Design and features
Nikon's latest entry into the advanced compact camera space sits head and shoulders above the previous P-series cameras in this class. While the P330 might look identical to its predecessor, the P310, there are several notable differences inside.
Key changes include a 1/1.7-inch backlit CMOS sensor, which puts it in the same league as other larger-than-average compacts from Pentax, Canon and Samsung. Nikon has reduced the resolution to 12.2 megapixels, which is something we respect greatly, especially as so many other manufacturers keep pushing for more. It's the same sensor that appeared in the P7700.
After waiting patiently through several iterations, photographers finally get RAW capture on the P-series. The P330 also comes with a built-in ND filter and a 3-inch, 921,000-dot LCD screen.
Another new feature is active mode, which helps to compensate for camera shake when the photographer is moving or walking. The mode dial at the top of the camera gives access to full manual exposure controls, while a built-in GPS is useful for travellers to track photo locations. There is no built-in Wi-Fi with this camera, though it is compatible with the (optional extra) WU-1a that allows for photo and video transfer to mobile devices.
The lens is a 5x optical zoom unit at 24mm wide-angle, with a fast maximum aperture of f/1.8. However, it stops down rather dramatically to f/5.6 at the longest end of the focal-length range — something that's not unusual in cameras of this class.
Full HD video recording is available at 1080/50i/25p, 720/25p, 480/25p or 540/25p (iFrame). There are also a few slow motion modes that play back at 1/4, 1/2 or double speed at reduced resolutions.
Controls on the P330 are simple, but effective. The rear four-way directional pad doubles as a control wheel for jogging through options in menus and adjusting the aperture when in manual mode. The top wheel just near the shutter button adjusts shutter speed. On the mode dial itself, there is a night landscape option, plus the choice of scene selections. These include backlighting, pet portrait, panorama, food, museum, sunset and portrait modes, among many others.
One thing we did notice about playing with the P330 and adjusting settings from the menus is that there was a very slight delay or lag. It's not a big deal, but feels a little sluggish compared to previous Nikon compacts we've tested.
Connectivity is via HDMI or USB out.
|Sony Cyber-shot RX100||Nikon P330|
|20.2-megapixel CMOS sensor (1-inch)||12.2-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor (1/1.7-inch)||12.1-megapixel high sensitivity CMOS sensor (1/1.7-inch)||12-megapixel backlit-CMOS sensor (1/1.7-inch)|
|3-inch, 1.2-million-dot (VGA resolution) LCD||3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD||3-inch, 461,000-dot touchscreen LCD||3-inch, 920,000-dot tilting LCD|
|3.6x optical zoom, 28mm wide angle||5x optical zoom, 24mm wide angle||5x optical zoom, 24mm wide angle||4x optical zoom, 28mm wide angle|
|Aperture range f/1.8-4.9||Aperture range f/1.8-5.6||Aperture range f/2.0-5.9||Aperture range f/1.8-2.5|
|Full HD video (AVCHD/MP4, 1080p)||Full HD video (H.264, 1080p)||Full HD video (H.264, 1080p)||Full HD video (H.264, 1080p)|
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Start-up to first shot
- JPEG shot-to-shot
- RAW shot-to-shot
- Shutter lag
- 126.96.36.199.1Panasonic Lumix LX7
- 188.8.131.52.2Samsung EX2F
- 2.2260.3Nikon P330
- 184.108.40.206Pentax MX-1
- 2.5110.1Sony RX100
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Continuous shooting speed (in seconds)
- 11Panasonic LX7
- 10Samsung EX2F
- 8Sony RX100
- 5.1Nikon P330
- 4.5Pentax MX-1
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The P330 has a range of continuous shooting modes. The measurement above was taken in the highest speed mode, which snaps 10 JPEG shots in a row before stopping to process them. There is a pre-shooting cache mode, as well as a 120fps or 60fps mode, which takes photos at 1-megapixel resolution. Nikon's best scene selector (BSS) also makes an appearance here, with the camera automatically choosing the best frame from a burst of photos. Interval timer mode is available for time-lapse purposes.
Autofocus performance is accurate, though it takes a little time for the camera to get there, more so than on competing cameras in this class. Low-light shooting exacerbates this quite a lot. It's also worth noting that the P330's RAW processing is incredibly slow, which might mean that you will miss the next shot as you wait for the camera to finish writing the file to the SD card.
Nikon rates the battery at 200 shots.