Nikon Coolpix A300 Review

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Pros
  • Compact metal body
  • Available in different colours
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC built-in
  • 8x optical zoom lens
  • Optical Image stabilisation
  • A number of effects
Cons
  • Lacks orientation sensor
  • Only 720p video
  • Non-standard USB
  • Noise in images
  • Disappointing image quality
  • Slow focus at times
*** Note : £1 = $1.40 (correct at time of post)

Nikon Coolpix A300 Black (1)

The Nikon Coolpix A300 is one of Nikon’s budget compact cameras, and features a 20mp CCD sensor, 8x optical zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth to allow image transfer to a smartphone. It’s available in a number of different colours from around £109.

Features

Nikon Coolpix A300 Black (3)

Perhaps the biggest selling points of the Nikon Coolpix A300 are the compact size, the price, and the availability of different colours. The camera is also designed to be easy to use, with “Easy to use” written on the front label. It offers a 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor, lens-shift image stabilisation (Vibration Reduction), and an 8x optical zoom lens.

The Coolpix A300 has an 8x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilisation, which Nikon call lens-shift VR (Vibration Reduction). The camera also offers built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. You can use the Nikon SnapBridge app. which is compatible with iOS and Android devices. There are numerous shooting modes available, plus creative filters.

On paper, this all sounds great, however, the use of a CCD sensor means that the highest resolution for video is 720p (1280×720), which is lacking when compared to most cameras that now feature FullHD video (or 4K video on more expensive cameras). There’s also the issue of image quality, which may not compete with other cameras, as most models have now moved to BSI CMOS sensors for better noise performance.

The A300 has a metal body and is available in black, silver, pink, and red.

Nikon Coolpix A300 Black (6)

Key Features
  • 20mp CCD sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) optical image stabilisation
  • 2.7inch screen
  • Built-in flash
  • 720p video with sound
  • ISO80 to ISO3200
  • 2cm macro focus
  • Panoramic shooting
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC
  • Available in a number of colours

Handling

Nikon Coolpix A300 Black (2)

The Nikon Coolpix A300 is compact with a metal body, which makes it feel quite solid. The flimsiest part is the battery cover, which feels like quite thin plastic. However, it should last fairly well, as the locking latches seem reasonably solid.

There are 6 raised dots on the back to give your thumb some additional grip. There is nothing on the front of the camera to aid grip, so use of the provided wrist strap is recommended, so as to avoid dropping the camera accidentally.

There are a reasonable amount of buttons, with an on/off button on top, a shutter release button, with the zoom control surrounding it. On the back is a video recording button, scene / mode button, playback, 4-way controller with middle OK button, menu and delete. The scene / mode button is used to change the mode, and you can switch between scene auto selector / scene / x and auto. In the auto mode you can change the most settings, including ISO and white balance.

The USB connection is specific to the camera, and you’ll need to use the Nikon USB cable provided with the camera, as it is not MicroUSB, or any other type of common connection.

The menus are clearly laid out, with separate sections for photo, video and settings. They aren’t colour coded, however, there aren’t too many options so it should be easy to find your way around.

There is a 2.7inch screen on the back with a fairly low resolution. Viewing angles could be better.

Nikon Coolpix A300 Black (8)

Nikon SnapBridge – This uses Bluetooth to connect to your camera, automatically downloading your photos after you take them. You can also use Remote Photography within the app to shoot remotely with the camera, controlling it from your smartphone. This connects over Wi-Fi but gives a limited range of controls compared to other camera maker’s apps. There’s a tab for Nikon Image Space, which gives you unlimited uploads to Nikon’s website, as long as your photos are 2mp.

Nikon Coolpix A300 Black (5)

Battery life – Battery life is rated at 240 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, which is average for a compact camera. If you think you’ll need to shoot more, then we would recommend a spare battery.

Speed – The camera is reasonably quick to switch on, and the menus are fairly quick. When using the camera focus can be quite slow, particularly in macro focus.

Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sample Photos

Underground | 1/60 sec | f/5.3 | 12.0 mm | ISO 500

Wide | 1/250 sec | f/3.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80

Telephoto | 1/80 sec | f/6.6 | 36.0 mm | ISO 80

Wide | 1/30 sec | f/3.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 110

Zoom | 1/60 sec | f/6.6 | 36.0 mm | ISO 640

Camera Performance – Noise in images is generally the biggest weakness of this camera, with images showing low levels of detail, and high levels of noise. For best results you need to shoot in bright sunny conditions – anything less ideal and your images will suffer as a result. Photos taken with flash don’t look great, with fairly high levels of noise, and low levels of detail. Images are softer at the telephoto end of the lens, where it’s also possible to see some vignetting (darkened corners).

ISO test images

1/4 sec | f/5.5 | 13.8 mm | ISO 80

1/20 sec | f/5.5 | 13.8 mm | ISO 400

1/80 sec | f/5.5 | 13.8 mm | ISO 1600

1/160 sec | f/5.5 | 13.8 mm | ISO 3200

ISO Noise Performance – Noise is visible even when viewing images taken at the camera’s lowest ISO speed of ISO80. However, if you simply share your photos to Facebook, and don’t want to view images any bigger than 2mp, then you should be okay up to ISO400, or possibly ISO800. ISO1600 is best avoided. ISO3200 is only available at a reduced resolution but is also probably best avoided.

White-balance test images

AWB Tungsten | 1/6 sec | f/4.5 | 6.9 mm | ISO 100

WB Tungsten | 1/6 sec | f/4.5 | 6.9 mm | ISO 100

AWB Mixed Light | 1/10 sec | f/4.5 | 6.9 mm | ISO 100

WB Fluorescent | 1/5 sec | f/4.5 | 6.9 mm | ISO 100

White Balance Performance – Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under most lighting conditions, and the only colour cast visible is found when using the fluorescent white balance preset.

Digital filters

Close Up | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 280

High Contrast Mono | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 400

Sepia | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 220

Toy Camera1 DSCN0053 | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 220

Mirror Effect2 | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 400

Mirror Effect3 | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 280

Digital Filters – There are different shooting modes available including close up, cross process, high contrast mono, pop colour, selective colour, sepia, soft, toy camera 1, toy camera 2, mirror effect, and backlight shooting.There’s also a panoramic shooting mode, that is quite basic, with a low-resolution image produced.

Video – The camera records 720p video with mono sound, and optical zoom is available while recording. If you use the optical zoom while recording, then noise from the lens zoom mechanism is picked up by the microphone. Results are not great, although image stabilisation can help keep video steady.

Specifications

Manufacturer Nikon
Lens
Max Aperture f/3.7 – f/6.6
35mm equivalent 25mm – 200mm
Optical Zoom 8x
Image Sensor
Pixels 20.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 5152
Pixels (H) 3864
Sensor Type CCD
Sensor Size 1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width) No Data
Sensor Size (height) No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 2.7in
Screen resolution 230K dot
Touch Screen No
Focusing
Min Focus 2cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/1500sec
Shutter speeds longest 4sec
Bulb mode No
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted – Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity 80 – 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp +/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting No Data
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1280×720 HD 720p
  • 640×480 VGA
  • 320×240 QVGA
Video FPS 25fps
Stereo Sound No
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI No
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi Yes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Lithium-ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating) 240shots
Box Contents
Box Contents Camera Strap, EN-EL19 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, EH-72P Charging AC Adapter (A plug adapter is included if the camera was purchased in a country or region that requires a plug adapter. The shape of the plug adapter varies with the country or region of p
Dimensions
Weight 119g
Width 95.9mm
Height 58mm
Depth 20.1mm

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Verdict

If you have a good smartphone, with a 12mp sensor, and a bright lens, then it’s quite likely that your photos will be better than photos taken with the Nikon Coolpix A300 at the wide-angle setting. As the A300 uses a 20mp CCD sensor, images show high levels of noise, and poor levels of detail. In fact there’s no more detail in images than a good 12mp smartphone, or an average 16mp camera. However, one thing that the A300 has going for it, is the 8x optical zoom lens, and easy connectivity to your smartphone. For places where you might not want to take an expensive smartphone, the A300 provides a reasonable alternative.

If you can find it for less that £109 then it is could be considered reasonable value for money, however there are many others available for less without Wi-Fi. If your budget stretches, then the WX220 is much better.

(ephotozine.com, https://goo.gl/UdRE8D)

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