Josh Reviews: Nikon Coolpix 5400

This isn’t going to be much of a review. I had my final exam today(!), so I’m still feeling just a little bit drained. When I get a moment, I’ll flesh it out. But suffice to say, this is what I bought myself as a graduation present: self-portrait (170kb). It’s a Nikon Coolpix 5400; 5.1 megapixels, 4x optical zoom, takes CompactFlash. As a side note, I bought it from Camera House on Elizabeth Street. The service and prices I received varied wildly across the shops; sometime this weekend I’ll toss up a review of the camera shops around Elizabeth and Lonsdale streets (of which there are many). It’s a very good camera… it’s so good all around that I really can’t think of a downside to it. It’s loaded to the hilt with features, nice and fast to boot up, very light (especially compared to the Powershot G5 I checked out - that thing is a brick!), and its image quality is absolutely top-notch. Buy one. You know you want one. Since Si just mentioned that I haven’t given it a score… 1010

On reflection… this is going to make the review a bit of a downer, but I can think of two things I don’t really like:

  • It seems to have an unshakable affinity for incredibly slow shutter speeds. I don’t like shooting with flash at the best of times, but as soon as I switch it off, the camera decides that I want to use a normal aperture, with a shutter speed on the order of 14 sec, rather than cutting the aperture a little;

  • The CF writing is slow. Then again, the pictures are 2MB or more - I suppose I should cut it some slack;

  • There’s no autofocus assist lamp! This is a pretty big failing; it can’t focus at all in low-light, even if you’re planning to use the flash.

Some of those - the last one especially - might sound like showstopper bugs. To be honest, though, they’re quite livable: I’m not afraid to mess around with shutter-priority mode to get shorter exposure times, and I can’t think of any low-light photography that couldn’t be handled by locking the focus at infinity. I think that between this and my film SLR (Pentax MZ-6), I’m in shutterbug heaven. Expect a whole lot more photos to start appearing in JRE - and now that I’m not participating in any organised education (for the first time in… ooh… seventeen years or so?), I’ll have time to throw together a really shiny interface for, with photo galleries and PHP scripting! Watch for it.