Nikon Coolpix 8800 | Digital Camera Review | Control
The Coolpix 8800 is an extremely mature high resolution digital camera at which the advanced photographer is able to use all his skills. The camera is richly equipped and is a true challenge for everyone who wants to make use of the settings to the full extent. The Coolpix 8800 offers, as usual, an comprehensive menu. The user can adjust the many settings through the menu as desired, however, in practice one will find it easier, and it will be quicker to work with the diverse quick functions the camera offers. For example, the FUNC button can contain frequently used features. Giving a certain value to this button the settings can be adjusted through command dials and buttons; for example the choice of focusing (macro, infinite or manual), the exposure compensation, ISO rate, image quality and format, etc. This way one doesn’t have to dig into the menu which means saving a lot of time. The small led on top of the camera shows the adjustment values. Other frequently used functions like aperture or shutter speed can be set directly through the command dial and the turning wheel. One who wants to get advise from the camera’s comprehensive menu, will find out that navigating by using the multi-functional button on the back of the camera can be done fast and neat.
The camera is designed for the advanced photographer. However a beginning photographer will also know how to shoot the first images. If the abundance of possibilities doesn't scare a person, he/she will be able to develop him/herself and reach advanced skills with this camera. A handy function, which is also used frequently by 'professionals' is the 'P' function. This fully automatic setting lets the user effortless take snap shots. But one who wants to make use of the camera to the full extent can dig into a wealth of functions offered by this camera.
The camera's optical zoom lens is a clear invitation to versatile photography. The impressive appearance of the camera is caused mainly by the 35-350mm optical zoom lens. Compared with its predecessor the Coolpix 8800 has a larger telephoto range at its disposal, it used to be 280mm, so it was given a huge upgrade. The total zoom range is 10x. This range alone would have been sufficient, but with a little help from a converter the camera can also be turned into a wide angle. Wouldn't it have been great if they had chosen for a 28-280mm optical zoom range?
Besides the fine optics we find a rather interesting and in the meantime beloved functionality; the Vibration Reduction (VR). The technique, which was already developed by Nikon for a while, at last found its way into the new top model and we expect to find this technique in future Nikon models digital cameras. The surplus value of this feature is so great, once used, you never want to do without it anymore! It enables the use of the large optical range in different light conditions even without using the tripod. It's an extremely impressive feature. If you zoom in on a subject to the maximum, hold the camera tight, keep your elbows tightly pressed to your body, hold your breath, you still notice some movements through the viewfinder, even if it's only your heartbeat from holding your breath too long. As soon as the VR function is activated, the difference shows. It looks like the image is floating, the movements are captured and eliminated immediately by the Vibration Reduction, which is perfect! Images in a hall or images in poor light conditions etc, suddenly become available. The difference between taking a picture holding the camera in your hand, with or without RV is significant. It's a huge difference, especially in bad light conditions.
Technically is wasn't possible to equip the Coolpix 8800 with an optical viewfinder because of the large optical zoom lens. So in stead it features an electronic viewfinder, in fact it's a mini LCD monitor.
The quality of such a viewfinder used to be poor when they were first used on digital cameras, not bright, low resolution and slow in image refreshing. The Coolpix 8800 camera's monitor however doesn't comply with this description. On the contrary. The viewfinder is equipped with a rubber coating so glasses wearing users don't feel the hard edge and the glasses will not get damaged quickly. The high resolution electronic viewfinder has a bright rendition and even offers the possibility for manual focus. Of course one can always choose to use the vary-angle LCD monitor but the electronic viewfinder on the Coolpix 8800 is of a superb quality. The vary-angle monitor comes in very handy. The monitor flips out a 180 degrees and can be turned 270 degrees, so one is tend to hold the camera in all sorts of positions which weren't possible before, and the camera is all-round applicable. I'd like to see a larger LCD monitor, a minimum of 2 inch, which we'll probably find on future Nikon models digital cameras. The rendition in sunny or dark circumstances is magnificent, in fact, no negative comments can be made about the quality.
Well-considered are the position and functionality of the buttons on the Coolpix 8800. The same function can be reached through different ways, either through one of the buttons on the housing of the camera, or through the menu. The buttons on the optical zoom lens have been repositioned compared with the Coolpix 8700, the predecessor of the Coolpix 8800, which definitely is an improvement. The buttons are easier accessible. The present buttons on the lens are well positioned and they are lens-related. On the whole the ergonomics are excellent. The automatic programs make it easy to start, and the half-automatic and manual settings offer a chance to creativity on a high level. The camera has it all, and found the right way to present everything in a fast and well-organized way, an excellent performance!
If you happen to encounter with a camera like the Coolpix 8800 for the first time you can get help from the clear and easy readable instruction manual. The camera can be operated effortlessly but to discover the meaning of functions like BSS, one will have to dig into the manual. The operation of the camera is fast and smooth. The combination of features like a high quality optical zoom lens and a useful Vibration Reduction function makes the Coolpix 8800 a digital topper! In fact the camera combines the best of features available from Nikon digital cameras, at this moment inside its housing, like an impressive zoom range, VR, high quality monitor, well-considered ergonomics, compact size, versatile settings and outstanding quality.