We were on the lookout for a moderately priced (under $300) P&S camera with a fast lens (f2.0 or faster). We've tried a few superzooms, but the slow lens f3.5 to f4.0 at wide angle really makes indoor p&s pictures of kids a real challenge.
Recommend this product?
Our survey of the marketplace left us with the following options.
Canon 500 HS: Actually, this is the reason were were in the marketplace for a new camera. Our 500 HS had a delicate lens mechanism that started having problems opening its protective cover after just a few months. We took it to Niagara Falls and the camera died without any water immersion. It just ingested too much mist. So Canon was out of the picture.
Canon S100: too pricey.
Panasonic: Had a camera with a fast lens but the price was in the $450 range. That was way too expensive for the usage and abuse that our family camera sees.
And that was it. No other manufacturer had a pocketable f2.0 lens under $300.
Now that we've had the P310 for a few months....
We are absolutely ecstatic about it. We love the fast f1.8 lens. We hate using flash for indoor snapshots of our kids. Flash takes too long to charge and kids hate having the flash in their eyes. Pictures look warmer and more natural without the flash.
I also like that the flash requires a manual switch activation to pop up and charge.
Pictures look noticeably better than any Canon P&S we've ever had. And they look even better on the camera with the 921k pixel display.
For the photo nerds, this is a great underappreciated camera. While it doesn't offer RAW or a large sensor, it does offer everything else a photo geek would want, including: time lapse intervalometer, exposure bracketing (even my D5100 doesn't have that), full manual controls, apeture priority, shutter priority, etc.
The 24mm wide angle lens is fantastic for tight indoor settings. The extra spread compared to 28mm is definitely noticable and compared to 35mm its absolutely luxurious.
The only downsides so far:
1) lens does not zoom when in movie mode
2) there is considerable shutter lag when starting a movie.
3) lack of RAW. I don't care about this, but others might
4) lack of large image sensor. Again this is not an issue for me as we just need family snapshots.
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Amount Paid (US$): 270
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Flexible Enough for Enthusiasts