Nikon Coolpix A300 Review

April 3, 2018 | Tim Coleman | Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix A300 is one of the company’s more recent budget compact cameras, launched in April 2016. It features a 20.1MP CCD sensor and an 8x optical zoom range of 4.5-36mm, which is equivalent to 25-200mm. 

As part of the camera market that has seen the most rapid decline, the Coolpix A300 has its work cut out. In its favour, the A300 is light and small, low-cost, offers that 8x optical zoom range with lens-shift vibration reduction for a claimed 3 f-stops. It’s also got Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless connections built-in.

Several stores stock the Coolpix A300 in a variety of colours, including red, pink, silver and black. At the time of writing the typical price is around £129. For more information about the camera, please visit the Nikon Europe website. 

Ease of Use

The first thing you’ll notice about the Nikon Coolpix A300 is just how small and light it is. At 119g with card and battery, this is feather-weight and lighter than many smartphones.

It’s dimensions are around the size of a small smartphone, while being twice as thick. This is a camera that will slip easily into a trouser pocket. (Or get lost in a bag.)

Compact cameras like this are meant to be easy to use. Yes, you even get a sticker on the front of the Nikon A300 stating to this very effect. It will not take long to work your way around the camera.

On the top is the on/off button (that needs a firm push) and the lens zoom control (that provides a single-speed zoom). Inside the zoom sits the shutter button. That 8x optical zoom can be digitally extended to 16x. 

Move to the rear and there is a 2.7in fixed LCD screen, a standard control pad, selection button (OK) plus four other buttons (menu, scene, playback and image delete). If you’ve used any camera before this will all be very familiar.

A video record button sits in the top right. We’ll mention at this point that the CCD sensor limits the Nikon A300 to shooting videos with a maximum resolution of 720p. If video is your thing, the A300 probably isn’t for you.

Being such a small camera, there isn’t much need for a grip to obtain a firm hold. There are six raised dots on the rear that provide a tactile/ non-slip surface where your thumb naturally rests. Otherwise the front has a smooth and slippery finish.

Nikon Coolpix A300
Front of the Nikon Coolpix A300

Underneath is a tripod mount (centrally placed therefore off-centre from the lens), plus the battery door. Inside you’ll find an EN-EL19 battery pack that has a 700mAH capacity and provides up to 240-single-shots from a full charge. The camera accepts all SD memory cards.

There is a USB port on the side of the A300 camera which can be used for charging and as an A/V out. This is not a universal micro-USB type, so you’ll rely on the cable supplied with the camera. 

That’s the body. So what is the Coolpix A300’s handling like? Well, startup is a reasonable 2 seconds. That’s not particularly quick, but is fairly snappy for a camera like this. 

Like all cameras, the Nikon A300’s shutter is on the top and is much more comfortable to operate single-handed than a smartphone. Obviously, a tap of a smartphone screen can be very fiddly single-handed, especially when trying to shoot with larger models. It is a breeze to operate any of the A300’s controls with one hand. 

The 2.7in LCD screen is truly underwhelming. Perhaps more could have been made of the camera's real estate - a slightly larger screen could be squeezed in. The resolution is a bigger problem though. It is a mere 230k dots, so detail is not as sharp as it could be. The pictures produced by the camera are better quality than they appear on screen.  

The screen is fixed and its viewing angle is particularly limited when trying to view from high or low angles. Also, it is hard to gauge if a picture is too bright or too dark, simply by looking at the screen in playback mode. 

Nikon Coolpix A300
Front of the Nikon Coolpix A300

Nor is the screen touch sensitive (not that that we would expect this feature). Nope, all controls are handled by the camera buttons (or wirelessly via SnapBridge). The best thing going for the screen is that it is relatively bright. 

By default the camera is set to is Scene Auto Selector mode where the camera detects the scenarios and takes control of the exposure settings. Shooting mode is changed using that Scene button. 

In this menu, there is another Scene mode where the user can manually select the scene settings, which includes a Close Up, Night Landscape and a basic Panorama Assist. 

In Panorama Assist, a partial ghost image of the previous shot is displayed in a panorama sequence to assist the user lining up the next overlapping photo. The stitch is limited to three photos and it is tough to get satisfactory results. 

There is also a Smart Portrait mode. In this mode, skin smoothing is automatically applied, plus image softening and adjustments to colour saturation and brightness. In all, this mode is designed to make flattering portraits straight out of the camera. 

For close up and well lit portraits, Smart Portrait mode works quite well. If you’d rather do this sort of editing afterwards, there is further in-camera editing available that includes Glamour Retouch. 

