Nikon Coolpix W300 Review

August 21, 2017 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix W300 is a new flagship rugged compact camera with a 16-megapixel sensor, 24-120mm equivalent lens, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 4K video recording capabilities. The Coolpix W300 offers a waterproof (100ft. / 30m), freezeproof (14F / -10C), dustproof and enhanced shockproof (7.9ft. / 2.4m) camera body, increased grip area and ergonomically improved shutter button placement. Additional outdoor-friendly features include the ability to go off the beaten path with Points of Interest (POI) and mapping functions, as well as an altimeter and depth gauge, plus a dedicated button to activate an LED light for illumination, and a new Active Guide function to easily display location and altitude data at a glance. The Nikon Coolpix W300 is available in orange, yellow and black and retails for $389.95 / £389.

Ease of Use

Nikon has a chunky yet pocket sized new contender for your latest outdoors friendly action camera in the all-weather Nikon Coolpix W300. It’s available in a variety of colours including eye-catching camouflage and the unit we were sent: a hard-to-miss, high-vis jacket-like canary yellow. Measuring an official 11.5x66x29mm, it weighs 231g including battery and memory card, which is lighter than its reassuring metal exterior somehow feels when gripped in the palm. Its manageable size means that it will slip easily into the pocket of a jacket or the pocket of a rucksack, ready to be quickly retrieved when photo or video opportunities present themselves.

For a manufacturer’s recommended retail price of £389.99 (which is £20 more than Nikon’s own non rugged but more creatively expansive 60x zoom B700, incidentally), key features of the solid feel, mostly metal constructed camera include the ability to shoot 16 effective megapixel photos, plus 4K or 1080P video at underwater depths of up to 30 metres, or down to temperatures of -10°C on land. That’s without additional housing.

Nikon Coolpix A100
Front of the Nikon Coolpix W300


The Nikon Coolpix W300 is also dust proof and drop-proofed from heights of up to 2.4 metres, while it features an internally stacked (and thus protected) wide-angle 5x optical zoom; so far, fairly standard stuff. The maximum lens aperture is a so-so f/2.8 – again par for the course for this ilk of camera. A new Tool button however automatically displays a compass, number of steps taken, plus altitude/depth, along with air pressure/water pressure readings on its monitor, making this one useful as an all-terrain travel camera as well as action camera. Shots can be geo-tagged too.

In terms of build quality this Nikon has to be a favourite among recent examples, if we include the likes of the Olympus TG-5 and Ricoh WG-50. For those who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s and remember Tonka toys… well, that’s what this ruggedized camera brings to mind, with its square-ish construction and visible screws embedded in the hand grip at the front. Practicality appears to have taken precedence over fashion, and, given what you might be considering buying this camera for, here that’s no bad thing at all. Indeed the camera very much wears its practically on its sleeve… key spec is printed directly onto its fascia, which is a bold and interesting move as far as stating your credentials goes.

Examining the Nikon Coolpix W300, starting at the front, the lens with its internally stacked zoom is positioned top right of the front plate and set back within a protective lens surround. Whilst this keeps it out of potential harm’s way, it also means that a fingertip can occasionally carelessly and casually stray into frame when holding the camera in both hands and lining up a shot; you don’t get the same issue of course when the lens on your camera instead extends outward from the body.

Nikon Coolpix A100
Front of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Below the W300’s lens we find pin pricks in the face-plate, housing internal stereo microphones, whilst just above is a familiar porthole for the AF assist/ self timer lamp, and next to it a lozenge shaped slot for the integral flash. The latter is at least positioned sufficiently centrally that stray fingertips won’t obscure it. As we mentioned earlier, there is something of a handgrip provided to the front of the camera. However it is fairly slender – being more the sort that enables a couple of fingertips to dig into to get some sort of purchase, rather than fingers to wrap around and envelop.

The Nikon Coolpix W300's grip does however cleverly encircle and envelop the side panel and rear plate of the camera, one thereby becoming the other. This same grip/flank also houses the W300’s rechargeable lithium ion battery and vacant SD media card, micro HDMI and micro USB slots. All are protected by a thick, padded lockable door, with a chunky control dial/lever and central release button ensuring that this compartment cannot be accidentally opened underwater, or anywhere for that matter. You have to make a definite press down on the button and subsequent twist on the ridged, roughened feel dial to gain access, much like when altering the drive mode on a DSLR.

