Nikon Coolpix 8400 Review

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Nikon Coolpix 8400

First Look posted 9/16/04
Full review posted 12/10/04

Introduction & Physical Views

Click on the Coolpix 8400 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The Nikon Coolpix 8400 features the widest-angle of coverage of any digital camera available today, offering photo purists and creative photographers the answer to their search for true wide-angle photography from a compact digital camera. The Coolpix 8400 provides users with 8.0 effective megapixel performance and a versatile ultra-wide 24-85mm (35mm equivalent) zoom Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass lens. An optional wide-angle converter takes the camera even wider to an unmatched 18mm of coverage.

The Coolpix 8400 employs an ultra-fast Auto Focus (AF) system and 15 Scene Modes, including Panorama Assist to take advantage of the camera's wide angle of coverage. Macro shooting capabilities let you get as close as 1.2 inches to fill the screen with small objects. Continuous shooting enables 5 images to be taken at 2.3 fps at full 8-megapixel resolution and Multi-Shot allows 16 consecutive shots to be taken in quick succession. The"last 5-shot buffer" that allows users to hold down the shutter release and let go when the action stops ensuring they get the sequence they are looking for. In addition, the Coolpix 8400 also captures 640 x 480 VGA resolution motion video at 30fps with audio. Smaller 320 x 240 resolution movies can be recorded at 15fps. The length of the movies is only limited by available memory.

The Coolpix 8400 satisfies the needs of the novice as well as experienced photographers with a full range of exposure modes. The AUTO mode makes the camera function like a simple Point-n-Shoot so anybody can take great pictures right away. When you want more control just turn the mode dial and choose from Program AE, Shutter or Aperture priority, Manual or one of 15 pre-programmed Scene modes. Nikon's 256-segment matrix metering insures properly exposed images with selectable Center-Weighted, Spot and Spot AF metering options. Adjustable ISO sensitivity from 50 to 400, white balance options, automatic or manually selected focus points, 7 mode flash and a hot shoe for Nikon speedlights.

Nikon Coolpix 8400

The Coolpix 8400's enhanced, fully-articulating 1.8-inch color LCD allows the photographer to shoot at virtually any angle in order to get the best shot. The LCD is also optimized for easy viewing in bright sunlight.

The Coolpix 8400 boasts Nikon's proprietary In-Camera Red-Eye Fix™, which automatically detects and corrects red eyes in most typical situations without the need to press buttons or select and highlight the eyes. It also offers Nikon's exclusive D-Lighting, which when selected in Playback mode automatically compensates for insufficient flash or excessive back lighting in order to obtain a balanced exposure throughout the frame.

The Coolpix 8400 (and Coolpix 8800) are the first Coolpix cameras with full i-TTL flash capability (when used with Nikon's SB-600 and SB-800 Speedlights) and give the user complete control over the flash's zoom head. Additionally, combining a number of high-end Nikon technologies, a feature called Auto Color Enhancement accurately records, assesses and fine-tunes the colors within images to achieve more vivid results. And the Coolpix 8400 supports the newly adopted JPEG EXTRA file format, which offers higher image quality with less compression (compression rate: 1/2) in addition to its Basic, Normal, Fine, TIFF and NEF/RAW settings.

Coolpix 8400 Features:

  • 8-Megapixel CCD for images up to 3264 x 2448 pixels
  • Nikkor 3.5x zoom (24-85mm in 35mm equivalent) with ED glass
  • Macro focus with AF as close as 1.2-inch
  • Fully articulating 270°, 1.8" color LCD monitor
  • Record images in RAW, TIFF-RGB (uncompressed) or JPEG
  • Quick Review feature for instant playback
  • Programmed AE, Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Manual and 15 Scene Modes
  • Drive modes: Single, Continuous H, Continuous L, Ultra High Speed Continuous, 16-Shot Multi, 5 shot buffer (captures last 5 frames)
  • Capture 5 full-size frames at 2.3fps w/64MB buffer
  • Five Movie capture modes
  • Coolpix-exclusive Best Shot Selector exposure mode
  • Shutter speeds from 1/3000 sec. to 8 secs (Bulb to 10 minutes!)
  • Five-area multifocus system, user-selectable and Spot-AF
  • 256-segment Matrix Metering, Center-weighted or Spot
  • Noise Reduction for long exposures
  • ISO sensitivity of Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400
  • AE Bracketing with white balance and exposure value
  • Built-in 7 mode flash with slow sync, rear curtain and repeating flash
  • Hot shoe for external Nikon Speedlights
  • USB 2.0 port for image download
  • CompactFlash Type II card slot (Microdrive compatible)
  • EN-EL7 rechargeable battery and charger included

The Nikon Coolpix 8400 comes with all the equipment you need to get started, which includes PictureProject image management software, USB cable, video cable, neck strap, EN-EL7 rechargeable battery and quick charger, infrared remote controller, and a Nikon Starter CF card. The Coolpix 8400 will be available nationwide in September 2004 at an MSRP of $899.95.

Click here to download the Coolpix 8400 brochure/specs (Adobe pdf).

Physical Views

Nikon Coolpix 8400.

Nikon Coolpix 8400.

Nikon Coolpix 8400.Nikon Coolpix 8400.

Nikon Coolpix 8400.

Nikon Coolpix 8400.

Coolpix 8400

The Coolpix 8400 compared in size to a standard CD.

Coolpix 8400

The wide-zoom Coolpix 8400 and the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom

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Coolpix 8400 Specifications

CCD 2/3-in. high-density CCD; total pixels: 8.31 million
8.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes 8M (3264 x 2448)
3:2 (3264 x 2176)
5M (2592 x 1944)
3M (2048 x 1536)
2M (1600 x 1200)
1M (1280 x 960)
PC (1024 x 768)
TV (640 x 480)
Lens 3.5x Zoom-Nikkor lens
f = 6.1-21.6mm (equivalent to 24-85mm) F2.6-4.9 with macro; 10 elements in 7 groups (one ED lens and two aspherical lenses); all glass, Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) applied
Digital Zoom Up to 4x stepless digital zoom
Autofocus Ranging AF using AF ranging sensor and contrast-detect TTL AF with AF-assist illuminator
Center, 5-area Multi AF, manual 9-area multi-AF
Focus modes 1) Continuous AF mode (when using LCD monitor)
2) Single AF mode (when not using LCD monitor and/or selectable from shooting menu)
3) Manual from 0.4 in. to infinity with focus confirmation indication
Focus range 1'8" (50cm) to infinity
1.2" (3cm) to infinity Wide, 7.9" (20cm) to infinity in Tele Macro
Viewfinder 0.44" 235,000 pixel psTFT color LCD
Magnification: approx. 0.2 - 0.7x
Coverage: approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical
Diopter adjustment: -3~+1m-1
LCD monitor Fully articulating, 270°, 1.8", 134,000-dot, low-temp. polysilicon TFT LCD
LED backlight w/adjustable brightness (5 levels)/hue adjustment (11 steps)
Frame coverage: approx. 97%
Auto OFF mode 30 sec.; can be set manually (1/5/30 min.)
Image Storage System: EXIF 2.2 file (uncompressed TIFF-RGB or compressed JPEG)Design rule for camera file system (DCF); Digital Print Order Format(DPOF); QuickTime Motion JPEG (Movie, Audio)
Media CompactFlash (CF) Card Type I or II
IBM Microdrive 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB compatible
Capture modes 1) Single
2) Continuous H (2.3fps up to 5 frames)
3) Continuous L (1.5fps up to 18 frames)
4) Multi-Shot 16 (16 frames @ 2fps)
5) Ultra High-speed Continuous (QVGA 30fps up to 100 frames)
6) 5 Shot Buffer (last 5 frames @ 1.5fps)
7) TV Movie with audio (VGA 640x480 30fps up to 60 secs.)
8) Small Movie with audio (QVGA 320x240 15fps up to 895 secs.)
9) Time-Lapse Movie (VGA 640x480 30fps up to 35 secs. silent movie)
10) B/W or Sepia Movie with audio (QVGA 320 x 240 15fps up to 895 secs.)
Exposure metering 4-mode TTL metering:
1) 256-segment Matrix
2) Center-Weighted
3) Spot and
4) Spot AF Area
Shutter Mechanical and charge-coupled electronic shutter
2 - 1/3,000 in AUTO mode and Programmed Auto (P)
8 - 1/3,000 in Shutter-Priority (S) and Aperture-Priority (A)
Bulb/Time limit (max. 10 minutes)
8 - 1/3,000 in Manual (M)
1/30 - 1/3,000 in Ultra High-speed continuous mode
Aperture 7-blade iris diaphragm
10 settings in 1/3EV steps (to minimum f/7)
Exposure control Programmed Auto with Flexible Program
Shutter-Priority Auto
Aperture-Priority Auto
Manual; Exposure Compensation (±2 EV in 1/3 EV steps)
Auto Exposure Bracketing (3 or 5 steps within ±2 EV)
Exposure range EV 0~+18.5 (W), EV +1.5~+18.5 (T) (ISO 100 equivalent)
Best-Shot Selector (BSS) Camera takes up to 5 shots (at approx 2fps) and records the most detailed image using anti-jitter logic which is effective for telephoto and macro shooting. Not available when the speedlight is on.
ISO Sensitivity 50, 100, 200, 400 or Auto;
can be controlled in any exposure mode
White balance 1) Matrix Auto White Balance with TTL control
2) 6-mode Manual with fine tuning (Daylight/Incandescent/Fluorescent/ Cloudy/Speedlight/Shade)
3) Custom Preset
4) White balance bracketing
Self-timer 10 sec. or 3 sec. duration
Built-in Speedlight Range: 1'8" - 19' 8" (0.5-6 m) in Wide angle and 1'8" - 9'10" (0.5-3 m) in telephoto.
Flash control Flash modes:
1) Auto Flash
2) Flash Cancel
3) Fill Flash
4) Slow Sync
5) Red-Eye Reduction 6) Rear Curtain
7) Repeating Flash
External Speedlight Connects to ISO 518 hotshoe. Nikon Speedlight SB-800 or SB-600 with i-TTL control; built-in Speedlight can be cancelled when using external Speedlight(s)
Playback menu 1) 1 frame
2) Thumbnail (4/9 segments)
3) Slide show
4) Movie with audio 5) Zoom playback (25 steps up to 6x)
Shooting information
Histogram indication & highlight point display
Peaking indication
Hide and protect attributes can be set to each image
Focus confirmation indication
Delete function Deletes all frames or selected frames
Data Interface USB 2.0 interface
Supported Platforms Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP
Mac OS 9 - 9.x, OS X (10.1.2 or later)
Video output NTSC or PAL (selectable)
I/O terminal Power input
Video output
Digital output terminal (USB)
Hot shoe for external Speedlight
Included Accessories Lens cap, Camera strap, Audio Video Cable, Nikon Coolpix Starter Memory Card, USB cable, Rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL7, battery charger MH-56, Nikon View CD-ROM (please note, standard accessories may differ by country or area)
Power requirements Nikon EN-EL7 lithium rechargeable (supplied)
Optional MB-CP10 battery pack (six AA batteries)
Optional Nikon EH-54 AC adapter
Battery life Approx. 260 shots (CIPA standard testing)
(W x H x D)
Approx. 4.4 x 3.2 x 3.0 in. (113 x 82 x 75 mm)
(without battery)
Approx. 14 oz. (400g)

Specifications as represented by the manufacturer

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