130 of 136 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
Just a few thoughts after a week of limited use.
I wanted a point & shoot camera that would fit in my pocket to carry at all times. I am a pro photographer but don't want always to be hauling a bag of heavy DSLR's around. But the camera had to have the following:-
1. Small and well made.
2. 24mm equivalent lens at the short end. Didn't care much about the tele end so 120mm was more than enough for my needs.
3. Need WiFi connection so could fire and view what camera was seeing from my cell phone or tablet.
4. Needed RAW file format.
5. GPS nice addition but not the most important thing for me - I could live without it.
Well the P330 has all the above and I can tell you that can be hard to find in a small point and shoot (I consider the Canon G15 too big and besides I have a G11).
Noise levels seem low at 400 ASA I have not tested at higher ISO's but hardly ever use them. In Photoshop CS6 the noise in a blue sky looked good and with noise reduction applied it then just about disappeared. I have the noise set to LOW in the camera as didn't want to softern the image - although that may not happen with this camera. There is a LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH setting for noise.
I found setting the aperture hard to figure out as I kept mis-reading the book. In Apperture Priority or Manual the aperture is set by turning the 4 way controler on the back of the camera and I was pressing different sides of this wheel.
The ON/OFF button is flush with the top of the camera body so it is best to turn on or off the camera by using a finger nail tip rather than the pad of the finger. It is designed this way (I guess) to stop the camera being accidently turned on or off during use.
Images seem sharp and what you see on the view finder (no viewfind eyepeice) is what you get as far as exposure goes.
I put a 64GB SanDisk 45MB/sec card in it and that works fine. Thats about all I can contribute for now. I am sure more detailed reviews will appear shortly. But I'm happy with this well made and good looking camera.
Oh, I do have one issue with Nikon. There appears to be only the limited VIEW NX2 software (that came on CD with the camera) to convert the cameras RAW files (NRW format, not NEF) into TIFF or JPEG. I think Nikon could have updated CAPTURE to co-inside with this camera launch. It does not even appear to be included in the next Adobe Camera RAW conversion update for Photoshop. Too many RAW formats nobody can keep up - apparently even the camera manufactures. That's as of today April 2, 2013.
Correction: As of today April 4, 2013 Adobe have just released Camera RAW update 7.4 and included the NRW format used by the Nikon P330- yea!!! It appears to see the camera as the Nikon P6000 but looks to be making the corrections OK. My earlier information was incorrect. Life just got a whole lot better for NRW shooters, which is the only way to go for serious picture takers. JPG's are fine for snapshots.
New Update June 14, 2013: Adobe just added the P330 to their ACR lens corrections a few days ago (around 6/7/2013). I took the camera to Thailand and used it daily where it replaced DLSR's and tripod some days unless I was planning something serious. I set the ISO to Auto, something I would not do for serious photography but liked the results better than flash, which is unpredictable for quick pickup and shoot pics. I know many would disagree and that's OK but as a pro I find I have to take several shots before the flash lights the subject just right, unless you get lucky. I have a very high regard for this little dude. Of couse it's not perfect - what is?. It may not be your personal first choice but with its W/A lens (24mm on 35mm camera) and slips into pocket unnoticed, I'm just glad I laid my money down.
100 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2013
This is going to be a long review but before I start, I don't want to scare anyone.. this camera is not hard to use, anyone could use it.
However, I want to emphasize how this camera could satisfy a most hard core photographer among us, even those who shoot in manual and RAW modes.
This review is from a photography enthusiast. I am a hobbyist, not a pro, but I am serious about my hobby. I own cameras like the Nikon D600, D5100, Olympus m4/3 system and their excellent e-pm2. I've owned Canon DSLRs and SLRs, even their tiny ELPH 300, I've started with photography in early 90s, with a 35mm Nikon FM2 camera.
