The Nikon Coolpix P310's video mode is pretty basic. Audio is recorded in stereo and video can be captured at full HD 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720, iFrame 540 at 960 x 540 or 640 x 480—all at 30fps. Videos are saved as MPEG-4 H.264 files, so viewing and editing is much easier than with AVCHD files.

A stereo microphone is positioned on the P310's top plate, but the close spacing of the apertures doesn't allow for much left-right separation in normal use. Video is initiated using a direct movie shooting button, on the rear of the P310, next to the thumb rest.

Video quality is pretty good for a camera of this class and we found that our clips delivered accurate colors and good enough for computer screen clarity and sound. Autofocus was, for the most part, responsive although it didn't always keep up with the zoom (and, on occasion, didn't focus when zoomed into a subject). Zoom speed slowed in video mode and the lens was virtually silent except for a minor click when changing direction on the zoom lever. But ambient noise easily covered up any sound the lens made.

A frame overlay, visible prior to recording, shows the area that will be captured on video. The overlay disappears once the movie button is pushed (and the screen blacks out for a second) but gives you a good idea of how to frame the opening shot.

Sample Video 1

This video shows the abilities of the P310's inbuilt stereo microphone. Left-right separation isn't fantastic, but the music in this clip is crisp and clear with no distortion. We're using the optical zoom in this clip but the zoom motor isn't audible in the footage.

1920 x 1080 30p, 65.5MB, MOV, 28 sec. Click here to download original file

Sample Video 2

The fast movement in this lively street scene is smooth and detailed in this clip, and the P310's inbuilt microphone has - again - done a decent job of capturing the sound of the action without any distortion or distracting background or handling noise.

1920 x 1080 30p, 30.4MB, MOV, 15 sec. Click here to download original file