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160 of 164 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
First of all, this is not a full review (people already did great jobs in reviewing the older model P300) this is more like a comparison between p300 and p310 because I had a hard time until I've settled on this camera. The choices for me were (P310, Canon s100, Olympus XZ-1, and of course the older model P300)

I don't own and never used the Nikon p300, so I can't tell if the p310 worth the extra 70$ but am going to mention the added features to the p310 and you decide for yourself :

- 16.1 megapixels instead of 12.2. Some might say it will produce more noise, but in my case I didn't face any issues with the 16 megapixels, no noticeable noise at all. And with some added features such as noise control of 3 different levels (which is also not available in the P300), then I don't think you should be concerned at all trust me.

- fn button (This is customizable, allowing you to assign a frequently used camera setting to it rather than having to dig through the camera menus.) I use it to give me access to ISO settings.

- Vibration Reduction V2 (which is an enhanced version of the one available on p300) so far I didn't get any blurry pictures even when am driving a car.

- one more mode has been added to the dial on top (which is `U' mode, you can for example go to manual settings and adjust the shooting mode, aperture, shutter speed, etc and save them to the user mode for next use) It allows you to save only one preset, but you can always reset of course.

- Manual focus (yes the p310 has manual focus, p300 doesn't) You can also use the manual focus during video recording.

- ISO range (instead of 160 to 3200 in the p300, now it's 100 to 6400)

- 3D mode (this feature has been added to the "scenes mode" it allow you take 2 pictures from two different angels and then the camera will produce a 3D photo that is viewable on 3D TVs.

That's all I guess

The camera is really nice and takes sharp and crisp pictures, as you know most of the cameras take good photos in day light. However, the real challenge is when shooting in low light and when it comes to low light this camera is SICK!! I took some pictures in extremely dark places and the camera never let me down. I took some photos at night with ISO 1000+ and still no noticeable noise!
A small hint: never use `auto mode' when shooting at night, use either "landscape mode" if you want to shoot buildings, etc or "night portrait" scene if you want to shoot people at night with background (requires flash) or Aperture priority and of course there's always a manual mode.

To my experience so far, the best mode for night shots is "Night Landscape". When you choose it you'll be provided with two options:
1- Handheld: In this scenario the camera will take 5 consecutive shots very quickly in just 1 second, actually you will hear the sound of the lens taking five shots. The output is nice but a little darker with no noticeable noise.
2- Tripod: This is the second option and when you choose it the camera will first set the vibration reduction to off, and then it will increase the shutter speed to around 2 or 3 seconds I guess, depending on the situation. The output is tremendous. So when using a tripod with this mode YOU WILL NEVER miss a shot at night believe me.

Cons: I gave this camera 5 star because the Cons are not a deal breaker for me. So here we go:

1- At first, it might be hard for you to hold the camera, turn it on, etc because the buttons are so close to each other. However, one day is enough for you to adapt.

2- Zooming while recording video is EXTREMELY slow. I usually don't zoom while recording so it's not a big deal for me but it might be for others.

3- Still no RAW like its predecessor.(probably all of you already know that)
4- Charging cable like others mentioned is not a standard USB cable.
Hint: you can go to ebay and buy a wall charger with two extra batteries for 14 bucks.

Generally, for under 400$ this camera is a winner in its class, if you're willing to spend over 400$ you can look for the Canon S100 or Olympus XZ-1. (I've checked them both) The Olympus has some focusing issues + video quality is terrible, the S100 has a common lens error + the flash will pop up automatically and it's located exactly where you put your left finger, so I ended up buying the P310)

In conclusion, I've dealt with many P&S cameras and all I can say is that this Camera is meant for..well, like the title says "Photography in the Dark"
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146 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2012
I'm a professional photographer[...] and I started getting tired of bringing my DSRL on vacations and out and about so I really wanted an Advanced point & shoot to take over the role of my DSLR on occasions where I just wanted to slip something in my pocket. I originally bought the Fujifilm F505 EXR because it was cheap on Amazon, $149. It had full Manual controls, Aperture and Shutter priority, everything you would expect. The only problem was the pictures were terrible. Smudging of fine detail, no sharpness, focal points were inconsistent, useless ISO, the pictures were just unusable and un-savable even in Aperture 3 or Photoshop.