Let's start with the reason why anyone serious about photography would buy this camera. The word is: size. If you're looking for image quality, value, control, feel.. DSLRs, m4/3 cameras have that. But what they all lack is the ability for you to put the camera in a pocket and always have it on you. But would it be possible to still retain some of the control "big" cameras offer even in a tiny pocketable point and shoot camera?
I started my search for an advanced point and shoot few months back and everything led me to the Sony's excellent rx100. But something kept me from pulling the trigger and getting it. Maybe it was the $650 price tag. And it's not that I couldn't afford it, but I wanted something I wouldn't have to baby. If I dropped it, I wouldn't be too upset about it. Something in a small package that could give near enough decent pictures bigger cameras can produce and give me the control that I want.
I have not considered many Canon options, just because I am not a fan of the Canon UIs. I have owned multiple Canons in my life and they were all fine cameras, it's just not my preference. So keep that in mind, there may be a Canon camera out there that may suit you better, I just haven't considered it for personal (and subjective) reasons.
I have however considered cameras from the following manufacturers: Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Ricoh. After a lot of deliberation I came down to the following choices.
rx100, pound for pound champ, point and shoot. Huge image quality from a tiny camera. Not without its issues. Sony UI is not the most intuitive to me. Battery life may be of a concern, however ~300 shots is plenty for me. It is slightly bigger than the Coolpix P330 and like I explained slightly more than I wanted to spend.
Lumix LX-7. Great camera. This was the closest contender. I handled one actually from a friend who owns one. Camera feels solid, I thought it felt better than Coolpix P330. It is bigger as well though. This was the main concern, as well as the issue of a lens cap. Although the latter has a solution in form of a foldable lens cap that can be obtained for ~$10. Fantastic Leica lens as well. There was even a recent sale of this camera at $300. Similar sensor size as the P330 and without any scientific tests I am assuming should be capable of similar if not better picture quality properties as the P330.
Since size was the main criteria for the pick, here is the reference comparaison tool that I used to drive my decision: [...]
I have received the camera few days ago and have put it trough its paces. I mostly shoot in manual mode on my DSLRs but I do like Aperture Priority as well on my smaller cameras. I exclusively shoot RAW, as I enjoy post processing and the flexibility RAW files provide in post. I would have been happy with just the ability to disable noise reduction but having RAW is so much better. On the topic of Noise Reduction. I am not a fan of it, I don't like how it tends to turn images into mush. I would much rather have noise, and convert the image to black and white if the noise was an issue. I find it quite annoying that point and shoot cameras or smart phone cameras don't have a way to disable noise reduction.
- Size. This camera is not only tiny and easily fits in my pockets, it is also very light. (I've uploaded an image of the camera next to my D600 for size comparaison)
- Relatively fast lens (good low light performance). f/1.8 at the wide end, similar to the rx100 in aperture.
- RAW support. It is so nice having this. This means you can rescue badly exposed images and manage the tonal quality not possible with jpegs.
- Manual Exposure: ISO, shutter speed, aperture size are all easy to adjust. If you want to get creative and do some light painting you can. The camera even has a Neutral Density filter option. Haven't had a chance to test it yet.
- 1/1.7" sensor and low megapixel count. Bigger than the 1/2.3" sensor size which ships in most point and shoot cameras, combined with lower than average megapixel count. Means, photo cells on the sensor can gather more light, resulting in better low light performance (less noise). I am getting relatively low levels of noise at ISO 800, and ISO 1600 is better than expected. I commend Nikon for electing to go with a low megapixel sensor despite the trend of "more megapixel the better" marketing nonsense!
- The screen is nice and bright.
- If you're a Nikon shooter, you'll feel right at home with the settings menus.
- Flash. Nikon has long been known for great Flash implementations. I feel the Flash provided is great. And I have achieved great results with it.
All this combines and creates a sum of a very capable advanced point and shoot camera. The image quality I am getting has exceeded my expectation. The pros I have listed far outweigh the cons I am going to list. Most of the cons are not serious flaws, and should be considered there because of the tradeoff of creating such a small camera with these capabilities.
