The 8400 features a similar range of adjustments to the 8700 with the addition of a new Auto mode for saturation which helps to deliver a bit more color 'punch' to images shot in dull conditions or with low contrast (we found the best results with this setting). All other image parameters have three or more levels, it's a pity Nikon couldn't provide at least five levels for all parameters.
Image parameter adjustments
- Tone: Auto, Normal, More Contrast, Less Contrast
- Saturation: Auto, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, B&W
- Sharpness: Auto, High, Normal, Low, Off
Adjusting the tone alters the shape of the curve used to map the linear image data captured by the sensor into the correct gamma. A lower contrast setting maintains more of the original data's dynamic range but leads to a flatter looking image. A higher contrast setting stretches the grayscale (dark to light) of the image and could lead to clipping of both shadow detail and highlights. The 8400's Auto mode in this case chose something close to the preset 'Normal'.
Saturation adjustment allows you to control the strength of color in the final image. To my eye at least there's only a subtle difference between +1 and +2 and quite a noticeable difference between 0 and +1. In this case (as in many real-life situations) the Auto setting selected something close to the +1 preset.