So, fast forward, I sold it and looked for a replacement. After about a month of research I ended up having to choose between the Canon S100 and the Nikon Coolpix P310. I went back and forth and read reviews on how the S100 set the benchmark for all advanced point and shoot cameras and how great it was. It is about $140 more than the P310, which I was willing to spend IF, IF the pictures were far superior to the P310.

So I went to a camera store and tried out both of them. As far as how each of them are to use, well I shoot Nikon and after using the Canon and the Nikon I know why I shoot with Nikon. The P310 is simply the most thought out Point and Shoot I've ever used. Nothing is buried in menu's, everything is one touch or a dial. The LCD was much nicer, and sharper. The P310 has a "User Mode" found on Nikon's DSLR's where you can preset your own settings and quickly switch to it. One touch video recording button. It powers on instantly, the auto focus was much faster and more accurate than the S100. Over all it just felt better and I was able to change settings much faster than the Canon. Just like Nikon's DSLR's you can adjust sharpness and other things in it's familiar menu system.

So, on to the quality of the pictures. I went on Flickr and spent hours going back and forth between people's photo's who shot with the S100 and the P310. I found over all that the S100 photo's were about 10% better than the P310. But again, these were people that may or may not have known how to fully use their camera ect...

So, I ordered the P310 because I thought for the price and it's functionality it was the best deal and the quality of photo's it produced from what I saw online was better than I expected and read from reviews and was far superior to my old Fujifilm I got rid of.

Just got the camera an hour ago and tried it out. Did some indoor shots to try out the f/1.8 and higher ISOs, did some outdoor shots to see how well it exposed photo's and handled chromatic aberrations and how well it contained detail and sharpness, and I tried out some macro shots. My first impressions. Wow. Remember I'm a photographer so I'm used to working with photo's from a DSRL all day and I see all my photo's on a 27'' iMac so photo's are blown up huge and detail, sharpness, smudging noise are all much more present than most people with 17 and 19 inch monitors.

First off, sharpness. on a scale of 1-10 most of these are a 10, some darker ons are a 9 which can be bumped to a 10 in Aperture or Lightroom.

Exposure, I havent really seen anything yet that was way over or way under exposed. Clouds looked great and even a few things that looked over exposed were savable in Aperture.

Noise. Virtually no noticeable noise up to ISO 400, minimal noise at ISO 800, that was as high as I went as the camera lets in a ton of light as it is.

Detail smudging, the image processing contained detail extremely well especially in grass, leaves on tress, textures.

I wish I had bought this camera first. The photo's are brilliant for a point and shoot and quality wise are on par with my first DSLR ever the D3000. These photo's are far superior to what a regular point and shoot camera will produce. The low light lens will basically let you shoot in any kind of light and you will probably never have to use the flash. The Macro mode blew me away. You can literally get with in a few millimeters of a bug or flower and get an amazingly sharp photo with a great blurred background which is impressive seeing as the image sensor in the camera is so small.

Bottom line, if you're on the fence about getting this camera and it's at your price point, you won't find a sexier, easier to use camera that produces this kind of quality photos. If you've ever shot with a Nikon you'll feel right at home with the menus and new function button.

I can finally leave me DSLR at home now!

Update: this camera is blowing me away with the picture quality. Don't waste your money on the S100. This camera will be relevant for years and years to come.

=====================================================================

Update: My review on the new P330. In a nut shell, don't buy it, get the P310:

I wrote a review Praising Nikon's P310, And I suggest to anyone looking for an advanced point and shoot to save their money and buy that model. Everything from fit/finish to functionality to image quality the P310 excels over the P330, and that is sad considering what Nikon did with the P330. The P330 has GPS, larger image sensor all kinds of bells and whistles but the bottom line is I sent it back and I'm keeping my P310.

The Nikon P330 compared to the P310.

The P330 feels cheap. The on/off switch takes at least 2-3 times to turn the camera on, it's as if you have to push it harder than you could possibly image for it to recognize you've turned it on. The new thumb dial has a different texture compared to the P310. Your thumb slides off more easily when rotating it especially around 11:00. In the menu system either clicking the dial up or down or rotating it to scroll through menus requires 2 clicks or two clicks of the dial to move only 1 position. This makes it feel as though it isn't recognizing what you're doing or makes it feel laggy, the P310 is not like this. The new shutter dial is flimsy and cheap and feels like it's going to break off when you're adjusting shutter speed.