- Sluggish AF. There is a 4 second delay after you take a photo in RAW mode. During that time you can't shoot an image, but you can't even get a focus lock either. This is the most annoying of the flaws. Since there is no buffer, this means that if you miss the shot, you're done.
- UI can appear sluggish at times as well.
- The big unmarked dial to the right. I feel it's somewhat underutilized, it often doesn't do anything depending on which mode you're operating in. Yet it's a nice dial, with a decent tactile feel. I think it's a bit of a missed opportunity here as it could have been programmable. Since I only shoot in AP mode, I don't get to use either top dials much, and I like dials. I would much rather use it, than the dial on the back around the OK button.
- On/Off button, probably the biggest flaw, and it's maybe just an issue with my copy of the camera. But there is a tactile disconnect between the click sound you get when you click it and the camera actually getting the signal to turn off or on. After you push the button you have to push even more for it to register your command. Since it's a pocket camera, I'd rather have it be little harder to turn on by accident though. The lens extending in your pocket could be awkward, so it's not that big of a deal I guess.
- FN button operation was unintuitive to me. I am used to designating its function in the menu and then just using that function with it. But FN actually lets you pick a different option which I feel takes away from the usability of the function. Can't complain much though, I am glad to have this option at all on a point and shoot.
- Lack of a stand alone battery charger. I think a camera in this category should have this. Even my ELPH 300 had this, and it's a category below the P330.
- Build quality feels ok. But just ok. People complain about the battery/sd card door, but I don't have an issue with this. The battery door is spring loaded and metal. Not sure what the issue is. I appreciate how light the camera is.
- Another missed opportunity I think is with the flash. I think it could have been bouncable. Like the rx100 has a small flash which can be tilted upwards to bounce the light off the ceiling, or a side in portrait holding position. This is nitpicking though. A business card does the trick.
In conclusion: Anyone looking for an advanced point and shoot camera cannot go wrong with the Nikon Coolpix P330 in my opinion. The camera punches above its weight in the current market.
edit: couldn't link to the actual camera size comparaisons since Amazon doesn't allow it. Google camerasize website if you want to compare for yourself.
edit: It looks like the free software that ships with the camera Nikon NX2 automatically corrects lens distortion when developing RAW files. I have removed the following item from the list of Cons to reflect this, but will keep it in the review in case anyone runs into this:
" - Lens distortion. This is not really a con, since you can't really expect corrective lens elements in such a small zoom lens. When shooting jpeg, this is corrected by the camera. But when you shoot RAW you get the actual data sensor sees. And from this you can tell the vignetting and the lens distortion is quite pronounced. This is easily correctable in post processing software like Aperture or Lightroom. Currently Lightroom doesn't have a profile for the lens, but manual correction works ok for the time being. It's something to keep in mind for all of us RAW shooters. And hopefully Adobe will add the lens correction profile for this camera in the future."
EDIT UPDATE 2:
After taking the camera out for shooting over the weekend. I have realized it is not the most responsive of cameras. In fact Auto Focus can be quite stubborn about not locking focus and I have missed quite a few shots due to shutter lag and general sluggishness. I feel as an advanced compact the camera should be more responsive, because what good are all the features if you miss the shots? I am going to knock a star of my review for this reason.
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2013
April 9, 2013 - I will update this review as I continue to use this camera. Here are my initial reactions.
I debated the Canon S110 and Nikon P7700 but ultimately decided to choose the P330 due to its size and positive leaning initial reviews/previews. This camera is constructed well. Some don't like the finish or material feel, but I'd like to push back and say that the whole body of the camera is well designed and feels quite solidly built. My only gripe is the battery door, but I'm willing to bet that Nikon ensured that it would survive most situations thrown at it. I like that the camera is simply a box, it looks like a camera with no frills, no gimmicks. It functions like this as well.
