The Nikon P300 is an advanced compact that offers full manual controls alongside a fast f/1.8 zoom lens, 1080p Full HD movie recording abilities and advanced low-light shooting options. In addition, it also benefits from a 3inch, 920k-dot LCD monitor, dual thumb controls and part metal construction.
Aimed primarily at enthusiasts, the P300 is the sort of product that will appeal to DSLR owners looking for a camera that they can keep close to hand when they’re out and about where a larger model would be impractical.
This is Nikon’s first attempt at an advanced digital compact, and as such the P300 finds itself up against some pretty stiff competition, with the likes of the Canon S95, Panasonic Lumix LX5 and Olympus XZ-1 among its main competitors.
All of these models have their various strengths and weaknesses over each other. For example, the P300 is the only camera that's able to shoot 1080p Full HD movies, and yet both it and the S95 lack the hotshoe connection of the XZ-1 and LX5. One uniting factor common to all four models, however, is that they all sport fast lenses, with the P300 and XZ-1 opening up to f/1.8 at their widest, with the S95 and LX5 close behind on f/2.
One small disadvantage the P300 does suffer from - on paper at least - is that it comes with a slightly smaller sensor than the other models; the S95 uses a 1/1.7-inch chip, while the LX5 and XZ-1 both take a 1/1.63-inch sensor. In contrast, the P300 uses a 1/2.3-inch sensor, although it is backside wired for better low-light performance. Does this put the P300 at a disadvantage, or can it equal or even surpass its rivals in other areas. Let’s take a closer look and find out.