Nikon Coolpix P300
12.1 megapixels; BSI CMOS sensor; 4.2x optical zoom; 24mm wide-angle; Optical image stabilization; Max aperture f/1.8; EXPEED C2 processor; 3-inch LCD, 921k pixels; 1080p HD video, 30fps; 8fps burst shooting (7 frames max); Press-and-sweep panorama; Manual control (PASM); Captures to SD/SDHC media cards; Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Nikon's P300 looks like a great compact camera, with enough power and control to appeal to some enthusiasts but a price that puts it within reach of hobbyists and general camera buyers. The standout feature here is the f/1.8 lens, which is incredibly bright for a point-and-shoot. It's built around a BSI CMOS sensor; this lens/sensor combination should give the P300 a big boost in low-light image quality. The sensor measures a standard 1/2.3", so the P300 isn't quite an advanced compact in the vein of the Canon S95 or Panasonic LX5; it is a high-end point-and-shoot in the vein of last year's Canon SD4000 (which performed admirably well) or this year's Canon ELPH 500. It's a little bit pricey compared to the ELPH 500, but the brighter lens gives it a bit of an edge in low light, through from what we've been hearing, the Canon is a slightly better performer all around, not to mention a few bucks cheaper. Honestly, it looks as though either one is a great not-quite-advanced point-and-shoot, so take your pick of the two -- this is a non-touchscreen model, which is sure to appeal to many buyers.