In-Depth Preview posted for Nikon Coolpix 8400 (UPDATED)|
(Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 02:19 EDT)
Announced along with the new top-of-the-line Coolpix 8800, the Coolpix 8400 is very similar in most respects (the same 8-megapixel sensor and virtually identical feature set and menu structure).
The 8400 goes the other direction optically though, with the widest-angle zoom lens we've yet seen on an all-in-one digicam. With an equivalent focal length range of 24-85mm, the 8400 will be just the ticket for anyone who *really* needs wide-angle capabilty in a no-holds-barred digicam. (Realtors should flock to this model.) Besides the wider angle lens, the 8400 also appears to beat the 8800 on focusing speed and shutter lag (in at least some operating modes, anyway), thanks to a hybrid Phase-Detect/Contrast-Detect AF system that the 8800 lacks.
While we liked the design of the 8800 better overall, the 8400 clearly has unparalleled wide-angle capability for those who need it. NOTE though, that as with the 8800, the 8400 we were given for this review was a late-model prototype, and so we can't draw any conclusions about its image quality at this time. - And since image quality is the name of the game for high-end digicams, there's really no "bottom line" assessment to be made at this juncture.
Apart from sample images and the analysis to accompany them though, we've posted a pretty complete review of the 8400's functional aspects, including preliminary timing data. Check it out, and stay tuned for a full update whenever we can get our hands on a production model to test!
UPDATED 2004-09-16 02:25ET: Our friends at the Digital Camera Resource Page have posted a first look at the Coolpix 8400, as have our friends at Steve's Digicams, so be sure to check both out after reading our own first-look!
UPDATED 2004-09-16 02:32ET: Our friends at the Digital Photography Review have also posted a Coolpix 8400 preview.