Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A review of the Nikon P330

I originally posted this review on Epinions.com, but decided I'd rather share it here.


My husband Bill and I just got back from a two week vacation in Italy and Greece.  In preparation for this trip, I decided I wanted to buy a new digital camera.  I did have a fairly new Canon PowerShot that I purchased last fall before we went to Scotland, but for some reason I was having trouble making videos with that camera.  I also wanted a slightly higher quality camera that was capable of taking better action shots.

I don't claim to be a good photographer or even to really know much about cameras.  I had owned a basic Nikon CoolPix camera that was easy to use and had eventually conked out on me.  When I saw the Nikon P330 Digital Camera being offered for about $375, I decided I wanted to give it a try.  This particular camera has only been on the market since March and I bought mine in early April.  I've used it to take action shots of my beagles and on our European trip.

First impressions

My Nikon P330 is black and slightly larger than the base level digital cameras I have been using for the past few years.  This camera has a GPS function and, if you purchase an optional WU-ia adapter, it has WiFi capability, allowing you to upload photos directly to the Web.  It has RAW (NRW) capability and records in 1080p HD video with stereo sound.

I like the fact that the Nikon P330 doesn't use a touch screen like my last Nikon camera did.  There's a handy wheel on top of the camera that makes it easy to choose settings.  A button on the left side of the camera makes it easy to raise the flash.  By contrast, the power button on top of the camera is slightly annoying because it's small and not always responsive to pressure.

There's a control wheel on the back of the camera with an "OK" button in the middle.  It's easy to use the wheel to navigate through the memory and make selections.

I also like the way this camera feels in my hands.  It has a metal build that feels solid in my hands, yet it's not heavy.

First shots

I really enjoyed taking my first shots with this camera.  I have a dog who loves to jump when it's dinner time.  If you are Facebook friends with me, you have no doubt seen the recent "flying nun" shots I have taken of Arran with this camera.  I've played around with the settings and gotten some truly awesome action shots with this camera.  It's taken practice and luck, of course, but I never could have gotten the same pictures with the cheaper cameras I used prior to owning the P330.  Again, I'm not a pro when it comes to taking photos, but this camera does make it easier to get good shots.  Depending on the setting used, the shutter is pretty quick.

I did not print any photos, but I did look at them on my monitor and iPad.  The still photos looked good on the monitor.  The LCD screen was mostly easy to see, except when I was in very bright sunlight.  In bright sun, the screen gets a glare that makes it hard to see what you're aiming at.

The battery

The camera comes with a rechargable lithium ion battery.  One thing I noticed about this camera as opposed to the Canon PowerShot I bought last fall is that you have to plug the camera into the charger with the included USB cable.  With the Canon, I could take out the battery and replace it if I wanted to while the spent battery charged. I can't do that with the Nikon.  The charger doesn't have a place to put the battery, so I have to charge it while it's in the camera.  I got about 250 shots before the battery was exhausted.

While we were on our trip, I forgot to bring the charger; I had only remembered the USB cable.  It took a few hours for the Nikon to charge while it was connected to my husband's laptop.  It was a good thing he'd brought it with him.  Otherwise, I would have been out of luck.  I brought my Canon with me as a backup, and it did a good job for what I used it for while the Nikon recharged.  I would recommend buying a spare battery if you plan to use this camera on trips.  As it was, we couldn't find any for sale in Italy, probably because this camera is so new.

Software

This camera comes with software which makes it easy to edit and share photos.  To be honest, though, I hardly ever use the Nikon software.  I'm used to editing my photos using iPhoto, so that's what I do.

Videos

I really wanted to have a camera that could take decent videos.  I'm not talking professional quality; I just wanted a reasonably easy to use video function.  I did take a few videos in Italy, though for some reason they were green when I put them on my iPad.  I'm not sure why that happened.  Again, I am pretty much a beginner when it comes to these things.  I have used this camera to get footage of my dogs and managed to make movies with iMovie.  This camera has a small button on the back that operates the video function.  I don't really like the location of that button because it's kind of awkward to get to it and turn it on properly.  But once I get the video going, it does a good job.

WiFi

I did not purchase the optional adapter that allows this camera to get WiFi.  I already had a device designed for use with iPads that allows photos to be uploaded.  For the purpose of uploading photos, that worked fine.  I plan to purchase the adapter, though, because I want to try to get the most out of this camera.  On the other hand, it would have been nice if the adapter came with the camera, given than WiFi capability is one of its main selling points.

I also like the idea of using the GPS system this camera has.  Granted, GPS is only as good as signal capabilities allow.

Camera size

This camera is a little bigger and bulkier than the entry level cameras I had been using.  It's slightly larger and thicker than a deck of cards.   It's still very stowable, though, and I had no trouble fitting it in my purse or pockets.

Overall

I'm definitely no camera expert, so I can't comment on things like aperture, shutter speed, or lenses.  All I can comment in is my experience using this camera for the past couple of months and taking it with me on a two week trip.  Overall, I think this camera is easy to use and, more than any other camera I've used, I've found it fun to play with the settings to see what they do.  I've gotten some really good action shots, as long as the camera is on the shutter or aperture setting.

The flash is kind of a pain to use, since it's not automatic and embedded within the body of the camera.  You have to raise it manually and sometimes, if you're not careful, the button gets pushed automatically and it pops up on its own.  I hardly ever need to use the flash anyway.

I find the P330 easy to stow and carry, which is important to someone who doesn't typically pack light.  Overall, I like the Nikon P330.  It's probably the best camera I've ever owned.  But given that I'm not a camera or photography buff, take that statement with a grain of salt.

I think I'll like the P330 even more once I buy a spare battery and the WiFi attachment.  

More specs

Specifications Camera Type - Compact Digital Camera Image Sensor - 12.2 MP (effective) 1/1.7 in.

CMOS Sensor Lens - 5x optical Zoom, NIKKOR glass lens Lens Focal Length - 5.1-25.5mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 24-120 mm lens in 35mm format)

Vibration Reduction - Lens-shift VR Motion Blur Reduction -

Motion Detection (still pictures LCD Monitor - 3.0-inch TFT LCD (921K dots, approx. 100% coverage)

Flash - Yes

GPS - Yes (built-in)

Wi-Fi - Optional WU-1a Adapter

Media - SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card File System - DCF, EXIF 2.3, DPOF compliant

File Formats - Image - JPEG, NEF (RAW); Sound - WAV;

Movies - MOV (Video - MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, Audio - AAC stereo);

3D Images - MPO Still Image Size - Up to 4000 x 3000 Video Mode - Up to Full HD 1920 x 1080 / 30fps ISO sensitivity - ISO 80 - 3200, Hi 6400 & 12800 Exposure Modes - P, S, A, M & Scene Auto Selector

Interfaces - Digital I/O (USB),

Audio/Video output (HDMI out)

For more information:
www.nikonusa.com 



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