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Old Jan 1, 2005, 8:37 AM   #1
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Hi,

My name is Deborah. I'm the mom of six kids - 18, 15,14, 12, 5 and 4.

My DH gave me the CP 8800 for Christmas. I've taken some pics, but my kiddos have had the flu, so life has been a bit hectic.

I researched quite a bit, dh originally bought the Canon G6 but he returned it because I was concerned about not having enough zoom. We have a child graduating in June, and I really want that diploma picture! We also have performing kids, so I wanted to be able to get stage shots. However, I also want to take pictures of my young ones. We are doing a bunch of traveling in the next few months, Palm Springs in Feb. and Florence and Venice in April. I want to really record these trips with lots of photos.

I returned the original CP 8800 to the camera store the day after Christmas because of hot pixels in the LCD screen. My new one is fine. I've purchased a bunch of books and cheat sheets, as this is my first really good camera.

All of the discussion swirling around the quality of the 8800 has me thourouhly confused. Is it a bad camera for my family?

Thanks so much for any thoughts you may share,

Deborah
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 8:42 AM   #2
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Please say more about what you mean by 'is it a bad camera for my family?'.
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 9:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Please say more about what you mean by 'is it a bad camera for my family?'.
I guess what I'm trying to ask is, after writing a brief description of what I'm going to be using it for, did I purchase the wrong camera?


I want to learn more about photography. My last camera was a point and shoot digital that finally met its timely end. I have time - in fits and spurts - to study the camera, which is good because I'm pretty ignorant right now. I thought about an SLR but was concerned about carry and switching lenses, and breaking dh's budget.


TIA,

Deborah

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Old Jan 1, 2005, 10:26 AM   #4
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Hello Deborah,

I think you could likely answer this question yourself.





We just purchased the 8800 to upgrade from a Fuji 2800, 2 mp, 6x optical and mostly point and shoot camera. This Fuji was our first digital, moving from a canon A-1 film camera, which is what they now call a "pro-sumer" camera. We have owned this film camera for over sixteen years and have become fairly proficient at twisting the dials to compensate for differing situations. With the Fuji, although I would say it is a most excellent point and shooter, it only took a short while to run out of challenges with it.

Our new 8800 exceeds my expectations many times over in what you can do with a digital camera. Just for simply the fact that you can preset certain functions and have them still in effect when you turn the camera off, unlike the Fuji.

Also, I certainly wouldn't knock any other makes. I would have to say that each camera within a certain category would be quite similar in quality. What sets them apart is the varying array of features. My requirements were 10x optical or better, 5mp or better, hot shoe and the largest number of external knobs and buttons to reduce having to computer program a shot. This computer programmer requirement with point and shoot cameras is my biggest beef with them. An example of differences in cameras is that from what I've seen, the G6 has less zoom, but more buttons on the outside.

So "Greg's Conclusion" , (sorry Steve), is that if you think that you would at some point like to advance your skills to be able to use the bells and whistles, then this camera could very well be the ticket. (I've had my 8800 for 8 days now, and after much reading the of manual, I'm just starting to take 'er out of auto to see what she can do.

Good luck and let us know how you make out with this camera.

(Now onto why I started looking around these forums, so I can figure out how to stay outside all day and take pics at -30 degC (-20 degF).
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 10:26 AM   #5
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I have the CP8800 and love the camera. You'llmost certainlyneed an external flash for the indoor shots you describe. A tripod is not a bad thing to own either. In very dark rooms the 8800 will have problems with AF. I think you should be ok in the situations you describe. The 8800 has no detectable shutter lag, however, the write times to the CF card is slow. But there is a burst mode so you can fire off several pictures when you press the shutter. But the flash will not fire. For outdoor photography I don't think you can find a sharper lens. I hope this helps.
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 10:45 AM   #6
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Deeborah L. wrote:
Quote:
<snip> ....
All of the discussion swirling around the quality of the 8800 has me thourouhly confused. Is it a bad camera for my family? .....
Hi Deborah

I've been trying to choose a new digital camera for the past few weeks, and have been testing them out at the local store, as well reading the comments in here. The CP8800 is definitely one of the better prosumer cameras available. You shouldn't be overly concerned about comments you may read in these forums. Any camera has its strengths and weaknesses and some people will react diffently to a camera's characteristics. There are a lot of very happy CP8800 owners in here.

