Peter Bargh looks at several Nikon Coolpix accessories that you could buy to expand your photographic options.
Max your memory
When you take a photograph with your Coolpix camera it converts the image into electronic data and stores the data as a file on a memory card inside the camera. This CompactFlash or SmartMedia card and is referred to as the digital equivalent of film. Unlike film, a memory card can be reused time after time, providing you transfer the photos you’ve taken from the card to your computer before you wipe the card clean and start again.
One of the first things you should do is invest in a spare memory card because you’ll realise that the one supplied with your camera soon gets full, especially when you shoot at high resolution (best quality). This is because a high resolution image has a file size of around 1Mb so your 16Mb card will only hold 16 of these photos. Buying a 128Mb CompactFlash card will allow you to take up to 8x as many photos, so you’ll never miss a shot. Cards are currently available in sizes up to 4Gb
A different view
The zoom lens on your Coolpix camera is ideal for most photographic situations, but you may occasionally find the range doesn’t quite deliver what you want. The two occasions where a little help may be needed are when shooting distant subjects or when you have a group or building that won’t all fit in the viewfinder. Most Coolpix models have a digital zoom to help magnify that distant detail, but they do this by effectively cropping the CCD so you do lose resolution. And for the group shot? Well you can sometimes step back, but not always! The solution is to attach a Coolpix lens converter. Several models are made to fit on the front of your camera’s lens and change the view that you see.
|Fisheye Converter FC-E8
This reduced the camera’s focal length by x0.21 to provide a huge 183° angle of view. The image, as the name implies, is fish-eye which produces a circular result rather than normal rectangular format. This makes the lens rather specialized. Software is available to stitch two of these photos back to back to create an illusion of you being inside a ball, looking up, down and around to see the whole scene from within the ball. This type of photo can be used on web sites for great effect, but cannot be reproduced as a print.
|Wide-angle Converter WC-E68
A more popular option is the WC-E68. This wide-angle converter has a x0.68 magnification which changes the focal length of the camera, such as the Coolpix 885, from its normal 38-114mm range to 26-78mm, making it more practical for groups, interiors or landscape photography
|Wide-angle Converter WC-E63
For those who want even wider angles the WC-E24/E68 gives a 24-72mm range on the Coolpix 885, by reducing the focal length to x0.63. This converter also has low-distortion glass, so quality is good right to the edges of the frame.
|Wide-angle Converter WC-E24
With this model the focal length of the camera’s lens is reduced to x0.66 making it also a versatile option for wide angle fans.
|Wide-angle Converter WC-E80
This new addition to the family is designed exclusively for the Coolpix 5700 and with its x0.8 magnification changes the focal length from 35mm to 28mm.
|Telephoto Converter TC-E2
When you need to fill the frame with the subject use this lens to double the focal length of your camera’s lens. The Coolpix 4500’s zoom becomes a useful 310mm at the telephoto setting.
|Telephoto Converter TC-E3ED
This lens triples the focal length of your Coolpix camera lens and uses two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for improved quality. The Coolpix 4500’s lens now becomes a powerful 465mm.
|Telephoto Converter TC-E15ED
Use this converter to multiply the focal length of the Coolpix 5700’s lens by 1.5x giving an incredible 420mm super telephoto, making it ideal for sports and nature, as well as candids and other distant photo subjects.
Check the table here to see which converters you can use with your camera. An adaptor may be required to allow the converter to attach to the camera.
Shoot from a distance
Consider firing your Coolpix camera from a distance using the MC-EU1 remote cord.
A remote release allows you to take a picture without having to directly press the shutter release. They are used by enthusiasts to prevent camera shake when the camera is used on a support with a slow shutter speed. They can also be useful if you are taking pictures with the camera at ground level to save you having to bend down or for nature photography where you need to hide behind a wall or tree to prevent being seen and frightening the creature. But the MC-EU1 is more than a cable release and has a few other tricks up its sleeve. The cord allows you to control zoom settings, playback and to turn the LCD on or off.
You can also confirm information such as the exposure mode and the number of frames to you want to shoot. But the real cool feature is the interval mode which allows you to take photographs one after the other at a specified interval, which can be set in increments of one second to any value from two minutes to twenty four hours.
The cord is 80cm in length and compatible with the following Coolpix cameras: 5700, 5000, 4500, 4300, 5000, 995 and 885 models.