The first thing you notice about the COOLPIX A is its look, which is somewhat reminiscent of the compact rangefinder cameras that for so many years defined precision and performance. You won’t notice what really sets this camera apart until you pick it up and start taking pictures.
That’s when the camera’s remarkable picture quality becomes evident, quality that’s due to the combination of its large, DX-format sensor—the same type used in Nikon DX-format D-SLR cameras—and the superb optics of its 18.5mm f/2.8 prime lens, which is comparable to 28mm in the 35mm format.
The 16.2-megapixel COOLPIX A is a camera in which each component is precisely matched to produce superb images. It features a control layout that emulates the setup of Nikon D-SLRs, and the camera’s menus are identical to the ones on the D-SLRs—a deliberate move on the part of Nikon engineers to make this camera especially appealing to Nikon photographers looking for a high-quality, quite compact walking-around camera.
All the features of Nikon’s advanced technology are here: picture controls, scene modes, the ability to shoot RAW (NEF) and JPEG formats, a wide range of automatic focus, frame advance and exposure choices as well as full manual control. The hot shoe will handle an accessory optical viewfinder or any Nikon SB-Speedlight. The camera features a built-in flash as well.
In keeping with the A’s quick response time, there are two program modes you can use to customize the camera to your shooting preferences. You can, for example, set the A to shoot black-and-white images at slow shutter speeds for fine art nature images, or, conversely, color images at high-speed settings to capture lifestyle action.
Manual focus is also available for fine-tuning or special focusing situations: press halfway down on the shutter button, rotate the focus ring on the lens and you’re in control of focus.
There’s also Full HD 1080p video at 24, 25 and 30 fps, HDMI connection to TV and Wi-Fi capability with the optional WU-1a wireless mobile adapter. A free Nikon app allows you to fire the camera remotely as well as instantly transfer your images to a smartphone or tablet for uploading to a website or social media.
The proof’s in the shooting, of course, but our take on the bottom line for the COOLPIX A is this: a remarkably compact, stylish camera delivering advanced performance for the discerning photographer.
Inside the COOLPIX A
16.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor.
18.5mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.8 NIKKOR lens.
3-inch, 921,000-dot LCD monitor.
ISO 100 to 6400; expandable to 8,000, 10,000, 12,800 and 25,600.
AF modes include face priority, subject tracking and wide area.
Close focusing to 4 inches.
Metering modes: Matrix, center-weighted and spot.
Exposure Control: aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, programmed auto, programmed auto with flexible program.
19 scene modes include candlelight, children, close-up, landscape, portrait, sports and sunset.
Range of in-camera editing choices include color balance, filter effect, monochrome, quick retouch, selective color and image overlay.
Exposure compensation ± 5 EV in steps of 1/3 EV.
White balance settings of auto, cloudy, daylight, flash, fluorescent, incandescent and preset manual.
Approximately 4-fps top continuous shooting at full resolution.
NEF (RAW) shooting capability.
As Nikon camera capability advances, so does NIKKOR lens technology, and the introduction of the AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED and the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR represents significant advances.
The 18-35mm NIKKOR offers AF-S technology for faster focusing on subjects ranging from architecture to landscapes to group portraits. It’s a “most information in the scene” lens, ideal for creative perspective and showing scale in images of wide vistas.
The 80-400mm provides long-range reach suitable for outdoor, wildlife and sports photography. With AF-S technology that enables faster focusing than the AF version, the lens also features VR image stabilization to keep everything steady; ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass for optimum correction of chromatic aberrations; and Nano Crystal Coat to virtually eliminate internal lens element reflections.