The "A" gets an F

Started Jun 11, 2013 | Discussions
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

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toomanycanons
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Shotcents, Jun 11, 2013

Let's face it, some photogs think there's something "pure" about shooting with primes, like using zooms of any sort is being lazy or cheating.  I'm not a prime shooter and would never own the "A".  I do, however, shoot all the time with my D5100 (same sensor) and short zooms and don't have to "zoom with my feet" or some such nonsense.  YMMV.

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Nikonworks
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to toomanycanons, Jun 11, 2013

I gave the 'A' an 'F' immediately upon my seeing its price.

For me, there is no need to look any further.

The OP gave a very good hands-on commentary on the 'A'.

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Ray Sachs
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Zoom lovers are the WRONG people to assess a fixed lens camera!
In reply to Shotcents, Jun 11, 2013

I fully understand why some people love zoom lenses. I don't want to deny you your zooms or judge them harshly or declare them terrible values just because they're large and slow and optically inferior. If you spend enough, you can get them to be reasonably fast and optically quite good, although if you pair them with a decent size sensor, they're still gonna be big. But those are legitimate tradeoffs if you love shooting with them. I want you to enjoy them with every ounce of your being and I don't look down on you for it and don't consider any way of shooting more pure or good or blessed than any other kind.

If you love zooms, you should shoot them - nobody will object! And you should spend whatever amount on them seems reasonable to you! I wouldn't spend much at all on them because I don't enjoy shooting with them, but that has nothing to do with their worth to those who like them!

BUT....

Some of us just prefer shooting with prime lenses and some prefer a certain focal length enough to prefer shooting with a fixed lens camera. I've shot with enough zooms in my day - and I shot almost EVERYTHING at 28mm when I did. At some point it occurred to me that if I was really that inclined to shoot almost everything at 28mm, maybe the rest of that lens was taking up too much space or light or cost to be worth having. For ME! Not for you, but for ME. To me there's nothing more enjoyable in photography than walking around all day with a small camera with amazing image quality at some focal length in the range of 24-35mm equivalent and seeing and shooting with JUST THAT LENGTH.

These are preferences and choices that work for me. They don't work for everybody - they don't work for you. I GET THAT! Honest, I do. But why is it so hard for some people to realize that other people have different preferences that are just as legitimate for THEM and its really nice to have products available for all of us!

The Nikon A is a niche product. I'm reasonably sure Nikon fully understood that when they decided to make it. So is the Ricoh GR - Ricoh's been making primarily 28mm fixed lens cameras for years and years and years, going back to the film days. They've messed around with zooms and interchangeable lenses (in their case, lens/sensor units), but they've been known for their highly refined fixed lens cameras and they've all been 28mm as far as I know. Fuji seems to be doing quite well with the X100 and X100s. And Sony seems to have done OK with the amazing RX1, with a fixed 35mm lens and a full frame sensor.

YOU shouldn't buy these cameras. But you probably shouldn't judge them either. Its just not your neighborhood. Its like a pickup truck aficionado judging a Ferarri for its load hauling capabilities or a Kentucky Derby jockey judging a quarter-horse for its speed over a mile and a half. It just doesn't compute. You're not the one these are made for and I'd say you're unqualified to judge them.

For me, the RX1 and the Nikon A (or Ricoh GR) are dream cameras - PERFECT cameras. Cameras that seem like they were made specifically for me. To me, they score A+, not F. For me, there's no point to a 7700 - I'd hate it. So I probably shouldn't judge it! Or if I do, I should just judge it against other cameras of its type, in its class, not against a D800 with similar zoom range, for example. It has its place, but its not MY place. The Coolpix A has its place, but its clearly not YOUR place. That's fine, but why talk it down when you don't get the fundamental appeal...

-Ray
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Ray Sachs
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to toomanycanons, Jun 11, 2013

toomanycanons wrote:

Let's face it, some photogs think there's something "pure" about shooting with primes, like using zooms of any sort is being lazy or cheating. I'm not a prime shooter and would never own the "A". I do, however, shoot all the time with my D5100 (same sensor) and short zooms and don't have to "zoom with my feet" or some such nonsense. YMMV.

