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Nikon Coolpix 8400 8 to 10 Megapixel
8 megapixel compact digital camera with 3.5x ultra-wide angle optical Zoom-Nikkor ED lens and full manual controls.
Submitted by fathersafety a Professional
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2008
Bought the 8400 as a "traveler" as shoot a D-200 for work. Wide angle lens for the price was my objective and the 8400 delivers on all fronts. The more use it and compare it to the D-200/D-300/D-700, the more I understand why it was priced at about 1000.00 when new.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $250.00
Purchased At: Used
Type of photography: Other
Submitted by jgeracimos a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: May 3, 2006
Strengths: -- WIDE ANGLE LENS!!! (24mm equiv). Don't think that there is any other point-and-shoot w/a lens this wide. This was reason alone for me to buy the camera. As an aside, the 24mm equiv. wide-angle on the Sony R1 is making it a very tempting camera as well.
-- Ability to adjust settings (shutter speed, f-stop, white balance, etc). Separate dial settings for some of these items avoids need to dig through the menu.
-- Solid build.
-- Very useful movable screen. For example, it can swivel so that it is visible from the front of the camera, letting one be in a photo while still making sure that the framing is done right.
-- Photo quality is generally quite good (w/in the confines of 100 ISO, see weaknesses). 8mp is nice for cropping and enlargements.
--Price was low enough that I do not worry about taking it out and beating it up (backpacking trips). Relatively small size makes it easy to tote along (not pocketable, however).
--Good magnification of photos on screen to check out focus.
Weaknesses: --Slow, slow, slow. Saw one review that said that it would be good for action . . . sure, if you are shooting the photo-finish at the turtle track or the snail slalom. First, takes a long time (5 to 10 seconds) to boot-up. The delay between depressing the shutter and the taking of the photo is not too bad, just the time for the relatively efficient auto-focus to hunt around. The write speed, however, is abysmal for a TIFF or a RAW image (15 to 20 seconds -- JPGs not too bad though). Speed is acceptable for landscapes (except, for example, when one wants to take multiple shots with freezing fingers in winter, is with impatient people, or wants to catch a fast setting sun), but don't expect to get multiple pictures of any but the most sluggishly moving animals or people.
--Can take a long time to scroll through photos, particularly TIFF or RAW photos.
--Noisy at 200, very noisy at 400. Shooting at 100 ISO makes for slow shutter speeds or too narrow depth of field in lower light. I find myself leaning against trees on even on overcast days to steady the camera, particularly with the zoom out.
--LCD viewfinder has pros and cons compared to pure optical viewfinder (not the best for focusing, but better than non-SLR viewfinder for parallax issues); also much better than LCD screen only.
-- Included software does not appear to convert RAW (NEF) files to JPG or TIFF.
--Size is a strength and a weakness. My wife, who has a pocket-size Canon (that she loves) always wonders why I "drag around that heavy Nikon." On the other hand, as noted above, it is much smaller than an SLR.
--Wish there was a way to attach lens cap to camera. I know that I will lose it.
This camera had long appealed to me due to its wide angle lens, but I always thought that the $~800 price was too high for a point-and-shoot that would inevitably be soon obsolete. However, once Ritz Camera cut the price in half (as Nikon had discontinued it), I had my camera! (value rating is for Ritz discount price)
Although I have some issues regarding speed (both physical speed of camera and ISO speed, as discussed below), on balance, I am very happy with the camera at the Ritz price. For me, the lens and picture quality outweigh my concerns about the speed issues. I would definitely purchase it again.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $399.00
Purchased At: Ritz Camera
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by ken1953 a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2006
Strengths: Fully Automatic or Manual to fit any need.
Excellent selection of presets.
Takes excellent photographs at macro or landscape, and it's midrange is awesome.
Good ISO range from 50 - 400 (can get a little noisy at 400)
Auto Program works great 99% of the time.
Large rotating Viewscreen
Buttons and dials are fairly well organized and reachable.
2 User customizable presets.
Weaknesses: A little slow in low light situations on Auto Program w/ flash.
Can be a little overwhelming at first to novice users, but can be quickly learned with a little diligence and practice.
No Image Stabilization.
I purchased this camera because I was looking to upgrade my Kodak DX 4330. I wanted something that would give me more manual control, but didn't feel I was ready to move up to a DSLR. I was looking at the Coolpix 8800, because I wanted something with more zoom, but I couldn't afford it at the time. I looked at many other cameras and was impressed with features from all of them.
What finally made my decision was when Ritz lowered the price on this camera by $400. It is just about everything I was looking for, especially the manual controls. This camera gives me almost total control over everything. Compared to my wife's Pentax *ist DL, I really have not found anything that I can't do manually with the CP 8400 compared to the Pentax, except mess with lenses.
My only real issue is personal and not the camera, and that is, I really would like more zoom, but my macros and my landscapes are awesome. I still need some work on my panning, but that isn't the camera, it is just my not knowing yet what all the settings are.
This camera does require alot of learning if you have never used a fully manual camera, but if you just want to use the auto settings, it has a very nice range of presets, and the Auto program has always produced fantastic photos.
I was intimidated by this camera at first because I have a slight learning problem, but was able to figure it out fairly quickly and with help from friends, have begun using this to it's full capabilities.
This camera is very sturdy, but light enough to carry anywhere, anytime. It's design is like a small DSLR and it's contols are almost the same as full blown Nikons DSLR's. There are many button and knob controls, but mostly this camera is "menu driven". It has 2 user controlled programs so that you can preset it for different situations without having to try to change things on the fly. You can also setup your own menu for those features you use the most, therefore not having to search the whole menu when you need to change something.
I'm not sure if this is the camera or the user, but when I go to shoot my grandchildren on or other candid shots of people, usally indoors, the camera, while in Auto Program, appears to take too much time with the flash and focus and I am frequently capturing shots after my subject has moved substantially. This happens after I have prefocused and then pressed the shutter release when I was ready capture my subject. Again, this is probably the user, but my Kodak didn't have this problem.
The manual for this camera is comprehensive but nice and simple to use. Nikon also has many online tools to help new photographers learn how to use their product as well as how to take great photos.
I feel professionals and amateurs alike would find this camera to be an excellent fulltime camera or a backup to any camera on the market. It's quality and build are superb.
Because of the price I got this for, I have to give the value rating 5 stars
Overall however, I gave this a 4 stars, because at full price, I feel there are many cameras out there that are as good but at a much cheaper price.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $599.00
Purchased At: Ritz Camera Online
Similar Products Used: Kodak DX 4330
Pentax MG 35mm Film
Pentax MX 35mm Film
Pentax *ist DL
Type of photography: Outdoor
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