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The Nikon CoolPix 5400
Notes and Observations
CoolPix 5400 Gallery
New photos added Oct 17th, 2003.
Oct 23, 2003
I had five 12x18's printed today from my CoolPix 5400 files. I picked that size because it would be larger than the average print made from a digital camera and give me a clear indication of the capability of the camera and the sharpness issue. As with any images I would print in any size, I post processed them in Photoshop (only to resize) and add an amount of sharpness dictated by the target size of the print. Lately I've been experimenting with Nik Sharpener Pro for my basketball photos printed 12x18 and larger and have been very happy with the settings I've arrived at through experimentation. Those were the settings I chose to use on the CoolPix 5400 files prior to flattening the image layer and saving as a TIF. The 12x18 prints looked great. Images I could easily sell along with the rest of my photographs at the art shows I do. After the success of my print test, I did another comparison of sharpness between the CoolPix 5400 set for High Sharpening and the CoolPix 5000 set on Auto Sharpening. You can judge the results for yourself by downloading a zip file of two full size comparison images from which I cropped a portion for the illustration below. They are very close in sharpness with the CoolPix 5000 having a slight edge. But the images from the 5400 print just fine, and isn't that what you want to do with your images?. It appears that the sharpness issue that people have reported is a result of Nikon's ultra conservative auto sharpening setting. And as for other CoolPix 5400 factors, this camera produces the best exposure and color out of camera than any other CoolPix I've ever worked with. If you're not familiar with my shooting style, except for when I use flash and set both the camera and flash on full manual, I have faith in Nikon's built in settings and always leave the camera set on full Auto and can capture excellent pictures which can be judged by my extensive CoolPix Galleries.
Why do I use Nik Sharpener Pro? It doesn't do anything that Photoshop can't do, but it lets me create saved settings based on size that are easy to apply to my sports photos prior to printing. In other words, it's easier and faster than Photoshop for what it does.

CoolPix 5400 sharpness comparison test
Above - Unaltered Comparison of the CoolPix 5400 set on high sharpening and the CoolPix 5000 set on auto sharpening
download a zip file of the two full size original Jpegs

Old comparison test - below

Comparing the CoolPix 5400 to the CoolPix 5000

Dual Velbon 343E Maxi tripods
support both the CoolPix 5000 and CoolPix 5400

CoolPix 5400 and CoolPix 5000 comparison

June 22
Download a 16 megabyte file
containing 8 comparison photos (including the originals of the above two comparison images) between the CoolPix 5000 and 5400. The files are actual camera Jpegs with full EXIF data.
The full size fine Jpegs are between approximately 2.2 and 2.8 megabytes, more in line with the other 5 megapixel cameras. As soon as I get a sunny day, I'll do a side by side comparison of the 5400 to the 5000.
Actual pixel dimensions for a full size file is larger than the CoolPix 5000. 2592x1944 compared to 2560x1920. The angle of view is slightly greater for the CoolPix 5400 at 28mm as it is for the CoolPix 5000 at 28mm.
The rotating Mode Dial makes changing setting easier than previous CoolPix cameras. Most of the much used user settings are more easily accessible now without having to use the LCD menus.
I find that the LCD monitor brightness at the default setting is too bright, not giving you a clear indication of the exposure. At first I thought the camera was over exposing until I viewed the photos on my computer. You can adjust the monitor brightness in the menu and I suggest setting it one step darker.
Macro and color are excellent. The 5400 focuses closer at the wide setting on the zoom. I've been able to rest the lens right up against the subject and have it focus properly. Over July 4th weekend I captured a yellow flower with a fly in an interesting composition.
The problem with this time of year is that I have art shows every weekend and inventory to prepare between the shows. Therefore I don't have as much time to experiment with the camera as during the spring or fall. But I do carry it with me wherever I go.

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