I've said it to you before and I may say it to you again. For a guy who doesn't get the appeal of shooting with the same focal length over and over and over, you're really damn good at saying the same BS thing over and over and over.

I tell you what - I won't knock the KIND of cameras you like, and you don't knock the KIND of cameras I like. I'm not calling you an idiot for liking what you like even though I like something very different. I don't see why you feel such a need to denigrate that which you don't understand! And when I say "don't understand" I'm not implying that you're too dumb to understand it (although I realize that's a possibility) - just that you have a different perspective and experience that causes you to prefer different stuff. So enjoy your stuff. But don't knock my stuff because you don't get the appeal of it. I don't get the appeal of your stuff - I mean I understand it, but it doesn't appeal to me at all. But I'm not knocking you for liking it, I'm not saying its any worse than the stuff I like. I'm just saying it doesn't appeal to me. I'm not knocking fish just because I prefer steak. Maybe you shouldn't either. But if you insist on doing it within eye-shot of me, I'll probably keep calling you on it.

-Ray
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Steinhansel
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Re: Zoom lovers are the WRONG people to assess a fixed lens camera!
In reply to Ray Sachs, Jun 11, 2013

If you had read the OP's message carefully (fully), you might have read that he found the A lacking in areas other than the limited focal length.

I'm sure that his opinion won't change yours, nor yours his.

Cool down, he wasn't attacking any of your core beliefs.

Civility and respect should rule the conversation.

With my kindest regards-

Hans

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toomanycanons
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Ray Sachs, Jun 11, 2013

Ray Sachs wrote:

toomanycanons wrote:

Let's face it, some photogs think there's something "pure" about shooting with primes, like using zooms of any sort is being lazy or cheating. I'm not a prime shooter and would never own the "A". I do, however, shoot all the time with my D5100 (same sensor) and short zooms and don't have to "zoom with my feet" or some such nonsense. YMMV.

I've said it to you before and I may say it to you again. For a guy who doesn't get the appeal of shooting with the same focal length over and over and over, you're really damn good at saying the same BS thing over and over and over.

I tell you what - I won't knock the KIND of cameras you like, and you don't knock the KIND of cameras I like. I'm not calling you an idiot for liking what you like even though I like something very different. I don't see why you feel such a need to denigrate that which you don't understand! And when I say "don't understand" I'm not implying that you're too dumb to understand it (although I realize that's a possibility) - just that you have a different perspective and experience that causes you to prefer different stuff. So enjoy your stuff. But don't knock my stuff because you don't get the appeal of it. I don't get the appeal of your stuff - I mean I understand it, but it doesn't appeal to me at all. But I'm not knocking you for liking it, I'm not saying its any worse than the stuff I like. I'm just saying it doesn't appeal to me. I'm not knocking fish just because I prefer steak. Maybe you shouldn't either. But if you insist on doing it within eye-shot of me, I'll probably keep calling you on it.

-Ray
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/

Wow, I guess you told me.  I feel so bad now about voicing my opinions.  You go ahead with voicing yours, Ray.  And thanks for making this personal.

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Shotcents
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Ray Sachs, Jun 11, 2013

Ray Sachs wrote:

toomanycanons wrote:

Let's face it, some photogs think there's something "pure" about shooting with primes, like using zooms of any sort is being lazy or cheating. I'm not a prime shooter and would never own the "A". I do, however, shoot all the time with my D5100 (same sensor) and short zooms and don't have to "zoom with my feet" or some such nonsense. YMMV.

I've said it to you before and I may say it to you again. For a guy who doesn't get the appeal of shooting with the same focal length over and over and over, you're really damn good at saying the same BS thing over and over and over.

