, manual meaning I can move the AF points around on the screen.

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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coody
coody Senior Member • Posts: 2,003
The P330 kills the Canon S110 market

No text.

Ben Herrmann
OP Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
On second thought - now that I can remember....

Back when the P7000 first came out, I had experienced (as did others) a difficulty in AF when using the manual mode (again, meaning manually choosing the spot where you want the camera to focus).  Yet, if you put the camera to Auto - meaning, it chooses where to focus, the AF was much, much faster.

So it appears, that perhaps the same thing may be the case with the P330 (and even the P7700) in that when you choose the mode where you can selectively move the AF point around to where you want it to focus, the AF issues seem to be exacerbated.  I'll have to give this a try the next time I use the camera.

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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exacerbatedMerriam-Webster: exacerbated definition: to make more violent, bitter, or severe.

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clemcam Contributing Member • Posts: 603
I get slightly under 2 seconds write time for raw.

Although it is hard for me to measure precisely, I consistently get slightly under two seconds dead time when using raw only (no added jpeg).  This is with an 8 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro which claims 95 MB/S transfer.

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tbower
tbower Veteran Member • Posts: 3,515
Re: The P330 - Thoughts, Wineries, and Photos

Hi, Ben....

I purchased the P330 specifically for bicycle riding on our nearly 100 mile canal towpath here in northeast Ohio. I normally shoot a D3s and good glass which for me is NOT an option to carry on a bike ride.

I knew very little about the P&S world so I went to B&H and typed in only two criteria; RAW shooting capability and built-in GPS. I didn't care about brand as I'm not a fanboy. I've been using a Canon G11 for those rides and like it but it lacks GPS. The only camera that came up was the P330. I did some research and didn't find much as the camera just came out in March. I bought it and I'm reasonably pleased.

My findings pretty much mirror yours and yes, I think the image quality is first rate for a camera in this class and indeed might set a new benchmark.
The camera is slow in RAW write times and I've missed a few shots. The GPS performance could also be more dependable but I always remind myself that it is NOT a D3s and a Nikon GP-1. It DOES shoot very nice videos which exceed the quality of my D3s.

On a two-hour bike ride with GPS on, shooting a couple panos and some videos and over seventy RAW frames, I killed the battery which is why I always carry a spare. I bought a third-party charger which does the charge in half the time than charging in-camera and also plugs into the wall and also includes a car cig lighter cord.

I'll post a few images.

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Tom, Ohio USA
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zuikosan/
http://tbower.zenfolio.com/
'One should not LIVE in the past, but one should never FORGET the past'.
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---George Gobel, 1969
"You know you can't please everyone so you got to please yourself"
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 tbower's gear list:tbower's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P330 Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
tbower
tbower Veteran Member • Posts: 3,515
Images, Coolpix P330...

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Tom, Ohio USA
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zuikosan/
http://tombower.zenfolio.com/

'One should not LIVE in the past, but one should never FORGET the past'.

'Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?'

---George Gobel, 1969

"You know you can't please everyone so you got to please yourself"
---Rick Nelson

 tbower's gear list:tbower's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P330 Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
tbower
tbower Veteran Member • Posts: 3,515
And a video....
1

...with stills, all shot with the P330.

An Afternoon on the Ohio & Erie Canal

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Tom, Ohio USA
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zuikosan/
http://tbower.zenfolio.com/
'One should not LIVE in the past, but one should never FORGET the past'.
'Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?'
---George Gobel, 1969
"You know you can't please everyone so you got to please yourself"
---Rick Nelson

 tbower's gear list:tbower's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P330 Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
MikeNeufeld30 Regular Member • Posts: 213
Re: And a video....

Awesome review. It seems to be quite the camera. How is the Raw output compared to the $100/110?

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Jim Dukes New Member • Posts: 3
Re: The P330 - Thoughts, Wineries, and Photos

Nice write-up and photos.

I've had my 330 for awhile now and agree.

I've pretty much always had Canon DSLRs+L glass and ELPH pocket cameras and I thought I'd give the Nikon a try. The image quality is fantastic for the size of camera. Great color and metering is almost always spot-on.

But, the downsides also really stand out.

I also shoot only RAW and boy is this thing slooooooooooooow. I could understand locking out camera function if the buffer was full, but from single shot to single shot I don't think that this is acceptable for a "enthusiast" class camera.

The wide angle distortion also really stands out. It's practically fish-eye.

Which lens correction did you find in Lightroom? I also have v4.4 but I don't see anything specific for the p330 in the listed lenses.

Another nit; no orientation sensor. Really? I have to manually rotate all my portrait shots?  Is this a Nikon thing?

