Image Sharpening

As with the 990, the 880 offers control over the internal sharpening algorithms in the camera, you can choose from Auto Sharpening (different sharpening automatically applied depending on image content - don't like the idea of that) and three levels of sharpening (Normal about the same as other digital cameras) or no sharpening at all (for the purist photographer in you). The samples below are 100% crops of different sharpening levels for the same scene.

Sharpening: Auto Sharpening: High
Sharpening: Normal Sharpening: Low
Sharpening: Off  

Digital Zoom

Readers of my reviews will know I'm not a huge fan of digital zoom as it's often a badly implemented and seldom used (by owners) marketing "ploy" to sell cameras which don't have an optical zoom. The 880 has a 2.5 x optical zoom, and has a range of digital zooms which can be used on top of this. These zooms range from 1.2 x to 4.0 x in 0.2 x steps. They are however simply cropping (selecting the mid part of the image) and sampling-up, the only advantage in doing digital zoom inside the camera is (a) if you don't have any photo software to magnify (and interpolate) the image or (b) to digitally zoom without zooming the JPEG artifacts.

Full optical zoom (95 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)
Full optical zoom + 2 x digital zoom (190 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)
Full optical zoom + 4 x digital zoom (380 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)

I think the crops from the 2 x and 4 x digital zoom images only go to prove "you can't create detail you didn't capture".

Aperture Priority Mode

Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed, if the exposure is outside of the cameras range (either over or under exposing) the aperture will flash on the LCD screen. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot).

The 880 only has TWO apertures:

  • At full wide: F2.8, F7.8
  • At full tele: F4.2, F11.3

This is pretty much in keeping with what we've seen of other compact digital cameras, obvious enough to note that the 880 doesn't have the 990's seven blade aperture diaphragm, having said all of this given enough light (or a tripod) the higher aperture is useful for creating more depth of field (see the example below).

Aperture Priority mode is accessed by switching the camera to A mode and selecting the aperture by holding down the exposure compensation button and pressing the 4-way controller either left or right. A basic example of aperture priority is shown below for more read my digital photography glossary:

Exposure: F3.5, 1/22 sec
(Less depth of field)
Exposure: F9.4, 1/3 sec
(More depth of field)