The "A" gets an F

Started Jun 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Shotcents
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The "A" gets an F
Jun 11, 2013

And OPINION...

I really enjoyed using my P7700 this weekend while sailing. It's versatility and IQ really impressed me and I only used my D800 for some portraits back at the dock.

A friend had just gotten the new Coolpix A as a gift and I got to play with it for a while and reach a conclusion about it's design.

The Coolpix A is an amazingly limited little camera. I cannot really see why anyone would buy it. 28mm forever is just not worth the cost of this unit. With the P7700 I was shooting at 50mm, 100mm and doing portraits at 200mm. The A was taking high quality Iphone views again and again. No subject isolation. Little bokeh. Minimal ability to compose a shot quickly. And the A was not exactly quick to focus, not much faster than the slow P7700 in fact.

I own the 28mm 1.8G lens and it's my LEAST used focal length. With the A you are STUCK at 28mm in focal length purgatory!

Just like the P7700, the A has no viewfinder. But with the P7700 I could swing out the display and tilt down the display. It's not a great solution, but I can work with it. With the A I was trying to shoot one handed, using the other hand to shield the display. Useless.

My friend was luke-warm on the A. He could not believe that it would not wirelessly trigger the Nikon flashes. I didn't believe him, but it's true!

When 28mm and the wonderful sensor of the A are in the right moment, it will deliver wonderful image quality. There's no doubt of that. But in the end versatility and getting the shot is what a good camera is all about. The A is incredibly crippled by design and a hugely dated concept. As someone who used to own several fixed lens rangefinders, I had an open mind about the A. And then I tried it. I instantly remembered how wonderful it is to be able to swap a lens, to zoom, to have quick control over perspective and control composition, even if my ability to move around was hampered.

What an incredible camera the A would be if it has a 18mm and 85mm pair of lenses that could be mounted. I'd buy one today. Instead this is a highly limited P&S camera, a Porsche engine mounted in a Yugo chassis. That may seem harsh and I know many will say "You missed the point!" But good enthusiast cams like a G15 or P7700 are better at too many things and quite good, even against the A at 28mm. So what are we paying for? The A is not all that small. It's still in a belt-bag about as big as the one for my P7700. The lens is good, but so what? The P7700 has a terrific little lens that does MUCH more. No wireless flash. Sluggish AF. No viewfinder. A high price for a old sensor mounted in a crippled body. So I guess the fans will be right; I don't get it, nor will I. I accept the limitations of many types of cameras, but the A is limited beyond any reasonable expectation and does not excel enough in it's field to impress.

The A got an F, at least for me. My friend eventually got frustrated and used his old Canon 60D instead. t wasn't his fault. The Coolpix A was a gift. He says he'll play with it for a while and toss it on ebay.

Cheers,

Robert

 Shotcents's gear list:Shotcents's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7700 Nikon D800 Nikon D5200 Nikon Df Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +10 more
Canon EOS 60D Canon PowerShot G15 Nikon Coolpix P7700 Nikon D800
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