Murray, pay no attention to the banal (if not ignorant) response offered previously. I'm sure you will find users who can offer intelligent reviews on their experience with the camera. As for myself, I've a 8700 and am generally happy but would buy a D70 given the opportunity to purchase again.
I've had mine for about 2 weeks now - it's brilliant in almost every respect (sadly, the S-AF is a little slow, but I can work around that).
I was going to buy myself a wonderful Leica MP but can't really see a future for 35mm film, hence my decision to jump at the 8800.
1. I wanted a camera that I'm willing to carry around easily, I got it. 8MP, 35-350 zoom lens, Nikon build.
2. Good zoom length with a reasonable quality lens - nice and bright.
3. Superb exposure - I almost always use the Matrix metering (spot comes second).
4. 8MP - at last good sized prints are a viable option - the common purple fringing doesn't seem to be in evidence on the 8800.
5. VR - vibration reduction - WOW. With a steady hand I can now handhold the camera, with the lens set to 350mm, at speeds of down to 1/60th!!! My reasons for buying a Leica are almost gone ... the 8800 really does let you take candid photos!
6. Scene modes ... I'd normally not bother with these, but the Panaorama Assist Mode (with the bundled Arcsoft Panaorama software) is truly amazing. CloseUp mode is as good as any I've seen on any camera.
7. Good quality body and very well built.
8. Ergonomically sound - the most commonly used functions have 'hard' buttons on the camera body as well as being hidden in the menus.
9. Possible one of the best features is a new jpeg compression mode. You still have BASIC, NORMAL and FINE jpeg modes,in addition to HI (tiff) and RAW. Nikon have added 'EXTRA' (jpeg), to fit snugly between Fine and Hi. EXTRA is twice the size of FINE, compressed by 1/2 as opposed to 1/4. In use, a 1 Gb CF card gives you 250ish images in 8MP/FINE and 128 images when the camera is set to 8MP/EXTRA.
What could be improved?
1. AF is, as I said above, not up to SLR standards - and I know that's stating the obvious, but it's a fact.
2. 'ISO' range is 50 - 400. I'd have liked an 800 option too.
3. Even with a 1.0Gb Sandisk Ultra II (66x) it can sometimes be a little slow to write to the card.
4. Only 35mm at it's widest. Yes, you can buy additional WA lenses but the 28 equivalent is about $150 and the Fisheye is double that price.
I'm very happy with my buy - The results are outstanding and I can now realistically take shots at 350mm without a tripod and get a high percentage of good results.
I have heard that the write rate is slower with the faster cards (40x,80x) Nikon support said that the card to use that is the fastest was a 4x. I could not figure out why a slow card would be faster than the fast one. Any ideas?
We have been having this discussion on another forum. It would appear it is all to do with the speed the camera writes the data to the card. In other words it may be pointless spending money on faster cards as the camera will only write to that card at a certain speed. Nikon seem to be saying that using a 4x card is the optimum setup. Several people on the forum are timing different cards at the moment, so if any more information becomes available I will pass it on.
Word on the street is that the Nikon CP5x00 camera series wrote at 12x, and any faster card was squandered. I would certainly not expect the CP8x00 series to be 80x with Write Accelleration, but I also would expect them to be somewhat faster than 12x.
The cost of a fast card is not much more than a basic SanDisk - generally considered to be rather slow - and if one has a USB2 or FireWire reader, transfers to the computer may justify the additional cost.
Odd that write-speed is rarely used as a marketing tool, other than in cameras like the Nikon D2H and Canon 1D MkII that are designed for sports shooting.
I have had my CoolPix 8800 camera for about 3 weeks. I have used an older 128MB CF and a newer Sandisk UltraII CF card. While I do not have any sientific data The UltraII seems to be noticeably faster than my older sandisk 128 card (sorry I do not have any speed ratings for the older card). I find that still shots are fantastic. But forget about trying to follow a moving object as the viewfinder goes blank during the write phase and I often loose the subject for the next shot even with the quick response option. I am also having a bit of trouble using the manual focus. I just can't seem to get that right! Any thoughts?