Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

The 8800's ten times optical zoom lens exhibited slightly above average 1.5% barrel distortion at wide angle and virtually flat 0.3% pincushion distortion at telephoto. The characteristics of the lens are such that you may be able to see a little distortion at wide angle but virtually none anywhere else through the zoom range.

Wide angle - 1.5% Barrel distortion
Equiv. focal length: 35 mm
Telephoto - 0.3% Pincushion Distortion
Equiv. focal length: 350 mm

Vignetting / Lens Shading

Our vignetting measurement is made by taking the average luminance value of the darkest corner of the image and comparing it to the average luminance at the center of the image, any difference greater than 15% may be visible in everyday shots. Overall performance was good, at full wide angle and maximum aperture there was some shading in the bottom left corner of the frame which may possibly be visible, but it's nothing too bad. Interestingly we got a negative reading (a first) at full telephoto, maximum aperture, this we can only assume is the results of some kind of vignetting correction mask applied by the 8800's image processing.

Wide angle, maximum aperture (F2.8)
14.3% maximum fall off, bottom left corner
Telephoto, maximum aperture (F5.2)
0.1% maximum fall off, bottom left corner
Wide angle, stopped down (F5.0)
9.6% maximum fall off, bottom left corner
Telephoto, stopped down (F7.4)
-0.5% maximum fall off, bottom left corner

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

The 8800 did exhibit some purple fringing but only at full wide angle, maximum aperture and with some strong contrast. To be fair this isn't a bad performance considering this is a ten times zoom lens mated to an eight megapixel CCD.

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35 mm equiv, F4.5
35 mm equiv., F2.8 (max aperture)

Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues

The 8800's new ten times optical zoom lens performed extremely well, with fairly minimal chromatic aberrations (for a big zoom), good detail and contrast. Taking this out of the equation the results were almost the same as the Coolpix 8700, noise levels are very similar, as is tone and color balance (as long as you select Auto saturation). Automatic white balance was good, distortion perfectly acceptable and no lens shading to talk of. We found no other specific issues which needed further analysis.

Nikon's VR works well

I was particularly impressed with the 8800's VR (Vibration Reduction) implementation which works best with either slow shutter speeds at wide angle or moderate at telephoto. Obviously it can't compensate for the almost impossible combination of slow shutter speeds at long focal lengths but where expected it did the job.

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54 mm equiv., ISO 200, 1/8 sec, F3.1
46 mm equiv., ISO 400, 1/15 sec, F3.0
104 mm equiv., ISO 400, 1/34 sec, F3.7