The lens is reasonably good. Its focal length is useful for walkabout photography - in 35mm terms it ranges from 28-105mm.
At its widest setting it's excellent, but we were less keen on its telephoto performance, with images looking relatively soft when zoomed in.
It's unlikely to ruin many of your images, but it's likely to restrict how good they look when heavily cropped or printed at enlargement sizes
Chromatic aberration - purple fringing on high-contrast areas of a shot - will be found if you go looking for it, but is generally well-controlled.
Importantly, image-quality is terrific. While you'll find it if you go looking, chromatic aberration is extremely well-controlled in tricky situations.
The HS 300 has an impressively wide number of ISO settings. It starts, a little oddly, at 125, but goes all the way up to ISO 3200.
In combination with the f/2 lens, that means some excellent low-light performance. Inevitably, the tiny, 1/2.3in CMOS sensor struggles with the higher reaches, but you'll find little difference between ISO 125 and 800, with noise creeping in to varying degrees thereafter.
The "HS" in the 300 HS's name stands for High Speed. Partly, that could be talking about the fast lens and extensive ISO option, but it also masks an interesting video mode.
Normally, the 300 HS shoots 720, 30fps video – par for the course. Set the high speed option, though, and you'll get 240fps at 320 x 240.
You can generate some interesting footage – a clip of someone sneezing becomes a drawn out and frankly rather harrowing experience when replayed eight times slower than normal. On the downside, you need a lot of light to make it work properly – our test footage needed brightening before it was watchable, and that was made in a bright home studio.
Outdoors works best. You also need to beware of the resolution limit – 320 x 240 means you lose a lot of detail.