Nikon Coolpix A300
Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A300

More experienced photographers will probably be drawn to the Program Auto mode, where it is possible to manually select the white balance and ISO sensitivity settings. Shutter speed and aperture are automatically chosen by the camera. 

Further manual control in this mode includes the Autofocus mode, for single or full time AF, with face priority, subject tracking, target finding, centre or manual point selection. 

Other manual control is found on the control pad. The macro mode button activates the 2cm minimum focusing distance, plus there is a 2, 5 (self portrait) or 10 second self timer. You also get exposure compensation which works up to ±2EV. This is a saving grace with the unreliable automatic exposure selection in some of the shooting modes.

Really though, the Coolpix A300 is a camera that is designed to take full control. 

Hit the menu button and you are greeted with a basic, easy to navigate menu divided into Shooting (photo), Movie (video), Network (wireless) and Set Up.

A novelty for a camera at this price point is the inclusion of wireless connectivity to a smart device. Through Bluetooth, the A300 connects to Nikon’s SnapBridge app. The app can automatically download pictures after they are taken at 2MP resolution.

Nikon Coolpix A300
The Nikon Coolpix A300 In-hand

It is also possible to take remote control of the camera via your smart device. Really it’s only the optical zoom feature of the A300 that makes sense, because the image quality coming from the camera is no better than the smartphone you are controlling it with (more on this later)! 

We think there are better functioning and more comprehensive camera remote apps out there than Nikon SnapBridge. None-the-less, the function certainly makes getting your camera pictures onto your smartphone that much easier. 

As for the overall speed of the camera, it’s all a little disappointing. Start up is reasonable, but menu selection and playback response lags. 

Autofocus is not the most responsive either. In good light it’s fine like most cameras (though even then not always reliable), but in low contrast light one can expect plenty of focusing hunting. 

Macro focusing is even slower and less reliable, too. This camera may offer macro focusing, but in practice you’ll need much patience to get the results you want. 

Overall, the good things going for the Nikon Coolpix A300 is its size, weight and easy navigation. Against it are the poor LCD screen and overall slow response. 

Image Quality

CCD sensors like the one used in the Nikon Coolpix A300 are less commonplace in cameras these days, with CMOS sensors the industry norm. 

There are clear downsides to a CCD sensor, the main one being the negative impact on image quality. Couple that with the tiny 1/2.3in imaging sensor used in the Nikon A300, that is crammed with 20MP, and image quality is not good.

Even in good contrast light at ISO 80, it is possible to see fine-grain noise when viewing images at 100%. Noise has a negative impact on image detail and dynamic range. Detail is lost in bright highlight and shadow areas in all but the least testing of circumstances. 

However, if you are to view the images much smaller, say on a smartphone like most people do these days, then sensitivity settings up to ISO 400, even ISO 800, are fine. 

There is a notable dip in image quality when shooting at ISO 1600, where detail and dynamic range is very limited due to increased noise. ISO 3200 is available too, though at a reduced file size and it is best avoided altogether. 

Asides from noise, image clarity is best when the camera is set to its wider half of the zoom range and in bright light. We’re fairly pleased with images of landscapes in daylight. 

Pictures taken at the telephoto lens setting are softer than those at wide angle settings. Softness is primarily down to lens quality rather than camera shake, though shake can be a factor too.

Vibration reduction is a bit hit and miss. We’ve had situations where pictures look sharp with shutter speeds as slow as 1/4sec, but on the other side of the coin we’ve had blurry pictures with quicker shutter speeds than 1/4sec. 

In auto mode, the Nikon A300 leans to a more natural colour reproduction over a vibrant one. That may disappoint some users, but is to this reviewer’s taste. 

Tweaks can be made to colour rendition in the exposure compensation menu, with manual control over vividness and hue. You’ll also be able to shift white balance. Of course, further changes to colour rendition can be made using photo editing apps. 


The Nikon Coolpix A300 has seven sensitivity settings, ranging from ISO 80 to ISO 1600 at full resolution, plus ISO 3200 at reduced 2272x1704 pixel resolution. To obtain ISO 3200, you’ll need to switch from the default Scene Auto Selector mode to the regular Auto mode. The biggest drop in image quality is when moving from ISO 800 to ISO 1600.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The A300’s 8x optical zoom lens has a maximum wide-angle focal length of 25mm with maximum aperture of f/3.7, while it’s telephoto focal length is 200mm (equivalent in 35mm-camera terms) at f/6.6.

Vibrant reduction is built-in to the lens and is pretty much necessary when shooting handheld at the telephoto focal lengths, in order to obtain sharp shots.





