Secrets of Digital Photography
Old Faithful!                  6 / 6 / 2004



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All photos by the author.

Nikon 5400!

Always Available

My how time flies. Last summer the big news was in small, compact 5M cameras with the Nikon CP5400 leading the pack in my hands. Now look what has happened. DSLRs have taken center stage and the compact 5400 is now a backup camera.

Nikon's 5400 still shoots as good as ever before, but it sure isn't as fast as the Digital Rebel or E-1. It is, however, small. And its picture is the same size as the one the E-1 grabs. All of its images came out uncommonly good looking and the transflective external monitor made it possible to frame shots with the camera held at arm's length in bright daylight.

Just after we returned from China, the CP5200 became available. You might wish to have one of these cute little elves in your pocket on some future trip. They shoot a 5MP image but occupy only about half the physical volume of the 5400. The 5200 is a slightly simpler, metal body 5M camera, but we recommend it as a vacation camera for basic image gathering.

Nikon cameras all have a feature that saves your pictures when things are shot in dim light. It's called BSS for Best Shot Selector. It shoots several images (up to 10) and picks the one that seems to have the clearest image. Only that picture is saved.

Nothing else can touch it for low light shooting. I'm surprised that Nikon hasn't included it in their dSLRs yet.

Night portage at Chongqing. BSS.

Chongqing boat gangway, er, pier, er, causeway? BSS.

Great Wall plus siege engine.

China is filled with Cities of a Thousand Cranes.

Chongqing City Plaza. In one shot, a host of problems that should kill an image, doesn't.
Glare, back-lit subjects, low sun.

Working with the CP5400

This camera could be your only camera on a vacation. Pictures are good, they print big and the 4:1 zoom gets the shots you want. Last summer the Coolpix 5400 won the competition among several other 4M and 5M cameras.

That was then. The march of progress moves on...

It's no where near as intimidating as a large dSLR camera to a non-photographer, meaning that handing the 5400 to a novice is comfortable to them.

So traveling with a combination that includes a small camera as a backup is a good idea. I mean, what if the Big Guy fails? You don't want an event like that to halt your ability to get good shots.

I'll travel with it again, since it fills a niche without taking up room in my luggage or camera bag.

Photographer iNova at the Great Wall by his wife, Marian, shooting with the CP5400.

China Trip Overview.

Canon Digital Rebel Gallery.

Olympus E-1 Gallery.

Canon Pro1 Gallery.

Winner's Circle.


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