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Its 4x zoom lens gives a focal length of 28-116mm (35mm equivalent), covering a broad range of photographic situations from landscapes to interiors, family groups to individual portraits.
The lens construction is 9 elements in 4 groups, comprising an Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass element to guarantee sharpness and colour correction by minimising chromatic aberration, plus two aspherical elements to virtually eliminate problems of coma and distortion - even when used at the widest aperture.
The autofocus employs a contrast-detect through the lens system, offering a focus range from 50cm to infinity, down to an impressive 1cm in macro mode, making it the closest focussing consumer digital still camera in the world.
The Coolpix 5400 features a new model CCD sensor, fully integrated into an upgraded imaging system that maximises the advanced Zoom-Nikkor optical lens. Improvements to picture quality of the 5400 include the use of a primary (RGB) colour filter that closely matches the gamut of the human eye, ensuring wide ranging, vibrant colours.
The 5400 looked to be the ideal candidate - all the reviews rave over the excellent wide angle (28mm equiv) lens. And it would allow me to take full control of exposures when I needed to.
It performed faultlessly. The semi-automatic Program mode was perfect for most scenarios, but it was the night-time shots that were the real gems. With full manual control long exposures were simple. The wide-angle lens captured huge swaths of the sky. And the image quality was astounding. The final results were good enough to win Picture of the Month in Astronomy Now magazine! Not bad for somebody who'd never touched anything more than the shutter release on a camera before.
Especially useful for beginners - and lazy experts - are the scene modes, which take the effort out of driving such a complex machine in specific circumstances such as macro, portrait, panorama etc. These are easily accessible with the minimum of menu 'digging'. Also present are the usual manual and semi-manual modes - truly a versatile camera.
I liked its solid feel and the general high quality of its operation. The zoom lens is really excellent.
I liked the wide shutter speed range and the number of shots one can take in direct sequence.
I liked all the special features (time lapse, noise reduction, bulb to 10 min, quick startup ...)
I liked the controls, though there are a lot.
I liked the screen, though ideally it would be bigger.
Just about everything you could possibly want is there and works pretty well, but there are some minor drawbacks:
1. Battery life is not all that long when using the screen (there is no LCD panel)
2. It occasionally gets caught out when focussing in low light (no AF assist feature), though I do mean occasionally.
3. The RAW file option has yet to be implemented.
Overall, a this is a really good camera capable of outstanding results.
Whilst the G3 is obviously a great camera, both the G5 and the 5400 are even better and share many features. Of the two I believed the Nikon to be the better though. What really swung the decision for me was the 5400's superb lens (28 - 116 mm 35 mm equivalent which everyone I spoke to raved about) and the overall feel of the camera. It's light (only 320 grammes without batteries) and easy to use, virtually straight out of the box. Everything about the camera makes you believe it's a great quality product. And, at the end of the day most importantly of all, it's easy to take great photographs with it.
In a nutshell, if you're looking for one of the best available, full featured and very flexible digital cameras but don't fancy the bulk or expense of an digital SLR then the Coolpix 5400 is the one to go for. You won't be disappointed!