Nikon P300 Review
Night landscape Mode
Night landscape mode is designed to make it easier to capture scenes in low light. Two modes are available - tripod and hand-held. When shooting in the default Hand-held mode the camera takes multiple frames at a high enough shutter speed to avoid camera shake and combines them together to create a single, properly exposed image with less noise.
In Tripod mode the P300 sets a longer shutter speed and wide lens aperture to achieve the same effect. Both modes produce good results, but as you can see in the crops below, images shot in hand held mode are fractionally less detailed when viewed at 100%, but the difference is subtle and unnoticeable at normal print sizes.
|Tripod mode||100% crop|
|Hand held mode||100% crop|
Backlighting mode is used to balance exposure when shooting a subject against a bright background. If an HDR mode (see below) is not selected in the menu the camera defaults to fill flash and will prompt you to raise the flash before shooting. The flash is used to provide exposure in the foreground. Backlighting does a good job of balancing exposure but the P300's tiny built in flash is not particularly effective except at close range. The closely related Night portrait mode can be found through the 'SCENE' modes menu.
|Program mode (flash off)
||Backlighting mode (fill flash)|
If the P300's built-in flash isn't quite powerful enough to provide a balanced exposure, you can select one of the 'HDR' settings. In HDR backlighting mode the P300 captures multiple exposures and combines them to achieve a larger dynamic range in the final image.
In HDR mode there are 3 levels that allow the effect of the HDR to be adjusted in increasing degrees of intensity. When taking HDR images it can be helpful to shoot using a tripod in cases where longer exposures may be encountered. However, for shots like the ones below, the P300 takes the successive frames quickly enough to be shot in-hand.
|HDR off||100% crop|
|HDR 1||100% crop|
|HDR 2||100% crop|
|HDR 3||100% crop|
Even when set to level 1, it is clear that HDR mode has a significant impact on shadow brightness, but images still appear relatively 'natural'. Set to level 2, shadows get brighter still, but noise levels are noticeably increased.
Level 3 begins to overexpose the highlights and the shadows begin to show significant chroma noise. Noticeable halos begin to form around high contrast areas such as at the edges of the windows illustrated above.
In many cases, whether you choose fill flash backlighting or HDR to balance exposure in high contrast scenes comes down to a matter of taste. The P300's built-in flash isn't particularly powerful, and as a consequence it can't balance scenes where the subject is more than a couple of meters away. Alternatively, HDR can create images that look unrealistic and grainy, especially in (what were) shadow areas. We have also noticed that HDR mode can create an unexpected amount of purple fringing in high-contrast areas as can be found on the window edges in the HDR 3 example above. HDR mode can help help to produce images that are more balanced in exposure, but we don't see much if any increased detail in the shadows.
The scene mode includes an easy panorama creator which allows you to take 180° or 360° panoramas just by panning the camera across the scene. The manual recommends shooting the scene over 15 seconds for 180° and 30 seconds for 360° panoramas. Even when following these recommendations we had problems getting the P300 to consistently create successful panoramas. In many cases the camera stopped part way through and created a partially grey image, especially in low light conditions. The P300 also includes a panorama assist mode that works by helping you align multiple images which can be more reliable but not as quick as the easy mode. With the panorama assist mode you would need to stitch the photos together using software on a computer. The image files created using the easy panorama mode are limited to 560 pixels high by 3200 pixels wide for 180° panoramas and 6400 pixels wide for 360° panoramas.
|180° panorama using Easy panorama mode|
|Incomplete panorama shot in Easy panorama mode which is generally caused by low light or rapid panning.|
When Easy Panorama works, it works pretty well. The panoramas that we've created with the P300 don't show any obvious joins, and exposure is realistic across the entire panned frame. Assuming that the panorama is complete (see comments above) the only issue is a slight 'striping', which you can see in the sky areas of these two images. This is caused by slightly mismatched luminance between the stitched frames. It's subtle though, and depending on how well your computer screen is calibrated you might not even see it.
Special Effects modes
The P300 includes 5 Special effect modes. These special effects are applied while shooting and cannot be altered. The Soft mode does quite a good job at emulating a plastic lens like you would find in a toy camera. As well as adding a browny-orange stain, the nostalgic sepia also employes this softening filter to create a more authentic look than just color filtering. High key over-exposes and saturates the colors. Low key under-exposes and de-saturates.
As well as the special effects modes the P300 also offers 4 filter effects which can only be applied to captured images through the playback menu. When selected, applying a filter effect takes a few seconds to complete, and a copy is saved to the card along side the original file.
We've found the filters work well in their intended purposes but the sparse selection is limited in its usefulness. The blur on the Miniature effect can not be adjusted in any way which means that you have to frame your subject about 2/3 the way down the frame to be in focus after applying the filter. The Cross screen filter will only work with images that have very bright point sources of light. In most evenly exposed images the effect will be completely ineffective. These filters may inspire different ways of shooting but from our perspective are not particularly useful.
May 31, 2011
Feb 9, 2011
May 23, 2014
May 28, 2014
|Hot Air Balloons Over Bagan by User9320321874|
|Yellow Warbler by LeeS|
from A Big Year - birds
|Waiting for the Parade by tcoker1103|
from - La Vida Loca - (Black and White Street Photography+ A Border)
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.