Except for a sensational ultra-high-speed burst mode, which snapped 100 low-res (640x480) shots at 30fps, most of the Nikon Coolpix 8800's performance figures ranged from middle-of-the-road to pretty good. For example, power-up to first shot was a middling 4.8 seconds, as were the 2.8-second pauses between exposures (6.4 seconds with flash). As expected, it took more than 9 seconds to store a raw file to a memory card and a tad more than 22 seconds to save one of this 8-megapixel shooter's huge TIFF files. However, shutter lag was shorter than average at 0.6 second to 0.9 second, depending upon lighting, thanks to the autofocus-assist LED.
Low-speed burst shooting at full resolution rewarded us with five shots at a one-per-second clip, while the 8800 cranked out five images in 1.8 seconds when notched down to 640x480 resolution.
Viewfinder performance was a mixed bag. The 1.8-inch, 134,000-pixel articulated LCD was usable in all but the brightest light. The larger view afforded by the EVF, with 235,000 pixels, was a better choice most of the time, but both displayed some ghosting when the moving the camera for framing. The viewfinders also tended to freeze during autofocus and went completely blank during burst exposures. Both viewfinders showed only 97 percent of the area captured, though you can adjust them for brightness and hue.
If you make nothing larger than 5x7-inch prints, you'll be tickled at the image quality produced by the Nikon Coolpix 8800. At normal sizes and viewing distances, these 8-megapixel shots are sharp and full of detail. Flesh tones are accurate, colours are a bit muted but pleasing, and the camera manages to dispense with most unwanted red-eye effects.
Take a closer look, however, and you'll see some noise apparent even at ISO 50 and veritable swarms of multicoloured speckles at ISO 400, even with noise reduction switched on. Highlights did retain detail better than we expected, but purple fringing was atrocious around backlit subject matter. We noticed some barrel distortion at wide-angle settings and a hint of pincushioning in the tele setting.
Edited by: Lori Grunin
Additional editing by: Tom Espiner