I tell you what - I won't knock the KIND of cameras you like, and you don't knock the KIND of cameras I like. I'm not calling you an idiot for liking what you like even though I like something very different. I don't see why you feel such a need to denigrate that which you don't understand! And when I say "don't understand" I'm not implying that you're too dumb to understand it (although I realize that's a possibility) - just that you have a different perspective and experience that causes you to prefer different stuff. So enjoy your stuff. But don't knock my stuff because you don't get the appeal of it. I don't get the appeal of your stuff - I mean I understand it, but it doesn't appeal to me at all. But I'm not knocking you for liking it, I'm not saying its any worse than the stuff I like. I'm just saying it doesn't appeal to me. I'm not knocking fish just because I prefer steak. Maybe you shouldn't either. But if you insist on doing it within eye-shot of me, I'll probably keep calling you on it.

-Ray
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/

Ray, I appreciate that you like the A and enjoy using it.

But my comments are well supported and stretch well beyond the limited focal length. Sluggish AF at this price point is an awful point and I have no idea why such a cam does not support the wireless flash system or employ VR.

Without a true viewfinder Nikon then builds a cute little hotshoe unit that costs about as much as my P7700! Are they on drugs?

The LCD of the A is VERY tough to see in bright light. So is the one on my P7700, but I can swing it out and tilt it down.

Though the A seeks to be ultra small, gluing a 28mm lens to it was a mistake. They could have built two more lenses for it and still had a niche product that would have been amazing. I would have paid even more for it. I LOVE my prime lenses. But NONE of them are stuck on my camera. I like the 28mm G lens, but I love the 85mm more.

As you said, we have choices and that's the good news.

Robert

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Ray Sachs
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Re: Zoom lovers are the WRONG people to assess a fixed lens camera!
In reply to Steinhansel, Jun 12, 2013

Steinhansel wrote:

If you had read the OP's message carefully (fully), you might have read that he found the A lacking in areas other than the limited focal length.

I read it - there were other concerns such as the inability to wirelessly trigger Nikon flashes, but the core of the argument was this:

"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!"

I'm sure that his opinion won't change yours, nor yours his.

Cool down, he wasn't attacking any of your core beliefs.

I didn't think that he was attacking anything and I don't think I was attacking his. But when his basic argument is "the 28mm ...is my LEAST used focal length (and) with the A you are STUCK at 28mm in focal length purgatory" and even states "I cannot really see why ANYONE would buy it" (emphasis added), he's basically saying 'I don't like this focal length at all, so why would anyone else like it a lot'?

I was not and am not feeling anger and I don't believe I'm in any sort of attack mode, but I think this is a very real argument. There are plenty of things in photography and otherwise that I would never like to own because they're not compatible with my uses or preferences. But I would never say "I cannot see why ANYONE would buy it"! When the only thing I really cannot see is why I would buy it.... With my set of preferences, I would be the worst person on earth to judge some of Nikon's excellent zooms on their excellent DSLRs. I cannot see why I would ever buy one. But I can VERY EASILY see why someone else with totally different preferences would buy one!

Civility and respect should rule the conversation.

I'm sorry if I seemed uncivil - it was not my intent or my feeling when I wrote the message. I do feel strongly that if your preferences run strongly agains a particular product, you're probably one of the worst people to try to comment on it in any substantive way.

I used to play rock and blues and jazz music. I loved it - it resonated with me. I could write a pretty good review, with both praise and criticism of a jazz or blues concert. Because I GOT it, I understood the point of the music and felt it at a gut level. I never ever even began to GET opera. Nothing about it ever appealed to me. So should I review a specific opera playing in my local theater? Absolutely NOT - my prejudices would render my review useless! And it would be pretty insulting to the opera lovers who would read it and correctly deduce that "this guy doesn't know ANYTHING about opera"... I feel that the OP is in that position with a 28mm fixed lens camera.

With my kindest regards-

Back at you - kind regards,

-Ray
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Ray Sachs
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to toomanycanons, Jun 12, 2013

toomanycanons wrote:

Ray Sachs wrote:

toomanycanons wrote:

Let's face it, some photogs think there's something "pure" about shooting with primes, like using zooms of any sort is being lazy or cheating. I'm not a prime shooter and would never own the "A". I do, however, shoot all the time with my D5100 (same sensor) and short zooms and don't have to "zoom with my feet" or some such nonsense. YMMV.

