Nikon Coolpix P330 Review

Nikon is a relative newcomer to the small, high-quality compact camera market. Although for the past couple of years the Coolpix P300 and P310 offered excellent build quality and a similar user experience to competitive models like the Canon PowerShot S110, neither featured a raw capture mode, and both used comparatively small 1/2.3" sensor rather than the 1/1.7" sensors commonly found in their high-end peers.

The Nikon Coolpix P330 changes this dynamic, offering both raw mode and a larger, lower-resolution sensor (almost certainly the same 12MP one found in the Coolpix P7700), without sacrificing what was good about its predecessors - a compact form factor, relatively fast lens, good build quality, and a useful zoom range. As such it represents Nikon's most serious attempt to offer a real competitor to the Canon PowerShot S110 and its popular predecessors the S100 and S95. At an MSRP of $379, the P330 is competitive on price, too.
Nikon Coolpix P330: Key Specifications

    12.2MP BSI-CMOS sensor
    Raw Mode (.NRW)
    24-120mm (equivalent) F1.8-5.6 optically-stabilized zoom lens
    ISO 80-3200 (up to ISO 12,800 in manual mode)
    Maximum 10fps shooting (for 10 frames)
    Full HD, 1080/60i/30p movie recording
    3" 921k-dot rear LCD screen
    23 Scene modes including 3D
    Built-in GPS
    Approx 200 shots per charge (CIPA)

The Coolpix P330's lens is the fastest in the current Coolpix lineup, offering a maximum aperture of F1.8 at the wide end, just like its predecessor the P310. Don't get too excited though, because like Canon's PowerShot S110, the P330's lens gets pretty slow, pretty quickly as you zoom in. At the 120mm telephoto setting, its maximum aperture is F5.6. Not bad, and wide enough to give a hint of subject/background separation for portraiture, but not exactly 'fast'. Unfortunately, if you want a camera with a big sensor that still fits into your shirt pocket, this is the sacrifice that you have to make. Users of rivals such as Sony's Cyber-shot RX100 will be all too familiar with the compromise.
The P330 might look like an iterative upgrade to the P310, but the new camera has a larger 1/1.7" sensor, inherited from the P7700, and offers a raw capture mode. Both features should make the new camera more attractive to enthusiasts, and bring it into line with what now seems its most obvious competitor, the Canon PowerShot S110.
Here's how the P330's sensor compares to other cameras in terms of size (illustration to scale, but not actual size).
As you can see, 1/1.7" is a meaningful size increase over 1/2.3", but both are still considerable smaller than the CX-format that Sony uses in its Cyber-shot RX100, not to mention Micro Four Thirds and APS-C.
This graph (click for a larger version) shows the P330's aperture range expressed in terms of equivalent aperture for depth-of-field purposes. Because of the size of its sensor, the P330's aperture range of F1.8-5.6 is roughly equivalent to F8-22 when it comes to ability to offer background blur. This might not sound impressive, but it a fraction better than Canon PowerShot S110's lens in this respect.
In other regards, the P330 is basically what we'd expect of a camera in this class, at this point in time. Full manual exposure control is available, and PASM modes can be accessed from the exposure mode dial on the camera's top plate. The P330 has two command dials - one on the top, for operation with the thumb of the right hand, and one on the rear, comprising the 4-way controller.

As well as PASM modes, the P330 also offers a range of Scene modes for JPEG capture, and in common with most of its peers, GPS is built-in, too. The camera is also compatible with Nikon's WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter.

Body & Design 

Like most compact cameras, the P330 lacks an optical viewfinder but its 3-inch, 921,000 dot LCD serves for image composition and review. The P330 differs from its big brother the P7700 in many ways, but significantly, it lacks a hotshoe, and its built-in flash cannot be used as a controller for external flashguns. This also distinguishes it from larger peers like the Fujifilm X20, Olympus XZ-2 and Panasonic LX7, all of which feature faster lenses, hotshoes, and in the case of the X20, a built-in optical viewfinder, too. The P330, like Canon's S110, sacrifices some of this versatility for reduced size and weight.

The P330's control logic is the same as that of the P310, with two control dials located on the top plate and rear of the camera for adjusting key exposure parameters. Unlike its main competitor the Canon PowerShot S110, the P330 does not offer a front-mounted control dial. This is a shame, since we've found that performing some actions - particularly aperture and exposure compensation - feel very natural using a control point in this position.

The P330's tiny built-in flash is activated with a mechanical catch and springs up from the camera's top-plate, providing enough power for relatively close-range portraits and 'fill in' when shooting outdoors.

On the front of the P330 you'll find a tiny Fn button, positioned within easy reach of your forefinger to the lower right of the lens. The button can be programmed to provide access to one of a number of options including image quality, Picture Control, white balance, metering, and ISO, among others.

A traditional exposure mode dial on the P330's top plate provides access to PASM exposure mode, as well as a user-configurable 'U' setting, full auto (shown as a green camera icon) Scene modes and Night Landscape mode.

This view shows the P330's integrated zoom control and shutter button. Behind it and to the right you'll see one of the P330's two command dials, used for setting exposure parameters.

And here's the second one, positioned on the rear of the camera.

Both dials are controlled with the thumb of your right hand, and by default, the rear dial controls aperture in the PASM modes and the upper dial controls shutter speed, but their functions can be swapped if you desire.

The P330 doesn't have much of a hand-grip, but this rubber accent on the upper-right of the camera's rear helps keep a firm hold when the camera is used one-handed. To its left you can see a flash confirmation light and the movie record button. The five vertical holes conceal the P330's tiny speaker, for audio alerts and video playback.

The P330's EN-EL12 battery and memory card share a compartment on the bottom of the camera, hidden behind a lockable door next to the tripod socket.

source: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-coolpix-p330/

Title Post: Nikon Coolpix P330 Review
Rating: 100% based on 99998 ratings. 5 user reviews.
Author: hadhie s

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