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Old Mar 21, 2005, 4:58 PM   #1
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I am retiring my 5 year old Coolpix 800 and am planning a substantial digital camera upgrade. Besides serving as our regular camera for vacations and such, I play in a band and my wife generally takes photos for the band website. One issue with the Coolpix 800 has always been the anemic flash and I had resorted to an L shaped bracket with an external slave flash for the low light conditions that one generally experiences in a bar. My wife hated the bulk and awkwardness of the bracket so I want something smaller going forward.

I was considering the D70 but then I spotted the 8800 and liked the zoom (which would allow my wife to get shots of band members without having to walk up and stand on the dance floor). Question for those with personal experience is how well does the 8800 autofocus work in low light conditions? I see some positive words about the power of the built in flash. Would it be good enough for the bar gig shots without having to add an additional speedflash?


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Old Mar 22, 2005, 12:09 AM   #2
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I don't have too many problems with focus in reasonable light but the strobe may not work the way you want to use it.

The strobe on the 8800 works great up to about 12 feet/4 m, but the problem is that you will betoo far away for it to be effective if you use much zoom.

The Nikon dedicated flash is too expensive for me and through a Wynn safe-sync, I use my Vivitar 283 flash on a side handle. It's not pleasant to carry around butit throws the flash a considerable distance.

I don't think you will find a decent strobe built intoany camera.


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Old Mar 22, 2005, 3:49 AM   #3
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Cgris,

One of the well-known shortcomings of the CP8800 is the dodgy low light focus. I had an 8800 and traded it in on a Canon G6 for that reason and because of the slow write-times to the card and the maddening shutter lag.

Considering your needs, I think the best choice is the Panasonic FX-20 with a decent speedlight. With that rig, you'll get 12X optical (Leica) zoom and much better low light focusing than the 8800 and outstanding overall performance. While Panasonic is not the first brand that comes to mind for digital cameras, their gear is superb. Suggest you visit a bricks & mortar camera shop that has the FX-20 and see if it's size is OK with you and your wife.

Steve, Strazeele, France
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 9:20 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. I was doubtful about the power of the built in flash but had read some favorable online comments about it. Poor low light focus is an instant deal killer right there. Appreciate the informed feedback....
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