Moving along to the top plate of the W300, we have a pretty simplified and easy to grasp layout. This comprises just two buttons – a slightly raised shutter release button, which is the larger of the two, while the smaller is labeled as the on/off button for rapid identification. Whilst such implementation means that user are able to pick the camera up and start shooting straightaway, both the surface of the shutter release button and the middle strip of the top plate itself have a roughened surface – presumably to make the camera easier to grasp if handling with wet hands or fingers. The camera is responsive too, powering up from cold in all of a second and the camera determining focus upon a half press of its shutter release button within a further second. That’s as quick as we’d expect of a pocket compact.

While the Nikon Coolpix W300’s backplate is a little busier, controls are likewise identifiable. With the LCD provided for both the composition and review of stills and videos taking up two thirds of the available space, the controls are ranged over to the right hand third, pretty much like any digital compact of the past 15 or so years. Luckily the view provided by the 3-inch, 921K dot LCD is sufficiently clear to compose shots in a variety of conditions (five levels of brightness adjustment are provided), though naturally it’s difficult to determine whether things are pin sharp without enlarging a portion of a captured image.

Nikon Coolpix A100
Rear of the Nikon Coolpix W300

On this Nikon, operational controls are marginally chunkier than most non-rugged compacts, however, with the camera’s internal zoom controlled via a ridged lever located top right of the rear plate, whereupon it falls readily under the thumb of the right hand. Give this lever a nudge and the zoom travels through the extent of its 5x optical range in all of two seconds. Just to the right of this thumb control is an indicator lamp to inform the user that the internal flash is charged and ready to fire, and below this still is a red record button (for capturing Full HD at up to 60P or 4K videos at up to 30fps) with adjacent video camera icon. The button is set flush with the backplate to avoid accidental activation; it requires a definite press from your thumbnail to get going.

Beneath this again is a pair of identically sized buttons – one marked with the familiar camera icon (also written next to it is ‘scene’) on the left, providing on-screen access to shooting modes, and the one on the right most obviously the playback button for review of stills and video.

The camera shooting/scene modes are presented to the user on screen only (rather than a dedicated physical dial) via a vertically stacked toolbar on the right of the LCD. Here we get the choice of auto mode, short movie, smart portrait, creative mode, selectable scene mode and auto scene selector – choosing pre-optimised settings based on what the camera itself determines is the best fit for the conditions at the time. The user tabs through these with the aid of the familiar four-way control pad that sits near the bottom of the camera back, with a regular ‘OK’ button at its centre for selecting or implementing features. The selectable pre-optimised scene modes here are Portrait, Landscape, Time Lapse movie, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/indoors, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Food Fireworks, Backlighting, Easy Panorama, Pet Portrait (!), Multiple exposure, Superlapse movie and underwater.

The other settings on the four way control pad encompass flash (settings including auto, auto with red eye reduction, forced flash, off and slow sync), self timer (duration settings of 5 seconds, two seconds or ten seconds), exposure compensation (a modest +/- 2EV) and 1cm macro mode (simply on or off) – again pretty straightforward for anyone or has (or hasn’t) operated a digital point-and-shoot compact before… which in a nutshell is what this is, albeit one with bells on. A self-explanatory menu button and delete button, sitting just beneath the four-way control pad, complete the backplate layout. Press ‘menu’ and we get access to a familiar array of stills and video shooting options, as well as a dedicated Wi-Fi/connectivity mode and, finally, set up.

Nikon Coolpix A100
The Nikon Coolpix W300 In-hand

With card and battery accessed via the side of the camera (battery life, incidentally, is officially given as a fairly average 280 shots from a full, charge), the base of the Nikon Coolpix W300 features just a screw thread, set slightly off-centre, for attaching the unit to a tripod – and that’s all.

