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Old Jul 14, 2005, 2:08 PM   #1
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I am deciding between a Nikon 8800 or a canon or Nikon slr. Does anyone have a opinion on this? Does the 8800 really do that bad with low light conditions?
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 4:38 PM   #2
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Hi,

I've been using my E8800 for over 2 months now. According to me, the best features of this camera are:

* ED lens capable of both macro and 10 x zoom providing crisp images and correct colors. 10x is fun to use (Although they say that the digital zoom is worthless, I see that additional 4x digital zoom sometimes yields better photographs, for example the night moon pictures are better when taken with digital zoom).
* VR is amazing; this lets you capture special occasions when a tripod is not handy.
* 8 MP lets you capture very detailed images with the help of the perfect built in optics.
* Ability to adjust almost everything manually. This increases your creativity, and it's also very educative for a newbie in digital photography like me. But full auto or preprogrammed modes are very productive as well when you don't have the time or will to adjust parameters.
* Very beautiful EVF. I rarely use the LCD.
* IR remote is a luxury tool at such a camera.
* The video capture is perfect although I use this very rarely.
* Exposure and WB bracketing and BestShotSelector is very useful.

The drawbacks are:

* The noisy CCD. At higher ISO's, the CCD is prone to produce noise. This prevents you using higher shutter speeds when you need to. You have to keep the ISO around 50 or 100 and use a tripod and longer exposure times for noise free pics.
* The inability to change many of the parameters in Scene modes.
* Cumbersome manual focus lacking a manual focus ring and highlighted center of viewfield to check the focus (by the way, to overcome this, I zoom in all the way on the subject I want to focus on, and then use the manual focus on that view, then zoom out again)
* I wish the lens had constant low f numbers for all focal lengths of zooming like the Leica lenses of Panasonic FZ series.
* It's a bit heavy, and makes you look like a photo guy while hanging down your neck

The 8800 works well under lowlight conditions. Only very rarely you cannot autofocus (this happens when you are in a near total darkness) but with the above method you can easily achieve perfect manual focus. And surely you have to use a tripod for longer exposure times. Of course with a digital SLR with higher ISO capability, lowlight situations would be easier to handle.
I don't agree with people claiming that the 8800 is slow. It is capable of capturing 5 pictures of fine quality at 2.7 pics/second, although you cannot see through the viewfinder while it is acquiring the images. Shot-to-shot and the write-to-card time is not slow for me. I think only a newspaper guy will need a faster camera.

The only thing I wish my 8800 had is a larger CCD with less noise enabling you use faster shutter speeds. I can say that this camera is more than enough for a serious amateur, thinking that having all of the fancy features above in one single machine is amazing. You'll have to pay two or three times as much to have all of them, and you'll have to carry a large camera bag (I have just returned from a bike tour with my 8800 in my backpack along with my sandwich and coke!).
I'm overall very pleased to have the 8800, although it takes time to learn how to operate it productively.
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 5:24 PM   #3
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thanks for the reply, that does help in making myy decision. From reading about the 8800, it does seem that only those who want "instant" write times are those dslr owners who need that in their proffession. Thanks for the detailed review.
cody
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 3:45 AM   #4
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Hello, I asked the same question just a month ago while deciding to finally upgrade from my Coolpix 950 that has served me so well all these years. The factors that tipped the balance for me in favor of the 8800instead of the D70 were 1)the moveable LCD allowing me to stand upright while getting almost impossible camera angles (I love macrophotographs of flowers and insects)and the ability to preview the exposure before firing, 2) the built-in image stabilization (great for hand held macros and long telephoto shots), 3) no worry about CCD dust contamination while changing lenses and all the consternation about cleaning the CCD, 4) great macro capability bulit-in, 5) great telephoto capability and 6) no need to carry around a big bag with several lenses.

If you are serious about sports or wildlifephotography or serious photojournalism, then I would buy a SLR like the Canon EOS 20 D that apparently has great high ISO quality and great shutter speed/image capture to card. and uninterrupted through the lens real time viewfinding. But buying an good long zoom image stabilizing lens I think runs about $1200 alone. And, one can't view the digital image until after capture. I will eventually move to high level SLR for wildlife photography, but I don't want to carry around a bag with several lenses while traveling .

I have loved my 8800 so much so far that I bought a 8400 too!Factoring in the $100 rebate, the net cost for me was not much more than buying a good teleconvertor or other lens (for aSLR),and now I have a wide angle camera for landscape and interior shots. It is a very nice form factor. I can carry around both cameras very easily. I miss the image stabilization in thisunit for macro shots, etc, but am otherwise very happy. And I don't have to fiddle around with changing teleconvertors like I did with my 950. It's amazing that the cost of these two cameras are less that what I paid originally for my 950 and the wide angle and telephoto convertor lenses.