Nikon menus are familiar to me and they are well appreciated when it comes to basic electronic usage/knowledge. The logic is good, and it just plain works. The display is bright and can be seen under sunny conditions when used. The buttons and dials deliver a satisfying click-feedback. The rubber grips on the front/back provide a lot of comfort and confidence for one handed shooting. This camera is a lot smaller than what I expected, and that's a great thing because that's why I bought it!
Auto-mode seems well acquainted for people and landscape shots in decent lighting. Go in close and try macro out, you'll need to help it by setting the auto-focus to close shooting. Immediately, the camera will become a macro master in this mode. The burst mode is fast and quite impressive. My overall impression of the speed is very good considering the size of the camera. I remember when point and shoots simply couldn't take decent pictures due to their shutter speed (or lack of). You can select a shutter speed that exceeds any allowance of light entrance, to me, that's impressive.
The flash is very intense and quick, mostly good for those situations where there is no alternative light source and you're taking a picture of a medium range subject. I actually found that in most cases, it wasn't needed at all. The camera lens takes up a lot of work for lower light situations. This makes me appreciate the fact that the flash is opened by a mechanical switch, because it helps me decided whether or not its needed, instead of the camera making a bad decision for me.
Video is impressive and the VR really improves any jellies that might come about. I'm impressed by the quality and autofocus. Really excellent stuff, Nikon.
Overall, this camera is really great for someone who appreciates DSLR quality but doesn't want to haul all their gear with them all the time. Would highly recommend so far.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2013
I have been using ancient 2006 Canon A620 P&S (back in the day A-series had PSAM modes and a decent 1/1.7" sensor) and was ready for an upgrade: everything that was good before, plus higher sensitivity, image stabilization and compactness. I considered Canon S110 and Nikon P330. The latter had a slight edge in optical quality and lower noise, so I got Nikon. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed, especially regarding "what was good before". I have tested the camera under a number of shooting conditions for ~1 week of active shooting. Problems in the order of importance:
# I normally shoot in P mode, however, here it is useless. Why? Because it picks non-optimal shutter/aperture combination (or too high an ISO if left on auto ISO). It would go for 1 to 3 stops smaller aperture and would therefore need to up the exposure time and/or ISO. What good is a fast lens when camera doesn't use it? Zoom invariably results in camera selecting F/7.1 although it can do wider. Also, an unrelated issue is that maximum zoom often produces underexposed images. The above applies to Auto mode as well.
# Focus sometimes lies! I was making tripod portraits. Focusing square confirmed focus on subject. However, when I reviewed the picture the subject was not in focus, but background was. Several times in a row the same problem. I gave up.
# What you see is NOT what you get. The display shows images that appear much warmer (under AWB setting) than any computer monitor, and with too much backlight. Looks impressive, but quite unrealistic.
# Focusing sometimes fails completely when trying a quick shot.
# Menu Settings. Menu not optimized for quick changes because it goes over more than one screen. Also, as many have pointed out, the menu takes a while to appear. 'Fn' button in the front is not convenient either.
# No orientation sensor.
Old Canon had none of the above issues.
Things I liked (but which are probably not exclusive to P330):
* Wide field of view compared to old P&S
* Good quality at ISO800
* Excellent optical quality (slightly better than Canon S110), though not a quantum leap compared to Canon A620 and not quite like Nikon P7700
* Good quality video
In closing. This camera has great optical quality and is in principle capable of great shots, but one should be willing to spend more time and use manual settings. Otherwise, the results will be satisfying, but not optimal.
(P.S. I am not loyal to any brand; used to own Nikon SLR)
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
The last Nikon P-series compact I owned was the P5100 - Which delivered excellent image quality, was built extremely well, but suffered at high ISOs and had a frustrating interface.
I replaced it with the S90, which I loved, and then a Fuji XF1, which is great but flawed - much in the same way as this P330 is. In reading over my XF1 review, this isn't too far removed - Many of my complaints are the same.
