Nikon Coolpix W300 Review

Nikon Coolpix W300: Rugged outdoor camera Nikon Coolpix W300 with 4K video announced – Waterproof to 100 ft (30 meters) and drop resistant to 8 ft (2.4 meters)

Nikon has just introduced the extensively updated successor to the waterproof Coolpix AW130 outdoor camera. This camera is now (as the second outdoor camera ever) capable of high 4K video resolution and has (like all updated Nikon cameras) now Bluetooth 4.1 as well as Snapbridge data transfer to the smartphone.

Brief assessment


  • Robust housing
  • Fast GPS reception
  • Interesting time-lapse video functions
  • Video recordings with 4K resolution
  • Good resolution with little edge waste


  • Front handle very small
  • Missing automatic time and aperture control
  • AF and zoom noise very dominant during video recording

Nikon Coolpix W300 in black. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Coolpix W300 back with 7.5 cm (3 inch) monitor with 921,000 pixels. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Coolpix W300 top side with on/off switch and shutter release. [Photo: Nikon]

Equipped with periscope optics and a waterproof and shockproof housing, the Nikon Coolpix W300 has the angular design typical for outdoor cameras. In this camera test and in using the test software, we have determined what the camera has to offer the photographer in addition to its robust features and especially what the camera has to offer in terms of resolution, image noise and optical quality of the lens.

The 4K/UHD video resolution (i.e. 3,840 x 2,160 pixels or 8.3 megapixels) is therefore one of the biggest innovations of the Nikon W300, with a resolution of either 25 or 30 frames per second. Quasi as a by-product of this, FullHD videos (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, a good 2 megapixels) with very fluid 60 fps are possible. In the video editing program reduced to 25 fps, even slight slow-motions in FullHD are possible. Another new feature is a measured value memory, which enables even video recordings to be made under changing light conditions, as is particularly common in underwater photography.

The photo resolution remains at 16 megapixels from a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, which is already a lot for the periscope lenses built into outdoor cameras (Olympus has gone back to 12 megapixels in its recently introduced WG-5). A fast autofocus in combination with a 5-axis hybrid image stabilizer is designed to ensure fast and blur-free shooting. The 5x zoom lens has a small image equivalent focal length range from 24 to 120 mm.

The Nikon W300 is equipped with all kinds of sensors, including GPS for positioning, of course, but also a barometer, altimeter, depth gauge and compass. New is a tool button that allows you to display GPS data, step count and altitude / depth or air pressure / water pressure on the monitor.

Nikon Coolpix W300 in a camouflage palette. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Coolpix W300 in yellow. The Nikon Coolpix W300 is available in four different colours: yellow (as seen here), orange, black and a camouflage palette. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Coolpix W300 in orange. [Photo: Nikon]

Not new, but compatible with the Nikon W300 is Nikon’s underwater flash accessory, which is incredibly expensive. The SB-N10 flash unit has a recommended retail price of 699 euros, but is already available in stores at a much lower price (500 to 600 euros). In addition, there is almost the same amount of brackets and fiber optic trigger (131 Euro for the flash rail SK-N10A, 131 Euro for the fiber optic cable SC-N10A and 175 Euro for a fiber optic cable adapter SR-CP10A, makes a total of 437 Euro).

With a waterproofness of 30 metres diving depth and a stay of up to one hour, the W300 is already very well suited for “real” diving (IPX8). Many other outdoor cameras are only approved for diving to 15 meters, such as the Olympus Tough TG-5, that we reviewed already in this article.

The W300 also achieves peak values in terms of fall resistance: the camera should be able to withstand a fall from a height of 2.4 metres onto a 5 cm thick plywood panel (in accordance with MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock). With its large handle, large controls and easy operation, it should be possible to control the system even when wearing gloves and underwater.

During the update of a Nikon camera, the SnapBridge function should not be missing. The camera thus maintains contact with the paired smartphone via Bluetooth in an energy-saving manner and transfers low-resolution photos to the smartphone in the background for direct use (viewing and sharing). The high-resolution versions and videos can also be downloaded to the smartphone via WLAN using the SnapBridge app.

