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Conclusion - Pros

  • Biggest zoom of any eight megapixel, with Vibration Reduction
  • Sharp lens, at both ends of zoom range, respectable resolution
  • Excellent automatic white balance
  • Good macro coverage, although perhaps soft corners & distortion
  • Good ergonomics, sticky rubber on hand grip
  • Excellent build quality, full metal body
  • Timed night exposures of up to 10 minutes
  • Timelapse feature
  • Wide range of accessories available
  • Programmable FUNC button and initial menu
  • Some unique features (Exposure BSS etc.)
  • Excellent Nikon Matrix metering
  • Framing assist lines option on live view
  • Tilt & Twist LCD monitor
  • High resolution electronic viewfinder
  • Quick playback zoom
  • USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) connectivity
  • Supplied IR remote control
  • Flash hot-shoe supports i-TTL and flash zoom

Conclusion - Cons

  • Slower than expected startup time
  • Some minor purple fringing (in the order of a pixel at worse)
  • Slow CF write times
  • Limited latitude of image parameter adjustment
  • No record review histogram
  • No CF card included
  • AF Assist lamp not effective, can not be disabled manually
  • Visible noise from ISO 100 upwards, 7mp CCD cleaner
  • Zoom lever not proportional, motorized not mechanical
  • Lens slow at telephoto (F5.2)
  • PictureProject RAW conversion crashes
  • Slightly clunky menu system
  • Play on mode dial, not shooting priority 'single button'

Overall conclusion

The Coolpix 8800 is out to prove that it's a credible alternative to the new cheaper digital SLR's and a set of lenses. From a practicality stand point it certainly delivers, in a package not much bigger than the smallest D-SLR you get eight megapixels and a 35 - 350 mm equiv. lens with Vibration Reduction. Next you consider the price, which may seem high but when you take into account how much a D-SLR and matching set of lenses would cost it does start to make sense. Where the 8800 can't compete however is noise at higher sensitivities and the 'SLR shooting experience' (camera feel, manual zoom, AF speed, shutter lag and processing / write speed).

With the negative stuff out of the way it's fair to say that the 8800 is a very attractive package with good image quality (in good light, lower sensitivities) and for the many users would be all the camera they'll ever need.

Highly Recommended
Detail
Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8.5
Features 8
Image quality 8.5
Lens / CCD combination 8.5
Ease of use 8
Value for money 7

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