The best compact digital camera I have ever used
This is the best compact digital camera I have ever used, and I'm using it for both professional and personal use. I removed the neck strap because It's small and fits in my back pocket. This way it's always with me every time I leave the house. The fact that it's small means that it draws less attention, which is valuable if you wish to be a "fly on the wall" when shooting people. The camera starts up with almost no delay, just the time needed to open and extend the lens. Image quality is amazing, very sharp, excellent color rendition, and the file size is more than enough for reproduction double-page in a magazine. Auto focus is very fast and there is hardly a delay in the time between squeezing the shutter button and making the exposure. For no delay whatsoever, I often use manual focus, preset to about 3 meters, then with the lens stopped down to f8 or smaller, everything is in focus until infinity. I love the fact that the camera can capture in RAW format, or jpeg if you prefer. There's a lot of in-camera editing and color correction functions that I've played with a bit, but need to learn more about that at some point. The Coolpix A feels solid and robust because it's mostly metal, not plastic. I'm also using the optional viewfinder attached on top. I would definitely recommend this camera.
August 6, 2013
Amazing quality in a compact body!
DSLR like controls and quality in a compact package.
It feels nice in your hands and easy to carry around. With a small body it's less invasive when you shoot. I would recommend anyone who was considering this model to quickly go to your local camera shop and try it out.
28mm wide angle with a F2.8 lens makes it easy to use in many situation. High iso looks smooth and if you want to bump it up even more just shoot it in B&W.
Only downside to this camera is that it carries the Coolpix name. For what it's worth the Coolpix A should be in it's own category.
August 14, 2013
Excellent images, but still falls short
You cannot argue with the great picture quality of the camera. It's the lens that makes all the difference. And the operation is fast. But once you get past these basics, you make a lot of trade-offs.
The camera desperately needs an optical viewfinder. A camera like this should of had one. You can get an optional viewfinder, buts it's another $450 more. Image stabilization...there isn't any. Again, when you think of the uses of this camera, low light especially, this is another missing piece.
The LCD is not very bright and hard to use in sunlight outdoors. Cannot adjust it. Indoors it works fine.
The minimum f-stop is 2.8. Again, given what it is used for, f2 would have been a lot better. And it's what Nikon's competitors offer. Even the iPhone 5 is faster.
The camera has many metal pieces, but it still feels like a regular point and shoot.
I'm trying to walk the fence here because the operation and images of the camera are quite good. It just seems like you are paying a serious premium for quality and size, and it might just be worth the wait for the Coolpix a2 to fix some of these issues.
August 13, 2013
Excellent, but only in parts.
I really liked the idea of the Coolpix A - a large DX sensor in a very tiny body with no OLPF on the sensor promises go any where ability with DSLR image quality, even in low light.
So how did it go? Well, only partially successful. The camera has stunning image quality in good light, with tons of detail; and it is very obvious that the lens is super sharp. Perfect for some serious enlargements. In these conditions, the AF is generally fast and the camera works very well. It is also obvious that the build quality is exceptional for a compact camera, like it's machined out of a solid block of metal, similar to how an an old Leica feels. Mine had taken a fall, surviving without issue, so it is obviously a very durable camera.
However things drop off significantly in low light. At ISO3200, which we use a lot for shooting indoors, image quality is not that great, and often the shots aren't usable above and beyond basic family snaps. It is better than most compacts in this regards though not that much ahead of my mother in law's Coolpix P330, and it certainly isn't better than our older D90. Compared to the D600, its way behind.
The above would be usable if the fill in flash worked well, but its an utter disaster. It always over exposes people and always looks awful, especially on any mode other than full auto. On full auto its OK, but no better than a $99 cheap digital camera. The Fuji X100 is much better here.
The other issue, which is common with many other Nikon cameras, is that the auto white balance doesn't handle incandescent light well. You need to manually set it, and even then you need to set a manual setting on the PRE function under heavy yellow light.
Overall, this camera has so much potential, but falls short in a couple key areas. This Coolpix A could have been great, but as it stands, its just reasonably good.
November 23, 2013
Not worth the money!
I am a pro photographer. Really was hoping for a decent point and shoot to carry around with out the need for a heavy pro cam. This camera has trouble catching proper focus on people. There is no dedicated video record button. You have to go through the menu process to switch it on and off which is slow and clumsy. Just overall not worth the price tag!
December 16, 2013