The Nikon Coolpix W300’s recommended retail price is 449 euros, which is 100 euros more than the previous model, the AW130. In view of the improved features, especially the 4K video resolution, the higher price seems reasonable. The W300 is available in the four colours black, yellow, orange and a camouflage palette by Q2 of 2017.

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The Nikon Coolpix W300 looks very similar to its predecessor, the Coolpix AW130, but differs in some design details. It is available in orange, yellow, camouflage and black. As with its predecessor, the W300 is angular and designed without large projections. The pertiscope lens is an optically stabilized 5x zoom. The physical focal length is 4.3 to 21.5 mm, due to the small 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor the image angle shown corresponds to the focal length of a 35 mm lens from 24 to 120 mm. There is also an optical image stabilizer that counteracts camera shake. The resolution of the sensor is effectively 16 megapixels. Furthermore, the small flash, the AF auxiliary light and the stereo microphone are located on the front of the camera. The “handle” is a slightly raised plastic edge, which is neither rubberized nor profiled. Although the camera can be held relatively well by the edge with the bare hand, it is more difficult to do so with winter or diving gloves.

The biggest highlight of the camera is its square and very robust housing with dimensions of 112 x 66 x 29 mm (width x height x depth) and a ready to use weight of 231 grams. The W300’s seals keep the camera’s sensitive electronics dry for a maximum of 60 minutes in water up to a depth of 30 metres. Provided that the seals are optimally maintained. The camera can also take a lot of falls. According to Nikon up to 2.4 meters fall height according to MIL-STD 810D Method 516.5-Shock. MIL-STD refers to a test for military equipment and in this case specifies the surface on which the camera is dropped as a 5 cm thick chipboard. I did not reproduce this test, but after the test the camera survived a fall from the desk to the floor (with thin carpet) without damage.

The on/off switch and shutter release button are located on the top of the camera. The shutter release has a knurled pattern like the entire top side and offers a good grip. In addition, it has a quite good and not too tight pressure point. The shutter release delay without autofocus on the W300 is a short 0.05 second at wide angle and 0.03 second at telephoto. With autofocus this time is extended to a quick 0.18 or 0.33 seconds.

The microphones and flash on the front of the camera are clearly visible. [Photo: Nikon]

The right side of the camera is dominated by a single flap. To open this flap, the photographer must overcome a two-stage release mechanism by pressing and turning a knob. Afterwards, the flap can be opened downwards and provides a view of the memory card slot for SD (SDHC and SDXC) memory cards. In addition, the USB and micro HDMI interface can also be found here. The USB interface is also used to charge the battery, and unlike previous models, the W300 can also be charged using third-party USB chargers.

On the opposite, i.e. left-hand side, the W300 has three generously dimensioned buttons. While the photographer can use the upper one to display the electronic compass, the lower one switches the small lamp on the front of the W300 on and off. The center button allows the photographer to quickly access the function selection. However, this only makes sense if the camera’s action control function is active, as the photographer can then “switch through” the various options by tilting, rotating or tapping the camera. Pressing the button on the camera again will select the selected function. This action control function can also be used in the camera’s playback mode, but must first be activated by the photographer in the main menu.

The underside of the camera only has a ¼” tripod thread that is not in the optical axis of the lens. This is irrelevant for “freehand” photography, but for video pans or panoramic shots from a tripod, this leads to strange-looking camera pans and can lead to unclean panoramas.

The back of the camera is dominated by the 3″ monitor, which has a resolution of 921,000 pixels. Next to the monitor is the very tight, but above all very small zoom lever. Unfortunately, this is located directly next to an edge that is at the same level. This edge makes it difficult to use the lever, as there is a risk that the photographer’s finger may try to move both the zoom lever and the (fixed) edge. In addition, a dedicated video trigger and other function keys are located on the back. Of course, the obligatory omniselector is not missing either, which is used for navigating the camera menus in addition to various quick selection functions such as flash, exposure correction, macro mode and self-timer. The keys on the back are quite taut and offer a pleasant feedback when pressed. However, the small size of the keys could be problematic when using them with gloves.

