Nikon Enters 8 Megapixel Digicam Fray with Coolpix 8700

The Sony DSC-F828 used to be the only commercially available eight-million pixel digicam, but since then, other vendors have jumped in, with offerings that include the Konica Minolta Dimage A2, the Canon PowerShot Pro 1 and the, Olympus C-8080. These cameras all perform about the same, while their differences lie in their design concepts.

Like the Olympus C-8080, its direct rival, the Nikon does not try to compete directly against other eight-million pixel digicams, since its optics are not on the same plane. Its built-in zoom lens equals a 35-280 in 24x36, while the others (except the C-8080) are 28-200. But the playing field is not exactly level, as the difference in focal length may put off those who want wide angle first and foremost, or delight those who are mainly interested in the telephoto lens. This is obviously a personal choice.

The digicam/reflex comparison is back on the agenda again, even though our argument is still the same: digital cameras have the advantage of compact size, easy handling and versatility, but they don't take as good of pictures as a reflex. As for ease of focusing, an electronic viewfinder is obviously not a true substitute for a reflex screen. But, while the digicam is not the perfect camera, we must admit that no such thing exists. The best "affordable" resolution is now the prerogative of the digicam (with A3 prints and bigger) and this tips the scales in its favor. The Nikon Coolpix 8700 is not without faults, but its amazingly compact size and the quality of its images will attract a very wide public, from the rank beginner to the experienced professional who wants an extra camera to hand.

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