The opposite flank of the W300 to that housing the battery compartment is perhaps the most interesting here – or at least the one that deviates the most from our impression of a standard compact. A press of the top button here – known as the ‘tool’ button - brings up a colourful virtual compass on screen, for those who live to eschew the Sat Nav and go for personal orienteering. Beneath this is the control operated ‘action’ button, which allows, for example, image playback to commence or shooting mode to be selected, merely by shaking the camera – useful if you’re operating it using thick ski gloves perhaps – whilst the third button down is an LED light button, designed to provide extra illumination in dark shooting scenarios, says Nikon. Hold this down for a couple of seconds to activate it, whereby the self timer/AF assist lamp window burns extra bright in retina searing fashion. At the bottom of these buttons is the Nikon’s built in speaker.

And that’s pretty much it for the Nikon Coolpix W300. Operation is point and shoot all the way and it’s one of the sturdiest action / travel cameras we’ve come across. But of course we inevitably pay for quality, and the Coolpix W300 is at the top end of what we’d probably be wiling to shell out for a point and shoot camera – even one that is as ‘bullet proof’ as this. Still, if you’re only going to buy one ruggedized camera for using in the pool with the family or on the ski slopes, then we’d recommend the W300 all the way, in terms of construction, response and overall operation.

But one subject we haven’t touched on yet is picture quality. How does the Nikon fair when it’s put to the test in sunshine, wet conditions and night time shooting? Read ahead to the next section to find out...

Image Quality

Given that this compact marries its internally stacked lens to a bog standard 1/2.3-inch sensor (albeit CMOS rather than CCD), we’re not expecting DSLR-like quality from the Nikon Coolpix W300 – the accent here is on practicality just as much as perfection. That being said, even if at maximum wide-angle setting we end up with a slight fisheye effect and elongated features in our subjects, this can be corrected simply by zooming in a little, leading us to conclude that we were impressed with the pictures we took overall.

Even on cloudy overcast days, where you’d assume that the so-so f/2.8 maximum aperture wouldn’t contribute much, the Nikon Coolpix W300 is capable of delivering both detail and a surprising amount of contrast in its images, meaning that photos straight out of the camera require minimal (if any) tweaking in the post processing package of your choice. It may be small but this solid feel camera sat more heavily in our hands too. On a practical note we encountered less instances of camera shake than we might expect from a camera of these dimensions.

In terms of low light shooting, again, the Nikon Coolpix W300 delivers a perfectly acceptable performance for what it is, and, even when left on auto, provides a consistently reliable outcome. Unsurprisingly, with the selectable ISO sensitivity settings otherwise starting out at ISO125 and winding up at ISO6400, we’ll want to stick at ISO800 or ISO1600 if pushed, to get the best out of the camera and our images. But, as we say, none of this is a surprise. In conclusion we preferred the look of the Nikon’s JPEG only images straight out of the camera over recent efforts from competitors including Olympus and Ricoh, so perhaps it is occasionally worth spending a little bit more to end up with results worth saving for posterity.


The Nikon Coolpix W300 has six sensitivity settings at full resolution.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso125.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso6400.jpg

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix W300’s 5x zoom lens achieves a maximum wide-angle focal length equivalent to 24mm, and can zoom in to 120mm (in 35mm camera terms).





Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix W300 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple and green fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The Nikon Coolpix W300’s lens will focus as close as 1cm from your subject when the lens is at maximum wide-angle.




The Nikon Coolpix W300’s flash has four settings when shooting in standard Auto mode: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill flash & Slow sync.

Flash On


Flash Red-eye


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix W300 camera, which were all taken using the 16 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 3840x2160 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 36 second movie is 299Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix A100

Front of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Side of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Side of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix W300 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix A100

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix W300 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix A100

Top of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Side of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Side of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Front of the Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix A100

Battery Compartment

Nikon Coolpix A100

Memory Card Slot


Though it’s not the cheapest example at a manufacturer’s suggested £389.99, the all weather, JPEG-only Nikon Coolpix W300 is in our opinion one of the best in its class, if we’re talking pocket sized, ruggedized action-come-travel cameras. 

It’s well constructed and possesses a solid metal feel, all the buttons are the size we’d expect – not too big, not too fiddly; not that tangible, physical controls are always required: this camera even has the action control feature, whereby the user only needs to literally shake the camera to swap shooting mode or activate playback. The zoom range, whilst modest, is useful, and the focal range allowed us to cram most subjects into shot – for both stills and up to 4K videos – even if occasionally we had to take a step back or forward. 