Although the menus are not too interlaced, it is difficult to see why the standard program and smart portrait modes are not included in the subject programs and why the time-lapse functions have not been assigned their own menu option. Especially since these two operating modes are positioned very far apart in the selection of the motif program. In addition, the setting options on the menu depend on the subject program selected. For example, the Quick Select button for close-up photography only works if the subject program (scene mode) allows it.


In addition to an automatic scene mode in which the camera uses image analysis to determine the type of shot, the photographer can also manually select different shooting programs for different situations. This includes programs for portraits, night shots, sports shots, close-ups and other common scene mode situations. Unfortunately, the W300 does not offer a semi-automatic or manual mode, only an exposure correction is available and offers the photographer some influence on the exposure of the shot.

The photographer has a little more influence in the creative mode, where the general category of the color effect can be selected. The camera then displays the current image from the sensor in different variants belonging to the category. When the shutter is released, the camera saves the motif in the different color variants of this category. The Smart Portrait mode combined with the “Smile” shutter release is the right companion for better portraits. Standard program mode is not included in the subject programs; it has a single menu option. When this is selected, the camera offers the widest range of functions. For example, the photographer can change the autofocus mode here. For example, there is a very powerful subject tracking mode. In this mode, the photographer manually marks the subject to be tracked and the camera then tracks the subject until a shot is taken or the zoom is used. In addition, the autofocus measuring point can be fixed to the center of the image or set manually, whereas in the target search, the camera’s automatic system decides which autofocus point to use.

It is interesting that there are two different programs for time-lapse recordings. The programs called “Time Lapse Clips” and “Super Time Lapse” work slightly differently. For time-lapse clips, the photographer selects the subject of the time-lapse shots. For example, different presets are available for city panoramas, landscapes, sunset, night sky and even star trails. Each of these programs has a certain period of time during which the recordings are made to create a ten second video clip. Recording times vary from ten to 150 minutes depending on the program. The super time lapse recording can be up to 29 minutes long or occupy four gigabytes of memory. Otherwise, the photographer can adjust the playback speed using speed factors from 2 to 15 times. For example, 15x converts a 15-minute recording into a one-minute clip. Both night programs are also equipped with a focus fixed to infinity. In addition, the exposure can be set for all time-lapse programs to create a lighting mood.

In addition to the photographic functions, the video functions are not unimportant for compact cameras. The Coolpix W300 not only records video at 1080p (Full HD) at 50 frames per second, but also masters 4K recording at 25 frames per second. However, it is important to use a fast memory card. This must meet at least UHS-I speed class 3, which guarantees a minimum write speed of 30 MByte/s. Video recording is very easy thanks to the dedicated video shutter release on the back of the camera. However, the placement of the stereo microphone turns out to be a real disadvantage. This sits slightly offset underneath the lens and records all sounds, unfortunately also those that a photographer does not want to have in the video. These include the zoom whirring and the rattling of the autofocus tracking. The latter is so present that you can hear it even in normal ambient noise. However, the camera can minimize wind noise by means of a switchable electronic filter.

The upper side of the W300 has a knurled pattern for a better grip. [Photo: Nikon]

On the underside it is clearly visible that the tripod thread is not in the optical axis of the camera. [Photo: Nikon]

In terms of connectivity, Nikon relies on WLAN and Bluetooth. These enable communication between the Nikon Snap-Bridge app on a smart device and the camera. The app allows you to transfer and upload images to the Nikon cloud service and trigger the camera including a live image. Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the camera operating mode. The photographer can also activate an internal GPS module in the Coolpix W300. The speed with which the camera finds a signal is pleasing. The determined position data can be recorded in a log file and the camera writes the position data into the metadata of the images in the same way as the data of the electronic compass.

