The CoolPix 8400 belongs to the old school. It’s a high-end camera for serious photographers from the days when digital SLRs weren’t 10 a penny.
Launched more than a year ago, it’s still on sale but not in all outlets; we assume it’s nearing the end of its life – which explains why it can be purchased for far less that its frightening SRP. That doesn’t mean it’s a has-been. Manufacturers have spent the past 18 months making cameras cheaper, not better. The CoolPix was and is right at the pinnacle of compact camera design and performance.
If you’re keen on photography, it’s worth seeking out. Why? That wide-angle zoom, for one thing. It’s the equivalent of a 24-85mm lens on a film camera, and still the ‘widest’ standard zoom on the market.
The 8400 also has all the photographic controls you could ask for, including PASM exposure modes, auto-exposure bracketing, RAW files (though they take an age to save) and also an AF system that’s very nippy for a non-SLR.
Sensor working overtime
You can’t shoot fast and instinctively with this camera as it takes a few moments to get to the settings you want, but the image quality is great thanks to the 2/3-inch sensor (just that little bit bigger than the average 1/1.8-inch sensors).
It’s the build quality that leaves the strongest impression, though. Yes, OK, it’s a bit of a lump but it’s a rock-solid lump, with superb-feeling controls and a finish to match Nikon’s own professional SLR models.