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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix 8700

Nikon Digital Cameras

   


Nikon Coolpix 8700 Review

Review Date: June 21, 2004

Category: Advanced Amateur - Prosumer

Nikon Coolpix 8700

USER'S EXPERIENCE

Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Coolpix 8700
  • Lens Cap with retaining string
  • Li-Ion Battery EN-EL1 & Battery Charger MH-53 with power cord
  • Cables: USB & A/V
  • Neck Strap
  • Documentation (English & French): Nikon Guide, Quick Start Guide
  • CDs: Nikon View 6.2, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, 123 of Digital Imaging

The Nikon Coolpix 8700 comes with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and battery recharger. In my review kit (though I don't believe it is part of the purchase kit), I also received a 256MB Ultra II SanDisk CompactFlash memory card to test the camera with.

Besides the two CDs included: Nikon View 6.2 (with its reference manual on a separate CD) and Adobe Photoshop Elements 2, also included in my kit is a CD entitled "the 123 of Digital Imaging" (essential edition) by Vincent Bockaert. Vincent is one of the very first web sites we added to our Links section, so we are glad to be able to feature one of his works here on Photoxels.

You have to register to receive a password before you can access the 123 of DI CD contents. If you find the essential version useful, the CD also tips you to what the full version of the eBook contains, and the latter may be purchased online.

The 123 of DI covers all the subjects you might ever want to know -- and then some more -- about digital photography. Believe me, it is pretty comprehensive and meaty. If you love learning and understanding the technology behind the functionality of your digital camera, this CD will illuminate you. I think what I like the most about the 123 of DI are the animated simulations that explain how certain things work. The textual material itself is great, though its presentation could be updated to a more modern user interface.

With Windows XP, you don't need to install any software to transfer images from camera to PC. Just plug the USB cable into your camera and PC USB socket, and the camera is recognized as an external drive. Then use Windows Explorer to transfer your images. Transfer is pretty fast at about 3-4 sec. per 8M Fine image. It takes about 10 sec. to transfer a RAW (NEF) image.

[My PC is a Sony VAIO PCV-RX650 P4 running at 1.60GHz with 512MB of RAM.]

The User Guide is well illustrated and written. A Quick Start Guide is all you need to get started with the basics of using the camera.

Morning Dew: 1/28.5 sec., F3.1 and ISO 50
Morning Dew
13.7mm, Programmed Auto, Partial, 1/28.5 sec., F3.1 and ISO 50

Though you can shoot at the Programmed Auto mode, I would recommend using Shooting Mode 1 which is basically the same, plus you can customize other settings. One of them is the Manual Focus Areas. Not to be confused with manual focus, there are 5 manual focus areas and you use the Multi Selector to select one of them for the auto focus to lock on. This beats the pre-focusing technique, and is invaluable in macro shooting.

A Quick Review button displays the last image taken. The first press of the Quick Review button brings up a thumbnail of the image; a second press displays it using the full screen. A half-press of the shutter release allows a quick return to Shooting Mode.

A live histogram is available in Shooting Mode. However, the histogram is not transparent, so it does obscure a part of the image. It is a good idea to learn to read the histogram if it is available on your digital camera. It is not difficult and we explain it clearly in this tutorial. You can rely on a histogram display to tell you whether your shot is underexposed or overexposed -- no matter how it looks on the LCD screen.

There are so many more features that I have not had time to cover adequately: Best Shot Selector (BSS) that you can use in normal and macro mode; 12 Scene Modes; 5 shot buffer mode; and 640x480, 30fps movie.

The Nikon Coolpix 8700 is a full-featured prosumer digital camera, and does require some time to master all its features. The photographer who does so will be rewarded with excellent images. It is an enjoyable digital camera to use, and its compact size is a bonus to those who are tired of lugging large cameras around -- or worse, leave them at home, and miss out on opportunities for recording great images.

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