Nikon Coolpix A review

DSLR quality from a compact camera

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There's no question that the Nikon Coolpix A can resolve plenty of detail, and images look nice and sharp straight from the camera, whether they are recorded as JPEGs or raw files.

Like the Fuji X100S, the level of detail resolved by the Nikon A is on a par with a DSLR rather than the average compact camera.

Nikon Coolpix A review

Noise is also well controlled and it isn't overly obtrusive as the sensitivity climbs towards the maximum point. However, as is often the case, we'd recommend not pushing beyond ISO 3200, and avoiding the expansion settings.

One advantage that a compact camera can offer over a DSLR is that the lens can be perfectly tailored to match the sensor. While this seems to be the case with the Nikon Coolpix A's detail resolution, it doesn't appear to be the case for vignetting. Some of the images taken during our testing suffer from quite significant corner shading, and it's even evident in some taken at f/8.

Nikon Coolpix A review

While many people like a little corner shading, and may even add it post- capture, it is rather surprising to see it so clearly in images from the Nikon Coolpix A.

One other aspect that blots the Coolpix A's copybook is its lacklustre AF speed. Even when shooting outdoors in bright light there is a discernible backwards and forwards adjustment in the focus, and it takes around half a second to get the subject sharp.

Nikon Coolpix A review

In most instances this isn't a major problem, but with shot to shot times a little longer than we would like too, the Nikon A isn't the camera for capturing fast-moving subjects or a rapidly developing event.

On a more positive note, the Nikon Coolpix A produces natural-looking colours in the default Standard Picture Control mode. The automatic white balance system also manages to cope well with a range of lighting conditions, even faring better than many other cameras in artificial light.

Nikon Coolpix A review

The Nikon Coolpix A's matrix metering system also delivers in most situations, even managing to cope with quite tricky light and high-contrast situations. Like many metering systems there is a tendency to underexpose a little in overcast conditions, but it's not excessive and it means that any highlights are preserved.

Given its price and specification, this isn't something that is likely to faze the average Nikon Coolpix A user.