The P330 is my first foray back into the Nikon compact world, as it seemed to be close to what I loved in the S90, and close what I have been looking for - A reasonably high quality sensor, great wide angle, some advanced controls, good in low light for the class, and most importantly, pocketable.
The sensor and the lens deliver extremely well for the class. I have no complaints there, you can get WONDERFUL output from this, exceeding the S90 and the XF1 - and even reasonable in low light.
The build quality is also excellent - This seems as if it will be a very durable camera. I have to say that adding the textured surface to the lens "barrel" was a nasty practical joke by Nikon - It exists only to trick you that it may do something. However, this is a solidly built camera.
My complaints are mostly the same ones I had with the P5100, in that the interface is sluggish and quirky. It's "typically Nikon" in that it matches much of the Coolpix series, but still isn't as geared towards advanced users as it should be for where it is positioned. It will remember where you were last, but it's not exactly quick to navigate. The dials are arguably most effective within the menu system, as they allow for changing options without going into the submenu, but the responsiveness leaves much to be desired.
Which brings me to the next point - The "command dials" are completely useless most of the time, and cannot be reprogrammed. This is a massive oversight, in my opinion. The entire reason I (and many others) loved the S90 was because in addition to providing good quality output for a compact at the time, it had EXTREMELY rapid handling - assigning white balance to one control and exposure compensation to another allowed for a level of handling never before seen in a pocketable camera.
The functions on both are fixed - The command dial adjusts the program shift in P mode, and the shutter speed in M and S mode, and that's it. The rear dial adjusts aperture in A mode, and is largely useless outside of that. Again, they are more useful within menus.
Why on earth would you provide "advanced" handling features and restrict them so greatly? Even an "easy ISO" mode or SOMETHING would have been better than the "nothing" they do most of the time. Don't kid yourself -- how often do you shoot in Aperture Priority mode on a camera like this? Given that your DOF is EXTREMELY limited by the small sensor and the aperture/focal length combinations available, "not much" is my guess. So the rear dial is mostly there to spin uselessly.
The FN button is theoretically interesting, but is thwarted by slowness. It was not immediately apparent how to remap it, which is done through the FN menu itself. It improves things some, and it's probably the most useful of the "advanced" controls.
The ability to use FN or some other button to go into a quick menu, like the My Menu function on the Nikon DSLRs, would have been incredible, and would have really brought quicker handling to the camera.
In short, there is a certain degree of customization I've come to expect from an "advanced" compact camera. The P330 falls short here, rather severely, and that compromises what could otherwise be an excellent camera for advanced users.
I would have loved an external charger, the internal charging wasn't apparent to me on looking over the product. Easily remedied by buying third party batteries and a charger. I'm on the fence about this one... In some ways, it simplifies what you have to carry. However, it makes an extra battery about useless. You basically have to treat it like a smartphone. Which would be fine if it used the same size USB cable as anything else I had, but of COURSE it's different. If the battery lasted longer, then this wouldn't be as much of an issue.
Slow image-to-image shots if you aren't in a continuous mode, and it takes a long time to write to the card. Might as well get some coffee if the buffer is full, you won't be doing anything for a while.
It's not all bad news, though. The built-in ND filter is very unusual for the class, and if you aren't screwing with settings, the handling is great and the shutter is responsive. Still handles quite good, for a coolpix. Does a wonderful job with exposure and auto white balance. And again, impeccable image quality.
I'm really torn on this. I want to love it for the output and features, but the usability suffers. If you don't care about the handling I care about, it's outstanding. I suspect that I will like it over time, but I'm not in love with it just yet. For my portability and quality needs, it's probably the best compromise at this time, but it's no S110 killer.
Compared to Canon S90, which I owned prior: The S90 has better handling by far, whereas the P330 has better focus speed, low light capability, and higher quality output. Improvements to the S series since would likely make the S110 a better choice.
