When the camera is activated for the first time and the Command Wheel is set into the green zone, then taking pictures with the Coolpix 5400 is a piece of cake! But one who feels attracted to using one of the many settings will experience the world of digital photography to his cost! The various settings appear on the LCD monitor in 33 different symbols. Turning the Command Wheel one directly gets into the menu for Exposure mode like Aperture and Shutter speed. Selecting the A, the user can choose his/her own Aperture. The Aperture range is f2.8 till f7.9 in 28mm setting and from f4.6 till f7.3 in 116mm. The camera automatically chooses the right Shutter speed to obtain the best result. Opposed to the A we’ll find the S: Shutter speed priority. Manually the fast Shutter speed of 1/4000e can be reached, and when the camera is set in the so-called Ultra HS setting (320x240 pixels) it can reach a shutter speed of1/8000e. P mode offers a complete automatic setting of the camera. Both Shutter speed and Aperture are set automatically (considering brightness of the surroundings) to obtain the best results possible. One who wishes to make a picture totally independently chooses the M-mode, so he/she will have full control over the Shutter speed and Aperture. On the LCD monitor will appear a bar to show the under- or overexposure until 2 EV steps. (+ / - ).
The built-in flash has a range of 4.5 meters in 28mm setting but decreases very fast to 2.8 in 116mm setting. The flash exposes the subject excellently and has a very natural reproduction of the colours. The camera features various flash modes such as: Auto, Flash Cancel, Always Flash, Red Eye Reduction, Slow-Sync, and Rear Curtain Sync. All modes appear with a different symbol on the LCD display, except for the Auto mode. I would not recommend an ISO value of 400 when using the flash because over-exposure will be the result. A mode that can give you beautifully exposed images is the mode that enables you to use the built-in as well as the external Nikon Speedlight flash at the same time. To do so, choose the option Int & Ext active in the menu.
The Focus menu features 3 different settings: AF-Area mode, Auto-focus mode and Focus confirmation. The AF-Area mode enables the user to choose a certain area to focus. There is a choice of 5 areas. This option is useful when the camera doesn’t change its position but the area does change. The AF-Area mode features 3 modes: Auto, Manual, and Off. In Auto mode focus is only determined when the Shutter button is halfway pressed and only on the subject closest to the camera. The focus field will lighten up in the LCD monitor. Manual mode enables to select one of the 5 focus fields, so the subject can be focused very precisely. When the AF-Mode is turned off the focus will only take place in the centre of the image. No focus field will appear in the monitor.
The Auto-focus mode can be set to a mode in which the camera constantly adjusts the focus (continuous AF) or the camera adjusts the focus when pressing the Shutter button halfway down (Single AF).There are a few advantages and disadvantages to this. The continuous AF mode will lower the battery energy fast but it is possible to make photographs without loosing time. The Single AF mode is being used automatically when the monitor is not being used and no battery capacity is being wasted. The Focus Confirmation shows the focus fields very clearly on the monitor. By the way, when there are no activities detected for more than 1 minute (3 minutes when monitor is activated) the camera will automatically set to stand-by mode.
The camera has too many settings to mention here but a few of them are: Self-timer with a deceleration from 3 or 10 seconds, Exposure correction from 2 stops under- or overexposure in steps of 1/3 stop, Auto Bracketing, Noise Reduction, Image sharpening, Image Adjustment, Saturation Control, Exposure Options available time: up until 10 minutes and recommendable to turn ON the Noise Reduction, 8 different White Balance options and ISO option of 50 to 400 ISO.
The Coolpix 5400 is the first one of the Nikon cameras to offer a setting of 50 ISO value. It looks like Nikon has the fact of digital Noise under control. The images hardly show any disturbing noise. The Image Quality can be set to different compression levels and data formats. So it is possible to store images in TIFF or JPEG format. Questioning INCA, Dutch importer of Nikon products, learns that a firmware is expected to enable to store RAW images as well. The images taken by the Coolpix 5400 seem to have a higher resolution than the Coolpix 5000. Thanks to the new type of image sensor.
A very extensive setting is the Continuous Shooting mode. The so-called: 5-shot Buffer mode. In this mode the camera continuously captures frames at a rate of 1.5 frames per second, but only the last 5 images are being saved. The other modes are: Continues L (1.5 frame per second), Continuous H (3 frames per second, maximum of 7), Multi-Shot 16 (16 small frames continuously of 648x486 pixels at a rate of 3 frames per second stored as a 4x4 array in one image of 2592x1944 pixels), Ultra HS ( maximum of 100 frames with a rate of 30 frames per second, resolution of 320x240 pixels, and Single mode (one shot at the time).
Besides the possibility of taking images with a high resolution of 5 Megapixels, the camera also records high resolution moving images. In Movie mode the camera captures images at a rate of 15 per second and records them in a resolution of 640x480 pixels. The maximum recording time is about 70 seconds. Cameras already exist that perform a recording rate of 30 frames per second, but the resolution of 640x480 makes it more fun to watch than the ?older’ resolution of 320x240 pixels.