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Design

Nikon Coolpix 800 (all round view - click for larger image)

The case used on the 800 is straight from the mould of the 700, a big chunky hand-grip on the right hand side and a big deep and fixed lens (which doesn't retract or move when zooming - useful for add-on lenses / filters) on the left hand side. The main difference from the 700 (other than the lens) is that the viewfinder housing now protrudes out of the top of the camera to make room for the zoom lens.

CP800 in handOther than that the 800 feels a bit plastic, the hand-grip doesn't have the same rubberised feel that the 950 features. It's a light camera (in fact it's exactly the same weight as the Canon S10, though the plastic case makes it feel lighter) and is comfortable to carry in your hand and robust enough to be a "quick shooter" which you'd pretty much take anywhere with you.

Controls are plastic to the touch but functional and simple layout make for easy use and a short learning curve.


Compared to the Canon Powershot S10

The S10 is the smaller camera, features a retracting self-covering less, controls feel better made and the case is all metal.

The CP800 falls into line with the Coolpix 700, however the 800's two times zoom lens make it bulkier to carry.

So, out of the two the S10 wins the "body design" competition.

Compared to Nikon Coolpix 800 (click for larger image)


Rear LCD Display

The rear LCD is identical to that used on the Coolpix 700, the shiny plastic window over the LCD means big reflection problems in daylight (why couldn't they use the anti-glare coating Canon have utilised so well on their digicams?). Nikon have improved the firmware on the 800, one of the fixes is a much lighter LCD image when the LCD brightness is set to "+" (though it's still tough to see in daylight).


Top information LCD

Display details clockwise from top-left:

Focus modes Self-Timer, Landscape, Macro (flashing indicates manual focus)
Flash modes Auto, On, Auto Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Battery Status Full, Almost empty
Remaining frames Frame count indicator
ISO mode Gain on, Gain off
Exposure compensation +/- indicates modified
Metering mode Matrix, Center-weighted, Spot
Quality Hi, Fine, Normal, Basic


Viewfinder

The bog-standard compact camera viewfinder on the CP800 is raised above the case to make room for that big lens housing. It's of standard quality and doesn't really stand out in any way. One disappointment is a lack of dioptric adjustment which may well annoy those glass wearers amongst us.

Rear light indicators show status of:

Green Auto Focus OK, ready to shoot
Flashing Green No Focus Lock / Writing to CF
Red Flashing Flash charging
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