I've said it to you before and I may say it to you again. For a guy who doesn't get the appeal of shooting with the same focal length over and over and over, you're really damn good at saying the same BS thing over and over and over.

I tell you what - I won't knock the KIND of cameras you like, and you don't knock the KIND of cameras I like. I'm not calling you an idiot for liking what you like even though I like something very different. I don't see why you feel such a need to denigrate that which you don't understand! And when I say "don't understand" I'm not implying that you're too dumb to understand it (although I realize that's a possibility) - just that you have a different perspective and experience that causes you to prefer different stuff. So enjoy your stuff. But don't knock my stuff because you don't get the appeal of it. I don't get the appeal of your stuff - I mean I understand it, but it doesn't appeal to me at all. But I'm not knocking you for liking it, I'm not saying its any worse than the stuff I like. I'm just saying it doesn't appeal to me. I'm not knocking fish just because I prefer steak. Maybe you shouldn't either. But if you insist on doing it within eye-shot of me, I'll probably keep calling you on it.

-Ray
--------------------------------------
http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/

Wow, I guess you told me. I feel so bad now about voicing my opinions. You go ahead with voicing yours, Ray. And thanks for making this personal.

I'm not objecting in the LEAST to your opinion favoring zoom lenses or not favoring prime or fixed lenses. I've got ZERO problem with that. Its when you attempt to denigrate people with different preferences with snide remarks about them thinking "there's something 'pure' about shooting with primes" or "zoom with my feet (or some such nonsense)". I would never criticize anyone for preferring zooms, not you not anyone. But I'll object when you rip into those who don't, which you do in every post I've seen of yours that goes anywhere near the topic. I guess because I DO like these fixed lens cameras, I probably see you at your worst because I only see you when you comment on cameras like the "A" and Ricoh GR and do so in such a derisive manner. Something like "I much prefer zooms - they just work better for me and how I see the world" is an opinion and one I'd never criticize. But when you rip into other people with different preferences, I'll call you on it whenever I see it. Because I'm one of them and if you're gonna insult me, well, right back at you...

-Ray
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Ray Sachs
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Shotcents, Jun 12, 2013

Shotcents wrote:

Ray, I appreciate that you like the A and enjoy using it.

But my comments are well supported and stretch well beyond the limited focal length. Sluggish AF at this price point is an awful point and I have no idea why such a cam does not support the wireless flash system or employ VR.

I see the "A" as a direct competitor to the Ricoh GR, which we all knew was coming. It can be used for a number of things but it excels as a small street and landscape and architecture camera. AF is more than fast enough for buildings or landscapes. And for street shooting, this camera is great for zone focussing - not quite as good as the Ricoh in this regard. Slow AF couldn't be a less important issue to many of us considering one of these two cameras. I realize its a niche market - but so did Nikon. VR doesn't matter for 99% of my shooting and I'll never use it with a flash - I'd be surprised if I ever open the built-in flash.

Without a true viewfinder Nikon then builds a cute little hotshoe unit that costs about as much as my P7700! Are they on drugs?

Well sure, they all try to gouge on accessories - at least they provide a charger! More and more are moving toward only providing for USB charging. And you can get a much cheaper little OVF with the same field of view and same 3:2 framelines for about $100-$150. Or you can be a sucker and buy the OEM version for way too much. Ricoh does it, Sony does it (have you seen the Zeiss OVF for the RX1?!?!). But we have easy choices on this stuff. No, they're not on drugs - they're just hoping a few of us are...

The LCD of the A is VERY tough to see in bright light. So is the one on my P7700, but I can swing it out and tilt it down.

I don't have any trouble with it - most LCDs are getting better and better in bright light. Turned all the way up, I think this one is pretty good. Only the Sony's with their "sunny weather mode" are better IMHO.