The P330 Image quality. In the perfect settings the P330 did appear to have slightly better images than the P310, but that was circumstances you won't be using it in. Using the same ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture the P310 at ISO 100, f/5.0 and 1/500sec produced bright clear noise free shots outdoors. The P330 with the same settings produced a back image. I had to turn the shutter speed all the way down to 1/60sec in order to get the same exposure. What does this mean? Well at 1/60sec moving objects like cars or people become more blurrier. From all the shots I did I concluded the P330 needs to have 3x a lower shutter speed than the P310. I've never gotten a blurry shot with the P310 in light or dark situations. When testing the P330 over and over and over I had blurry shots. Also the auto focus on the P330 on live view is jittery and moving subjects such as people or cars can't be distinguished sharply because it jerks around like the auto focus has a problem, the P310 was not like this.

Overall I rate this camera 1 Star and I would give it zero If I could. At $379 it's a terrible waste of money. The P310 is far superior in image quality, functionality and reliability in every single way. If you want Nikon and you want an advanced point and shoot, get the P310, you won't be sorry. I'm just happy I didn't sell mine.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Edit 5/2013:
P330 is now released and now you can find P310 at less than half price ($160-180) of P330. This makes P310 king for price/performance compared to other cameras in the price range.

Also, I'll add, I've dropped this camera about 4 times now onto a hard surface so it's got some dings and battle scars... but it keeps on working fine! (this is when I'm glad I don't have a $650 Sony RX100) One of the tabs that keeps the battery door closed chipped off so while it closes, it's easier for the door to spring open. I don't recommend you drop your camera ;-)

Edit 10/2012:
While I love the camera, it really struggles to auto-focus if you zoom during video. Focusing is VERY slow. Reducing to 4-stars... Does anyone have a solution for this? I keep the camera in "P" mode 95% of the time (P works for me).

Here are my priorities when it comes to point & shoots:
1. Price
2. Great low-light ability
3. Pocketability
4. Decent 1080p video
5. Extensive controls (like buttons, dials)
6. Zoom

At the time of this review (9/2012), I've had the camera for about 2.5 months and have taken around 800 shots thus far. [Update 12/2012] I've taken probably nearly 3000 photos and this thing continues to perform well.

1. I got it for mid-200s. That's a great price and the reason why I didn't get the popular Canon S100 as much as I like Canon, which I've had for many models in the past. Also, the S100 was plagued with a faulty-lens mechanism which would render the camera useless with it stuck in error mode permanently. If spending $360-400 for S100, I didn't want to put up with the chance of receiving a bad unit. If I didn't care about price, I would've gotten Sony's new flagship P&S, RX100 but $650, are you kidding me??? [Update 11/2012]: Canon has since released the S110, which is selling for about $400 now.

2. Aside from price, the utmost importance for me for a camera is how well it does in low-light. Sensor technology has come a long way, and mated with optical image stabilization, we're now in the era where we can take natural-looking flash-less photos indoors or outdoors with ambient lighting. P310 can do that. It's really excellent. I can take hand-held photos in the dark that come out brigther than real life. For years and years, taking indoor photos meant automatic use of flash but that is not the case anymore. Now using flash is the exception. Don't expect large-sensor miracles but for its tiny sensor, it suffices for me. I'm really surprised by how well it does in low-light. Where I've seen great results is outdoors taking photos of streets lit by street lamps and light from store signs or lights leaking from store interiors.

The night flash mode works pretty well and this is when you take photos in low-light settings WITH people as subjects (meaning, your subject is Jane and she's what you're focusing on but you'd also like the background to come in nicely) - there are 2 modes for this actually. One is the familiar "night" mode (aka slow sync mode) and the icon has a person with a star next to it. The other is the flash icon at the very bottom with 3 small triangles next to the flash symbol - this is rear curtain sync - flash fires twice while the shutter is open - I haven't done a sit-down analysis between the regular slow sync and rear curtain synch but rear curtain sync seems to work very well in evening settings. With these modes, I usually tell people, "don't move until I move" b/c people will usually move right after the flash goes off and create blur due to the slow shutter.

