The Nikon Coolpix 4800 is a four megapixel digital camera with a 8.3x optical zoom lens. With its extended zoom lens this model is likely to appeal to someone who is looking for more than a standard point and shoot digital camera.
There are a number of preprogrammed scene modes to help you take the best possible picture in differing photographic conditions, but the Coolpix 4800 lacks the manual controls that are a must to any serious photographer.
It is fairly straightforward and you don't need to be a camera expert to be able to use it and take good pictures.
106 x 66 x 54mm
The main point to make with regard to image quality is that the Coolpix 4800 appears to have overcome the purple fringing problem that is evident with a number of other extended zoom digital cameras. Overall I found the pictures it produced bright and clear with deep, true colours.
The outdoor shots are true reproductions of the conditions at the time the photographs were taken. The lighter areas in particular are captured accurately and with clarity. There is a slight loss of detail in some of the darker areas.
The camera performs better in the colour test than the majority of other cameras although I would like to see the yellow areas with a bit more life. The macro shot is bright and clear in the centre of the watch, but suffers from over exposure and therefore some loss of detail around the outside.
The indoor pictures give mixed results. The shot taken of the bottles in very poor lighting comes out very well indeed and is one of the better ones in this category. The indoor portrait though is not completely in focus and is disappointing.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
Shutter lag is the time it takes to take each picture. A constant criticism of digital cameras is the delay in between clicking the shutter button, the picture being taken and also the camera being ready to take the next picture. From a pure shutter lag view the Coolpix 4800 seems to have little problem with taking a single picture and recording to the memory card.
In terms of recycling times I was able to take five pictures in the space of 13.99 seconds. That works out at a rate of 2.8 seconds per picture. I am not claiming that this is the most scientific tests, but it should give you an indication of the recycling speed of the camera. At the time of writing this is a new test I have added for my reviews. Early indications are that this is very close to the average speed. My test is carried out indoors under standard conditions and it is possible that you would see better results outside.
For composing images and accessing the menu the Coolpix 4800 has a 1.8" LCD screen with five levels of brightness adjustment. On the whole LCD screens tend to be on the small size for digital cameras with extended zoom lens, so the size is fairly standard. Likewise this type of camera has an electronic viewfinder rather than an optical one. The viewfinder has a diopter corrector which helps you to focus the viewfinder to suit your own level of eyesight.
There is a wide selection of scene modes that you can use to help you take the best possible shots. The scene modes available to you are: Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Night landscape, Museum, Fireworks show, Close up, Copy, Back light, Panorama assist, Dusk/Dawn, Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Night Portrait.
Close up photography is taken care of by a macro mode that can get you in as close as 2cms from the subject. To back up the optical zoom lens the Coolpix 4800 has a 4x digital zoom feature.
Movies can be shot at a high resolution of 640x480. This is at a rate of 15 frames per second. Lower resolution movies of 160x120 can be shot as well. These are suitable for sending by email and they also conserve space on the memory card.
The built in flash unit has a maximum range of 4.3m. This falls when you are using the zoom lens. There are a number of flash modes you can choose from. These are automatic, always on, always off and slow synchro. Red eye reduction is available too.
A ten second self timer can be used when you would like to appear in the picture. To help preserve the memory of each shot you can add a short voice memo to a picture.
Nikon supply all the necessary cables and software to connect the Coolpix 4800 to a PictBridge compatible printer, computer and television set.
To add some variation to your shots there are a number of colour modes at your disposal. These are black and white, sepia, cyanotype and vivid. Metering is covered by 256-segment matrix metering.
Among the more advanced features you will find a best shot selector, exposure compensation (-2 - +2EV in 1/3 EV steps) , shutter speeds between 4 and 1/2,000 seconds, sensitivity between 64 and 400 and white balance controls for fine, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy and speedlight. There are also continuous and multi shot shooting modes.
Ease of Use
All in all the Coolpix 4800 is easy to use. The back of the camera is not over busy and the dials and buttons are easy to understand. The menu system is also fairly self explanatory and you should soon be up and running once the battery has been charged up.
You can pick up a Nikon Coolpix 4800 for around £230. This compares to around £225 for a Fuji Finepix S5500 and £215 for an Olympus C-765.
Nikon have designed the Coolpix 4800 so that it feels more like a standard compact digital camera than a traditional SLR camera. To accommodate the zoom lens the camera is larger than other standard compacts, but it gives a good feeling in the hand and there is a decent sized grip on the front of the camera. This helps you to hold the camera steady, especially when the zoom lens is fully extended.
It weighs in at around 255g and has dimensions of 106 x 66 x 54mm.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Power is supplied by a rechargeable Li-ion battery. Nikon supply both a battery and charger with the Coolpix 4800.
The camera doesn't come with a memory card. Instead there is 13.5mb of memory built into the camera. There are two drawbacks with this. The first is that the built in memory has only enough space to record around seven high quality images on. Secondly if you use a card reader to upload images to a computer you will either have to copy the images to a memory card first or use a different method.
You will therefore need to buy an external memory card to go with the camera. SD (Secure Digital) are used to store images on. Click here to save money on SD cards
Points I like:
Extended zoom lens
Good overall picture quality
Doesn't have the purple fringing problems of similar models.
Where it is not so hot:
Only a small amount of memory supplied with the camera.
Indoor portrait disappointing.
On the whole I think that Nikon digital cameras tend to be more than a little underrated. The Coolpix 4800 is no exception and I think it is a good solid extended zoom model. There are certainly areas where it outperforms other models such as the Canon Powershot S1 IS and the Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 when it comes to picture quality. If you are looking for a digital camera with extended zoom capacity then this is one worth adding to your shortlist.
Nikon Coolpix 4800 Front View
Nikon Coolpix 4800 Back View
Nikon Coolpix 4800 Top View
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