Overall Image Quality

I'm quite happy to report that the 880 has inherited the 990's excellent image quality. Put simply this means the 880 has the best overall image quality of any 3 megapixel compact digital camera in its "size league" (Canon Powershot S20, Sony DSC-S70, Fujifilm Finepix 4700Z, Olympus C-3030Z). Images were excellently metered (thanks to Nikon's matrix metering system), well colour balanced (erring on the side of neutrality rather than over saturation) great resolution and detail definition.

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

Quite surprised by this result, the lens in the 880 seemed to perform very well in real life shots, we waded through our 1000+ "real life" shots looking for an example of purple fringing but couldn't find any. Oddly though our test shot (black card with a pattern cut into it shot against a window, deliberately over exposed) produced the same amount of fringing as we saw in the 990..

Our now standard chromatic aberration test shot.

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

Fairly normal amount of barrel distortion at wide angle for a digital camera, pincushion distortion is almost none existent probably because full tele is only 2.5x. Amount of distortion calculated as the bend in the horizontal line (from left or right to its center) as a percentage of image height.

Barrel Distortion, 1.2% @ Wide Angle Pincushion Distortion, 0.7% @ Full Tele

White Balance

The Coolpix range (990, 880) are now kings of the white balance game. Of course, there's Auto white balance which generally does a good job but there are also five presets all of which can be fine tuned, seven modes in total:

  • Auto
  • White Balance Preset (shoot from a white card / white wall to preset a white balance)
  • Fine (+/-3)
  • Incandescent (+/-3)
  • Fluorescent (FL1, FL2, FL3)
  • Cloudy (+/-3)
  • Speedlight / Flash (+/-3)

The ability to fine tune the preprogrammed white balances (positive towards blue; cooler, negative towards red; warmer) means that with a little practice you should always be able to get the right white balance, Kudos to Nikon for recognising how important correct white balance is (Sony take note). The samples below were shot at XGA.

Outdoors, Auto White Balance Outdoors, Cloudy White Balance
Incandescent, Auto White Balance Incandescent, Incandescent White Balance
Fluorescent, Auto White Balance Fluorescent, Fluorescent White Balance

A good performance under normal daylight, as we'd expect the Auto white balance struggles a little under incandescent and fluorescent light, but as the 880 has such a range of white balance abilities it's always possible to get a good white balance. If you're looking for real accuracy you can always use manual preset white balance which will produce results like the sample below (second image taken after using manual preset white balance off a 45 degree white card).

Incandescent, Incandescent White Balance Incandescent, Manual Preset White Balance