3. P310 is also truly pocketable, as in, you can literally slip it into your jeans pocket. I had the highly rated Panasonic LX5. The problem is that I never took it anywhere b/c it wasn't pocketable. I'm a dude and I don't carry a purse. I need my P&S to slip into my pocket. As the cliche goes, the best camera is the camera you have on you, right?

4. Video. It's a P&S with a small sensor and built in mic. Don't expect cinema-grade miracles. It's good enough. There's optical zoom during video, though I noticed focus is extremely slow, so slow that you wouldn't want to zoom. The stereo mic holes are well placed between the flash and mode dial. I've had a Samsung camera before with horrible mic placement and I'd always end up covering it with my hand during video (result: muffled sound). P310 does not have this problem. Also, the audio attenuation in very loud settings is a bit too much, so much so that it's too muffled and hard to hear what's going on around you. If in normal-volume settings this is not a problem. The audio is also not muted or cut off in the very beginning of the video - this matters b/c in very loud settings (i.e. concerts, clubs) you first hear a "pop", then the camera realizes it's too loud and attenuates. But the pop is still there and while you can edit it out later, it's annoying esp if you have many videos you just want to upload. I think these types of cameras should just chop off the first few milliseconds of the video to avoid this problem.

5. As a photo-enthusiast and a DSLR owner, naturally, I like dials and buttons. I really like that these higher-end P&S now all come with PASM and other controls not available prior to say Canon S90 or so. This is great. However in real life use, my P310 stays in program (P) mode most of the time. What I need most are quick access to EV, ISO, and macro mode. EV is pressing right direction on the back dial. You can switch to macro mode by pressing down on the dial. I do this often b/c I tend to take close-up photos of food. If you power off though, the camera does not reset out of macro-mode... you may like this or not. And I've assigned the ISO control to the function (Fn) button on front of the camera. This Fn button is great and it's something missing on P300. It could be placed in a different place for easier access but at least it's there and it's really great. Many claim that P300 with the lesser 12 megapixel count produces better images compared to the 16MP P310 (Nikon did it for marketing purposes, sigh...) but for me, the addition of the Fn button makes all the difference and I'm willing to take the image quality of P310 over P300. Without the Fn button, I'd be forced to dig into the menu just to change ISO. As an aside, the quirk about ISO menu itself though is that it requires 2 button presses before you can change ISO. Press Fn once to enter ISO menu, then with rear dial, you must press right to get into the mode where you can switch ISO. That's really the only complaint. I think the thumbwheel on the top-right of the camera is placed excellently. In manual mode, you're changing shutter with the top thumb-wheel and aperture with the rear dial. I personally like it more than the dial around the lens like S100/S110/RX100 since you don't need two-handed operation with the top thumb-wheel. Plus, the loud clicking dial around the lens on S100/S110 makes it unsuitable to use during video.

6. Zoom - this is a P&S, the more zoom it has the better. Photo-purists sometimes knock zoom saying "my zoom is my legs". Yeah yeah. You're in a packed stadium, how do you walk up closer? You're on a train and see the landscape outside. How do you walk up closer? You have a P&S, you need zoom. The longer the better. Actually 4.2x is admirable considering the largest aperture is f1.8 (but then that's also b/c the sensor is small). Will we ever see camera defy optics and get a 30x pocketable camera with a very bright lens? Ha Ha. Canon S100 is slimmer and boasts 5x zoom but then that also comes with a rather dismal f5.9 on the long end. Nikon is f4.9. Can't have it all I guess.

Other things - colors are pleasant, not washed out like some other cameras I've had. Metering is accurate most of time. Focus is quick and accurate. Startup time is not spectacular but good enough (disable the startup screen). Many recent cameras have this and I like face detection. When taking pics, a box will appear on the faces when it detects them. This way, you'd be sure that your subject will be in focus. No more accidental mis-focused pics!

There is a much-desired HDR mode, however in my use, I've found it too difficult to use. It's unfortunately buried in the menu (and I've assigned the Fn button already to ISO). The Mode dial does have a "U" (User) setting for custom settings; I tried to see if I could keep that setting on full-time HDR but couldnt' find a way to do so. The HDR images come out with this unnatural color hue and overly bright, and the time it take to combine the multiple shots with different exposures into one seems to take for ever. It's fine if you're just taking one shot but for repeated shots, the waiting time is too impractical.

