Nikon Coolpix P340 Review

Nikon’s Coolpix straddles the entry level and semi-pro spaces with inbuilt RAW capability and a decent f/1.8 12.2MP shooting capability.

Nikon Coolpix P340: On the plus side

The Nikon Coolpix P340 sits in an interesting space in the current camera market. It’s by no means a “cheap” compact, but you can tell that simply by picking it up. Its 194g carrying weight suggests light materials, but its metal body gives it a definite premium feel. There’s no inbuilt touchscreen, but instead a variety of controls on the rear face, top and especially front of the P340. That’s where you’ll find a control ring that allows you to adjust settings specific to the mode that you’re in, so when shooting in aperture mode for example you’ll adjust aperture, all the way down to the Coolpix P340’s f/1.8 limit. It’s not the only way to make that adjustment if it doesn’t suit your shooting style, but it’s quite slick once you get to grips with it.

The control ring isn't the only way to adjust your settings, but it is convenient.
The control ring isn’t the only way to adjust your settings, but it is convenient.

That f/1.8 lens, which is only accessible at the widest setting of the Nikon Coolpix P340’s 5x optical zoom does give it a lot of scope for low light photography. It’s capable of saving files to either JPEG or RAW, which isn’t entirely common in compact cameras but should be welcome to anyone wanting to shift their photography away from simple smartphone shooting.
While it’s got a pitch towards pro shooting, it’s still also equipped with the kinds of shooting modes that more modest camera operators like, so it’s feasible to apply a series of effects to your shots while shooting.
You want inbuilt camera modes? Sure, why not. High contrast monochrome-zilla.
You want inbuilt camera modes? Sure, why not. High contrast monochrome-zilla.

Or Painting-Zilla, if that's more to your taste.
Or Painting-Zilla, if that’s more to your taste.

Picture quality out of the Nikon Coolpix P340 is solid, as long as you give it enough time to focus in automatic modes. That’s particularly noticeable in macro mode, where I found it often swam around focus for a while. You’ll also need a bit more patience if you’re shooting in RAW, but again that’s to be expected from a camera of this type.

Nikon Coolpix P340: On the minus side

The P340 includes built-in WiFi, and again you’d expect that of just about any compact above the entry level. Nikon’s implementation of this and accompanying smartphone app leaves a lot to be desired, however, with an incredibly clunky interface that allows you to take photos, but only adjusting zoom length, or download them to your smartphone of choice. It’s slow, it doesn’t look all that pleasant, and it’s an incredible battery hog.
Battery life is a bit of an issue for the Nikon Coolpix P340. Nikon rates it as good for around 220 shots when fully charged, which isn’t immense. If you’re shooting video as well, expect that battery to tumble down in power; in my tests it exhausted itself very quickly that way while getting more than a bit warm to boot.

Battery life for the P340 could use a boost, especially if you're shooting HD video.
Battery life for the P340 could use a boost, especially if you’re shooting HD video.

As noted, while the lens has a bright f/1.8 rating, that’s only accessible when you’re not zoomed in at all. If you need to use zoom to capture or frame your shot, itjumps up to f/5.6 at full zoom.

Nikon Coolpix P340: Pricing

The Nikon Coolpix P340 sells for around $499 online.

Nikon Coolpix P340: Fat Duck Verdict

The Coolpix P340 is a solid little compact camera that, while not exactly inexpensive could suit those wanting to step up their photography without the complexity of an ILC or a DSLR. It’s WiFi implementation and battery could stand to be a bit better, but if you can live with or work around those issues, it’s a decent choice.

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