Nikon Coolpix P4 Review
Record Modes & Screens
AUTO record mode offers no menu options, you set the image resolution/quality, ISO
speed and White Balance from the Mode Dial. The "8M" icon indicates the image resolution is
8-megapixels at Fine quality and there's 237 pictures remaining at the current image
resolution. The zoom lens gauge is shown for a few moments whenever the focal length is
changed. The "VR" indicates the vibration reduction system is enabled in Normal mode.
When you half-press the shutter release the autofocus is locked and the exposure is
calculated and set. If autofocus was successful the AF dot icon is green, if it fails
it is red and blinks.
Program AE mode is also automatic but it allows the user full access to all the
menu options (see below.) Icons are shown for image sharpening, image adjust, image
saturation, white balance is fluorescent and the ISO speed is set at 100.
Aperture priority mode allows you to specify the aperture value for depth of
field (focus) control. A larger number is more depth of focus, a smaller number is less.
The 4-way selector is pressed "Right" to allow changing the aperture and the exposure
Program AE/Aperture mode menu:
Metering - Matrix, Center-weighted, Spot or Spot AF area
Continuous - Shooting mode: Single frame, Continuous, Multi-Shot 16, Ultra HS, 5-shot buffer, Interval timer
BSS - Best Shot Selector: On or Off (Shoots up to 10 frames and then automatically saves the best [sharpest/clearest] one)
Bracketing - AE Bracketing or WB Bracketing
Image Adjustment - Auto, Normal, More Contrast, Less Contrast
Image Sharpening - Auto, High, Normal, Low, Off
Saturation - Maximum +2, Enhanced +1, Normal, Moderate -1, Minimum -2
Sensitivity - ISO Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400
Image Quality - Fine, Normal, Basic
Image Size - 8M, 5M, 3M, PC, VGA, 3:2
AF Area Mode - Auto (11-area), Manual or Center
AF Mode - Single AF or Continuous AF
Fixed Aperture - The aperture remains constant as you zoom
Noise Reduction - Long shutter noise reduction On or Off
The Menu option lets you display menu screens in icon or text format. You can call up HELP
for any menu function by pressing the "T"elephoto zoom button.
Pressing the VR button on top of the camera lets you select the VR Normal mode, the
VR Active mode or disable VR for time-lapse, long shutter or tripod mounted shots.
Pressing the 4-way selector "up" changes flash modes, "left" enables the self-timer and
"down" changes the focus mode. You set these options via onscreen popups as shown
Scene mode options include:
Face Priority AF, Portrait, Party/Indoor, Night portrait,
Landscape, Panorama, Night landscape, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Fireworks show,
Backlight, Closeup, Museum, Copy and Sports
Face Priority AF mode actually detects the presence of a human face in the
frame and focuses on it. Some of the other portrait scene modes have onscreen
framing guides to help you properly position your subject for the desired effect.
Nikon macro tip #1 - a lot of people never read their user manuals and don't know the
"secret of the sweet spot" - in macro mode run your zoom in and out until you see the
macro flower icon turn green (or yellow on some Coolpix cameras). This is the setting
that allows you to shoot the closest possible shots. And by all means, use a tripod
and the self-timer for the sharpest possible shots. Although the P4 with this new VR
enhancement will definitely help handheld macros like the one above.
The VR Normal mode can be selected during movie recording and helps compensate for
hand and camera movement.
Movie mode options:
Small Size 320 - Color 320 x 240 pixels, 15fps
Smaller Size 160 - Color 160 x 120 pixels, 15fps
Time-Lapse Movie - Capture up to 1800 images at specified interval and then create a silent 640x480 movie at 30 fps.
Autofocus mode - Single or Continuous AF
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