Lens Distortions

Barrel and pincushion distortion in the JPEG images produced by the A300 is negligible. Plus, image sharpness is for the best part maintained from the centre of the frame to the very corners (though it is never particularly good).

Lens distortion that is most obvious is chromatic aberrations. In some images you won’t need to zoom in to 100% before it is possible to spot fringing around high contrast edges, like tree branches and building profiles. Magenta fringing is most prevalent. 

You may also notice some light fall off (vignetting), which is most pronounced when shooting in the telephoto focal length.

Distortion @ 25mm


Distortion @ 200mm


Vignetting @ 25mm


Vignetting @ 200mm



In its standard Auto shooting mode, the A300 lens has a focus range of 5cm to infinity. Switch to the Macro mode and it will focus as close as 2cm from the front of the lens, when the lens is set to its widest angle. 




The Coolpix A300 features a built-in TTL (through-the-lens) flash. The flash has five settings when shooting in standard Auto mode: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Suppressed, Fill flash and Slow sync. 

There is a suggested flash range of 0.5m to 2.8m, though 1.5m is the optimum distance for even illumination.

Night Landscape Mode

Night Lansdcape mode offers two choices: Tripod, and Handheld. The main difference is selection of shutter speed and ISO setting. Handheld option uses a quicker shutter speed and higher sensitivity setting of ISO 800, while Tripod uses the base ISO 80 setting with a long shutter speed. 

As the name suggests, you’ll need a tripod for the Tripod setting, in order for the image to be sharp because of the slow shutter speed. There’s no true benefit in selecting the Handheld choice over simply shooting in the Auto Mode. On the whole we found the exposures in Night Landscape Mode a little dark.





Digital Filters

The A300 offers a number of filter effects, all of which are previewed live and recorded at full resolution. Options include; Soft, Sepia, High-Contrast Mono, Selective Colour, Pop Colour, Cross Process Toy Camera 1, Toy Camera 2 and Mirror. 



nikon-a300-digital-filter-off.jpg nikon-a300-digital-filter-soft.jpg

Nostalgic Sepia

High-contrast Monochrome

nikon-a300-digital-filter-sepia.jpg nikon-a300-digital-filter-high-contrast-monochrome.jpg

Selective Colour


nikon-a300-digital-filter-selective-colour.jpg nikon-a300-digital-filter-pop-colour.jpg

Toy camera Effect 1

Toy camera Effect 2

nikon-a300-digital-filter-toy-camera-1.jpg nikon-a300-digital-filter-toy-camera-2.jpg

Cross Process


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix A300 camera, which were all taken using the 20 megapixel High JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 52 second movie is 83.6Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300
Nikon Coolpix A300


In using a CCD sensor rather than a CMOS type, the Nikon Coolpix A300 is limited in a few ways. First, video recording maxes out at 720p resolution. Then, there is the impact on image quality. 

In good light, the A300 is able to produce punchy JPEG pictures even with noise being present. In low contrast light, image quality takes a nose dive. Detail is poor, noise is high and dynamic range limited. Put it this way, when it comes to image quality, the A300 is no better than your average smartphone. 

What you do get is an 8x optical zoom range that covers a much wider variety of scenarios than the fixed wide angle of most smartphones. Vibration reduction works quite well too, so images at the telephoto settings usually still appear sharp. It’s not always reliable, but certainly is a welcome inclusion. 

Possibly, what is going for the Coolpix A300 the most, is its diminutive size and low cost. For situations where you are reluctant to take a more expensive camera or smartphone, the A300 could come into play. Pictures can also be uploaded wirelessly to a smartphone - a novel feature for such a low cost camera. 

Ultimately, the Nikon Coolpix A300 demonstrates why the compact camera market is in such rapid decline. There is such a step up to premium compact cameras (where we presume there is much more investment from camera brands) and the A300 feels particularly outdated. 

Bottom line, even for a camera like this, there are better options out there (see main rivals). 

3 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3
Features 2.5
Ease-of-use 3
Image quality 2.5
Value for money 3

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix A300.

Canon IXUS 185

The Canon IXUS 185 is an affordable, stylish and super-slim compact camera. The Canon IXUS 185 offers 20 megapixels, a 10x zoom lens, a 3-inch LCD screen and 720p HD movies. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 185 review now...

