We were most surprised by the launch of Nikkor 80-400mm lens, but surprised in a very good way. The first thought I had was – “Finally!” And not just because it’s a long awaited lens, but because it was a lens in the first place and not yet another mildly refreshed camera. I admit that, at first, I didn’t really pay much attention to other products Nikon announced. Perhaps I should have (let me tell you a secret – I’m just trying not to be judgmental in advance). Say hello to Nikon’s first APS-C compact camera, the Coolpix A.
Nikon is, obviously, not exactly the first to launch a compact camera with such a large sensor. Sigma have their DP1 with slightly smaller sensors, Leica has its luxurious X1 and X2 and Sony had a go with a full-frame RX-1. And then, of course, there’s the equally loved as it is hated, Fujifilm with X100 and, more recently, X100s. In other words, Coolpix A has no room for mistakes if it is to beat all that competition led by Fujifilm’s excellent cameras. So what exactly does the Nikon offer? Well, it kicks off with a 16.2 megapixel APS-C sensor with ISO range of 100-6400 and 1080p Full HD video. Judging by the specs, it is likely the same unit used in Nikon D7000 camera, as well as some Sony SLT and Pentax cameras. Now, if D7000 is of any indication, that sensor is amazing. It may be several years old and, today, at the lower resolution scale of current sensors of this size, but great high ISO performance and dynamic range are a given. More than that, let’s be fair, 16 megapixels is more than enough for most situations, especially in a compact camera you’re unlikely to use for work that requires large printing. The biggest plus point Coolpix A offers, however, is it’s minuscule size. Measuring 111x64x40mm, it’s not that much bigger than other higher-end compacts, and much smaller than Fujifilm X100s. Take a look at this comparison at CameraSize.com – it really is tiny!