Nikon Coolpix P330 || A Hands-on review of this compact camera

I won a Nikon Coolpix P330 camera in one of the contests last year and recently got a chance to try it in few outdoor & indoor events during daylight as well as night. So thought of sharing my personal experiences in terms of review about the functionalities and quality this camera offers. Other photographs shared in this Photo Journey are shot with Nikon CoolPix P330.

Let us first look at the specifications of Nikon Coolpix P330 and then discuss about each factor in detail. Here we would not be comparing the camera with it's compititors but we would evaluate it's pros and cons with considerations to make a buying decision. 

Some of the key things Nikon Coolpix P330 offers -
1. It's a 12.2MegaPixel BSI-CMOS sensor
2. This camera is capable of shooting Raw files as well(.NRW)
3. P330 has 24-120mm F1.8-5.6 optically-stabilized zoom lens - Which indicates the capability of getting nice bokeh and convenient clicking in low light.
4. ISO on this camera can go upto 3200 and go further till ISO 12,800 in manual mode. Again a good help in shooting in dark without flash. I have to try this yet.
5. Maximum 10frames per second shooting 
6. This Camera shoots Full HD, 1080/60i/30p movie
7. P330 has 3" 921k-dot rear LCD screen 
8. There are 23 Scene modes including 3D
9. Camera has built-in GPS
10. By charging the battery fully, we can shoot approximately 200 shots per charge

If we compare the size of Nikon Coolpix P330 camera with other point and shoot cameras, this is definitely bigger than the others. But at the same time, this camera definitely offers better optics and hence better results than normal point and shoot cameras.  shoots in raw file format as well, which is NRW. If we compare it with it's earlier versons, P330 has relatively fast lens, good build quality, and a useful zoom range as well. Although I would have prefered a bit wide range :). Having said that, I think 24mm is good for most of the use cases and you also get reasonable good optical zoom. When I am talking about zoom, let me share that camera has a setting through which you can switch Digital Zoom ON or OFF. I still need to work out the scenarios where I would want to keep it Off or On. As of now, I am keeping it On for showing a trust in camera that it would do better or similar job as photo processing softwares. Have a look at the photograph shared below which is clicked on almost full zoom. These two kids were looking outside through the car window on the back.

This camera sounds like a serious attempt by Nikon to offer a real competition to other popular cameras in this range. Nikon Coolpix P330 camera has compitetive price as well. Frankly speaking, I never thought of buying such camera before as I am heavy user of mobile-camera and prefer DSLR most of the times. Now, when I have this Nikon P330, I have started carrying this to other places, where I used to carry by DSLR and definitely my mobile-camera remains in pocket when this camera is in my hands. Now I can really appreciate the value this kind of cameras bring - Easy to carry anywhere and far better picture quality as compared to mobile cameras. When I use term 'Mobile Camera', many of my friends feel that iPhone-Camera is an exception here. But it's not true. Soon I shall be sharing photography experience with iPhone 4/4s/5s with examples and comparison with other Android & Windows phones 
in market.

Now let's have a look at the highlighted features marketed by Nikon. Camera has a bigger sensor and hence you need to make a compromise on size of the camera. This camera would not fit your pocket comfortable. During winters, I am carrying it in my jacket but need to think about something convenient during summers. As I always say that technology can never be perfect, it's just that we have to be clear about our priorities and decide accordingly. I was very impressed with the photograph above. This was shot in relatively low light during one of the events in Delhi at ISO 800, but notice the clarity. There is hardly any noise. So here I would not give whole credit to the camera because I have reduced some noise through Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. But getting this kind of result even after processing a JPEG is phenomenal. And sensor plays a big role in this. I don't want to talk about MegaPixels, as it's not very relevant for most of the camera folks. Let me explicitly mention that quality of a photograph is not dependent on how many megapixels it has and in fact, higher megapixel can hamper the quality of photographs in low-light. This is separate topic, which I should cover in a different post sometime.

Camera is claimed to be very fast as it say 10 frames per second, but I failed to experience that. I found it difficult to shoot so fast with the camera, especially when I use zoom. In fact, at times it's slow to focus when you are using higher zoom levels. So here I would say that camera is relatively fast but not that fast, as it sounds from the specifications. Apart from slow behavior in shooting, camera takes time in switching it On.

Did you ever try edit your photographs clicked from non-DSLR cameras? If yes, you must have noticed that you can't do much with those photographs (mostly JPEGs), because you start getting grains or distorted edges. This happens because you are trying to manipulate an already compressed jpeg file. This camera gives you an advantage of giving uncompressed NRW file which can be processed well in photo editing softwares to have better results. I personally love raw file formats, only because of their power capture rich details from the frame you shot with camera.

Sensors of Nikon Coolpix P330 is bigger as compared most of the compact cameras available in market, but at the same time Sensors in Fujifilm Xf1 and Sony RX100 are bigger. Sony RX100 has significantly bigger sensor in it and that's one of the main reason of it's popularity.

I loved the way Flash has been put in this camera. It looks more secure and easy to use. Initially faced difficulties in understanding the ways to open the flash but when figured out, I liked the idea.

I still need to review different shooting modes of the camera. So far I have tried Aperture, Shutter-Speed and Manual and everything worked great. Likewise, Video is yet to be tried.

Top reasons to have Nikon Coolpix P330 -

1. It's bigger size sensor
2. Capability of shooting in Raw File Format
3. High Aperture like f1.8 and bokeh quality in comparison to Canon Powershot S110.
4. Smaller in size and well built
5. Inbuilt GPS
6. To give occasional rest to your DSLR
7. Value for money (Capabilities offered at the camera-price)

Of course this review is completely on merits and demerits of this camera w.r.t. cost and that's how I personally like to know about any gadget. Of-course, the next logical step is to compare with other similar options available, which we shall do in near future. 

Here are few things which irritate me when I use Nikon P330.

- It's very slow when it comes to switching On or Off. This is biggest problem which make you miss the moment you want to capture.

- When you click photographs, there is delay in saving the photographs.

- All photographs shared in this post are processed in Lightroom and hence some problem are not visible. This camera shoots distorted photographs with black shadows around corners. 

You may ask specific questions through comments here...

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