Canon IXUS 190

The Canon IXUS 190 is a new stylish and super-slim compact camera. The Canon IXUS 190 features a 20 megapixel sensor, 10x zoom lens, 3-inch LCD screen, built-in wi-fi and NFC connectivity, and 720p HD movie recording. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 190 review to find out if it can compete with the all-conquering smartphone...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix A300 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix A300 is one of Nikon's budget compact cameras, and features a 20mp CCD sensor, 8x optical zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth to allow image transfer to a smartphone. It's available in a number of different colours from around £109.
Read the full review »


    • Type

    • Compact digital camera

    • Effective pixels

    • 20.1 million (Image processing may reduce the number of effective pixels.)

    • Image sensor

    • 1/2.3-in. type CCD, Total pixels: approx. 20.48 million

    • Lens

    • NIKKOR lens with 8x optical zoom

    • Focal length

    • 4.5 to 36.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 25 to 200 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)

    • F-number

    • f/3.7 to 6.6

    • Lens construction

    • 8 elements in 7 groups

    • Magnification

    • Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 800 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)

    • Vibration reduction

    • Lens-shift VR (still images), Lens shift and electronic VR (movies)

    • Autofocus

    • Contrast-detect AF

    • Focus range

    • [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx.1.5 m (5 ft) to infinity, Macro mode: Approx. 2 cm (0.8 in.) to infinity (wide-angle position) (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)

    • AF-area mode

    • Face priority, center, manual with 99 focus areas, subject tracking, target finding AF

    • Monitor

    • 6.7 cm (2.7-in.) diagonal, Approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating and 5-level brightness adjustment

    • Frame coverage

    • Approx. 99% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)

    • Frame coverage (playback mode)

    • Approx. 99% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)

    • Storage media

    • SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal memory (approx. 19 MB)

    • File system

    • DCF and Exif 2.3 compliant

    • Storage file formats

    • Still images: JPEG, Movies: AVI (Motion-JPEG compliant)

    • Image size (pixels)

    • 20M (High) [5152 x 3864 (Fine)], 20M [5152 x 3864], 10M [3648 x 2736], 4M [2272 x 1704], 2M [1600 x 1200], VGA [640 x 480], 16:9 (14M) [5120 x 2880], 1:1 [3864 x 3864]

    • ISO sensitivity

    • ISO 80 to 1600, ISO 3200 (available when using Auto mode)

    • Exposure metering

    • Matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x or more)

    • Exposure control

    • Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (–2.0 to +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)

    • Shutter type

    • Mechanical and CCD electronic shutter

    • Shutter speed

    • 1/1500 to 1 s, 4 s (Fireworks show scene mode)

    • Self-timer

    • 10 s, 2 s, 5 s (Self-portrait timer)

    • Aperture

    • Electromagnetic ND filter (–3 AV) selection

    • Aperture range

    • 2 steps (f/3.7 and f/10.5 [W])

    • Built-in flash

    • Yes

    • Flash range (approx.)

    • [W]: 0.5 to 2.8 m (1 ft 8 in. to 9 ft 2 in.), [T]: 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in.)

    • Flash control

    • TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes

    • USB

    • Hi-Speed USB, Supports Direct Print (PictBridge), also used as audio/video output connector (NTSC or PAL can be selected for video output.)

    • Audio input

    • Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter; plug-in power supported)

    • Audio output

    • Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter)

    • Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) standards

    • IEEE 802.11b/g (standard wireless LAN protocol)

    • Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) operating frequency

    • 2412 to 2462 MHz (1 to 11 channels)

    • Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) security

    • Authentication: Open system, WPA2-PSK

    • Bluetooth standards

    • Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1

    • Supported languages

    • Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

    • Power sources

    • One EN-EL19 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (included), EH-62G AC Adapter (available separately)

    • Charging time

    • Approx. 2 h 40 min (when using EH-72P/EH-72PCH Charging AC Adapter and when no charge remains)

    • Battery life1

    • Approx. 240 shots when using EN-EL19

    • Actual battery life for movie recording2

    • Approx. 45 min when using EN-EL191

    • Tripod socket

    • 1/4 (ISO 1222)

    • Dimensions (W x H x D)

    • Approx. 95.9 x 58.0 x 20.1 mm (3.8 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.) (excluding projections)

    • Weight

    • Approx. 119 g (4.2 oz) (including battery and memory card)

    • Operating environment - temperature

    • 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)

    • Operating environment - humidity

    • 85% or less (no condensation)

    • Supplied accessories

    • Camera Strap, EN-EL19 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, EH-72P Charging AC Adapter (A plug adapter is included if the camera was purchased in a country or region that requires a plug adapter. The shape of the plug adapter varies with the country or region of purchase.), UC-E16 USB Cable

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