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Manual record menu (all except SCENE & AUTO)

Pressing the MENU button while in record mode (except SCENE and AUTO) displays the record menu over the live preview, this totally new layout features three tabbed pages of settings. In this mode you can still operate the zoom, however half-pressing the shutter release (or pressing the MENU button) will cancel menu mode.

Most menu options can be scrolled through using the command dial (as seen here, white balance), pressing the Multi selector to the right will expand the menu with full text descriptions. All menus are detailed below.

White Balance

Allows the selection of current white balance mode, pressing the right arrow selects the highlighted white balance, rolling the command wheel allows for fine tuning of white balance to be slightly colder (blue) or slightly warmer (red). Fine tuning in Fluorescent mode allows selection of fluorescent bulb type.

Metering

Selects current metering mode:

Matrix (256-segment matrix metering)
Spot (meters only a small central portion of the image as indicated on the LCD preview)
Center-Weighted (meters the entire frame but weights 80% to the central quarter)
Spot AF Area (spot meters only in the selected AF Area - works for manually or automatically selected AF areas).

Spot metering AF area is useful for metering an off-center subject at the same time as making it the AF focus target. Handy.

Continuous

Chooses one of five continuous shooting modes:

Single (frame at a time)
Continuous (shoots as many full size shots as possible as quickly as possible - about 1.5fps, max 5 frames)
Multi-shot 16 (sixteen thumbnail images onto a full frame image)
VGA Sequence (640 x 480 at about 2fps, max 44 frames - NORMAL quality)
Ultra HS (320 x 240 at very high speed 30fps - each burst saved into its own directory on the CF card)
Movie (320 x 240 QuickTime Movie at 15fps, max 40 seconds)

Best-Shot Selection

First seen on the Coolpix 950, Nikon continue to push their Best Shot Selector. This menu option enables or disables Best-Shot Selection mode, in this mode the camera shoots continuously as long as the shutter release button is held down (for a maximum of 10 images) then selects the sharpest image and saves this to the CF card.

The flash cannot be used in conjunction with BSS.

Lens

Switches the camera into special modes depending on the optional lens attachment used. Each of these modes is intended to work with Nikon Coolpix lenses.

Note the addition of support for a new Slide Copy adapter (not seen this product yet, could be interesting).

Details of these optional lenses can be found in the Body section of this review.

Image Adjustment

Enables in-camera post-processing filters which adjust the brightness and contrast of the image after it's taken but before it's written to the CF card.

Auto - Camera automatically chooses an image adjustment
More / Less Contrast - adjust contrast
Lighten / Darken Image - adjust brightness
Black & White mode - discard colour information and write image out as black and white (ignores white balance and digital zoom)

Not something I'd use regularly, I prefer to use the "digital darkroom" of my PC, however for users who wish to do as little post-processing as possible this can be a useful feature. I'm a little troubled by the "Auto" mode as there's little explanation in the manual as to HOW the camera decides what to do (I consider it similar to Auto Levels in Photoshop), so I prefer to leave Image Adjustment set to Normal.

Image Sharpening

Again, as with the 990, the 880 allows you to control the amount of sharpening (if any) applied to images before they're written to the CF card.

Auto - Camera decides how much sharpening to apply
High - A lot of sharpening is applied
Normal - A similar amount of sharpening as found in the 950 is applied
Low - Less sharpening is applied
Off - No sharpening is applied (purists rejoice!)

Full control over the internal sharpening algorithms will be a welcome addition for the more purist photographers, those who prefer a fairly "raw" image out of the camera to be processed manually later on a PC.

Image Quality / Size

Unlike the 990 you can't change image size / quality using buttons on outside of the camera, instead you must enter the menu system and select through these two sub-menus.

Image Quality

Hi - TIFF uncompressed
FINE - JPEG 1:4
NORMAL - JPEG 1:8
BASIC - JPEG 1:16

Image Size

FULL - 2048 x 1536
XGA - 1024 x 768
VGA - 640 x 480

ISO Sensitivity

You can change ISO from outside the menu system by holding down the exposure compensation button and pressing zoom in/out.. However it's also available through the menu.

ISO Sensitivity

AUTO - 100, camera increases if required
100
200
400

Exposure Options

Exposure options allows you to set or clear the AE-Lock, this locks the exposure and white balance to the first of a sequence of shots (useful for shooting panoramas). Auto bracketing enables the automatic adjustment of exposure compensation across five shots (+0.7EV, +0.3EV, +/-0EV, -0.3EV, -0.7EV) this can be used in combination with Continuous the shots are taken in a row (batch of five).

EXP +/- contains the same setting / value as the exposure compensation available from the exposure compensation button on the body.

Focus Options

AF Area Mode controls the use of the five AF Area focus points, it can be set to Auto (camera picks the best focus point), Manual (focus point is selected using the Multi Selector) or Off (center focus only).

Autofocus Mode can be set to Continuous AF (camera continuously focuses) or Single AF (camera only focuses when you half-press the shutter release).

Focus Confirmation (sharpening of objects in LCD viewfinder which are in focus): MF, On, Off.

It's difficult to explain how useful the Focus Confirmation option is, put simply the camera applies a sharpening filter to the image displayed on the LCD viewfinder which causes parts of the image in focus to appear MUCH sharper than their surroundings (emphasizes the focus) which is extremely useful for confirming the focus and for manual focus mode.

Folders

Folders allows you to select the folder to use for storage of images, you can also create, rename and delete folders from this menu.

Card Format

Not seen in the record menu before, you can now format the CF Card directly. This has probably been added because of the rearranged setup menu which is now a "mode" of it's own (notice there's no "S" tab on the menu).

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