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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent metering, good colour (except for over saturated red and cyan)
  • Sharp lens provides good resolution
  • Low image noise at ISO 100, relatively clean and usable ISO 200
  • Full 3x optical zoom lens (improvement over the 2.5x of the 880)
  • Multi-spot AF, manual AF point selection, focus confirmation (AF or MF)
  • Good control over internal processing algorithms (contrast, sharpness)
  • Good range of manual controls for a compact (some may miss aperture priority)
  • Good macro ability for a compact
  • Scene exposures work well, very wide ranging
  • Good camera for both beginners and more serious shutterbugs, a camera you can 'grow into'
  • Clean, compact design which is very ergonomic, hand grip is well sized
  • Lightweight and small
  • Good build quality
  • Good battery life (although EN-EL1 should be included in US kit)
  • Excellent white balance control (fine tuning, manual preset)
  • Quick Review mode
  • Noise Reduction for long exposures
  • Good range of accessories (lenses, flash, third party)
  • USB connectivity


Conclusion - Cons

  • Chromatic aberrations
  • Red / Cyan can appear over saturated, can 'dominate' an image
  • Barrel distortion at wide angle (although no pincushion distortion at telephoto)
  • Chroma noise in shadows
  • Average to slow startup time
  • Corners of frame can sometimes appear un-sharp
  • No EN-EL1 Lithium-Ion battery in the US Kit
  • LCD screen needs an anti-reflective coating


Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Nikon Coolpix 885: (3 megapixel compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8.5
Features 10
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 8.5
Ease of use 9
Value for money 9

The 885 is an interesting camera, it offers all the features a beginner would appreciate (easy to use full auto, scene exposure modes) as well as a wide range of manual control and features in its CSM mode. This makes it an ideal camera for those just getting into digital photography who are looking for a compact camera which they can 'grow into' and explore.

I also liked the body design and control layout, that chunky hand grip may look out of place on a compact but Nikon have clearly considered what it's like to use such a camera day-to-day. The 885 is probably the most ergonomic compact around (two or three megapixel).

It's also priced well, at $600 (I'm sure we'll see it for less before long) it really does offer the best of a 3x optical zoom compact with a high resolution 3 megapixel sensor and a very wide range of both easy to use SCENE exposure modes as well as manual controls and features (really only just less than the 995). My only concerns would be with the dominance of red and cyan in images and those nasty chromatic aberrations.

Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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