Night shots (Long Exposures)

The 880 allows for timed exposures as slow as 8 seconds and a BULB mode (you'll need a 3rd party cable release / Nikon MC-EU1 remote control to use BULB mode properly). Performance was equal to the 990, noise levels identical. You have two options for long exposures on the 880, you can use the built in Night Landscape SCENE mode (which uses Auto ISO and a locked white balance) or switch to Manual mode and experiment a little.

In the samples below the top shot came out about the best, using an Incandescent white balance in Manual mode to compensate for yellow street lights.

M mode, ISO 100, 8 seconds, F3.6, White balance: Incandescent
M mode, ISO 100, 8 seconds, F3.6, White balance: Auto
SCENE mode: Night Landscape, ISO 400, 2 seconds, F3.6

As we noted in a previous article, CCD noise is related to the temperature of the camera, if you allow the camera to cool (very slowly) you can decrease the amount of visible noise in long night exposures. Check our results here. The two shots below were taken at different times, the first as soon as the camera was taken outside, the second 20 minutes later after the camera had cooled to the outside temperature (about 17 degrees C).

M mode, ISO 100, 8 seconds, F2.9, White balance: Incandescent
M mode, ISO 100, 8 seconds, F2.8, White balance: Auto
- taken 20 minutes later (thus camera considerably cooler)

Sorry about the change of zoom, the 880's zoom defaults back to Wide, not the last zoom used (thus the second shot is slightly wider than the first..).

Best Shot Selection (BSS)

Best-Shot Selection was a feature first introduced on the 950, put simply the camera shoots continuously as long as the shutter release button is held down (for a maximum of 10 images - internal buffer allowing), once you release the shutter the camera then selects the sharpest image and saves this to the CF card. It can be useful for shooting in low light circumstances where you are hand-holding the camera.

Sample below shows the difference between trying to hand hold a slow shutter shot and the same shot with BSS on taking a sequence of 10 frames and allowing the camera to select the best. Yes folks, it really does work!

1/9s, F3.5, XGA 1/8s, F3.5, BSS ON, XGA

Internal Flash

The internal flash in the 880 is rated as:

  • Wide: 0.4 - 3.7 m (1ft 4" - 12ft 2")
  • Tele: 0.4 - 2.5 m (1ft 4" - 8ft 2")
  • Macro: 0.2 - 2.5 m (8" - 8ft 2")

The default shutter speed (sync speed) @ ISO 100 using the internal flash seems to be 1/60s (compared to 1/120s for the 990) which is probably testament to the lower output power of the 880's flash.

Skin tone test, very good performance, natural skin tone and accurate wall colour (slightly cream). Wall shot, 3 m distance, fairly good coverage
Skin tone test #1, Normal Flash Output  

Macro Mode

Impressive. When switching to Macro mode the 880 automatically locks minimum zoom to about half way through the total zoom range. Which is good, because it ensures that you're not wasting the macro ability, you're in the optimum macro zoom range and you won't get any barrel distortion. Better still (unlike the 990) you can use full zoom at the closest macro distance, no more juggling zoom and subject distances, if it focuses at the minimum macro zoom it'll focus at the maximum. And frame coverage is very good, not quite the 990's 0.75" across the frame but at about 1" across the frame it puts the 880 up there as one of the best performing macro shooters.

Movie Mode

Movie mode on the 880 is identical to that found on the 990, accessed through the continuous sub menu, movie allows you to record short (40 second) video clips (no audio) at 320 x 240 in QuickTime format. If you're interested in seeing a sample of this video output you'll find one in the 990 review.