Also note, the product dimension of 6 x 8 x 8 inches listed in product details is way off. Maybe this is the box size. The actual camera measures 4(w) x 2.5(h) x 1.5(depth, incl the lens protrusion, 0.8 without lens protrusion) inches. Yes, it is slightly but all-around bigger than S100/S110.

Battery life is fine for an evening out. If you're taking a big excursion, it will not last the entire day and video will drain battery fast. It's advised you pick up a couple of extra batteries. You can pick up cheap, aftermarket batteries on Amazon and eb@y. While at it, you may want to pick up a cheap third party charger.

Annoyances:
- The camera will not auto-rotate pics. So if you snap in portrait mode, it will not be rotated automatically while reviewing within the camera nor once you download it to your computer and you must rotate manually. That's pretty annoying... why Nikon why???
- The camera comes with a proprietary port for charging and you must charge the battery while in the camera. Ugh! That's one more cable to carry. Why can't they all use micro USB!!! If forcing in-camera charging, the port needs to be micro-usb. Otherwise, Nikon needs to provide an external charger (though you can pick up cheap aftermarket ones for less than $4 on eb@y)
- There are scene modes galore. The mode dial even has a setting, "SCENE". Once you select scene, you can then change the scenes like Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, etc... (there are tons). Selecting the mode is a bit quirky. You select "SCENE" on the mode dial and then you press the "MENU" button that's tucked to the lower left of the rear thumb dial, and then you scroll through the different scenes. It's cumbersome and should be more of the quick, one-two touch.
- Panorama mode offers 180 and 360 degrees only. It should be such that you can stop the panorama at any time during the sweep. Also, the Panorama mode is nested deep down the afformentioned SCENE mode. It would have been nice if Nikon included this mode directly on the mode dial like Sony does. It does align the photos and stitch unlike the S100 (which completely renders the mode useless), so that's big plus.

If you've read it this far, thank you. Finally, I'd like to point out some things in general.
1. In my experience, many people do not know that you need to depress the shutter button halfway to pre-focus. Often, mis-focus is due to the person taking the photo pressing the shutter without the half-press first... This forces a 2-step action into one and often this gets introduced to your resulting pics as camera shake or mis-focused subjects. So first, let's always half-press to pre-focus.
2. Most people take photos with arms out, camera held out far in front of them. This is fine for bright settings where the shutter speed is fast. But in dark settings, the lack of bracing the camera often translates into camera shake which produces blurred images. To avoid camera-shake, hold camera with both hands, try bringing both of your elbows as close to your body as possible and remain still until the shutter goes off. If you pre-focus first, then press the shutter while bracing the camera against yourself, you'll find that you can take much better, focused, shake-free photos.
3. Knowing when using flash is useless - One time on an airplane descending towards Vegas, I noticed someone snapping away from the window, the evening strip with all the neon razzle dazzle. It really is pretty at night. But that tiny flash won't do anything to light up objects that are miles away (not to mention the reflection of flash against window). Just treat flash as little particles of light coming off of your camera and lighting up a distant object. Will my little flash light up the big building that's 500 ft away? No? Then don't use it. You'll get much better ambient shots anyway. What if you wanted to take a person in front of a buidling that's in the distance? Then use the night flash mode mentioned earlier and the flash will light up the person and the slow shutter will continue to collect light to make the building very ambient looking. Note, if you use slow shutter, you will need to be absolutely still (or use tripod). If I'm taking a pic of someone using slow shutter, I always say "don't move until I move" b/c typically people move as soon as they see the flash fire. Again, keep in mind, the flash fires first and lights up the person, but the shutter is still open after that, continuing to collect light, so the background objects look ambient and nicely lit and not pitch dark.
4. Don't zoom in low-light (if handholding) - When you zoom, it makes the aperture smaller, meaning less light can get into your camera over a given time. This means it takes more time for your camera to collect the amount of light needed to produce a nicely exposed shot. And to do that, the shutter stays open longer, which can then translate into blurry photos due to camera shake.
5. If you can, carry a "real" camera. Mobile phone cameras have just about replaced dedicated cameras these days and while they have come a long way (they truly have) and phones like iphone5, HTC One(with "ultra-pixels), Galaxy S4, and the Nokia PureView phones give you very decent shots even in low-light, they're still no match for a dedicated p&s camera of the p310 caliber. Yes, it's one more device to carry but for me, I've made it a habit of just slipping the p310 in the back pocket so the "best camera I have on me" is indeed the p310, not my mobile phone's camera :)

