Standing out among a plethora of new digital compacts from Nikon is the Coolpix P300, a camera equipped with an f/1.8 lens, aimed at serious photographers.

?Not only does it look good, but the newly-developed super bright f/1.8, 24mm [4.2x] wideangle zoom lens produces stunning true-to-life images with outstanding resolution and detail,? claimed Nikon Europe product manager Sander van Velzen.

The 12.2-million-pixel Coolpix P300 is targeted at ?discerning photographers?, he said.

Features include a 3in monitor, shutter and aperture priority, plus manual control and eight frames per second shooting.

Speaking at the launch in central London, a Nikon spokesman said the firm hopes that the P300 will appeal to photo enthusiasts as well as professional photographers looking for a high-end compact to carry in their kit bag.

In Macro mode photographers can shoot as close as 3cm from the subject, according to Nikon.

Also on board is lens?shift type vibration reduction. This also works in the Full HD (1,080) pixel movie mode.

The Coolpix P300 will go on sale on 17 March, priced £299.99.

Nikon has also added the P500 to its P-series line-up, features of which include a tilting 3in LCD screen and a 36x optical zoom. It will go on sale on 3 March, costing £399.99.

Coolpix P300 Specification, as supplied by Nikon UK:

Effective pixels: 12.2 million

Image sensor: 1/2.3-in. type CMOS; approx. 12.75 million total pixels

Lens: 4.2X optical zoom, NIKKOR lens; 4.3-17.9mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 24-100 mm lens in 35mm [135] format); f/1.8-4.9, Digital zoom: up to 2X (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 200 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)

Focus range (from lens): [W]: Approx. 30 cm to ∞ ,

[T]: Approx. 60 cm to ∞ ,

Macro close-up mode: Approx. 3 cm to ∞ (wide-angle position)

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

Storage media *1: Internal memory (approx. 90 MB),

SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card

ISO sensitivity: ISO 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

Auto (auto gain from ISO 160 to 1600)

Fixed range auto (ISO 160 to 400, 160 to 800)

Interface: Hi-Speed USB

Power sources: One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (supplied)

AC Adapter EH-62F (available separately)

Battery life:

(EN-EL12) Still pictures*1: Approx. 240 shots

Movies: Approx. 1 h 5 min (HD 1080p(1920 X 1080)

Dimensions (WxHxD): Approx. 103.0 X 58.3 X 32.0 mm (excluding projections)

Weight: Approx. 189 g (including battery and memory card)

Supplied accessories *2: Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12,

Charging AC Adapter EH-69P

USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16,