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Nikon Coolpix 8400 Review

January 2005 | By Phil Askey


Preview based on a production Coolpix 8400, Firmware v1.1

The eight megapixel wide angle zoom Coolpix 8400 was announced along with the Coolpix 8800 and Coolpix 4800 on 16th September in the run-up to Photokina 2004. By it's name it's clear that the Coolpix 8400 is intended as the direct successor to the 2003 five megapixel Coolpix 5400 which also featured a wide angle zoom lens, although not as wide as the 8400's impressive 24 mm equiv. On paper then the 8400 appears to be a highly capable eight megapixel prosumer digital camera with a new (and unique) 24 - 85 mm equiv. (3.5x) zoom lens. It's probably worth noting that other than the body design and lens system the 8400 and 8800 are virtually identical in specification and features.

Major changes since the Coolpix 8700 (the only previous Nikon 8mp)

  • New 'Extra' JPEG compression (larger JPEG, lower compression)
  • Movie clips at VGA 30 fps up to 60 sec, QVGA limited only by storage
  • Nine focus areas in manual area select, five areas in auto
  • Additional scene modes: Museum, Sports, Dusk / Dawn
  • Hybrid AF system (combines external sensor and CCD information)
  • Maximum shutter speed down to 1/3000 sec from 1/4000 sec
  • Continuous shooting up to 2.3 fps from 1.9 fps
  • Flash range up to 6.0 m at wide angle (compared to 4.1 m) - Auto ISO
  • Flash hot-shoe supports i-TTL and flash zoom
  • Playback zoom up to 10x
  • Included Infrared remote control
  • No Compact Flash card included
  • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Higher capacity Lithium-Ion battery (8.1 Wh vs. 5.0 Wh)

Nikon Coolpix 8400 vs. Coolpix 5400 (differences)

 

Nikon Coolpix 8400

Nikon Coolpix 5400
Sensor • 2/3" Type 8.3 million pixels total
• 8.0 million effective pixels
• 1/1.8" Type 5.2 million pixels total
• 5.0 million effective pixels
Lens • 3.5x optical zoom "Nikkor ED "
• 24 - 85 mm equiv.
• F2.6 - F4.9
• 4.0x optical zoom "Nikkor ED"
• 28 - 116 mm
• F2.8 - F4.6
Image sizes • 3264 x 2448
• 3264 x 2176 (3:2)
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
• 2592 x 1944
• 2592 x 1728 (3:2)
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480, 30 fps, max 60 sec
• 320 x 240, 15 fps, unlimited
• With audio
• Timelapse movie also available

• 640 x 480, 15 fps, max 70 sec
• 320 x 240, 15 fps, max 180 sec
• With audio
• Timelapse movie also available

Image formats • JPEG (EXIF 2.2) - 4 levels
• RAW
• TIFF
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2) - 3 levels
• TIFF
Auto focus • Hybrid (external sensor and CCD)
• 9 area manual
• 5 area auto
• CCD TTL
• 5 area manual
• 5 area auto
Continuous • High (2.3 fps; up to 5 frames)
• Low (1.2 fps; up to 11 frames)
• High (3 fps; up to 7 frames)
• Low (1.5 fps; up to 18 frames)
Max shutter speed 1/3000 sec 1/4000 sec
Saturation levels • Auto, +2 to -2, B&W • +2 to -2, B&W
Flash Pop-up Fixed
Flash range • Wide: 0.5 - 6.0 m (Auto ISO)
• Tele: 0.5 - 3.0 m (Auto ISO)
• Wide: 0.5 - 4.5 m (Auto ISO)
• Tele: 0.5 - 2.8 m (Auto ISO)
External flash • Hot-shoe
• Supports i-TTL and flash zoom
• Hot-shoe
• D-TTL, no flash zoom
LCD monitor • 1.8" TFT LCD (transmissive)
• 134,000 pixels
• Flip-out and twist
• High refresh rate
• 1.5" TFT LCD
• 134,000 pixels
Viewfinder • Electronic Viewfinder (0.44" LCD)
• 235,000 pixels
Optical viewfinder
Playback zoom Up to 10x Up to 6x
Status LCD Yes, top of camera No
Power • Lithium-Ion EN-EL7 rechargeable
• 7.4 V, 1100 mAh (8.1 Wh)
• Lithium-Ion EN-EL1 rechargeable
• 7.4 V, 680 mAh (5.0 Wh)
Connectivity USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) USB 1.1
Remote control Included Infrared Optional wired
Dimensions 113 x 82 x 75 mm
(4.4 x 3.2 x 3.0 in)
108 x 73 x 69 mm
(4.3 x 2.9 x 2.7 in)
Weight (inc batt) 470 g (16.6 oz) 380 g (13.4 oz)

Two cameras, the same heart

After a brief look at the specs and a hands-on it was clear that the Coolpix 8400 and 8800 shared the same heart; CCD, processor, menus, image processing) battery, LCD monitor, EVF, a similar control layout as well as other features. As a buyer therefore you can choose simply between a smaller 3.5x wide-angle zoom or for $100 more a large 10x telephoto-zoom with VR. The differences between the two cameras are detailed below.

Nikon Coolpix 8400 vs. Coolpix 8800 (differences)

 

Nikon Coolpix 8400

Nikon Coolpix 8800
Price US: $899 MSRP, $799 Street US: $999 MSRP, $899 Street
Lens • 3.5x optical zoom "Nikkor ED"
• 24 - 85 mm equiv.
• F2.6 - F4.9
• 10x optical zoom "Nikkor ED " VR
• 35 - 350 mm equiv.
• F2.6 - F4.9
Auto Focus Hybrid (external AF & CCD) Contrast detect CCD
Image stabilization No Nikon VR (lens element)
Flash • Pop-up (90 degree flip-up)
• Electronic release
• Range W: 0.5 - 6.0 m
• Range T: 0.5 - 3.0 m
• Pop-up (raises)
• Electronic release
• Range W: 0.5 - 6.0 m
• Range T: 1.0 - 3.0 m
Dimensions 113 x 82 x 75 mm
(4.4 x 3.2 x 3.0 in)
116 x 85 x 121 mm
(4.6 x 3.3 x 4.8 in)
Weight (inc batt) 470 g (16.6 oz) 680 g (1.5 lb)
Review Click here Click here


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

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This article is Copyright 2005 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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