Kodak EASYSHARE P880
- Great features, Huge battery life
- Below average image quality, huge write time for TIFF files
The Kodak P880 would have been a great camera but for problems with image quality, and massive write times for the advanced file formats.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
Like its little brother, the Easyshare P850, Kodak's P880 offers a solid advanced camera package, but falls down with regards to image quality. We found pictures to be overly noisy and were largely under whelmed by the on-board flash.
The images we captured with the P880 were consistently too warm. When trying to photograph a product on a plain white background we struggled to get the background to retain its original colour. Regardless of whether we had fluorescent or soft lighting, used the flash or didn't, the background either appeared as a dull grey or a slightly muddy yellow. We put this down to the camera overcompensating for what it perceives as low light.
In our test shots we found the flash was overly powerful in certain circumstances. Taking pictures of coloured blocks in a fairly standard lighting situation (two roof lights) with the flash on resulted in an absolute wash out of colour. Everything looked pale and quite harsh.
Image noise also proved to be a problem for the P880. It has ISO settings up to 400 (although it can go further at lower megapixel settings), but on anything over 100, and consistently when using the automatic setting, we were greeted by a haze of white dots sprinkled across our shots. It gave our pictures the impression of having been pulled from a poor quality video broadcast rather than taken with a high end still camera, and is definitely something to be wary of.
The one redeeming feature of this model's photographs was the crisp, clean edges. When noise wasn't a problem, we were very pleased with the sharpness presented by the P880. Edges were neither blurred nor too sharp. We did encounter a little blooming and purple fringing in the areas we expect, but it wasn't really any worse than usual.
Images aside, the P880 presents itself as a very attractive option for those looking for an advanced camera. The body is constructed of solid black plastic, with a grip on the right hand side that juts out even further than the one on the P850. Unfortunately this subtle change really doesn't do much for the aesthetics of the camera, so should you be after something that can both take photographs and win beauty pageants you may have to look elsewhere. That said the design is functional and quite sturdy, typical of most advanced models. You should also note one minor irritation - the flash has to be popped up manually. There is no button to release it, which will confuse some first time users.
Functionally, the P880 offers everything you could possibly want from an advanced camera. Finally Kodak have implemented RAW and TIFF shooting onto one of their cameras and we applaud them for that; however we cannot in good faith recommend people buy this camera if this is their main shooting format. It can take upwards of nine or ten seconds to write a RAW file, and a ridiculous twenty-three or twenty-four seconds to write a TIFF file. If you're going for that one perfect, ultra-quality shot, then maybe this won't be such a big deal, but it is a massive limitation for regular shooting.
Thankfully Kodak haven't totally forgotten about the end user, and so whilst you wait nearly half a minute for your TIFF files to process, you'll have a large pile of options to change! The P880 has pretty much every feature imaginable. There are preset scene modes, program, aperture and shutter priority as well as full manual mode, with shutter speed extending all the way from 1/4000th of a second to a bulb mode (which was missing on the earlier model). You'll have a range of colour options (sepia, black and white etc), a great selection of burst and bracket modes as well as exposure, white balance and metering functions. The only slight disappointment is that the ISO on the P880 only extends to 400. You do have the option to push it up to 800 and even 1600, but only when shooting at much lower resolutions, nullifying any use it may have.
We were extremely impressed with the battery life on this unit. We took over 700 photographs, recorded a small video and did plenty of deleting and menu surfing before we managed to run the battery down. This is above average and really makes this model a great choice for those who go days without a recharge opportunity.
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