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“I have been using my D400Z for about 6 months and it...”

Written on: 27/06/2000 by Todd Walker. (1 review written)

Good Points
* color representation
* clarity
* solid feel
* user interface

Bad Points
* red eye
* lack of manual controls
* lens cover/retractable lens
* useless white balance presets

General Comments
I have been using my D400Z for about 6 months and it is an excellent 1.3 megapixel digital camera. I have just purchased a Nikon Coolpix 950 because I need more manual control, but the D400Z has served me well. First, the good stuff:

* The 400 has excellent color representation. All of the images that I take with it go through Photoshop for cleanup but color is one thing I rarely have to mess with. The only possible exception is that on some indoor flash shots, reds are sometimes oversaturated.

* Clarity -- for a 1.3 mp camera, the 400 produces very sharp pictures. After resizing them to 800x600 and applying the sharpen filter in Photoshop, they look as good as the pictures from some 2 mp cameras.

* Solid feel -- the case of the 400 is plastic, but it has a very solid feel that tells you it is a well built camera. The control buttons are precise and the parts of the body fit together well.

* User interface -- the menus on the 400 are laid out in a fashion that takes only minutes to get used to. The most used features are either at the top of the menu structure or they have their own dedicated buttons.

Now, for the not so good points:

* Red eye -- this is something that all compact cameras have a problem with because the flash is so close to the lens, but the red eye in the 400 is pretty bad. Adobe Photodeluxe's auto red eye removal will usually fix the problem but it is a pain having to do that with every picture you take. The red eye reduction mode on the flash helps some, but doesn't totally get rid of it.

* Lack of manual controls -- this will only be an issue for those who want it. Some people are perfectly happy with a point and shoot camera that does everything automatically and the 400 serves this purpose very well. The "manual" controls that the 400 includes are exposure compensation from -2 to +2 EV in 1/2 EV steps, matrix or spot metering, and 5 preset white balance settings such as incandescent, sunny, flourescent, etc. More on that in a minute. But the user has no control over ISO, F-stop, shutter speed, or manual focus, which are essential to take some photos.

* Useless white balance -- as mentioned above, the 400 has 5 white balance presets. Unfortunately they are pretty much useless. Each one gives your pictures an undesirable color cast. It is best to simply leave the white balance in the automatic mode and let the camera do its thing.

In conclusion, the D-400Z is an excellent camera for someone who is getting started in digital photography and doesn't want to spend a fortune on a camera and who also wants the camera to do everything for them automatically. If you are a more advanced photographer who is used to being able to control your camera manually, you need to look elsewhere.

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