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Old Aug 15, 2005, 1:24 AM   #1
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Greetings, All;

I'm the proud new owner of a Coolpix 8800, and am trying to find some data on which of the high-end CF cards will cycle the fastest. My primary purpose for the camera is shooting live improv theatre, and those "golden" moments come and go damned fast. My frequent need to crop the bejeezus out of the shot and then blow it up to convention-useful 16x20s, and thus shoot at either TIFF or NEF level, means that I need to get as close as possible to that Holy Grail of Speed and File Size. And, since I'm going to be burning through lots and lots of 23 MB frames, I suppose I'd better get the biggest honkin' card that offers the best speed the camera can use.

Steve refers to an "optimized CF interface" as required to make full advantage of the Lexar 80x-ers; does anyone know if the 8800 has this?

Has anyone on the Board done a side-by-side comparison yet on the 8800 between the Lexar 80x, the new SanDisk Extreme III, and say, any of the microdrives? Rob Galbraith only covered the Nikon SLRs, not the all-in-one Coolpix line.

Off-topic (speed), what's the word these days on microdrive reliability? Moving parts seems like a long-term bad idea...

Thanks in advance for any insights.
Geoff Safron
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 9:11 PM   #2
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The 8800 does not take advantage of the higher speed memory. I can tell you that from first hand experience since I owned one earlier this year. Nikon will confirm this if you contact their support. You also might want to check their site anyway to maje sure you have the latest firmware for that unit - they released new ones this year.

Good Luck
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Old Aug 20, 2005, 8:23 AM   #3
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The 8800 does not take advantage higher speed CF cards. Also you will not be able to shoot very quickly in the high quality (TIFF) mode. In reality, there is no advantage to shooting in TIFF, and i know very few photographers(in fact, I know of none)who shoot in TIFF because of the slowdown in camera performance and huge size of files. Raw is only an advantage if you are willing to take the time and effort to do a lot of post work. RAW images are "digital negatives) and have in camera processing such as sharpening, white balance, etc. In faact RAW images look quite flat out of camera.

A DSLR would probably be a much better choice in your shooting situations. The Nikon D50 is availble for roughly the same price as the 8800, and will give you faster performance and much better low light shooting, especially at high ISO's needed for indoor shooting. The 8800 has a high ISO of 400 and the noise at this level is objectionable...I doubt that you would be able to make 16x20 prints at anything above 64 ISO.

Sorry about getting off topic.

Good Luck!!
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Old Aug 20, 2005, 11:29 AM   #4
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brainstormers wrote:
My frequent need to crop the bejeezus out of the shot and then blow it up to convention-useful 16x20s...
Well, I don't know what you mean by "convention useful" or "bejeezus". ;-) But, you can't really crop as much as you think and still get acceptable detail in a larger print.

Since resolution is computed by multiplying width x height (like area), if you crop a photo to make it look like twice as much optical zoom was used, you end up with 1/4 the resolution. So,that wouldbe like trying to print at 16x20" size from a 2 Megapixel Image. This works out to around 75 pixels per inch of detail. Can it be done? Sure. Will you like the results? That depends on your expectations.

Also, this camera loses a lot of light as more zoom is used (it's lens stops down to a maximum available aperture of f/5.2 at full zoom).

So, it's suitability forexisting light theatre indoors would be questionable (unless you could stay closer to your lens wide angle position to let in more light, shoot at high ISO speeds to increase your number of keepersfrom motion blur, and keep print sizes relatively small to help hide the degradation of detail from higher ISO speed noise).

As far as memory card speed. Some tests show that the Sandisk Extreme III is marginally faster in the CP 8800 shooting in RAW (around 26 seconds to write a raw image with the Lexar 80x vs. around 24 seconds for a Sandisk Extreme III). But, there is little to no difference with JPEG. Since the speed of the camera's interfanceto media is the limiting factor with most non-DSLR models, you get diminishing returns with faster cards.

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