All you could want in a compact camera!
I bought this P340 as an alternative to my DSLR's for those times when you can't bring a large camera along with you. This little camera fits in your pocket while offering all the control and customization of a DSLR!!.
The P340's menu system could be quicker but its not a deal breaker. Its not at all slow (use a digital camera from the late 90's and you'll get an idea of what slow is), but since I'm used to my D7000 and D3100, I'm accustomed to instant changes in operation. As for the cameras manual controls you have lots of options. When it comes to manual control the P340 is very DSLR like. Everything from shutter speed , ISO, aperture, WB, picture control settings and exposure comp can be adjusted.
White balance adjustments on the P340 are more customizable then my D3100! With the P340 you can adjust kelvin temps and picture control settings. Picture control settings are also customizable with custom settings that you can create and downloaded into the camera just like on my D3100 and D7000!
The front ring around the lens and the function button next to the lens can be assigned to many different functions.
The buttons have a good feel and the camera as a whole feels solid. The body is made from metal which is a plus in my book. The body has the typical coating that Nikon uses on all of their metal DSLR's. This coating has a nice texture which aids in grip. The camera does have a good feel to it when in use. The front and rear grips combine to form a solid platform that gives you confidence while in use.
The LCD screen is bright, detailed and seems to produce accurate color.
The battery life is about the same as other point and shoots I've used. You get about 230 shots if you don't used the flash. For an average outing or family event this is fine (at least for me).
The popup flash provides good well balanced lighting that seems to work well for fill in lighting. This is an area that Nikon has always excelled in. The flash can be put back down when not in use.
You also get focus peaking and the option to enable a live histogram in the monitor as well as a picture preview option, which displays the effect your settings will have on the exposure before you take the shot. The camera has a light meter enabled by default but all three methods can be enabled at the same time. This basically makes it impossible to mess up your exposure.
The Auto focus performance on the P340 is very quick. Its allot faster then my smartphone and seems to be quicker then the Contrast Detect AF on my D7000 and D3100. However Phase Detect AF on my DSLR's is still king when it comes to speed and subject tracking. The P340's ability to focus in low light is also impressive.
The lens on the P340 seems to have little if any lens flare to speak of. This is very good. Plus the P340 comes with an option to use a "built in" ND filter. Its seems to be software based but it does work and does help with long exposure shots and also helps to retain colors a bit more in bright conditions. The zoom range of the lens is fine for my needs. I hardly ever use a telephoto lens when I use my DSLR's except for wildlife such as hummingbirds or other small animals. The macro capability is pretty good. You can get very close to your subjects, closer then allot of other point and shoot cameras. The VR system on the P340 does help to keep your images looking sharp. It is affective. i keep it on all the time unless I mount the P340 to a tripod.
Using the P340's manual focus with focus peaking makes taking macro shots easy. You can use either the rear dial next the to LCD screen or the ring around the lens to manually focus. I only wish that Nikon would make the lens on the P340 a bit wider (maybe f4) at telephoto ranges to get better separation for portraits and for better light gathering.
The image sensor on the P340 is a cut above most point and shoots on the market. It has a very useable ISO range. Its dynamic range is also impressive for a smaller sized sensor. In post I was a little shocked to see how flexible the RAW files are. You can recover allot of detail that gets lost in shadow and highlight areas. This is a very good thing. In terms of high ISO performance the P340 performs well. It holds on to detail and color accuracy remains good. But smoothing does seem to creep in a bit.
If the lighting is decent to good then even ISO 6400 is usable. Which is awesome for a point and shoot. The overall detail that the P340 can record isn't DSLR quality but its very good for what it is. It can and does produce great looking images.
As for the cameras speed when shooting JPEG files? Full res, fine JPEG files load very quickly. But RAW files do slow the camera down some. However you can keep on shooting. Its only if your the type that does allot of chipping after you've taken the shot, that the time to record RAW files becomes an issue. You have to wait for the buffer to clear before you can look at the image on the LCD. So basically it takes about two seconds for RAW files to clear the buffer, I'm using UHS-1 SD cards. You can shoot two RAW shots quickly and then one shot about every other second after. The Buffer clears in about the same time as it does when a single shot is taken. Just keep in mind the each RAW file on the P340 is about 19.5mb to a little over 20mb. So the speed at which the buffer clears RAW files is actually quick for such a small camera.
The Video mode on the P340 is awesome. Its actually very clean when used in poor lighting. I'm not sure what Nikon did but the blacks stay black! Noise doesn't show up in the shadows but it does creep in on other parts of the video files. Its a fine type of grain to so its not annoying. Again like the image files detail and color are maintained but you do see some smoothing. Auto focus is pretty good to during video recording. Its not to slow and its seems to keep up with the action. You can also zoom in and out while recoding video pretty quickly. The motor inside the lens remains almost silent to. The optical VR system does a great job of keep the images steady.
The P340 has allot of effects and scene modes. I've really only played around with them. These modes might appeal to other users but for me I bought the P340 for its control not its effects modes.
The wifi on the P340 works as advertised. I downloaded the free app to my android smartphone and it easily connected to the P340 once I set everything up. You can take pictures and download images to your phone or just see whats on the P340's SD card. You can download RAW files to your phone to but they take longer. Since the P340 has an electronic zoom lens you can also zoom in and out using your smart phone. The wifi on the P340 has a pretty decent range to. It can stay connected from my backyard to my sidewalk which is about 55 to 60 feet.
It would be nice if the app allowed the P340 to be fully control via Wifi with full manual control in the future though.
The P340 is a great little "do it all" Point and shoot camera. Its manual control and great image quality make it an ideal point and shoot for people like me who like to take control of their cameras. I'd recommend it and I'd buy it again if I had the option.
May 11, 2014