I recommend this camera, especially to those looking for sub-$300 (now sub-$200) P&S.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I would give the camera 4.5 stars if I could. After owning it for a few weeks, the camera does a great job, especially (as others have noted) in low-light situations. The video is also very sharp for such a small camera. My only complaint is that some of the periphery pieces of the camera seem quite flimsy - especially the battery door (I think this was also a complaint in prior P300 models). I haven't had any problems yet, but seems like there could be down the road as the door hinge particularly seems very thin.

The picture speed is excellent, and the auto mode does a good job adapting to a variety of shot scenarios for those who prefer to just use auto. It is nicely lightweight, and the giant screen is sharp and easy to see, even for older people borrowing the camera. The menus are also straightforward to navigate. My mother has a touch-screen model coolpix and actually hates the touchscreen (it rarely recognizes her touch since she has cold hands) so she preferred the P310 setup where you use buttons to scroll through the menus.

The battery charge setup is a bit odd since you charge via USB on a proprietary camera cord (so the batter charges within the camera), but if this bothers you, you can buy a wall charger in the fairly inexpensive accessory package.

On the whole, so far it has been a great camera! You can't have it all in a point and shoot, and I'm willing to trade the excellent photo/video performance for rather cheap-looking battery/memory card doors.
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68 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
I own the P300 and have taken many shots with my friend's new P310. Both are fine cameras. The P300 is not perfect (what camera is?) but, for the money (mine was purchased recently for $245) it is the better P&S for me --- much cheaper than the the S95 or flawed S100. I owned the S95 and actually preferr the P300. It gives me more good shots - I typically use it in low light, often without flash in Auto mode. Pics are good IQ (or better) and there is usually no blur at all. Hard to beat for the money.

The P310 is almost as good but has too many megapixels (i.e., more megapixels and the same size sensor - a typically small P&S 1/2.3 = more noise + the need to use a lower ISO) --- 16 megapixels vs 12 megapixels. Low light photos --- in Auto or otherwise are not as good as the cheaper P300. And I can't see any reason why they should be.

Neither is great for video (a good, cheaper video/audio camera is the 12 megapixel Elph 300, preferably in pebbled black; it takes decent pictures). Both P's feature in-camera charging. This is a very cheap move on Nikon's part and not the case on some more expensive Nikons or most Canons. Not a deal killer but it forces us to spend a bit more. (Even the diminutive Canon Elph 300 --- a nice camera at $149 or $179 --- comes with a charger.)

I own a Canon G12 which is an excellent camera (it takes the best pictures under most circumstances and is only 10 megapixels). It has it all except for a fast lens and small size. That's why I purchased the P300 and it has met my low light/travel light needs. The P310 does not do it quite as well due to incremental image noise. It is in my opinion a Nikon marketing move ("Updated camera but not better, just more megapixels") as Nikon (my favorite camera company) refuses to make the very best P&S cameras it can for the money; they want to sell their DSLRs and mid-to-high priced lens'. Indeed, relatively cheap cameras like the Nikon DSLR D3100 with kit lens for about $549 rock (OK, the D5100 is even better but the D3100 should make you happy :-). (Of course, DSLRs are big.) Regardless, as stated, I believe Nikon sometimes keeps its P&S from being too good, unlike Canon or even Fuji (Fuji often messes up on its own with P&S --- unless you like round white orbs in your pics from a $599 P&S camera! --- the X10). A camera that improved is the Panasonic LX5 that has all the "goodies" they could fit into it and is an improvement to the LX3. Come on, wake up Nikon!!! The P310 should be meaningfully better than the P300 and it is not.

Of course, the P310 (and P300) have some excellent specs: 1.8 lens at low end (however, going to 4.9 when fully zoomed to 4.2x), excellent LCD screen with 921,000 pixels, quick operation, getting the most out of the small 1/2.3 sensor, well designed flash (mechanical, easy to use and will not easily break), and good build quality (not quite G12 build quality, but good --- except for the battery door which is a bit weak). They just work --- both the P300 and P310.