Hope this is helpful, but I am only an enthusiastic amateur.

Good luck!




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Old Jul 31, 2005, 1:31 PM   #5
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thanks for the great reply, i was woundering what you had to say about the focusing and write times to the cf card. That is my main councern
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 5:25 PM   #6
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Low light focusing is a problem. And the manual focus isn't very good either. The technique earlier about manually focusing at full zoom and then pulling back to a wider focal lenght I haven't tried. If you need to shoot in low light a lot, this might be a deal breaker.

I am using a2 GB Sandkisk 60X Ultra II cards. I have been shooting most of the time using 8 MB at Extra Fine setting which, as I understand it, is jpg with 50% compression. The write times aren't a problem for me. Seems to go pretty fast. If I shoot continuously with extra fine, then the write time of all the images takes some time.

Again for the photography I like to do (flowers, landscapes, people, odds and ends) this is fine; the superb image quality is just mind boggling to me. The VR technology works great. I can crop images significantly and get great print quality and detail. I love the skin tones. Detail in macro shots is phenomenal. Every little strand of color in a rose blossom is there. Just can go on and on.

If you need crisp manual focusing and photojouralistic speed for fast moving scenes like rock concerts, sports events, breaking news then I would go with the SLR--the Canon EOS 20 D would be my first choice with the D70 in second place. But I would want to buy only IS or VR lenses from now on. I'm a believer.

Finally, I'm probably the last person who should be givng advice since I have only really used the Coolpix 950 and a 3 Pixel Dimage little compact digital camera.

Good luck again. Let us know what you decide to do.






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Old Jan 30, 2006, 9:18 PM   #7
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I'm a recent convert to the dSLR world coming from a 5yr line of point & shoot cameras of varying quality. My main complaint with point and shoot cameras (as mentioned by others) was noise, especially noise associated with the "high" ISO settings on point & shoot cameras. I quote the word "high" because none of the cameras offered especially high ISO settings but their highest settings (400 was the max on all I ever owned w/out decreasing resolution). I wanted the sensitivity of higher ISO settings without the associated noise. My other big complaint with all the point & shoot cameras I've had is compression noise due to overly aggressive JPEG compression. While the last couple I had (Fuji S5000, Kodak P880) offered RAW shooting it took up too much memory, slowed down shooting, and required MUCH more post processing. While both of these problems can be remedied in post processing (I used Neat Image with decent results) it added another step to the process and softened my images.

What lead me on the path to dSLR was my purchase a year and a half ago of the Kodak DX6490. It was a super-zoom (10x) 4mp camera with fairly extensive manual settings including most if not all available on consumer level dSLRs (P,A,S,M, ISO, White Balance, Exposure Compensation). I loved the control and quickly fell in love with the zoom and the way the larger cameras felt in my hand. But the ISO and compression noise issues didn't go away. They didn't go away with either of the similar cameras I tried after that (Fuji S5000, Kodak P880). I finally realized that the only way to get the higher ISO performance, low compression noise, overall picture quality and feel i wanted was to move to a dSLR. I also found the manual zoom ring on the Kodak P880 vastly superior to push-button zoom on other point-and-shoot cameras, pushing me even more in the direction of dSLR. Having fell in love w/ the high-zoom capabilities of these cameras as well as having a few GB of SD cards already I decided on the Nikon D50 body and a used Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5 lens. Has the zoom I love and is great for 95% of the shots I want and 100% of the shots I would even consider attempting with a point-and-shoot. I've also recently picked up a Nikon 50mm F/1.8 lens that will allow me to get alot of low-light (especially indoor) shots that I wouldn't even have considered attempting with point-and-shoot.

I still recomend having a compact point-and-shoot camera to use in situations where carrying a dSLR would not be appropriate. If I were going on a nature hike or to a sporting event (or anywhere else an expensive piece of electronics isn't in danger) I would probably carry the D50 (with neck strap). At an amusement park, play, formal event or anywhere the D50 would be obtrusive or in danger I would probably carry my fiancé's Nikon 4100 compact point & shoot. It's definitely nice to have the option of the right camera to fit the occasion.

Lack of higher ISO settings are being addressed by manufacturers in the super-zoom and pro-sumer point-and-shoot cameras. The Fuji S5200, S9000, and the recently announced Panasonic FZ7 all go up to ISO 1600. The S5200 and S9000 still have quite objectionable noise at 1600, we'll see how the FZ7 fares once it's released. That said, I can shoot at ISO 1600 on my D50 with no noise visible up to 8x10" prints.
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Old Jan 31, 2006, 2:50 PM   #8
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Hi berkant_atay,

I sure do appreciate all your comments. You have helped me tremedously.

Will you show some of the photos you took on your bike trip? I sure hope you will.

Have a Great day,

divertwo


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