Just got my S8200 tonight and am still battling a bad cold, so I didn't really have a chance to take photos other than inside my house (primarily of my dogs, bedroom, and small christmas tree.) But I have to say, I'm pretty impressed.
As always, I despise my newest camera and am typically *sure* I'm sending it back for its first 1/2 hour in my hands, until I've had time to get to know it and discover its nuances. Same thing happened here, not surprisingly. But now I really love it.
I shoot with Nikon SLRs professionally, but I always carry a little 'snappy cam' as I call them, around with me, because you never know what you'll end up wanting or needing a photo of. I have an 'old' (2006) Nikon S7C which is certainly small enough and easily portable, but the quality is really lacking, especially with video - which is the other reason I bought the s8200. Full 1080p video is lovely. Hardly any lens zoom noise or AF noise, which is quite different from the 'clickity click hummm' the S7C makes.
I PONDERED long and hard over getting this or the P300. While I love the idea of the P300s fast 1.8 lens, the P300s zoom range is around 24-100mm, whereas this camera's is 25-300mm, and I really need the zoom more than the fast lens. Not to mention that once you zoom in, that fast lens slows down considerably, anyway. And I don't plan to do a lot of night shots with any 'snappy' camera like this.
There is another major difference between the two, and that is the S8200 is 16.1MP and the P300 is only 12MP. You will see the difference in enlargements, especially any over 8x10.
I did a couple of test shots at the long end of the lens (I turned the defacto crappy digital zoom off - which is a nice ability, by the way, so that means just the optical 300mm) and I am really wowed at how clear and sharp they came out. The VR really works well (another thing the old SC7 does have, but that has been clearly improved.)
As for all the other features, I believe they are the same on both models (the S8200 and the P300.) The only difference lies with P300s ability to shoot in program mode, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual mode. You know what? I've been doing this for a long time now, and I don't know a lot of pros who would want or need that much control in a 'snappy' camera. I can't speak for all pros, but I know the reason many of us carry these is NOT to duplicate and downsize our SLRs, but for the same reason everyone else carries them: to take snapshots! So if I wanted that much control, I'd just stick with my DSLRs.
Took some video (which look great on the beautiful LCD) but haven't had a chance to see any of them on a TV yet. I can't seem to get them converted so I can view them on Apple TV (iTunes keeps crashing during conversion - my netbook's fault I hope.) I'll have to convert it on my studio's desktop PC. The other option is direct plug-in, but I only have 1 HDMI input on my bedroom tv and don't feel like contorting myself to plug the camera in directly. So I'll have to wait and upate my review about the quality of the video once I'm well enough.
Things that I am surprised I like:
* the black and white copy (not sure why it's called 'copy' - I will have to RTFM) Update: I did RTFM, and it turns out it's for making copies of print materials. Despite what it's intended use is, I liked the way some of the photos I took with is came out (that were not printed materials.)
* the high-contrast monochrome,
* the backlighting mode with the ability to choose 0, 1, 2, or 3 stops of HDR (it does the work of compositing in-camera, and you get one nicely-exposed HDR image.) Would love an HDR button on all my cameras, actually, LOL.
* the flash - this little thing throws out a lot of light. I got excellent coverage on a Xmas tree ornament 10 feet away with the lens at 300mm.
Things I don't like:
* the cheap plasticky door for the HDMI/USB connection. I prefer rubbery ones. These don't make me feel like they'll last a lifetime.
* the lack of a manual. Yeah, can't believe I'm crabbing about it since I don't read them much, but apparently, I miss them. Thankfully, I have my PC handy.
* the fact that you cannot push the flash back in once it's been used. So let's say the first photo I take needs a flash but all the rest that follow do not. Thanks to Nikon I'll still have the stupid flash popped up and in my way. The only way to retract the flash is to turn off the camera and then turn the camera back on to start snapping again. Stupid design. I'm sure they'll fix it in some later model at which point my S8200 will appear on eBay. LOL.
* the fact that it doesn't come with any - ANY - carrying case. Even the S7C did. (not that I ever used it.)
If they remedied the above shortcomings, and if it had a tilt/swivel LCD for shooting at low/high angles, as well as the ability to shoot RAW for optional post-processing futzing*, it would be the perfect camera, IMO.
*While I said I don't want to miniaturize my DSLRs in a snappy cam, I do want the option of post-processing any excellent photo that I may grab while snapping. RAW is the best way to do that as the changes you make to the file are non-destructive...as opposed to JPEG.