Budding photographers looking to step up from a basic point-and-shoot camera, but who aren't ready to assume total control of their photographic destiny, will find this 4-megapixel model's full exposure and focus automation comforting as they explore the pictorial possibilities of its 8.3x superzoom lens. Expansive telephoto reach means lots of outdoor photography too, and the Nikon Coolpix 4800's bright internal electronic viewfinder takes the eyestrain out of shooting in sunlight.
Unfortunately, this camera's generally good image quality is marred by excessive noise, even at low sensitivity settings. Also, it lacks some features found in newer Nikons, such as vibration reduction and Face Priority autofocus. The marginally compact Coolpix 4800 is best suited for those with some extra space in their bag. It will appeal most to photographers who want snapshots of sports, wildlife, unsuspecting neighbours and other distant subjects. Enthusiasts who demand more manual controls and better image quality should look at one of the pricier EVF models from Nikon (such as the 8-megapixel Coolpix 8400 and 8800) or slightly more upscale offerings from other manufacturers.
The Nikon Coolpix 4800's snappy zoom response -- travelling from 36mm to 300mm (35mm-camera equivalent) in a little more than a second -- proved a mixed blessing. When we first started shooting with the camera, we ended up accidentally zooming each time we squeezed the shutter-release button. The most natural one-handed grip for those with larger hands places the middle of the thumb smack on the tele-zoom button, and the control's feather touch is quick to respond. Once we settled into a more balanced two-handed grasp, this 255g plastic-bodied compact was easy to operate. Too large for most pockets at 107 by 66 by 53mm, the Coolpix 4800 has a logical control layout that provides fast access to the most common settings.