The Nikon Coolpix S9300 is a chunky compact camera with a tough metal chassis, a pop-up flash and 3-inch high resolution screen.
The camera is larger than the Panasonic TZ30 in all dimensions, and is taller and wider than the Canon SX260 HS, but slimmer and lighter. When fully zoomed in, the lens extends two inches from the body, making the Nikon Coolpix S9300 feel bulky, although it will fit in most pockets.
The top of the camera features a recessed on/off button, a zoom rocker that surrounds the shutter release and a rotary control for different automatic modes.
The back is dominated by the 3-inch screen and a four-way control pad with shortcuts for the flash, self-timer, exposure compensation and macro focusing. There's also a dedicated video button and image playback, menu and image delete buttons.
The Nikon Coolpix S9300 feels well built with no flex in the body and a sturdy lens, although it does feel heavy. The battery/SD card cover and A/V connector port cover also feel durable.
However, during testing the camera completely froze on four separate occasions, refusing to switch off, with the lens only retracting after the battery had been removed and reinserted. For a premium model from a respected manufacturer, this performance is extremely disappointing.
Another irritation is the pop-up flash that rests under the natural position for your left index finger.
The rotary dial provides easy access to Auto mode, Scene Modes, Scene Auto Selector and several other options. Annoyingly, though, to change settings or choose between Scene Modes you must use the main menu, which feels unnecessarily convoluted. Altering flash, self-timer and exposure compensation settings is simple, however, thanks to dedicated buttons.
Overall, the Nikon Coolpix S9300 is enjoyable to use, feeling comfortable and having a very sharp, clear and large screen and responsive performance.
The high resolution screen flatters images, making them look better quality than they really are, however. The screen is generally visible in direct sunlight, but is susceptible to fingerprints.