Jim

Ben Herrmann
OP Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
RAW output....
1

I'd have to say that both cameras have a nice RAW output, but IMO, the edge goes to the P330.  Both cameras have a different color tonality.  Taken individually, one could easily say that they prefer either.  But when photographing the same scene with both cameras - and then putting both images next to each other - you will immediately notice the difference in how colors are rendered.  Although both cameras can be considered attractive, with the Canon's, the color red tends to often be displayed as a dark orange (an issue that has been with Canon for quite a long time).

As for the clarity of the images and the IS/VR performance of both cameras, IMO, it easily goes to the P330.  The P330 has a wonderful VR system that seemingly holds up really well - even at the shutter speeds of 1/4 to 1/8 of a second.  The clarity of the images (definition) really shows off the files and it is here where the P330 shines also.  Again, without exaggeration, "well-taken" images with the P330 have a definition level that can mirror (compete?) with many an entry-level DSLR.

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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Ben Herrmann
OP Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
Remember, I used ACR 8.1 (latest release) within CS-6.
1

Within ACR (again, version 8.1), when you bring up the RAW image, click on the "Lens Correction" tab in the upper right quatrant of the ACR window.  After clicking on the Lens Correction tab, you will then be presented with 3 tabs - one of which (the one to the left) that says "profiles."  Click on the Lens Profiles block (make sure it's checked) and then that allows you to view a list of profiles.  If the profile is in there - which the P330 is - it will immediately show in that window.  The moment you click on the profiles block, you will see your image change slightly as the obvious distortions are corrected.  From there, you click on the "Manual" tab and make additional adjustments (i.e. verticals) using sliders - and it should go fairly well.

In Lightroom 4.4 the P330 profiles have not been entered.  And to get that, one would have to purchase Lightroom 5, where they have been.  It's just the name of the game I suppose.

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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toomanycanons Forum Pro • Posts: 12,117
Re: Remember, I used ACR 8.1 (latest release) within CS-6.

Ben, I looked at your pics and they looked like what I got from my P7100, IOW, Nikon color and clarity.  They sure know how to make "compact" lenses.

Humor us, try an experiment:  since a lot of your complaints about the P330 revolved around shooting raw, shoot up a representative set in jpeg.  Check the in-camera distortion and CA correction and write times.  And, oh yeah, the IQ compared to what you are able to bring up from the NRW files.  Thanks.  You know me, I never shoot raw and love the jpegs I get from my Nikon DSLRs.

Ben Herrmann
OP Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
Here are samples of non-corrected, highly distorted images

To give you an idea of the the abnormally high distortions exhibited by the P330's wide end (at full 24 MM equivalent), here are a few samples - taken from RAW files.  Nothing has been done to them - just imported and converted for web viewing.  So you will note that the distortions, in particular up close, can be horrific.  Yes, with the new Lightroom 5 and ACR 8.1, you can use the P330 profiles to correct for most of these, but if you don't have ACR or Lightroom (or you have earlier versions of these) - or, if you other 3rd party RAW conversion software, you will may wind up having a hell of a time making the adjustments.  Also note the heavy purple fringing coming through the windows on the indoor scenes.

This makes me believe that shooting JPG's can take care of most of this - with the exception of the severe PF.  But even then, I believe that some form of perspective distortion adjustments will be required - it's the nature of the game.

Look at the distortion of the pillars - and even when using the Vertical sliders in Lightroom or ACR (to correct for perspective distortions - the straight objects remain severely curved.  Then when you adjust the distortion slider to straighten these out, you have eliminated so much of the image (essentially going from 24 MM to around a 38-40 MM frame).  Also, in severe situations like these - which present difficulty for most cameras - the purple fringing is so severe that almost nothing works to eradicate it completely.

Another angled view of the same scenario

Here's an outside view - look at the foreground curves - this should all be straight.  The P330 profile in both Lightroom 5 and ACR 8.1 takes care of most of the distortion, thus just necessitating a slight vertical adjustment using the manual sliders.  But again, you then wind up going from a 24 MM field of view to a 35-40 MM field of view (which can obviate your need for a 24 MM lens).  Of course, you could just ignore it and leave it as such.

Here's another situation.  Although the building looks fine, look at the curve of the road in the foreground.  That road was straight and the lens caused this curve.

Again, check out the curves in the rear.

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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clemcam Contributing Member • Posts: 603
Re: Here are samples of non-corrected, highly distorted images

Have you tried ViewNX 2 on these?  This is the free program from Nikon.

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Ben Herrmann
OP Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 19,267
Yes, of course I've tried View NX 2 - along with Capture 2....

but I prefer the output and flexibility in varying adjustments in the likes of Lightroom and/or CS-6 (ACR).

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA
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Red5TX
Red5TX Senior Member • Posts: 1,586
Re: Yes, of course I've tried View NX 2 - along with Capture 2....

Excellent review, Ben. There are too many half-assed user reviews on this site.  Yours sets the standard for usefulness.

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