Tips for getting higher quality images with the CoolPix 8400

CoolPix 8400 Gallery * CoolPix 8400 Infrared

Two accessories that I feel are mandatory for getting the best image quality are a tripod, like the Velbon 343E Maxi and using the Xtend-a-View LCD magnifying viewfinder. The Xtend-a-View was originally designed to give better viewing, especially in sunlight, on the rear LCD screen. It comes with peel off adhesive Velcro that you apply to the lip of the viewer and around the LCD. Then the viewer can be attached to the camera when needed. When Nikon introduced the CoolPix 5000, there was no way to apply the Velcro around the articulated LCD or it wouldn't close. I then came up with the design I currently use of wrapping an elastic Velcro tipped strap around the LCD to support the Xtend-a-View.

Xtend-a-View Modified for the CoolPix 8400

CoolPix 8400 with modified Xtend-a-View

CoolPix 8400 with modified Xtend-a-View on it's articulated LCD

You can order the Xtend-a-View from Photosolve.com

I added adhesive Velcro to the sides of the Xtend-a-View (left) and sewed small Velcro pieces to the ends of a 4 inch elastic strap (above). The strap can now wrap around the articulated LCD and hold the Xtend-a-View in place.

Extended Battery Life for the CoolPix 8400

MB-CP10 CoolPix 8400 battery pack takes 6 AA batteries

The MB-CP10 CoolPix 8400 battery pack (left) takes 6 AA batteries and makes the camera feel much more like a SLR. The camera is comfortable to use either with or without the accessory battery pack.. I picked it up for about $25 on eBay.

Off Camera Flash Techniques

These off camera flash techniques also apply to most other CoolPix cameras that have a hot shoe or sync socket to connect an external flash.
When using off camera flash, enable External Flash and disable Internal Flash in the Speedlight Menu. Then I always set the camera to full manual exposure and the flash units to manual exposure, using the preview on the LCD to make sure I have the correct exposure. This technique has never failed me when shooting with my portable studio lighting equipment. In other words, I use Nikon flash units the same way I use studio strobes.
For off camera flash in a studio lighting situation, you need to disable the internal flash and use an adapter like Nikon's AS-15 for traditional strobe connection or the SC-28 (or older SC-17) cord to connect to a Nikon flash like the SB-800. If you use traditional strobes make sure the trigger voltage is not to high for the camera. Wein has an adapter called the Safe Sync to protect the internal circuitry from excess voltage.
Using the Nikon CoolPix 8400 with off camera flash

Nikon SC-17 Flash Cord
Nikon SC-17 flash cord
The end with the hot shoe screws onto the top of the Bogen Umbrella adapter. The other end goes into the camera's hot shoe.

Bogen #2905 Swivel Umbrella Adapter
Bogen #2905 Swivel Umbrella Adapter

I have two complete sets of umbrellas, light stands and brackets and connecting cords, which I use for a portable two light flash set up. The only problem is that collecting this type of equipment is expensive. My SB-24 flash units are 17 years old and still sell for almost $200 each used and the SB-800 is $300. The light stands and white umbrellas can vary in price depending on the quality. The Bogen Umbrella Adapter is around $30 and the SC-28 (or SC-17) cords are around $75. I use two connected together and Nikon's SU-4 wireless adapter for the second flash in a two light set up. Before the SU-4 was introduced, I used SC-19 cords to connect the two flash units.

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