Excerpt: Like tanks, DSLRs are versatile cameras for shooting any situation. The only problem is that they're usually quite heavy. While lightweight mirrorless cameras have solved the "it's too heavy" complaint, they're still not as pocketable as a point-and-shoot . The Nikon Coolpix A packs just about the same 16.2-megapixel image sensor as the company's D7000 DSLR, but it only weighs one-fourth as much.
Summary: Nikon's Coolpix A is the first (and only, as of 12/2013) Coolpix series camera to include their DX-format (APS-C) sized CMOS image sensor usually found in their entry level DSLRs, which makes the "A" not only a member of Nikon's Advance Performance series like the P520 and P7700 , but the Flagship on the entire Coolpix brand (for 2013). Nikon mates the 16.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor to an 18.5mm prime NIKKOR lens with a sporty f/2.8 aperture.
Pros: Coolpix A's image quality is outstanding, compares favorably to entry-level Nikon DSLRs, APS-C sized image sensor is rarely seen in a camera this size, Low light results are good with or without flash, Full manual control options, High-quality lens, Manual focus and autofocus options, Can magnify the scene easily in manual focus mode, allowing for very sharp focus, Hot shoe allows for connecting various accessories, including Nikon Speedlites, Both RAW and JPEG shooti...
Cons: Overall performance is a little disappointing in this price range, Shutter lag can be a little slow at times, Extreme close-ups aren't possible, even in macro mode, minimum focus distance is 4 in., Autofocus results should be more consistent, No zoom option, focal length is fixed at 28mm equivalent, No Vibration Reduction, To shoot movies you have to work through several menu commands, Movie quality is below average versus others in this price range, No advanced add-o...
Summary: Nikon introduced its large sensor enthusiast compact camera earlier this year in the form of the Coolpix A. It's good to see companies recognizing the potential in the large sensor compact market, but does that mean they're doing justice to it? We're loving the specs of the Coolpix A on paper, but as always, it boils down to whether those on-paper specs can match up to the real world expectations, and the Nikon Coolpix A does not disappoint. Read on to find out why.
Pros: Large 16MP APS-C Sensor, Fast 28mm f/2.8 lens, Good high ISO performance
Cons: Slow FPS, No dedicated Video recording button, Rear dial feels underwhelming due to lack of functionality.
Excerpt: My how the game has changed. A few months ago everyone was agog (and still are!) with maxi zoom cameras. Now it seems a few major makers seems to be intent on feeding the market with large aperture, fixed focal length cameras. Among them: Ricoh, Sony, Fujifilm, Sigma. I’ve used quite a few of these and have to admit their effective use demands quite a bit of restraint and understanding.
Summary: Conclusion Although the Nikon A does a great job at capturing sharp, high quality images, this is not a camera for the masses. So who is this camera designed for? Due to the inflexible 18.5mm fixed lens, many casual photographers will be quickly disillusioned by the lack of zoom. But for those photographers that want the shooting mode functionality of a DSLR, a large sensor, the image quality of a high performance of a f2.8 prime lens, and the portability of a point and...
Pros: Great image quality, Small footprint despite large APS-C sensor, Great build quality, Built-in flash
Cons: Hidden movie mode, AF is sluggish in low light, No viewfinder
Conclusion: The Nikon Coolpix A is another camera we have no problems recommending. It takes darn good pictures with accurate colors and sharp resolution. Besides lackluster video, our biggest hesitation is the price – especially since you can get the similar 28mm prime Ricoh GR with a 16.2-megapixel APS-C sensor that sells for $799. You’re probably saying, “Wait a minute, the RX1 is even more expensive for a fixed-lens solution!
Conclusion: Other companies -- key among them being Sigma -- may have invented the large sensor, fixed prime lens camera category, but the Nikon Coolpix A represents its first really mainstream effort. Like its main rivals, it is clearly not the camera for everybody, but for prime lens lovers who are willing to trade away lens interchangeability for a smaller body, the Coolpix A is exciting indeed.
Pros: A camera that makes you grow as a photographer, think beyond the zoom, Solid, alloy body feels like a quality photographic device, True twin-dial design, Image quality like the Nikon D7000 from a much smaller package, Very good high ISO performance, Excellent dynamic range for its class, Fly-by-wire autofocus ring is intuitive, Low lens distortion (despite no in-camera correction), Automatic chromatic aberration suppression (and low CA to begin with), Active D-Lightin...
Cons: A camera that makes you grow as a photographer, think beyond the zoom, Solid, alloy body feels like a quality photographic device, True twin-dial design, Image quality like the Nikon D7000 from a much smaller package, Very good high ISO performance, Excellent dynamic range for its class, Fly-by-wire autofocus ring is intuitive, Low lens distortion (despite no in-camera correction), Automatic chromatic aberration suppression (and low CA to begin with), Active D-Lightin...
Nikon Coolpix A review: Good but pricey enthusiast compact
20 June 2013
Summary: If you're very picky about photo quality and prefer autofocus to manual -- but don't care about a viewfinder -- the Nikon Coolpix A is probably worth the money. Otherwise, wait for the price to drop.
Pros: The Nikon Coolpix A produces the excellent photos you'd expect from a large sensor, and the camera is well built with a streamlined, if somewhat point-and-shoot-like, design.
Cons: For the price, it needs to deliver a little more, such as a viewfinder; aspects of its performance could be better.