Compared to Fuji XF1, which I also own (although it's on permanent loan) - Ignoring price, it's a toss-up. The XF1 handles a bit better and is very responsive, but is bigger. The P330 is more pocketable, and seems more durable. EXR sensor on XF1 is handy, P330 has better full-res output -- real world difference is negligible. Lens is more useful on P330, and doesn't crawl into the higher aperture ranges as fast. XF1 has more special effects, if that's your thing. P330 has GPS, and is slightly quieter. Both suck batteries down like you wouldn't believe. RAW format more usable in P330, if that's your thing. ND filter is nice in P330. While very similar, I have to give the edge to the P330 for portability and features, even if they aren't as immediately accessible.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2013
I've had quite a few higher end point and shoot cameras and this one is the best I've used so far. I've owned the Canon S90, S95, and S110 flavors as well as the Nikon P300. All the others took nice pictures but was always missing the "wow" of a DSLR (I know completely in a different category). I will say the very first images from my P330 indeed had that wow factor... especially with very minor touch ups! The macro mode also really shines on this camera! Is it perfect? Not a chance! The on button has to be mashed firmly and sometimes takes a couple tries and the menus could be laid out better. I'm using a SanDisk Extreme card so the files write pretty fast but still could be quicker in between shots. I do wish this had a touch screen like the S110 has as well as an external battery charger (the battery is removable and charger is available though). That being said, the image quality is amazing for a point and shoot and definitely worth the minor issues for me. I've uploaded a few sample pictures if you care to check them out.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2013
After my Sony RX100 went back for repairs (under warranty) for the second time, I bought this as a backup camera. For about half the price of the Sony it does an excellent job. Image quality is sharp. The litmus test is low light with no flash and it still excels. Both boot and focus times are very good. RAW capabilities exist but WiFi unfortunately is an option. I have always shot in Auto mode to date as well. Basically this is the same size as the Sony, half the price but definitely not half the image quality. Having both cameras now, I would not spend the extra cash for the RX100. If you're looking for a compact camera as your primary or DSLR backup in this price range - I recommend the Nikon.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2013
I purchased this camera over the Canon S110/120. The images produced by the P330 are great. The optics, larger sensor & f 1.8 lens all help. The camera is solid and has a nice heft to it. The assignable function button is a nice feature as well as a dedicated wheel on the top of the camera for adjusting settings. Priced under $280 this is an enthusiasts pocket camera that seems to fly under the radar. I have owned a Canon S95 and feel that at the current price of the S120 at over $400, cannot find it a better option than the P330 with very similar attributes. Aside from no touchscreen and lack of built in wi-fi (neither of which are important to me, although the P330 does have GPS) this Nikon is a powerful camera that deserves consideration and is a bargain in its class at this price.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2013
I purchased this camera to replace a lemon from another big brand, and boy was I surprised. Let's start with the 24mm wide angle lens and the f/1.8 aperture. That makes for some pretty impressive low-light photos. Yes, the f-stop goes up pretty fast when you zoom, but it's great to have. The menu is laid out quite nicely. The Function Button on the front of the camera is a handy and welcome addition. Whether shooting in full auto mode, straight manual or somewhere in between, this camera has the latitude to help a novice shoot better and a pro capture the image exactly as it appears in your mind. Photo quality is great. I was happy to see this camera shoots in RAW mode, but be warned - there's a bit of a lag time as the 27mb photos are written to your disk. There are some awesome features like shooting 60 frames at one push of the button. It's not a tiny camera, but it's not a behemoth either. My major gripe is about the charger. It's a USB charger, and a long cord that hooks into the camera itself. Fine if you have only only battery, but a bit of an inconvenience when you have a couple of spares you want to charge. Otherwise, I couldn't be happier. This camera may be a wee bit pricey, but a great picture is worth more than a thousand words.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2013
I have had this cam about 10 days, my gf bought it for me as a birthday gift. I wanted it for the larger than average sensor, 1.8 lens, pocketable size, RAW capability, macro capability, and decent price. Overall, I like the style and size of the camera (I have it in white), and it has an impressive array of settings and controls including GPS, wifi capability, and 1080P video. I will not address those bells and whistles in this review, only image quality.