P310 improvements which could have been made: a bigger sensor (i.e., a truly premium P&S sensor that is, say 1/1.7 rather than 1/2.3), a lens that starts at 1.8 and ends at, say, 3.3 (rather than 4.9), or meaningfully better video/audio. There are minor P310 "improvements" such as a "better" stability system (not needed or noticed), 16 megapixels up from 12 megapixels (a step backward --- who needs large posters with noise?), and another dial. (Oh, I don't need the capability to go to ISO 3200 or 6400 on a P&S --- I never do and the noise with 16 megapixels would be high.) Luckily, the P300 already had good IQ and the P310's is almost as good. Excellent still picture cameras both! :-)

If you want a very good P&S search for a G12 under $400 or a smaller, faster P300/P310 under $300. Either should meet your needs and are some of the the best (for the money) P&Ss offered by Canon and Nikon. Both the P300 and P310 are worthy cams.

Good luck whatever you get!
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
I bought this camera for the fast F1.8 lens, however, I quickly discovered the AF system can't support it. The AF system does not perform in low light situations... Constant 'red boxes', indicating the camera can't obtain a focus. It defeats the whole purpose of a fast lens! On the other side, when you do get a good shot, the picture quality is top quality.... Clean, sharp and with excellent color and light balance. If you're not concerned with low light photography, this is a winner of a camera! Does anyone know of a compact point and shoot or a compact DLSR that meets my needs???

UPDATE - The AF system does not function well in low light when the camera is in 'Auto' mode. The AF system functions well when using 'Night' or 'Dusk / Dawn' modes...
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
I am a professional photographer and have pro level DSLRs that I use when on assignment or shooting commercially. I purchased the P310 after doing a lot of research to use as a family camera when I just don't feel like dragging around big heavy equipment. I usually upgrade my point and shoot every couple of years, as I get disappointed with the lack of quality in low light shooting situations - which is most family photography - indoors, low light.

The low light shooting ability of this camera is incredible. Images are sharp, and the color rendition is great.

I was deciding between the Canon S100 and this. I previously had a Canon S90. I'm extremely happy I made the decision to go with the P310 - superb camera.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2012
I was all set on purchasing the P7700, almost literally at the 'Place Order' button stage. The 7700 itself would be $430 and another $200 for accessories. At the last moment, I wanted to make sure I hadn't overlooked other models and for some reason I came across the P310. A few years ago, I had wanted to get the P300 but stayed with the Canon line, so I knew the P310 was worth looking at.

The first thing I did was add it to my cart to see what the price was (one of those 'we can't show the price' deals). I was expecting to see about $330, about $100 less than the 7700. I was absolutely amazed to see the price of $209. What?!? This was a direct from Amazon, New, sealed-box camera. For $209. Wow.

The short story is that after checking the features, reading both professional and consumer reviews, I jumped on that deal, got the camera, and I'm happy with the purchase, for reasons I'll explain below. But if you want the bottom line now, it's this: I defy you to find anything with this quality and these features for a paltry $209. It is an absolute steal. You're getting a Porsche for the price of a Hyundai. Seriously. Yes, I lost a few features that the 7700 offered but look at it this way: I could buy TWO P310's - and a bottle of wine - for the price of the 7700. Amazing.

Now, the fine print. There are some valid criticisms of the model, some invalid ones as well, but overall this is an excellent camera:

Superfast f/1.8 lens which opens to 24mm and has superb low-light capabilities as others have noted. Full 1080p HD video with stereo sound and the ability to zoom while filming (albeit at a slow rate - but this is actually closer to proper cinematic technique than an amateurish fast zoom). 16.1 MP, manual focus, high-res 3-inch LCD (very nice), customizable saved settings via the 'FN' button and 'U' mode, and many other great features.

For my personal needs (I'll use this in my antiques and antiquarian books business), the best feature is the excellent macro capability (2cm/.8in) which, combined with the fast 1.8 speed at 24mm, is a godsend: the test photos are incredible, with an antique stamp filling my 27" monitor with a sharpness that is just amazing.

As far as negatives go, they're mostly minor:

1. On one hand, it's a sturdy, well-made camera, as you would expect from Nikon; on the other hand, you have these seemingly-flimsy plastic ports leading to the battery/SD card and to the HDMI connector. As long as they hold up, it's not that important.

