Everyone carries a smartphone with good cameras, so who actually buys compact cameras? Well, for my recent vacation, I brought the Nikon COOLPIX W300 with me and I passed it to my daughter for her exclusive use.
The W300 is a 5X optical zoom (24-120mm) f/2.8-4.9 compact camera that is shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof. So it is technically child proof, and with any normal abuse, the camera will not be spoiled easily. It makes a fantastic camera for children, to give them an opportunity to explore their creative side without worrying about damaging the camera. I know my daughter is a responsible kid, but accidents happen. A drop or two, getting soiled, etc. The Nikon W300 is worry-free, for both parent and child.
Built to allow ease of use underwater, the W300 can be operated with gestures to select shoot modes, though the response seems dodgy. Additional buttons on the left side of the camera allows access to display location data like altitude and compass, as well as turning on the LED light as illumination.
If you are flying on budget airlines without any in-flight entertainment, the W300 can provide all the navigation information like direction and altitude.
Being a long-time Nikon DSLR user, the W300 feels at home with good exposure balance and dynamic details, accurate white balance. Nothing too over-processed unlike smartphone cameras.
Sharpness is guaranteed if you keep your hands steady.
Under low lighting, noise reduction is applied which might make images appear slightly muddy.
Up to Speed
The lens has a variable aperture of f/2.8 – 4.9, hence the zoom end might lose some light. VR does not help excessive shaky hands, so steady hand is needed to get sharp images at the zoom-end. Given sufficient lighting, the W300 can help capture fleeting moments up to 120fps (maximum bursts of 50 shots). When shooting in low continuous shutter mode, the camera can shoot about 1.5 fps forever without buffer issues. When shooting in high continuous shutter mode, it fires 5 shots at a time. In video mode, the camera can record in 4K UHD resolution in 30 fps, capturing finer details compared to FHD, which appears washed out (I highly recommend recording in 4K).
Instant Transfer to Smartphone
With built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the W300 can be connected to the smartphone via Snapbridge app to manually download files or remotely control the camera over live view. The ability to automatically transfer recently-shot photos to the smartphone makes sharing photos much more convenient. The download process works in the background without any manual work. Whenever the W300 powers up, it connects to the phone ready to receive new images, thanks to Bluetooth. Setting is quite straightforward, and I did not encounter any hiccups. Now there is one less reason not to shoot with compact camera because of hassle of transfer to smartphone.
If you have an active lifestyle, or want to let the next generation explore their creative side, I would highly recommend getting a rugged compact camera like the Nikon COOLPIX W300 that retails at S$689. Under good lighting conditions, the camera can capture good images. With 5X optical zoom, it will get better images than a smartphone and will survive abuses better too. The auto-download function to the phone is a tremendous convenience. Just like smartphones are expected to have good IP-rating, compact cameras should either have superior image quality or possess excellent weather resistance to worth getting.
Official product website: http://www.nikon.com.sg/en_SG/product/digital-compact-cameras/waterproof/coolpix-w300