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Old Nov 11, 2004, 2:41 PM   #1
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After several weeks wearing out Steve's website looking at the 8800, I got so tired of debating whether I needed it and went out and bought one ! I thought I'd share my impressions after one day, as that is the kind of report I was hoping to read before buying.

I've been "into" photography since the late 1960's and still own a large set of Nikon lenses and an F2S from the 1970's. Ive owned two simple digital cameras, the last one being a Kodak 3MP with a 3X zoom. I've been relatively pleased with these small cameras, but wanted more zoom, better image quality and better response in lower light situations. I'm no expert on these RAW and TIFF files etc. and didn't know if I needed, or could use 8MP.

The box contains quite a pile of "stuff". I sorted through and found the battery charger, cord and battery and plugged it in. 1 3/4 hours later it stopped flashing and is supposedly fully charged. There are warnings about sticking the battery in the camera incorrectly, but I don't see how you could. I bought a 1MB memory card, which is simple to insert. It indicates 502 shots available at 8MP, so I could have saved a few bucks and settled for a 512Mb card instead.

There is a "Quick Start Guide" which gets you set up and running easily. One step is to choose the menu language. I selected English, but managed to get German ! I couldn't back track and was very frustrated for several minutes before finding out how to correct this. The Menu button is one of those 4 points and select in the centre things and is very sensitive and easy to "miss punch" if you have big hands, like me. You are basically ready to shoot at this stage.

The flip out monitor is a little too small and I find it hard to read when outside shooting. The image is bright, but the script is small and as my eyes are just starting to weaken (at 54), I foind it a bit hard to read without reading glasses. I can read it fine in a dark room. I found it easier to use the eyepiece outdoors and it has a focus control for your personal eye condition...nice touch !

The camera starts up quite quickly, but the lens cap is a nuisance and I don't like that big hunk of glass sitting out there unprotected. I'll have to get a skylight filter for it. The cap flaps around in the wind on it's tether. Zooming from wide to tele is quick. It is a little hard to stop the zoom at the point you want and it tends to go past a little. The eyepiece image blurs as you zoom and stays like that until you half depress the shutter button. I took several shots at full zoom, in a strong wind and with cold hands and they are all sharp. I guess the Image Stabilization works ! I took several more later on and again, all were perfect. Pretty impressive !

I walked through the forest and tried a few close ups. That is obviously easier with the flip out screen. Selecting Close Ups from the menu is simple. The results were quite remarkable, considering I just quickly held the camera close and fired. I shot a tiny flower, about 2/3 the size of a dime and it came out sharp. I then zoomed the image with software and the 8MP ARE worth it ! Beautifully sharp and colourful image ! Yahoo ! I'm sure that with a tripod and no wind, you can expect very good close ups.

I find it an odd shape to hold. I have big hands ( not fat) and long fingers. maybe that is why ? It doesn't sit comfortably in my right hand . Not a big deal, but I have held other cameras with the bulge on the right side that feel better. It is not like my Kodak and won't drop in a pocket. And at the price, I'm going to have to be more careful with it than I like. The camera is quite light, and may be thought of as plastic, but I gather it's magnesium. It's well made . Looks odd..particularly at full zoom ..rather rude, actually !

I didn't download the software, as my brief read saw that it will overpower all other photo files. I have Windows XP and like the photo downloading stuff it has. I added ADCSEE (Think that's it..for editing) and find it all fast and simple. I just plugged the USB cord in and it immediately worked well. If anyone else has tried the software, I'd like to hear your opinion.

The warranty is 2 years in Canada. I added a store (London Drugs) extended warranty for 2 more years for about $129 Cdn. I've had to use one before and found it worth it. Plus I can drop the camera at their store for repairs, rather than taking a 2 hour drive into Vancouver. My grand total was over $1600 Cdn...WOW !!!! But, so far, I am very pleased and would recommend the camera to anyone who may be waffling, as I was.

I should thank the mythical "Steve" for hosting this site. I found it very helpful and appreciate a place to trade info.

Please ask if there is anything else you may be wondering. I'll try to sort out all this RAW TIFFY stuff...not sure what all that's about.

Steve Hersant
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Old Nov 11, 2004, 4:26 PM   #2
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Steve. Glad you are enjoying the camera! Neat to see such a detailed report. I concur with most of what you write and the satisfaction with the quality.

I find the camera to be an excellent one to hold on the ready for hours of walking ...seems to suit my hands just right.

The viewfinder is excellent and I use it more than the LCD as it is so clear ... and I wear glasses so that is a challenge in using many cameras.

The adjustable LCD is great for "overhead" shots and getting down to to ground-level for close-ups.

You get better at the zoom with time, although I did find it a bit "touchy" at first. I do prefer lens ring zoom and focus.

I finally got my ND filter after a back-order of a month or so and feel much better about having the lens protected!

I haven't regretted spending the extra money ... more than I had thought when I started and more than the FZ 20 I was looking at in comparisons online.

When I saw the results in a side-by-side hands-on in a local camera store, there was no doubt that they were both excellent choices. The FZ 20 reviews I have seen bear that out. I expect the 8800 reviews will be even better from my own observations and observations of other owners like yourself who have taken the time and energy to describe the camera in detail and post images.

Best wishes .... John_I in Toronto
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Old Nov 11, 2004, 4:29 PM   #3
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Well said, carry on please.:-) Are you going to post some photos too?

I decided to wait until after Christmas, before I go and get one.

Greetings from

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Old Nov 11, 2004, 5:37 PM   #4
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Hi. Thanks for your interest. I'm new to this site and I'm not sure how to post photos and reduce size. If you'd e mail me at : 457hersant@uniserve.com, I'd be happy to send you a few . I've spent most of the day firing off shots and I'm just SO happy ! I was cautious about spending so much, but it's worth it !

I f anybody else would like to see a few of a beginners day effort, feel free to ask.


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