Nikon's CoolPix880 is one of the easiest to use digital cameras on the market, and gives excellent results.
From opening the box, to taking your first shot and printing it, it only takes a leisurely fifteen minutes. Top marks to Nikon for the bundled CD setup which couldn't be any simpler. USB connection to a PC is seamless and swift too.
Nikon has combined portability with high image quality with the 880. It's a fair bit smaller than Pentax's EI-200, but boasts over a million more pixels (3.34 million) -- ok, it is £200 more but the picture quality could be worth it if extra quality is what you're after.
The 1.8" colour TFT LCD monitor is bright and sharp under most conditions and it displays the menu functions clearly. The Auto setting scores highly for ease of use for simple point-and-clicking -- ideal for novices. A range of eleven preset scenes from portraits, night shots and close-ups will suit the more adventurous, while experienced users can choose to be fully in control of aperture, exposure and focus settings.
With 3.34 million pixels to play with you can expect some impressive images once you have mastered the controls. Four image quality presets allow a trade off between file size and image quality, but the smallest image possible is 50k.
The 2.5x zoom is easy to use and operated by the W (wideangle) or T (telephoto) buttons. Fiendishly clever five-area auto focusing with the multi-selector rocker switch lets you pick the part of the image you want to be sharp.
A big cheer for whoever at Nikon decided to bundle a 16MB CompactFlash card. OK, it won't hold all the pictures you'll ever take, but it's a big improvement on those tight execs at a few other companies we could mention...
On your PC or Mac desktop, a Nikon icon leads you into the digital camera, removable media or hard disk menu options. The thumbnail jpeg images can be enlarged, rotated, copied and dragged and dropped into required locations. Battery life is 90 minutes and you get a rechargeable spare provided. TV viewing is via a video cable bundled with the kit.
In brief the CoolPix880 is a compact, stylish yet straightforward and relatively light digital camera with heavyweight performance. At £700 (inc VAT) it's versatile enough to satisfy both beginners and experienced users.
- Nikon Coolpix 880
- 3.34 Megapixel digital camera
- £700 (inc VAT)
- Maximum resolution: 2048x1536
- 2.5x digital zoom
- Auto-flash, red eye reduction, slow synch
- 16MB CompactFlash card supplied
- USB connection
- Rechargeable lithium battery supplied
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