Whilst it is possible to delve into scene modes and adjust the likes of exposure and ISO sensitivity for yourself, on this camera operation is pretty much point and shoot all the way. This ensures that anyone can pick it up and be quickly shooting with it, without having to fall back on the rather sparse quick start manual provided.

It all adds up to the fact that if you only take one rough and tumble action camera on holiday this summer, you won’t go far wrong if you make it the Coolpix W300 from Nikon.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 3.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix W300.

Canon PowerShot D30

The Canon PowerShot D30 is an action compact camera that's waterproof to an impressive 25m, as well as being dust, freeze and shock proof. The Canon D30 also offers12 megapixels, a 5x zoom, 1080p HD video, built-in GPS and a 3-inch screen. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot D30 review now...

Fujifilm FinePix XP200

The Fujifilm FinePix XP200 is an all-action water, freeze, shock and dust proof 16 megapixel compact camera. The XP200 also offers 1080i HD movies at 60fps, a 5x zoom lens, a 3 inch LCD screen and built-in wi-fi. Read our expert Fujifilm FinePix XP200 review to find out if this is the best rugged camera for you...

Nikon Coolpix AW130

The Coolpix AW130 is Nikon's latest all-action compact camera. The 16 megapixel Nikon AW130 features a 5x zoom lens, 3 inch OLED 921K-dot screen, built-in GPS. NFC and wi-fi, 8fps burst shooting and can record full 1080p video. Read our Nikon Coolpix AW130 review to find out if it's the right tough camera for you...

Olympus TG-860

The Olympus TG-860 is a water, freeze, shock and dust proof compact camera with built-in wi-fi connectivity and GPS tracking. The 16 megapixel TG-860 also offers a 180-degree tilting LCD screen, 1080/60p HD movies, a 5x zoom lens starting at 21mm, and time-lapse interval shooting. Read our Olympus TG-860 review to find out what this tough camera is capable of...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 is a new freeze, shock, water and dust proof camera. The well-appointed Panasonic FT5 also features built-in GPS, wi-fi and NFC functionality, a compass, altimeter and barometer, 4.6x zoom, 1920x1080 full-HD movie recording and a 16 megapixel sensor. Read our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 review to find out if this is the best do-it-all camera for your family....

Ricoh WG-5 GPS

The Ricoh WG-5 GPS is a new shock, freeze, dust, water and crush proof compact camera. The Ricoh WG-5 GPS offers a 16 megapixel Backside Illumination CMOS sensor, a 4x zoom lens with f/2 aperture, Full HD movie recording and built-in LED macro lights. Available for £259.99 / $379.95, read our in-depth Ricoh WG-5 GPS review now...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix W300 from around the web. »

The Nikon COOLPIX W300 is a waterproof rugged compact, so let’s start with its rugged credentials. It’s the most waterproof compact currently on the market, with a depth rating of 30 meters – that’s twice as deep as the Olympus TOUGH TG-5 and 10 metres deeper then the Fujifilm FinePix XP120. If you want to go deeper you’ll need to think about paying extra for a waterproof housing. Nearly all rugged comnpacts, the W300 included, are freezeproof to -10C and the W300 can be dropped from 2.4 metres, which is about as shockproof as you can get.
Read the full review » »

The Nikon Coolpix W300 features a 16mp sensor, a 5x optical zoom lens, 4K video recording and is waterproof down to 30 metres! The W300 updates the AW130 and features built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The W300 is available for £389, in a variety of colours, including orange, yellow, camouflage, and black.
Read the full review »


Effective pixels

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

Image sensor

1/2.3-in. type CMOS, Total pixels: approx. 16.79 million


NIKKOR lens with 5x optical zoom

Focal length

4.3 to 21.5 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 24 -120 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)


f/2.8 to 4.9

Lens construction

12 elements in 10 groups (2 ED lens elements)


Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 480 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)

