Monday, April 29, 2013

Pocket-size Camera, Professional Quality: Nikon Coolpix A Hands-On

Camera market in 2013 has been heated by many mirror-less cameras with smaller size yet professional image quality. The combination of APS-C sized sensor and fixed focal length has been popular across different brands: Sigma DP1M, Fujifilm X100s, Ricoh GR, etc. And now it's Nikon's time! Coolpix A is Nikon's latest product that brings APS-C sensor in a compact camera body. It comes with fixed length of 18.5mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm) and its largest aperture is F2.8. In this post, I will have a brief hands-on about how this camera feels.


As the name suggests, Coolpix A is in Nikon's Coolpix series, which is designed as a very compact camera body. The black paint is somewhat similar to that on Nikon's DSLR line. It has a special finish with some visible texture. There is a slight curved, leather covered grip at the front to increase the comfort level when people hold the camera. The lens, like many point-and-shoot camera, is covered by the curtain that is controlled by the power switch. There is also an Fn1 button next to the lens.


Compared to Sony RX1, it is shorter and narrower. With less prominent lens size, it is also smaller in depth. It is very light-weighted, 299g, around two smartphones' weight.



My palm is not big, but I still manage to grab Coolpix A in one hand. It can be easily slotted in a casual outing bag without much effort. People usually will not notice that it is something different from their point-and-shoot camera by just looking at the camera size.


On the back of Coolpix A, the control layout is very much like that on Nikon's DSLR, which is good for previous Nikon's DSLR users. However, I feel that the buttons on the left are somewhat crammed at the edge. Imagine holding the camera in one hand, it is difficult to press the button on the left side, no matter using left or right hand.


On the top left, it's the Coolpix A print and the flash is hidden in the plate. And this may appeal to some buyers: made in Japan!

So far I feel that Coolpix A is very convenient for carrying around: it can be fit in my suitcase easily and 28mm equivalent focal length is versatile in most cases. I will share more about the shooting experience with Nikon Coolpix A in the next post.  

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