This review appears in the October 06 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Perched at the top of the Acer family of cameras is the imposing 8Mp (megapixel) CP-8660. It looks good, with its vaguely retro styling and classy black-and-silver finish, and it feels every bit as nice as it looks. The solid construction and comfortable, digit-friendly features are pleasing to wrap your hands around.

This isn't the daintiest of compacts, although the extra girth is used to good effect. Not only does it increase comfort, but it allows Acer to up the level of technology. The 2.8in screen may not be a rotating model, but it is generously proportioned, dominating the rear of the Acer. Another generously sized component is the 6x optical zoom, which roughly translates to 37-222mm in 35mm terms. The glassware is finished off with a healthy f2.8-4.8 aperture range and an impressive 2cm Super Macro.

With the lens offering so much promise, we were disappointed to find that getting the 8660 to focus correctly was hit or miss. Even in bright daylight, it was a common occurrence for subjects to idly cruise into and then out of focus again. On the up side, the Acer has a good manual focusing feature, although it doesn't work in all modes. Another disappointment is that images must be dropped to 5Mp to benefit from image stabilisation.

The autofocus wasn't the only potential deal-breaker, either. The auto white balance was hopeless in anything other than bright daylight, requiring frequent babysitting, manual intervention and tweaking.

It's not all bad news, though. The Acer produced impressively clean images, with little noise on lower ISOs. Even maxed out at ISO 400, the Acer behaved better than many other cameras we could name, and finer image detail was reproduced admirably.

Acer CP-8660: Specs

  • 8.3Mp compact digital camera (maximum resolution 3,264x2,448 pixels)
  • 6x zoom lens
  • f2.8-4.8 aperture
  • ISO 64 to 400
  • shutter 1/1,500 sec
  • 2.8in LCD viewfinder
  • max video 640x480/30fps
  • lithium-ion battery with charger
  • SD slot
  • 25MB internal
  • 96x29x61mm
  • 180g
  • 8.3Mp compact digital camera (maximum resolution 3,264x2,448 pixels)
  • 6x zoom lens
  • f2.8-4.8 aperture
  • ISO 64 to 400
  • shutter 1/1,500 sec
  • 2.8in LCD viewfinder
  • max video 640x480/30fps
  • lithium-ion battery with charger
  • SD slot
  • 25MB internal
  • 96x29x61mm
  • 180g

OUR VERDICT

The Acer ticks many of the right boxes, but struggles to deliver overall, with focusing and white-balance concerns compromising the generally good image quality. For £249, we'd expect better.

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