Though the A seeks to be ultra small, gluing a 28mm lens to it was a mistake. They could have built two more lenses for it and still had a niche product that would have been amazing. I would have paid even more for it. I LOVE my prime lenses. But NONE of them are stuck on my camera. I like the 28mm G lens, but I love the 85mm more.

Actually, its incredibly hard to make ILC anywhere near the size of these fixed lens goodies with anything LIKE the same optical quality. If you've ever seen the exploded view of the X100 or RX1, you see that the lens assembly extends WAAAAAAAY back into the camera body, very close to the sensor, and they have to use various micro-lenses to straighten out the light before it hits the sensor. I'd be willing to bet that the Ricoh and Nikon "A" are doing a lot of the same stuff and they've got the additional challenge of a retracting lens. I'd be willing to bet that they couldn't do what you're asking with an ILC at anywhere near the same profile.

And, again, your basic argument is "if they'd done it differently, I'd have thought about buying one". They may get around to doing a serous small ILC someday, beyond the JV cameras with the 1" sensors. Or they may not. But that's not what they were after with this particular camera. So it doesn't appeal to you - I get that. But if they'd have attracted you with a larger camera with three prime lenses, meanwhile they'd have lost me and others like me. And they might have cannibalized some of their low to mid range DSLR sales while they were at it. I think they knew what they were going for with this. And for someone like me, they nailed it...

Unfortunately for Nikon, an awful lot of however many people there are "like me" in this niche are already Ricoh-philes. I am one too and if Nikon hadn't released this camera soon enough for me to shoot a loaner for nearly a month before the Ricoh was announced, I might have just bought the Ricoh and never even considered the Nikon. But I shot them both head to head for a while and although there were things I preferred about the Ricoh, overall I surprised myself and came down pretty clearly with the Nikon. But I suspect the loyal Ricoh crowd will mostly buy the Ricoh and ignore the Nikon, so they may not sell a lot of these.

As you said, we have choices and that's the good news.

Absolutely and overwhelmingly in agreement here! Fortunately there are plenty of cameras of the type you're suggesting. Have you checked out the Fuji X-Pro or X-E1 with their prime lenses? They're excellent. As are the Sony Nex models.

But this little fixed lens 28mm with an APS sensor that can comfortably fit in a lot of shirt pockets is something that some of us have been waiting for a LOOOOOOONG time. You weren't, it doesn't meet your needs, you won't buy it. I have no problems with any of that. But I think you have plenty of choices out there - now I finally have two when for a very long time, I didn't have any that came close to these two new 28mm fraternal twins from Nikon and Ricoh.

I mean no disrespect with my first response - I hope it didn't come off as harshly as Hans thought it did. But I stand by my point. This camera was obviously meant for someone with very different preferences than you have. Obviously you're entitled to your opinion about it, but you can't understand why ANYONE would buy it? Well, maybe you do now....

-Ray
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davephdv
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Re: Zoom lovers are the WRONG people to assess a fixed lens camera!
In reply to Ray Sachs, Jun 12, 2013

-Well, the only problem I have with my Coolpix A is that it has the best IQ of any digital camera I own.

Better than a D300s.

it has good AF. I don't know where the idea came from the the AF is bad. It is at least as good as my Sony RX100

it also fits in a pocket so I always take it with me.

the 28 mm lens is perfect for the way I want to shoot with this camera.

but I'm sure I'm wrong and the camera is useless.

🗿🗿

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Lightpath48
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Re: Zoom lovers are the WRONG people to assess a fixed lens camera!
In reply to Ray Sachs, Jun 12, 2013

Ray, maybe the hardest prejudice to beat in oneself is the one against others who are also prejudiced. 

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Rexgig0
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Re: The "A" gets an "A" from me! Different needs for different folks...
In reply to Shotcents, Jun 12, 2013

I respect the opinion of a photograpther who prefers zoom lenses. Such a preference is, indeed, simply a preference. When I finally became interested in serious digital SLR photography, my first mentor was my wife, who is a believer in zoom lenses. She did, however, claim the first A that I purchased! I am saving for a second A, unless something presents itself as a more-favorable alternative. (I dream of a Sony RX1!)

