Nikon Coolpix 4800
At a Glance
The Nikon Coolpix 4800 is one of the few point-and-shoots we've tested that has a long (8.3X) zoom and 4-megapixel imaging and yet costs no more than $400.
A boxy 4.2 by 2.1 by 2.6 inches, the Nikon is nonetheless fairly light and is easy to grip and use one-handed. Its size permits nicely spaced control buttons-- simplifying the task of picking the right one quickly--and a wide, comfortable zoom rocker switch. Dedicated review and delete buttons help you dump unwanted shots fast. (When you press the delete button while in picture-taking mode, the camera automatically brings up the last photo taken.)
The Coolpix 4800's color and exposure scores were the second highest we've recorded for a point-and-shoot. And the camera earned the top mark for overall image quality. In our difficult, high-contrast cityscape photo, the Coolpix reproduced details in shadows without blowing out the sky. Our only criticism: White surfaces in our still-life test had a slight greenish cast. The Coolpix's sharpness and distortion scores were about average for a 4-megapixel camera; shots had good detail, but very fine lines and small text came out somewhat fuzzy in 8 by 10 prints.
The Coolpix 4800's four-way navigation button lets you set flash, self-timer, macro, and exposure compensation settings quickly. Most other controls are in menus, which are fairly intuitive but take time to work though.
A true snapshot camera, this model's creative controls are limited to 15 scene modes and manual white-balance calibration. It has no aperture-priority, shutter-priority, or manual focus options.
Not the most pocketable point-and-shoot around, but the Coolpix 4800 takes great shots, and it's long zoom give it more flexibility than most other cameras in its class.