Roughly a year ago, we received the Nikon Coolpix P300, a professional point and shoot compact camera that offered a plethora of functions, including an aperture of F/ 1.8 on the wide spectrum. The camera offered really good image quality, but left us overall quite unsatisfied. In our labs now we have the successor to the P300, which is the Coolpix P310. This model, like its predecessor, is featured in Nikon’s professional point and shoot line-up and it boasts of an extremely wide aperture of F/ 1.8, too. Read on to know more about this offering from Nikon and if it warrants an upgrade from your existing compact camera.
Here's a quick video review of the P310
Nikon`s latest Coolpix camera the P310
Design and Build Quality
The Nikon Coolpix P310 is available in India in a single colour option – black – and hence oozes class. The model reeks of professionalism and would be an ideal camera to have when going on a business trip. Alternatively, by implementing this colour option, the camera is best suited for just about anyone as black is a universal colour. The design of the model is minimalistic and it hardly differs from its predecessor, the P300. The only notable difference between the two models is the inclusion of a function button at the front, which can assist in easily accessing an option that one may use the most.
The large 3-inch display at the back features a resolution of 921,000 dots and it flushes along the body of the Nikon P310. The controls for the camera are located next to the display and these buttons are sturdy and by no means feel cheap. The multifunctional scroll wheel at the back is built well too and aptly so, as it is one of the controls that you will find yourself using quite often. The controls at the top include a mode dial, a shutter release button that is housed next to the zoom rocker and a jog dial that helps in adjusting the various settings and the power button. All the buttons found here are built really well and it appears like it can withstand the wear and tear of frequent usage.
Connectivity options include a mini HDMI port found at the side and a proprietary USB port found at the bottom. This USB port can be used to charge the camera as well, thereby reducing the need to remove the battery frequently. The flaps for the bays are built well and we had no complaints with their build quality at all.
4.2x optical zoom lens found here
For the handling of the camera, Nikon has added a rubberized strip at the front and a large thumb grip at the back. The addition of this suits the camera and it helps it retain the minimalistic look, as opposed to a large grip featured on some other models available in the market. The overall build quality of the camera is really good and this is all due to the fact that Nikon has finished it in a metal casing.
The Nikon Coolpix P310 can be classified as a professional compact camera that is aimed at enthusiast-level photographers with all the different modes one would require for altering the different settings, such as PASM as well as a user defined preset. However, there are many cameras available in the market that feature these attributes, but what is the one quality that sets this model apart from the rest? The Nikon Coolpix P310 features a wide aperture of F/1.8; this is the quality that sets it apart from the rest, in the process allowing more light to hit the sensor, giving it the ability to capture better shots in low-light conditions. This feature allows one to get better depth of field images as well, which can be great for a user.
The Nikon P300 had great features, but the 12.2 MP sensor was a bit limiting in comparison to the other models available in the market. Nikon have worked on this aspect and have added a 16.1 megapixel sensor here, allowing one to print on large format papers easily. Though this can be categorized as a professional compact camera, it does not boast of the sensor size that is found on some of its rivals, which include the Olympus XZ-1 that has a sensor measuring 1/1.63-inches, rather this model features a sensor measuring 1/2.3-inches, which is the same as most of the compact point and shoot cameras available in the market.
The mode dial at the top features a user mode
The interface of the camera is easy to navigate through and Nikon has maintained consistency with their menu, thereby allowing a user who is upgrading from an older Nikon compact camera to easily make the transition without any hassle. All settings can be easily adjusted using the thumb dial or the scroll wheel and this makes the camera’s usability extremely simple. With a few clicks of the necessary buttons, one can customize the settings as desired. The ISO range found on this camera ranges from 100 to 3200 and this is the case with most compact cameras found in the market.
As far as the lens is concerned, Nikon has added a 4.2x optical zoom NIKKOR lens that stretches from a wide angle of 24 to a telephoto of 100. To help in minimizing image blur, the brand has added a lens shift type vibration reduction system. This helps in negating blur to quite a large extent. One of the other highlighted features of the camera is the 1080p video recording capability and this model features fast shooting, allowing one to record videos at a frame rate of 120fps. Nikon has added a variety of scene modes on the camera and besides the standard options found on most compact cameras, this model allows you to capture images in 3D as well. However, unlike some models, the 3D image cannot be viewed on the camera’s display, but rather on a 3D compatible television or PC as it records the files in an MPO format. Speaking of recording media, the Nikon P310 is not capable of capturing data in RAW, but only in JPEG. This is a feature found on a variety of compact cameras available in the market and hence this model does not earn any additional points for this feat.
The performance of Nikon P310 is a lot better than that of the other compact cameras available in the market. When it comes to the handling of the camera, the small strip at the front does help in holding the camera, but the brand could have added a bigger grip to make it easier to shoot with a single hand. The camera does not weigh that much. Even though it has a metal body and features a weight of 194 g, this can be easily used for long periods of time without tiring your hand.
During outdoor photography, we observed that all colours appeared accurately and there was hardly any trace of colour fringing seen across rims of subjects that faced a bright area. There was a lot of detail visible as well and the image quality was as good on a PC as it was on the camera’s display. During indoor shots, we noticed that all colours rendered well and there was a lot of detail seen in each of the images captured. The only real issue we noticed was that there was a some grain seen. However, it was not that much that it rendered the image unusable. In fact, the indoor quality is really good and it is a lot better than a lot of the other compact cameras available in this price range. The camera needs to be turned to macro mode, so that one can get really up close to a subject. Otherwise, the camera will not focus automatically. When images are shot in this mode, there is a significant amount of image blur visible and a lot of detail seen in the subject that is in focus.
ISO sensitivity test
ISO Sensitivity Test
The ISO range of this camera stretches from ISO 100 to 3200. However, this maximum ISO setting can only be achieved, if the camera is in the User preset. The camera does well to keep noise levels to a minimum and you can see the stark rise in image noise only ISO 1600 onwards. However, images shot at this setting are not bad and they are usable.
Having a wide aperture of F/1.8, you can expect the sensor to feature a lot of depth of field when shot at this aperture setting. However, images shot with the aperture set at F/8 depicted a lot of clarity.
Aperture priority test
The camera does not feature an outstanding zoom lens, as seen on some other cameras available in this price range. But this camera is not intended to serve that purpose. However, images shot using the 4.2x optical zoom lens produced a lot of clarity and the vibration reduction feature does well to negate the blur.
Another major feature of the camera is its ability to record videos in Full HD 1080p. While recording videos, we observed that there were no faults whatsoever in the recording. While shooting videos we noticed that there was a lot of detail in the video recorded and there were no transition issues noticed, while moving from a dark area to a bright one.
The pop-up flash of this camera is really good and though it is pretty small in size, the flash is very bright. Nikon bundles a 1050mAh battery with the camera and the brand has rated it at 230 shots.
The small rubber grip at the front of the Nikon P310
The Nikon Coolpix P310 is available in India at a market operating price of Rs. 16,450. The camera is designed well and will definitely appeal to most people. Having semi manual and manual features, this model can be a great choice for those looking to upgrade from a standard compact camera to a slightly advanced model offering you the ability to alter settings. This camera is not really different in terms of features, as compared to the Nikon P300, but if one is definitely interested in purchasing a camera with a variety of shooting modes, we would definitely recommend this model as it comes at a price that is competitive in the market as well.
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Oct 28, 2016
Oct 28, 2016