Back in 2006, Panasonic introduced the digital travel zoom compact camera with its Lumix DMC-TZ1. Ever since, travel zooms have acquired increasingly longer zooms and ever smaller bodies.

Keen to establish a foothold in the travel zoom market, Nikon has launched the Coolpix S9300, which replaces the year-old Nikon Coolpix S9100 and competes with the new Panasonic TZ30 (and its predecessor the TZ20) and the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS.

The Nikon S9300 sports a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor (compared to its predecessor's 12MP unit) and introduces GPS logging and 3D photo capability.

It has an 18x optical zoom that extends from a usefully wide 25mm to an impressive 450mm and features relatively wide maximum apertures of f/3.5 at 25mm and f/5.9 at 450mm.

Nikon Coolpix S9300

The Nikon Coolpix S9300 offers Full HD 1080p video recording with stereo sound and full use of the zoom, a 3-inch 921,000 dot LCD screen and fast autofocus. It can also take 360-degree panoramas and create HDR images, and includes optical vibration reduction.

Sitting at the top of Nikon's Style range, the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a recommended UK price of £300 and US price of $350. Nikon makes the bold claim that the Coolpix S9300 is "perfect for use in any situation" citing travel, sports events and concerts as its natural habitat.

Nikon Coolpix S9300

This new model features a compact body considering its 18x optical zoom, and thrives on point and shoot simplicity with 19 scene modes, a Scene Auto Selector mode and no manual or semi-manual modes.

The absence of manual controls is odd, considering that Panasonic and Canon's similarly priced models offer shutter and aperture priority plus manual control – all in addition to numerous scene modes. Therefore those wanting any manual control over images should bypass the Nikon Coolpix S9300 and consider Panasonic or Canon's offerings.