That being said, I am more a user of fixed-focal-length lenses. I really do like the Nikon A very much, but I see it as one part of a ensemble. It is a quite good 28mm (equivalent) lens, with an excellent sensor attached to it, that saves me the trouble of changing SLR lenses, by covering the wide-normal field of view, and is easier to carry in a large pocket or small flat belt pouch than an 18mm or 28mm SLR lens. An excellent companion for the A would be an SLR with either a 50mm lens, or a zoom suitable for the occasion, perhaps a 70-200mm. When I wish to carry just one camera, I can choose either the A, or an SLR, or another camera I may acquire in the future.

At work, I use two DSLRs, one with a 100mm macro lens, and the other with an ultra-wide zoom. In many situations, an A could handle the work done by the ultra-wide zoom, saving me the effort of juggling two DSLRs. The A will fit into the large right pocket of my uniform shirt.

My wife uses an 18-200mm zoom lens at work on her D7000. Many of her shots are at the 18mm (28mm equivalent) end of the zoom range, and are horribly distorted (barrel), as is typical of 18-200mm lenses. With the A, she can shoot the more important wide images with much less distortion. We may soon buy her a zoom that does not start quite so wide, as the A can handle the wider-angle shots.

Why not correct the barrel distortion in PP? The answer is, simply, that evidentiary images cannot be post-processed. The protocols of evidentiary images are that OOC JPEGs are uploaded into proprietary programs. My wife shoots Nikon JPEGs for the Medical Examiner, and I shoot any brand of JPEGs for a police department.

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I wear a badge and pistol, and, primarily with 7D cameras, shoot evidentiary images at night, which incorporates elements of portrait, macro, still life, landscape, architecture, PJ, and occasional action.

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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED +26 more
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tomjar
Regular MemberPosts: 468
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Re: The "A" gets an "A" from me! Different needs for different folks...
In reply to Rexgig0, Jun 12, 2013

Rexgig0 wrote:

I respect the opinion of a photograpther who prefers zoom lenses. Such a preference is, indeed, simply a preference. When I finally became interested in serious digital SLR photography, my first mentor was my wife, who is a believer in zoom lenses. She did, however, claim the first A that I purchased! I am saving for a second A, unless something presents itself as a more-favorable alternative. (I dream of a Sony RX1!)

That being said, I am more a user of fixed-focal-length lenses. I really do like the Nikon A very much, but I see it as one part of a ensemble. It is a quite good 28mm (equivalent) lens, with an excellent sensor attached to it, that saves me the trouble of changing SLR lenses, by covering the wide-normal field of view, and is easier to carry in a large pocket or small flat belt pouch than an 18mm or 28mm SLR lens. An excellent companion for the A would be an SLR with either a 50mm lens, or a zoom suitable for the occasion, perhaps a 70-200mm. When I wish to carry just one camera, I can choose either the A, or an SLR, or another camera I may acquire in the future.

At work, I use two DSLRs, one with a 100mm macro lens, and the other with an ultra-wide zoom. In many situations, an A could handle the work done by the ultra-wide zoom, saving me the effort of juggling two DSLRs. The A will fit into the large right pocket of my uniform shirt.

My wife uses an 18-200mm zoom lens at work on her D7000. Many of her shots are at the 18mm (28mm equivalent) end of the zoom range, and are horribly distorted (barrel), as is typical of 18-200mm lenses. With the A, she can shoot the more important wide images with much less distortion. We may soon buy her a zoom that does not start quite so wide, as the A can handle the wider-angle shots.

Why not correct the barrel distortion in PP? The answer is, simply, that evidentiary images cannot be post-processed. The protocols of evidentiary images are that OOC JPEGs are uploaded into proprietary programs. My wife shoots Nikon JPEGs for the Medical Examiner, and I shoot any brand of JPEGs for a police department.

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I wear a badge and pistol, and, primarily with 7D cameras, shoot evidentiary images at night, which incorporates elements of portrait, macro, still life, landscape, architecture, PJ, and occasional action.

