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Back in March I reviewed the CU-6530, an ambitious new 6-megapixel ultra-compact camera from computer components manufacturer Acer, a newcomer to the highly digital camera market. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance and quality of the camera and its outstanding value for money. Thus I was very interested to hear about the company’s latest model, the CP-8660.
If the CU-6530 was ambitious, then the CP-8660 is positively audacious. It offers an 8.23-megapixel CCD, an f2.8-4.8 6x optical zoom lens, a massive 2.8 inch LCD monitor, manual exposure control and an anti-shake system, all for a suggested retail price of £249 - though it won't be available until August. With a specification like that it’s competing head-to-head with high-end models from long-established brands, cameras like the Panasonic Lumix LX-1, Canon PowerShot A620 or the Casio Exilim EX-Z850, although in fact there isn’t another camera on the market that can match all of its features. There’s no doubt then that the CP-8660 talks the talk, but can it walk the walk?
Like the CU-6530, the CP-8660 makes a good first impression. It has several cosmetic features in common with the earlier model, including the styling and position of the main controls on the rear-panel, and the handgrip detail on the front. It’s a little bigger than its junior sibling tough. At 29mm thick and weighing a not insignificant 180g without battery it’s a bit to bulky for a shirt pocket. It’s roughly the same size and weight as the Canon PowerShot A540 that I reviewed a few weeks ago.
Build quality is certainly up to scratch. The camera has a strong aluminium body with an attractive matt finish that doesn’t show up finger marks. It feels solid and businesslike, and sits comfortably in the hand, although it could do with a better thumb grip area on the back.
The external controls are for the most part sensibly laid out and clearly labelled, although the zoom control is a bit small and fiddly for anyone with large fingers. The labelling on the slider switch that selects between shooting and playback is also rather small.
It has separate controls for most main features, including focus mode, with a 5cm macro, 2cm super-macro, landscape mode and a well-implemented manual focus mode, with a magnified centre section and range scale. It has a self-timer with “2”, “10” or “10+2” second delay (one at 10 seconds, then another two seconds later), exposure compensation, and a feature found on the CU-6530, a manual backlight compensation mode.
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