2. It is a valid criticism which others have made about the battery-charging design: simply ridiculous. However, it costs less than $10 to get a simple external charger which - yes - should have been included by Nikon.

3. No RAW (but a screemingly hi-res 16.1 MP).

The negatives are minor. The quality of the camera - especially the fast, sharp lens - combined with its many high-end features and its ease of use, make for an exceptional point-and-shoot, easily the best one in its price range (its usual price of $300-$325). And if the price is anywhere near the $209 that I paid for it on Amazon, it's the best deal on a camera you may ever see: jump on it before they're gone. (This is why I never got the P300: I waited, expecting a price reduction, then they sold out and 3rd-party sellers had sky-high prices on it ever after. Even now a new P300 is $379 minimum.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2014
It's in fact my first compact camera as otherwise I'm almost 30 years taking photos with SLR since my childhood. I bought it with waterproof case 1.5 year ago to be able to take it safely with for canoying. I didn't do any research before, just needed to buy quickly a good pocket camera for experienced user. Just after the Christmas 2013 I was a bit shocked comparing my older photos taken by canon d650 with a good lens last Christmas and the ones taken now by this small nikon. The ones from canon were almost all blurred in contrary to nice shots from nikon. Of course it was mostly my mistake because I don't like to use flash and just simply forgot that time how different can be to take photos by SLR and such small compact.. I've realised that much more often I'm enjoying and needing photos sharp everywhere than playing with shallow depth of field.. And that's where such small camera with good image stabilization and good fast lens can easily outperform SLR especially in poor light condition without flash. Here are some of my findings:

pros:
- small, light, well built, nice to my taste
- fast lens 1.8 at the wide end (24mm!), most frequently used and appreciated by me
- excellent image stabilization
- excellent, sharp printed photos at least up to A3 - I'm frequently producing my own photobooks and some of them taken purely by nikon are simply amazing
- excellent handling with all manual controls I need (the front FN button can be set e.g. for quick ISO change)
- excellent bright and detailed rear LCD
- good battery life
- excellent photos even in poor light condition without flash - just set the camera to P mode, keep ISO 100-200, keep time faster than 1/15 and even with aperature around 2.8 you will get razor sharp photos at least of the static subjects of course and if your hand is not shaking more than normally :)

cons:
- some noise can be visible even at ISO 100 in 1:1 view on computer but who cares? In fact I care but after browsing my photobooks with so nice printed pictures or viewing photos on screen after some minor fixes if needed I don't care too much any more :)
- pretty high noise for ISO 400 and (supposingly) higher ones, as I'm not using it, but just read above in pros how to have a nice photos.. (BTW do you remember a non-digital photos taken on a real film with ISO 800 or even higher :-)?)
- in some situation tendency for underexposed pictures - but it can be easily tuned by very quick manual control
- as for any photo camera lack of contrast and color saturation under very sunny bright conditions as I don't have UV filter but the photos can be tweaked without bigger problem on PC (in fact I'm using only picasa for all changes and shot only in JPG - suprisingly, at least for me, you wouldn't notice it in the photobooks with A3 photos so if you don't need more..)
- pretty severe purple fringing in areas of high contrast and contra light but can be fixed on PC if you know how or just be omitted as in printed photos you must know that you want to notice it ;)

I'm always tempted to search for some better pocket camera like sony rx100 or even some high-end fuji gems but problem is that this nikon produces so nice photos :) It's funny how people are picky nowadays but forgetting sometimes to take really the photos and enjoying them at the end.. I have to say that I'm pretty happy and still satisfied with that rather unintended purchase!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
5 stars! 5 stars! This compact camera produces sharp images even in low light, high ISO situations. I've taken photos at f/1.8 with 1600 ISO and the photos still came out with little to no noise pre-editing. I never use the flash. I have yet to come across a situation where I needed it. (Most of my photos are taken in low light)

I would recommend this product to pretty much anyone. Because of its capabilities, any photographer (whether you are a professional or a beginner) can find this camera very useful and easy to use too.

I don't want to blab on and on because sometimes reading a 9 paragraph review can be exhausting. But trust me, this camera does not disappoint. I've taken about 200 photos in the last 6 days and the battery is still at full capacity. So anyone who says the battery on this camera is underwhelming is wrong.

I have nothing else to say! 5 stars!
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