Image quality

Pictures of the Coolpix W300 show an oversharpening of the camera in all focal lengths, this clearly indicates that the image processor needs to be re-sharpened. As usual, the sharpness decreases towards the edge of the image. In the case of the W300, however, the drop in sharpness is so small that it is not visible on a 20 x 30 cm printout.

Lens distortion is so low at all focal lengths that it is negligible. The situation is different with chromatic aberrations, which become easily visible. These are mainly visible at wide angle and in telephoto. The camera shows the highest resolution in wide angle with open aperture. At telephoto, the camera achieves only 3/4 of the resolution achieved at wide angle. However, this only becomes visible on prints larger than 20 x 30 cm. The edge drop of the resolution is highest in the wide angle (just enough for 20 x 30 cm), with increasing focal length, the edge resolution increases while it decreases in the centre of the image, so that with medium and long focal length, also slightly larger formats than 20 x 30 cm can be printed.

The signal-to-noise ratio, the difference between the image signal and the noise, is acceptable at the lower ISO settings and falls below the critical limit at approximately ISO 400. The brightness noise becomes visible from ISO 800 and the disturbing color noise is unproblematic over the entire ISO range. The threshold for visible loss of detail due to noise reduction is reached just before ISO 400, but up to ISO 800, details decrease slowly and beyond that, detail retention deteriorates significantly but does not fall into unacceptable ranges even at ISO 6400.

The left camera side of the Coolpix W300 is dominated by three large buttons that are designed to ensure easy operation, especially under water and in snow. [Photo: Nikon]

The waterproof flap on the right side of the camera is doubly secured by a rotating knob with pressure safety device. [Photo: Nikon]

The battery and memory card compartment as well as the HDMI and USB connection are located under the flap. [Photo: Nikon]

The input dynamics are specified in f-stops. This is high for the Coolpix W300 up to ISO 800 and then drops continuously. During tonal value transfer, the camera displays a typical shoot-to-print waveform with high-contrast mid-tones for crisp image reproduction. Already from ISO 200, the camera shows a tonal range that is only acceptable, which is further reduced at higher sensitivities, resulting in gradual brightness gradients. The color deviation of the camera is small, but increases with increasing ISO settings.


The Coolpix W300 is a camera that is always with you and can take bumps, splashes, snow, sand, dust and a dive. The camera provides easy handling, a wide range of functions and an image quality appropriate to the sensor size and resolution. The lens offers little cause for criticism, as the resolution decreases only moderately with zooming and even increases at the edges. Operating the camera with the Action Control system can provide improved handling in situations where the photographer wears gloves or does not have time to navigate the menus. Special functions such as 4K video recording, time-lapse recording and the fast GPS receiver round off the picture of a camera that is always with you and whose user does not attach importance to post-processing the images.


Manufacturer Nikon
Model Coolpix W300
Sensor CMOS 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6
)16.8 megapixels (physical)
16.0 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.3 µm
Resolution (max.) 4.608 x 3.456 (4:3)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2,160 30p
Lens F2.8-4.9/24-120mm
Filter thread No filter thread installed
Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Resolution 921.000 pixels
AV connector HDMI output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic
Scene mode automatic yes
Scene mode programs 15
Automatic programming yes
Program shift
Automatic aperture control
Automatic timer
Bulb Long Term Exposure
HDR function
Panorama function yes, panoramic view
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
fastest shutter speed 1/5.000 s
Flash installed
Synchronous time 1/5.000 s
Flash connection
WLAN yes
GPS internal
Remote release yes, remote control via smartphone/tablet
Interval recording
Storage medium
automatically ISO 125-6.400
manually ISO 125-6.400
White balance
automatically yes
manual measuring yes
Kelvin input
Fine correction
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 99 contrast sensors
Speed 0.18 to 0.33 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions (WxHxD) 112 x 66 x 29 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 231 g
Tripod thread off optical axis
Zoom adjustment Zoom rocker (motorized)
Battery life 280 recordings according to CIPA standard
– = “not applicable” or “not available