I think this camera would be outstanding for travel because of it's long zoom and stabilized lens. It allows you to set it in "auto" mode and use it as P&S, or if you become more interested in photography, it allows you a lot of control with it's various modes and settings. Any of the new digital cameras look complicated at first, but become easier to use as you become familiar with them.

The only really valid complaint about this camera is that the autofocus can be a bit slow in dim light and full zoom. But then again a number of people have posted pictures taken indoors without flash that look good. Have a look at some of the other threads in here, and check out some of the pictures posted on photo sites like pbase...

http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/coolpix_8800

The flash has a relatively short range, so an external flash would be a good investment if you plan to do a lot of flash photography. This is true for any consumer digital camera, not just the CP8800.

Stage plays might give you some trouble; you probably won't be allowed to use flash, and the distances will too great for the focus assist lamp to help. The camera may have trouble with focus depending on the light levels; but if you put the camera into spot autofocus and set the exposure mode to the same spot, it should work better. The VR stabilization is good, but not magic, so you may have to use higher iso settings to get a fast enough shutter speed. I think noise levels are tolerable up to iso 200, but not at iso 400. You should test this for yourself to see how much noise you think is acceptable. And remember that noise won't look as bad on a 4 x 6 print as it does on your computer monitor. I'd try testing the camera under these conditions to see if it'll work ok for you.

I would strongly suggest that you become more familiar with the camera before your vacations...they sound great...that's not the time for you to be learning how to use the camera.

Hope this helps...

Santos
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 11:31 AM   #7
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Deborah,

I suggest you very carefully read the excellent review of the 8800 on the Steve's Digicam website (i.e. this website). Like all digital cameras, the 8800 has strengths and weaknesses and Steve's comprehensivereview points everything out in crystal clear terms.

I can add that, for your long range shots, the 10X zoom and VR will come in handy especially with an external flash and tripodas noted earlier by a knowlegeable reviewer.

However, in challenging light it does have some well documented focusing problems.

Also when I owned an 8800, I found that it had a noticeable shutter lag that made action photos (birds, etc.) difficult. And the 8800 is a bit slow writing to the memory card for my liking (especially when there's a bird in my viewfinder).

Funny thing, I did just the opposite of you, after a few weeks with the 8800 and a few long days in the field with it, I traded it back in to my understanding dealer for a Canon G6 and teleconverter lens. The G6 doesn't have the sexy 10X VR zoom of the 8800 but it is faster and focuses better than the 8800 in my humble opinion.

Steve C (Strazeele, France)
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 12:26 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the feedback. Guess I've got some more thinking and reading to do. Don't know how understanding my camera dealer will be so...
Quote:
You'llmost certainlyneed an external flash for the indoor shots you describe.
Could you recommend the appropriate external flash to purchase?

Thanks so much,

Deborah
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 1:32 PM   #9
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Steve C wrote:

Also when I owned an 8800, I found that it had a noticeable shutter lag that made action photos (birds, etc.) difficult.

I've been taking lots of bird pictures the last few days and am very pleased with the results. Yes, shutter lag is something you have to keep in mind while doing action shots, but it's not the problem some would have you believe.

I'll post more on a new thread.

Walter


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Old Jan 1, 2005, 1:49 PM   #10
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Walter,

Ducks and gulls floating lazily on a pond are one thing......a hovering Kestrel or a Green Woodpecker foraging for grubsare something else entirely.

Steve C
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