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Conclusion - Pros

  • High resolution, lots of detail
  • Sharp 8.3x zoom with good contrast
  • Bright, vivid colors
  • Simple point-and-shoot operation
  • Good price
  • Excellent macro capabilities
  • Lightweight
  • Good battery life, option to use 2CR5 batteries
  • Good flash exposures and fast recycle
  • Generally quite responsive
  • Lots of scene modes
  • Excellent handling
  • Very little color fringing
  • Few problems with blown highlights
  • Quite compact and very light for a 'super zoom'

Conclusion - Cons

  • Images quite noisy even at ISO 50
  • Some focus errors in low light at long end of zoom
  • No exposure information in record or playback mode
  • Mediocre screen and EVF
  • Some exposure problems in high contrast/very bright scenes
  • Occasional white balance errors in normal outdoor lighting
  • No image stabilisation
  • User interface a bit convoluted

Overall conclusion

Viewed in isolation the Coolpix 4800 would be a very impressive camera indeed (and as you can see from the samples gallery on the next page it's capable of great results). There's little to really complain about here - especially given the sub-$400 price point, and it is capable of excellent results in the right conditions. But the 4800 doesn't exist in a vacuum, and - even with its extra megapixel - it simply doesn't feel as accomplished as the Canon PowerShot S1 IS or the Panasonic FZ3, both of which feature significantly more control and the invaluable addition of image stabilisation systems - essential if you're to get the most out of a long lens on such a small, light camera. The 8.3x zoom is also a little underpowered compared to these models (both of which cost around the same as the 4800 on the street).

Ultimately it's hard to see what the 4800's unique selling point is. Sure, it's got 4MP (its main competitors are 3MP), but the shorter zoom and lack of IS negate this if you're interested in long tele shots (though it does a great job at the wide and of the zoom). It's a little too easy to see where Nikon has cut corners in the design of the 4800 to make sure it hits its price point, and I think I'd find it easier to recommend if it were a little cheaper still. If you do get one you're unlikely to be disappointed - and if lots of detail is important this camera won't let you down - but, after a couple of months of regular use, I don't think this is the camera to put Nikon on the budget super zoom map.

Above Average

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