Vibration reduction

Lens shift and electronic VR


Contrast-detect AF

Focus range

[W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, Macro mode: Approx. 1 cm (0.4 in.) to infinity (wide-angle position) (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)

AF-area mode

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


7.5 cm (3-in.) diagonal
Approx. 921k-dot, wide viewing angle TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating and 5-level brightness adjustment

Frame coverage

Approx. 97% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)

Frame coverage (playback mode)

Approx. 100% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)

Storage media

SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal memory (approx. 99 MB)

File system

DCF and Exif 2.31 compliant

Storage file formats

Still images: JPEG
Movies: MP4 (Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Audio: AAC stereo)

Image size (pixels)

16 M (High) 4608 x 3456, 16 M 4608 x 3456, 8 M 3264 x 2448, 4 M 2272 x 1704, 2 M 1600 x 1200, VGA 640 x 480, 16:9 12 M 4608 x 2592, 1:1 3456 x 3456

Movie - frame size (pixels) and frame rate

2160/30p (4K UHD), 2160/25p (4K UHD), 1080/30p, 1080/25p, 1080/60p, 1080/50p, 720/30p, 720/25p, 480/30p, 480/25p, HS 480/4x, HS 1080/0.5x1

ISO sensitivity

ISO 125 to 1600, ISO 3200, 6400 (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 CMOS electronic shutter

Shutter speed

1/1500 to 1 s, 1/4000 s (maximum speed during high-speed continuous shooting), 25 s (Star trails in Multiple exp. Lighten scene mode)


10 s, 2 s, 5 s (self-portrait timer)


Electronically-controlled preset aperture (–1 AV) and ND filter (–2 AV) selections

Aperture range

3 steps (f/2.8, f/4.1, f/8.2 [W])

Built-in flash


Flash range (approx.)

[W]: 0.5 to 5.2 m (1 ft 8 in. to 17 ft), [T]: 0.5 to 4.5 m (1 ft 8 in. to 14 ft) (ISO sensitivity: Auto)

Flash control

TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes


Micro-USB connector (Do not use any USB cable other than the included UC-E21 USB Cable.), Hi-Speed USB Supports Direct Print (PictBridge)

HDMI output

HDMI micro connector (Type D)

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) maximum output power

11.3 dBm (EIRP)

Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) security

Open system, WPA2-PSK

Bluetooth standards

Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1

Electronic compass

16 cardinal points (position correction using 3-axis acceleration sensor, automatic correction for the deviated angle, and automatic offset adjustment)

GPS - location data

GPS: Receiving frequency: 1575.42 MHz, Geodetic system: WGS 84 GLONASS: Receiving frequency: 1598.0625 to 1605.3750 MHz, Geodetic system: WGS 84


Display range: Approx. 500 to 4600 hPa


Display range: Approx. -300 to +4500 m (-984 to +14,760 ft)

Depth gauge

Display range: Approx. 0 to 35 m (0 to 114 ft)


JIS/IEC protection class 8 (IPX8) equivalent (under our testing conditions)
Capacity to shoot images underwater up to a depth of 30 m (100 ft) and for 60 minutes


JIS/IEC protection class 6 (IP6X) equivalent (under our testing conditions)


Cleared our testing conditions4 compliant with MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock

Supported languages

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

Power sources

One EN-EL12 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (included), EH-62F AC Adapter (available separately)

Charging time

Approx. 2 h 20 min (when using EH-73P/EH-73PCH Charging AC Adapter and when no charge remains)

Battery life

Approx. 280 shots when using EN-EL122

Actual battery life for movie recording

Approx. 1 h (1080/30p) when using EN-EL1223
Approx. 1 h (1080/25p) when using EN-EL1223

LED light


Tripod socket

1/4 (ISO 1222)

Dimensions (W x H x D)

Approx. 111.5 x 66.0 x 29.0 mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in.) (excluding projections)


Approx. 231 g (8.2 oz) (including battery and memory card)

Operating environment - temperature

-10°C to +40°C (14°F to 104°F) (for land use), 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F) (for underwater use)

Operating environment - humidity

85% or less (no condensation)

Supplied accessories

Camera strap for land use, EN-EL12 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, EH-73P Charging AC Adapter56, UC-E21 USB Cable, Brush7

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