Nikon's pocket powerhouse is a great camera, but your money is better spent elsewhere.
10 October 2013
Conclusion: If it were the only APS-C equipped compact on the shelf, the Nikon Coolpix A would be an easy recommendation for the small niche of shooters interested in this kind of camera. It's capable of capturing DSLR-quality images and it can fit in your pocket—what's not to love? But the reality is more complicated than that. The fact is, the Coolpix A is competing against the Ricoh GR, an extremely similar camera that boasts a far larger feature set yet sells for $300 less.
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: 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.
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.
Summary: The ratings awarded to a product are derived from a number of tests and calculations, keeping certain important factors in mind. These factors consist of features, performance, quality and value for money. In case of software and some other categories, build quality might be replaced with ease of use or ease of installation. Products are compared with other products in a similar price range or product category.
Summary: I really like the Coolpix A. It's only a point and shoot, and I love point and shoots, especially when this is the world's fastest handing point and shoot, complete with fantastic technical, artistic and low-light image quality.
Summary: The Nikon Coolpix A is the smallest digital camera with an APS-C sensor and is similarly-sized to a compact camera. This incredible achievement puts the image quality of a DSLR in a camera that fits in a coat pocket. The compromise is that its lens offers a fixed 28mm-equivalent wide-angle field-of-view. This is obviously not for everyone but those who are happy with a bright F/2.8 prime lens will be very impressed by the Coolpix A.
Pros: Very low image-noise, Excellent sharpness in center of frame, Wide dynamic-range, Good metering, Very good Automatic White-Balance, Low optical distortion, Very responsive, Good LCD visibility, Wide 28mm F/2.8 prime lens, Simple direct controls, Extremely compact, Solid build quality
Cons: Slow autofocus system, Frequent autofocus misses in low-light, Corner softness, WB changes not Live, Display not, Strong vignetting, Weak color accuracy, Low rear control-dial, Easily turned on accidentally, Self-timer resets, Limited customization, Short battery-life
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: Almost non-existent handgrip, Ergonomics not great for single-handed shooting, Monitor washes out at max. brightness, Occasionally strange default settings, Some menus are deeply nested, Fixed focal-length lens, Significant corner shading even at f/8, Soft corners when lens is wide open, Larger than average macro area, JPEG images at default settings are not as sharp as expected from a camera without an OLPF, More susceptible to moiré and other aliasing artifacts, Top...
Conclusion: Despite our minor gripes about its write times and AF speed, the Nikon Coolpix A is an enjoyable camera to use, and it delivers superb images on a par with those from a DSLR. It's a nice 'carry-everywhere' camera, but its current price seems rather steep in comparison with other more flexible options on the CSC market.