Nikon Coolpix A review

DSLR quality from a compact camera

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Buying Guide
Best Nikon Coolpix camera
Best Nikon Coolpix

Nikon has produced a very interesting premium compact camera with the Coolpix A. The APS-C sized sensor proves its worth, capturing lots of detail and keeping noise well within acceptable boundaries.

Having a larger than average sensor inside a compact camera brings the added bonus that the lens has a relatively long (18.5mm translates to 28mm in full-frame terms) focal length lens (for comparison, the Nikon Coolpix P7700's lens has a focal length of 6-42.5mm, giving the equivalent of 28-200mm in full-frame terms) and this means that depth of field can be restricted for creative effect.

The Nikon Coolpix A is very nicely built, and its quality is clear from the moment you pick it up. It's also small and neat, with sensibly laid out controls that fall with easy reach. With the exception of the automatic focusing system and the relatively long write times, its controls are responsive.

With an asking price of just shy of £1,000 / US$1,100 / AU$1,300, this is a serious investment, and not one to be taken lightly. Though it's not quite up there with the asking price of the Sony RX1, it's also worth pointing out that it has a smaller sensor, being an APS-C format rather than full-frame.

We liked

Buying Guide
Best Nikon camera
Best Nikon cameras

The Nikon Coolpix A is well built and the controls are sensibly arranged. Thanks to the APS-C format sensor and the high quality lens, it also produces superb images with lots of detail and well-controlled noise.

We disliked

Although the Nikon A doesn't have the slowest autofocusing system we have used, it's not the fastest either, and it's some way off what compact system cameras like the Panasonic G5 can manage.

Corner shading is also more noticeable than we would expect, suggesting that Nikon has pushed the boundaries of its technology in squeezing an APS-C sized sensor into such a small camera.

Final verdict

While it is considerably smaller than the Fuji X100S, the Nikon Coolpix A doesn't have a viewfinder built in - there's an optional optical finder available.

It also lacks the traditional aperture ring and shutter speed dial that give the Fuji X100S some of its appeal, but exposure adjustments can still be made quickly and easily.

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.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.2 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyCoolpix
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesContinuous Shooting Mode, Face Detection, External Flash Shoe
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4 AVC
Weight (Approximate)299 g
Image Sensor Size23.60 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4928 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height64.3 mm
Width111 mm
Depth40.3 mm
Focal Length18.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelA
Product NameCoolpix A Compact Camera
Product LineCoolpix
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio3:2
Manufacturer Part Number26423
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Phenomenal compact performance

A one-of-a-kind COOLPIX camera that brings the dazzling image quality of a Nikon DX-format D-SLR image sensor and the superb optical quality of a NIKKOR fixed (prime) lens to the COOLPIX Advanced Performance collection. Create truly stunning photos and Full HD 1080p videos with beautifully blurred backgrounds and tack-sharp subjects, even in low light, and grow your capabilities over time with a growing collection of compatible Nikon accessories.