Secrets of Digital Photography
Nikon 5400 Gallery!    
Starting 10 9 03

S P E C I A L    T R A V E L    R E P O R T

Big Small CP5400

Or, Who Needs Flash When You Have Dazzle?

   Museum; check.
   Sights; check.
   People; check.
   Get the shot; check.

Often in travel photography, small is all. Size counts when On The Go means Extra Bulk is Not Appreciated. The 5400 meets the size requirement for an easy fellow traveler and it brings home images from places that non-Nikon cameras can only dream about.

I've said it before, there's no BS in BSS. Hold your breath, brace yourself, think calm thoughts and hold that shutter button down until six to ten images have been gathered. Bang; there it is, the best of the bunch, judged by the BSS algorithm from detail.

Quarter-second exposures hand held. Half-second exposures often from a braced hand. Photographer's Nirvana. Look this way, Sweetheart, lick your lips, close the mouth, regal pose... that's got it! Nefertiti as fashion model.

The Agyptisches Museum in Berlin has some of the best. Artifacts and lighting. But it takes a longish exposure to capture the images. Here's some now.


Many images (like the ones above) may be opened in a New Browser Window for a much larger view.

Brandenburg Gate, again. This time with a lesson in barrel distortion correction and perspective control. Interestingly, the giant soccer ball I found so distracting turned out to assist in the perspective control. Photoshop's Perspective Transform is not dimensionally correct, so you must Scale the image, too. The Sphere should look round when it's done correctly.

The wide zoom got it all, but barrel distortion (new iBC5.4KWide) and perspective control made the image into what it feels like to be there.

Leave a tiny bit of perspective convergence showing. It makes the image feel more natural:

They're everywhere! (new window enlarge)

What's that over there? Some sort of high-tech dome. Oh, the Reichstag, Germany's government meeting forum. And the dome is more than high-tech. It's a computer designed, reverse lighthouse with the sun as the light source for the legislators below. Plus, it's wide-angle heaven.




Often, a symmetrical subject tosses the "rule of thirds" off the roof.

A large number of treasured images flowed through the 5400's lens. Here's a semi-random sampling, most of which can be expanded in a new window:













Answers to the question, "What ARE these pictures OF?" See if you can match the descriptions to the images:

A. A boat on the Rhine. B. Another boat on the Rhine. Okay that was too easy. Now for some challenges:

C. Berlin Technology Museum "sign". D. Die Hund (Hond). E. A real live Berliner on an S-bahn platform. F. Pugeot's car of the future. G. Ice train (Inter City Express). H. A Hemp Shop (Amsterdam) with bicyclist captured by compensating for the 0.10 sec shutter lag. I. A ceiling full of wooden shoes, you tourist. J. A tile wall from Mesopotamia reproduced full size. K. A casualty of a bicycle storm. L. A marble thorn. M. A redhead. Hey, how come she gets two descriptions? N. A brunette holding her breath while waiting for the water to be attached to the shower fixtures. O. Commuting ghosts. P. Friends. Q. Reflections. R. Other reflections, this time more urban. S. A piano in the corner of an Art Deco Museum in Berlin. T. A museum guard. U. A seagull. V. Impatient youth. W. Engineer. X. Practiced beggar. Y. View from a meal. Z. One of my biggest fans. Or is it a windmill? You'll have to figure out the others by yourself.

Conclusions: The CP5400 was up to nearly all the images it was called upon to capture. The 28 mm equivalent wide angle view and relatively fast deployment from sleep, once in shooting mode, allowed it to be ready and able to seek and apprehend pictures on demand. And I insisted very often as you can see.

The flip-out monitor allowed all sorts of candid images, and its fast release time (about 0.1 sec) made capturing moving subjects like the bicycle in front of the Hemp Shop a breeze. It's a refined version of the CP5000. Small enough to always be on my belt or within reach. I never used it with a neck or shoulder strap, the iNova split key ring "finger strap" serving to secure the camera to my hand at all times without a hint of instability. Its BSS function was used often and to great advantage in dim lighting.

It's only downsides were soft tele images--especially the corners--and a tendency to burn up highlights on any shot even a little overexposed. If this camera's zoom lens performed as well at full tele as it does at wide and intermediate focal lengths and its highlight handling was as good as the Sonys', it would be perfect. Of course, your idea of perfect and mine may differ.

It could easily be your one and only touring camera, but wait, there's more...

Nikon CP5700 Gallery.

Sony DSC-F717 Gallery.

Sony DSC-V1 Gallery.

Winner's Circle.

Travel Article Page


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