The P330 is capable of very good image quality, but to get the best out of it, it takes some tweaking. Shooting in jpeg, I compared the different quality settings. Even at 200% magnification, there really was not much visible difference between 12 MP and 8 MP settings. However, there was a more visible difference between Normal and Fine quality settings. I would say for casual photos that will be emailed or file shared with friends & family, or used for web publishing, stay with the 8MP Fine setting (file sizes average 3 MP). You will not be able to tell the difference from 12MP Fine, even at 100% image size. But if there is a chance the photo will ever be blown up and printed larger than 8 x 10", definitely shoot full resolution.
Shooting JPEG, even in good daylight at lowest ISO (80), you can still see JPEG artifacts at high magnification on the computer monitor. It is not terrible, but it does not look as good as a DSLR photo, but no one expects it to be as good, since the P330 has a much smaller sensor. I also recommend keeping the noise setting on LOW, to help preserve detail, especially in dimmer light. I have assigned the front Fn button to access ISO because it saves two extra button presses when accessing via the menu.I usually have ISO set to auto range between 80-400. While some noise is evident at ISO 400, it's not bad and can easily be dealt with in post processing. The colors of the JPEG images look pleasing overall, but there is some evidence of hue shifts. If true color is essential, shoot in RAW-that seems to be very accurate colorwise.
I have set my User setting to be optimum for handheld low light conditions. My settings are: Aperture Mode @ 1.8 (incidentally, to keep the lens at 1.8 means no possibility of telephoto, since the 1.8 setting is only available at the widest 24mm focal length; you'll have to move in and out with your feet, not the zoom lever); ISO- auto range 80-400; Picture Control- Standard; Exposure Compensation- minus.3; noise-low; Active D-Lighting- OFF; Vibration Reduction- ON; Continuous Mode- BSS (Best Shot Selector). This last one has proved useful handheld in low light: keep the shutter pressed down and it will take a photo about every two seconds until you release and then automatically choose the sharpest version to save.
But to get the highest photo quality from the P330, you should shoot in RAW. For RAW, I use Picture Control set to Natural and the sharpness turned down to 0 (better to adjust these things in post). The RAW images will have more accurate color, fewer digital artifacts and will accept sharpening and noise reduction better for an overall creamier, smoother yet sharper result. The NRW RAW files generated by the P330 are BIG- about 26MP each. For comparison, my Pentax DSLR DNG RAW files average only about 11 MP--that with a 16MP sensor! The other issue with RAW files from the P330 is that there is an enormous amount of lens distortion at the wide end of the tele range. What are supposed to be straight lines curve like rainbows. With JPEGs, the camera removes the distortion; with RAW, you must use software to remove it. I use both Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6. Lightroom 4.4 (which uses Adobe Camera RAW 7.4) does not have a lens profile for the P330, so you must use the manual controls to compensate for it. The current Camera RAW used in CS6 (8.2) does have the P330 lens profile, so it is one click and done.
To sum up, to get photos that look close to a large sensor DSLR with the P330, you will need to shoot RAW and use post-process software that can correct the lens distortion. Unfortunately, the corners of the P330 photos will never be as sharp as what a good DSLR lens will give you. The P330 also has other operational issues such as slow image process times and slow focus, which other reviewers have commented on. Nevertheless, this cam offers a lot of flexibility and quality for the methodical shooter willing to dive deep into the menus to get the best from it. I will also add that the camera is extremely good for close ups and macro style shooting with very deep depth of field and extraordinary sharpness. When I am photographing things like jewelry, the P330 is preferable over my DSLR.