Review: Nikon Coolpix 885
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Friday, September 28, 2001
Friday, October 26, 2001
recent months, I've tested the low-end and high-end Nikon digital
cameras (for consumers, at least). The entry-level Coolpix 775 failed
to impress (find
out why), while the top-of-the-line Coolpix 995 remained as
one of the best in its class (see
885 ($599) is the midrange camera in Nikon's rather small line
up, and it leans more towards the Coolpix 995 rather than the 775,
which is a good thing. Find out more in our review...
the two cameras are so similar, much of the text and screen shots
from the camera are from the Coolpix 995 review. Hey, why reinvent
in the Box?
Coolpix 885 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
3.14 (effective) Mpixel Nikon Coolpix 885 camera
Lexar 8X CompactFlash card
Lithium battery (non-rechargeable)
featuring Nikon View 4 and drivers
page manual (printed) + Quick Start guide
Coolpix 885 includes a non-rechargeable lithium battery. Your options
Nikon's EN-EL1 rechargeable battery pack
buying non-rechargeable 2CR5 cells
people will opt for the rechargeable battery kit, which will run
you about $50. You might want to pick up a spare battery if possible
(about $35 more). I'm not a big fan in general of nonstandard (meaning
anything but AA) batteries.
non-rechargeable battery won't last terribly long -- about 100 minutes
before it ends up in the garbage. The EN-EL1 lasts for around 90
minutes before needing a recharge.
from that, there isn't much else to complain about. The 16MB Lexar
8X CompactFlash card is still a bit skimpy for a 3.3MP camera, but
at least they didn't put in an 8MB card.
includes a lens cap and strap, which is always nice.
NikonView software is now up to version 4, and it's still pretty
mediocre. If you're looking for a serious photo editing suite, try
something like Photoshop. I did have trouble with it crashing on
my Mac OS 9.1 system on several occasions.
the Coolpix 900-series cameras, there are a number of accessories
available for the 885. You can get wide-angle, fisheye, and telephoto
lenses, as well as a slide copier and remote shutter release cord.
For those lenses, you'll probably need to buy the UR-E4 step-down
the manual is printed and not on CD like it was on some earlier
models. The quality of the manual is above average.
of my big issues with the Coolpix 775 was the build quality - it
just felt cheap for a Nikon camera. Thankfully, the 885 doesn't
have the problem. While still plastic, it's a higher quality plastic
that seems like it could take almost whatever you throw at it.
the CP885 is just a bit larger than the CP775. It's very easy to
hold with one hand, as well. It's not a "micro camera"
but it's certainly small enough to hide in a pocket. The dimensions
of the camera are 3.7 x 2.7 x 2.0 inches (W x H x D) and it weighs
225 grams empty.
Coolpix 885 has a F2.8 Nikkor optical zoom lens, with a focal range
of 8 - 24 mm, which is equivalent to 38 - 114 mm. The lens is threaded
(I'm not sure of the measurement though) and requires a step-down
ring to use other lenses and filters.
flash has a working range of 0.4 - 3.7 m at wide-angle, and 0.4
- 2.3 m at telephoto. External flashes are not supported on this
missing on all current Nikon cameras is some sort of AF assist lamp,
to help the camera focus in low-light.
on to the back of the camera. One thing I don't like on this camera
is that each button serves many different functions. I'd rather
have more buttons.
1.5" LCD is smaller than average but is of good quality --
images are fluid and bright.
above the LCD is the optical viewfinder, which covers about 80%
of the frame. There is no diopter correction for those of you with
the LCD are some of those multifunction buttons I was referring
to. From left to right, they are:
compensation or shutter speed/aperture (CSM "M" mode
only) [record] / Delete [playback]
[rec] / Info [play]
[rec] / Thumbnail mode [play]
self-timer can be set for 3 or 10 seconds, and can be used with
or without the macro mode. Pressing the Quick Review button once
will put a thumbnail of the photo you just took in the top left
corner of the LCD. Pressing it again will make it a full-screen
image, where you can do all normal playback operations on it.
to the right of the LCD is the four-way switch, which is mainly
used for menu navigation and changing settings in manual mode. It
can also be used to set the focus area, as well as turn the LCD
on/off, or produce a small photo in playback mode.
