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Design

As you can see the design of the 8800 looks fairly similar to the 8700 however there are a few important design changes. Firstly the camera is bigger, especially front to back, to accommodate that large 10x lens, it's also heavier, it certainly gives you the impression that this is one big expensive lens with a 'camera attached to it'. The hand grip has been redesigned, it's slightly thicker and rounder and features the new red Nikon 'fleck' near the top. At the back the flip-out and twist LCD monitor's hinge now fits more flush to the side of the camera and the button control layout has been subtly re-arranged. From a control point of view the lens barrel controls of the 8700 have all but gone and the 8800 now has a 'proper' exposure mode dial (much easier to use).

Construction

As you can see from the image below the case of the 8800 is made from three solid magnesium alloy moulds (one for the front / lens, one for the top and one for the rear).

Side by side

Below you can see the Coolpix 8800 beside its 'little brother' the Coolpix 8400 and the current eight megapixel King (in our opinion) the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom. Although the 8800 looks larger than the 8400 it's slightly smaller than the 8080 (from the front). The table below the image shows the basic specifications, dimensions and weight for the current range of 'prosumer' eight megapixel digital cameras (as you can see the 8800 fits between the DiMAGE A2 and the C-8080 Wide Zoom).

Dimensions and weight compared

Camera Specifications Dimensions
Weight (inc.
batt & CF)
Nikon Coolpix 8400 8 mp, 3.5x zoom 113 x 82 x 75 mm 480 g
Nikon Coolpix 8700 8 mp, 8x zoom 113 x 78 x 105 mm 512 g
Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 mp, 7x zoom 118 x 72 x 90 mm 640 g
Minolta DiMAGE A2 8 mp, 7x zoom AS 117 x 85 x 114 mm 654 g
Nikon Coolpix 8800 8 mp, 10x zoom VR 116 x 85 x 121 mm 690 g
Olympus C-8080 WZ 8 mp, 5x zoom 124 x 85 x 99 mm 724 g
Sony DSC-F828 8 mp, 7x zoom 134 x 91 x 156 mm 906 g

In your hand

The Coolpix 8800 and the 8400 share a very similar grip, it has plenty of depth and a soft rubber coating, around the back the sculpting of the thumb grip is also just right and the combination provides a nice stable platform.

Control Panel display

On the top of the 8800 is the "Control Panel" LCD display which provides a range of information about current exposure mode, quality settings, aperture / shutter speed, remaining frames and other camera functions. The Control Panel has a green backlight which comes on for approximately eight seconds after pressing the backlight button.

LCD Monitor

The Coolpix 8800 has a larger 1.8" LCD monitor (appears to be the same as the 8700) which is mounted in a flip-out and twist hinge system. The hinge allows for a wide range of freedom for the monitor which is very useful for macro, self-portrait, waist level and overhead shooting. The screen is bright and clear with a good anti-reflective coating, it also appears to be being driven at a high refresh rate which gives it a very fast 'video camera like' response. Kudos Nikon.

Electronic Viewfinder

The 8800 has a 0.44" 235,000 LCD electronic viewfinder. This appears to be the same unit used on the 8700 and on many other digital cameras. The view is sharp, detailed and smooth. As with most viewfinders it's less than ideal in low light situations. The EVF automatically comes on when the LCD is folded closed against the camera body, with the LCD visible you can switch to the EVF by pressing the small display button to the right of the eyepiece.

Battery Compartment

The 8800's battery compartment is built into the camera's hand grip, the door fits flush to the base of the camera and is held closed by sprung sliding clip. The 8800 uses Nikon's new EN-EL7 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (more below). In addition it is compatible with the new MB-CP11 portrait grip / battery pack which attaches to the bottom of the camera.

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