Brief assessment


  • Robust housing
  • Fast GPS reception
  • Interesting time-lapse video functions
  • Video recordings with 4K resolution
  • Good resolution with little edge waste


  • Front handle very small
  • Missing automatic time and aperture control
  • AF and zoom noise very dominant during video recording

Nikon Coolpix W300 data sheet


Sensor CMOS sensor 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6
)16.8 megapixels (physical), 16.0 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.3 µm
Photo resolution
4.608 x 3.456 pixels (4:3)
4.608 x 2.592 pixels (16:9)
3.456 x 3.456 pixels (1:1)
3.264 x 2.448 pixels (4:3)
2.272 x 1.704 pixels (4:3)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Image formats JPG
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.31), DCF standard
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 25 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 25 p
Maximum recording time 29 min
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)


Focal length 24 to 120 mm (35mm equivalent
)5x zoom4
.3 to 21.5 mm (physical)
digital zoom 4x
Sharpness range 50 cm to infinity (wide angle
)100 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro area 1 cm (wide angle)
Aperture F2.8 (wide angle
)F4.9 (telephoto)
ND filter ND filter (2.0 EV steps)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus mode Contrast autofocus with 99 measuring fields
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Tracking AF, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED)
Filter thread No filter thread

Viewfinder and monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) D-TFD-LCD monitor with 921,000 pixels, non-reflective, brightness adjustable


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
, special features: center-weighted measurement with digital zoom up to 2x, spot measurement with digital zoom from 2x
Exposure times 1/5,000 to 4 s (automatic)
Exposure control Program Automatic, Motif Automatic
Exposure Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 125 to ISO 6.400 (automatic
)ISO 125 to ISO 6.400 (manual)
Remote access Remote control via smartphone/tablet
Scene modes Twilight, fireworks, backlight, interior shot, landscape, night landscape, night portrait, close-up, portrait, sunset, food, sports/action, beach/snow, and 2 additional scene mode programs
Picture effects Fisheye, HDR effect, Miniature effect, Retro, Black and white, Selective color, Softer, Star grille, 9 additional image effects
White balance Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Flash, Tungsten light, Manual
Color space sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 6.9 fps at highest resolution and max. 5 stored photos, L-Cont at 20 fps and max. 25 images
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Recording functions AEL function, AFL function


Flash built-in flash
Flash range 0.5 to 5.2 m at wide angle0
.5 to 4.5 m at tele flash range
at ISO auto flash sync speed
1/5,000 s
Flash functions Auto, Fill-in, Flash on, Flash off, Slow sync


Image stabilizer electronic image stabilizer, lens shift (optical)
Internal memory yes (473 MByte)
Panorama Sweeping panorama
GPS function internal
Microphone Stereo
Power supply unit no power supply connectionUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL12 (lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 3.7 V, 1,050 mAh
)280 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Crop images, playback magnifier with 10.0x magnification, image index
Face recognition Face recognition, face recognition (12 faces), blink detection
Grille can be faded in during recording no
Special functions Orientation sensor, Live View
Connections Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
: available (Type: B, G, N)
Audio output: noAudio input
: noVideo output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″ not in optical axis
Housing Splashproof, waterproof up to 30.0 m and max. 60 min (class IPX8), dustproof (class IP6X), drop-resistant up to 2.4 m, frost-proof up to -10 °C
Special features and miscellaneous EXPEED image processorBarometer
functionOperating range approx. 500 to 4600
hPaAltimeterOperating range approx. -300 to 4500 mDepth gauge
Operating range approx. 0 to 35 mHighSpeed video functionSnapBridgecompatible

Size and weight

Weight 231 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 112 x 66 x 29 mm


standard accessory Nikon AN-CP23 Storage AccessoriesNikon
EH-73P AC AdapterNikon
EN-EL12 Special BatteryNikon
UC-E21 USB CableEN-EL12
(Li-Ion) BatteryUSB Cable
UC-E21BrushBrush StrapCamera SoftwareViewNX 2
additional accessories Nikon EH-62F Power supplyNikon
MH-65 Charger for special batteries
USB 2.0

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