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Nikon Coolpix 880 Review

August 2000 | By Phil Askey


Review based on a production Nikon Coolpix 880 (Firmware E880 V1.0)

Please note: this camera is not available yet, pre-orders are being taken.

This time last year Nikon were readying the Nikon Coolpix 800, a quick progression from the Coolpix 700, which in turn had taken the guts of the 950, made the body smaller, removed the swivel and added a fixed (in the case of the 700) and a 2x zoom lens (in the case of the 800). So it was fairly easy to predict that Nikon would do something similar this year. Obviously they've skipped the Coolpix 770 as it wouldn't be a huge seller... Instead they've gone straight for the 880 which is essentially the guts and imager from the 990 in a redesigned (fixed) case with a 2.5x optical zoom and some new features not found on the 990. This will be their main new digital product at Photokina 2000, Europe's biggest photography exhibition.


Baby 990?

It certainly seems to be, from our test and image quality comparisons the 880 comes very close to the 990. Obviously you lose the split body, you lose the excellent magnesium alloy case (not that the 880's body feels particularly fragile), aperture range, some flexibility in control and a few mm of zoom as the 880 only has a 2.5 x optical zoom, the 880 also appears to have a very slightly smaller internal buffer making burst abilities a little less than the 990 but still far beyond it's competition.

The 880 also has a few features the 990 doesn't, most notably the SCENE modes which will make it easy for beginners and more advanced users alike to select a preset shooting mode which puts the camera into the correct setup for shooting a particular scene. In addition to this it appears that the SCENE modes also apply differing colour / contrast settings to achieve a certain "look" depending on which SCENE you've chosen. Scene shooting modes provided:

  • Portrait
  • Party/Indoor
  • Night Portrait
  • Beach/Snow
  • Landscape
  • Sunset
  • Night Landscape
  • Fireworks Show
  • Close up (macro)
  • Copy (black & white)
  • Back light

Here's a quick run-down of what's the same and what's different between the two models (green indicates better or the same, so here your decision is based on features versus price):

  Nikon Coolpix 880 Nikon Coolpix 990
 
Price US$750 (street) US$950 (street)
Case High Impact Plastic Magnesium Alloy
Design Fixed body Split body, twist lens / imager
CCD 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixel (3.14 megapixel effective)
Image resolutions 2048 x 1536
1024 x 768
640 x 480
2048 x 1536
2048 x 1360 (3:2)
1024 x 768
640 x 480
Image modes JPEG (3 levels) & TIFF
ISO Auto, 100, 200, 400
Zoom (35mm equiv.) 38 mm - 95 mm (2.5x)
F2.8 - F4.2
38 mm - 115 mm (3.0x)
F2.5 - F4.0
Digital Zoom 1.2x - 4.0x in 0.2x steps
Auto Focus Yes, 4896 steps continuous
5-AF area selectable
Manual focus Yes, 50 steps
Metering 256 segment Matrix, Center-Weighted, Spot, Spot AF Area
Exposure modes Auto, Program, SCENE, Aperture Priority, Manual Auto, Flexible Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual
Exposure adj. -2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV steps
Shutter range BULB, 8 sec - 1/1000 sec
Apertures (Wide) F2.8, F7.8 F2.5, F2.8, F3.1, F3.5, F3.9, F4.4, F4.9, F5.5, F6.2, F7.0
Apertures (Tele) F4.2, F11.3 F4.0, F4.4, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.0, F7.9, F8.9, F9.9, F11.1
White Balance Six modes plus manual preset
AE Lock Yes
Best Shot Selector Yes
Auto Bracketing Yes
Focus Confirmation Yes
Playback Histogram Yes
Fixed Aperture No Yes
Image adjustment Yes, seven modes
Preset scene modes Yes, eleven modes No
Sharpnes adjustment Yes, five modes
User setup sets Two: Normal, CSM Three
Internal Flash Yes, range ~ 4 m Yes, range ~ 9 m
External Flash No Yes, Nikon speedlight sync connector
Flash modes Auto, Fill-in, Anti-red-eye, Slow, Off
Lens thread Yes, requires optional adapter Yes, 28 mm
Burst Yes (1.5 fps full size)
Movie 320 x 240 QuickTime
Video out User-switchable (PAL / NTSC)
Self-Timer 10 or 3 seconds
Storage Compact Flash Type I
8 MB card supplied (16 MB in UK)
Compact Flash Type I
16 MB card supplied
Viewfinder Optical Optical with diopter adjustment
Connectivity USB, Serial with optional accessory
Battery 1 x 2CR5 battery or optional Nikon rechargeable 4 x AA batteries (NiMH rechargeables recommended)
Weight 320 g (11.3 oz) 450 g (15.9 oz)
Dimensions 99.5 x 75 x 53 mm
(3.9 x 3 x 2.1")
143 x 79 x 38 mm
(5.6 x 3.1 x 1.5")

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Photographs of the camera were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 990, images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 1024 x 768 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

This review is Copyright 2000 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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