transfer button just above that is used to transmit all or whichever
photos you choose to your Mac or PC.
at the top of the photo, you can see the zoom controls. I would
have preferred them to be a little further to the right, but that's
not much on the top of the camera, just the mode wheel, power switch,
and shutter release button. I would've liked an LCD info display
up here, since you have to turn on the LCD to find out things like
the number of photos you can take. Interestingly enough, the Coolpix
880 that this camera replaces actually had one.
had some trouble with the mode wheel getting stuck and I'm not sure
why. I'd check this when you get your CP885. The choices on the
Record mode is very limiting. You can only change a few things like
flash and exposure compensation settings, and you cannot use the
you want more control, turn the dial to CSM mode. Here, you can
choose from Program or Manual modes. Curiously, there's no shutter
or aperture priority mode -- it's full manual or nothing.
CSM/Manual mode, the aperture is limited to F2.8/F7.6 at wide-angle,
or F4.9/F13.4 at telephoto. The shutter speeds available range from
8 sec to 1/1000 sec. There is also a bulb mode which will hold the
shutter open (up to 60 sec) for as long as you have the shutter
release button pressed.
mode is found on the Coolpix 775, 880 and 885. It was first done
by Casio, and is still done better in my opinion. Here, you can
choose between various situations, and the camera will choose the
best settings for you. The scenes available on the Coolpix 885 include:
(new to the 885)
have more information about the other choices on the mode wheel
later in this review.
only thing to see on this side of the camera is the video out port.
the other side, you'll find the CompactFlash slot and more I/O ports
(under that rubber cover).
CF slot is Type I, so obviously the IBM Microdrive is not supported.
I/O ports on this side include "Digital I/O" for USB,
as well as a power input.
here is the bottom of the Coolpix 885. You can see the battery compartment,
metal tripod mount, and the included battery.
the Nikon Coolpix 885
camera takes five seconds to start up before you can start taking
the shutter release button results in locked focus in under a second.
When you fully depress the button, the photo is taken after a short,
but noticeable lag. Shot-to-shot speed is good -- you'll wait about
two seconds at normal quality before you can take another shot.
feature that seems less common these days is the Coolpix's ability
to pause and delete photos just after they were taken. Where most
cameras only show you a preview, Nikon lets you pause and/or delete
the photo as well.
an uncompressed TIFF file to the CF card will take roughly 30 seconds.
You can do the same pause and delete with TIFFs as well, though
you'll have to wait about 10 seconds before you can do so.
Coolpix 885 doesn't have as many choices for image resolution and
quality as its more expensive sibling, the Coolpix 995. Here's what
you can choose from:
Hi (TIFF) on 16MB card
2048 x 1536
1024 x 768
640 x 480
CP885 is almost exactly like the CP995 when it comes to manual controls
-- in other words, it's got tons of them!
take a look at the extensive menu system, which contains all those
manual controls. The menu system (in CSM mode only) can be overwhelming
at first with lots of weird icons, but you get used to it. Take
a deep breath - here goes.
balance (Auto, Preset, Fine, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy,
Speedlight) - for many of these, you can do fine adjustments using
the command dial, from -3 to +3. For fluorescent, you can choose
between 3 different selections. You can also shoot a white piece
of paper to choose what you want to be white, using preset mode.
(Matrix, Spot, Center-weighted, Spot AF Area)- Spot AF Area measures
the exposure at the point which you choose to focus on
(Single, Continuous, Multi-shot 16, VGA Sequence, Ultra HS)
mode shoots at 1.5 frames/sec until memory buffer becomes
16 takes 16 shots in a row and puts them into one Full sized
image (like a collage)
Sequence - Takes 640 x 480 sized images at 2 frames/sec until
the buffer is full
HS - Takes 320 x 240 sized images at 30 frames/sec for 70
Shot Selector (on/off) - take up to 10 pictures, and camera picks
the sharpest one and saves it. Best for macro and low-light shots.
Adjustment (Auto, Normal, Contrast, Brightness, Black & White)
Sharpening (Auto, normal, high, low, off)
- select your accessory lens here
Quality - see chart above
/ ISO (Auto, 100, 200, 400)
options (AE Lock, EXP +/-. Exposure mode)
mode (Program, Manual) - described earlier
Lock - locks exposure settings after the first shot. Useful
compensation (-2.0EV to +2.0EV, in 1/3EV increments)
Options (AF Area Mode, Auto-Focus Mode, Focus Confirmation, Distance
Area Mode - in manual mode, you can choose one of 5 areas
on the LCD that you want the camera to focus on
Mode - you choose whether camera is focusing constantly, or
just when you press the shutter release halfway
Confirmation - If turned on, the outline of the in-focus area
of the image is emphasized on the LCD
Bracketing (on/off/WB bracketing)
- take 3 or 5 continuous shots with different exposure compensation
Bracketing - takes 3 shots: one with chosen white balance,
one reddish image, and one bluish image. I haven't seen this
feature on any other camera.
reduction (on/off) - helps to reduced hot pixels in long exposure
shots. See night shot test below for examples. Note that turning
this on doubles the time it takes to write the image to the card.
also the usual setup menu with the basics settings that need not
be discussed here.
move onto the photo tests now...
the Coolpix 995, the 885 is adept at macro shots. You can get as
close as 4cm in macro mode on the CP885.
was an exceptionally clear night when I took the above night shot,
so it came out nicely. You can even see my other photo-taking spot,
Twin Peaks, just left of the Transamerica Pyramid.
word of warning: I took this shot in Scene Mode as well, and it
moved the ISO up to a point where the image was very, very noisy.
My advice: throw it in CSM mode and set the ISO to 100, and choose
the settings yourself. It made a HUGE difference.
the Coolpix 885 is *almost* a 995, you can probably guess what I'm
going to say: the photo quality is excellent. The color was accurate
and the images were quite sharp. I didn't have any problem with
chromatic aberrations while using it, either. Take a look at the
photo gallery to see for yourself.
movie mode on the Coolpix 885 is the same as on all recent Coolpix
cameras. You can record up to 40 seconds of 320 x 240 video, at
15 frames/second. There's still no sound recording, but at least
you use the zoom lens during filming.
a quick sample movie for you:
Click to play movie (2.5MB, Quicktime format)
Coolpix 885 has the same, very nice playback mode as on the 995.
basic features include 4 or 9 thumbnail mode, slide shows, DPOF
print marking, image protection, and "zoom and scroll".
zoom and scroll feature allows you to zoom in as much as 4X into
your photo, and then scroll around in it.
about those cool extra features? One of my favorites is the ability
to delete a group of photos at once. You just mark the thumbnails
you want to delete, hit a button, and they're gone.
interesting feature is the Auto Transfer function. You can mark
photos as "Auto Transfer" and NikonView will automatically
copy them to your Mac or PC when you connect the camera.
you want more information about a photo you've taken, you'll love
the Coolpix 885. You get all kinds of statistics, plus a histogram.
between photos takes about a second. At first, a lower resolution
picture is shown, and about two seconds later, the high resolution
pressing down on the four-way switch, you can create a "small
picture", which is small and easy to e-mail. You can't do the
zoom and scroll trick on those small pictures though, for some reason.
Does it Compare?
a disappointing time with the Coolpix 775, I'm pleased to say that
the Coolpix 885 is a camera which deserves the Nikon name on the
front. It has almost the exact same feature set of the more expensive
Coolpix 995, but with a different lens and body. The photo quality
is top notch, and there are more manual controls than you'll ever
need. The only real downsides are the battery situation, small CompactFlash
card, and lack of LCD info display. For a midrange camera, the Coolpix
885 is one of the best out there.
camera for macro shots
manual control ever conceived
for external lenses, filters, and flashes
of info about your photos in playback mode
I didn't care for:
battery / no rechargeable battery included
sound in movie mode
LCD info display - was on CP880 too!
3 Megapixel cameras I recommend taking a look at include the Canon
PowerShot G1, Casio
FinePix 6900 Zoom, Olympus C-3000Z
DSC-P5 and DSC-S75,
and the Toshiba
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the Coolpix 885 and its competitors before you buy!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion? How about a third?
sure to read Steve's
Digicams review of the Coolpix 885. If that's not enough,
Resource has one too!
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for
a personal recommendation.