Hi Robert. That was an interesting insight into how police and ME collect the data.

I am just curious: who decides which cameras (make, model) are being used? The lenses you mentioned (a wide angle and an 100 mm macro) make a lot of sense to me (for getting the general scene view and the little details). But how come the ME is happy enough with the 11x zoom lens? Are their requirements very different from yours?

Kind regards, Tomaz

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SunnyFlorida
Contributing MemberPosts: 831Gear list
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Shotcents, Jun 12, 2013

If the 28mm F/1.8g is your least used lens, why  would you buy a 28mm prime P&S?

That's like saying "chocolate ice cream is my least favorite flavor" and then you order chocolate ice cream.

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Shotcents
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to SunnyFlorida, Jun 12, 2013

SunnyFlorida wrote:

If the 28mm F/1.8g is your least used lens, why would you buy a 28mm prime P&S?

That's like saying "chocolate ice cream is my least favorite flavor" and then you order chocolate ice cream.

I wouldn't.

IMHO the P7700 is a superior camera to the A in too many respects. And the A still ends up in a small bag. It's just not small enough for me to call it a pocket-cam.

I own a lot of prime lenses and love using them, but I have no desire to suddenly have one crazy-glued to one of my cameras.

I see that folks who are defending the A are doing so by comparing it to a zoom. What would make the A ideal would be a small set of compact primes, say 2 or 3. 18mm, 28mm, 50mm. 90mm.

Would it cut into certain DSLR sales? Yup, but until such a system exists I'll continue to ignore these so-called "niche" models. They just don't do enough, even at half the price.

I'm glad people like the A. It's inevitable that some shooters would find it "just right." But wanting such a cam to also be good at portrait work is hardly a travesty and violation of the design. They limited it's bandwidth of versatility for marketing reasons and NOT to meet more serious demands.

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
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Ray Sachs
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Shotcents, Jun 13, 2013

Shotcents wrote:

IMHO the P7700 is a superior camera to the A in too many respects. And the A still ends up in a small bag. It's just not small enough for me to call it a pocket-cam.

FWIW, I spent a weekend in New York shortly after I got my first loaner copy of the A - I've had two, the second to compare to the Ricoh. I took the A and the RX1 and X100s I was also testing. I walked around for a couple hours each day with all three in a small bag. But each evening we'd go out to dinner and/or theater, and there was no way I was going to carry a camera bag, even a small one. So the RX1 and X100s stayed at the hotel, the "A" went into my shirt pocket (in fairness, a semi-heavy cool weather shirt - not a dress shirt) and went everywhere with me. And much of my best shooting from that weekend was the night-time street shooting I did on the way to and from various of our activities.

So I'd say its pocketable, at the very LEAST coat pocketable. Not like an S100 or even quite as easily as an RX100, but its pretty small. And while its less versatile than the 7700, its also vastly superior to it for its more limited purposes. I get that it's not to you for your uses, but to some of us, it definitely is. Those low light street shots simply wouldn't have happened with the 7700. Most were shot at ISO 6400 using zone focus techniques that simply wouldn't have been possible with a small sensor camera with slower reflexes and limited zone focus capabilities. This is my favorite type of shooting - not only at night but I've gotta be able to do it at night too...

I own a lot of prime lenses and love using them, but I have no desire to suddenly have one crazy-glued to one of my cameras.

Hence, the lack of obligation to buy one!!!

I see that folks who are defending the A are doing so by comparing it to a zoom. What would make the A ideal would be a small set of compact primes, say 2 or 3. 18mm, 28mm, 50mm. 90mm.

Ideal for some, not for others. Fortunately such options exist and are getting rather plentiful, just not from Nikon. Until a couple of months ago, there were ZERO fixed lens 28mm APS cameras that were at least somewhat pocketable. Now there are two and I and many like me are jumping for joy over it. So, as I think we agreed previously, its good there are such choices - none of us have to like all of them...

Would it cut into certain DSLR sales? Yup, but until such a system exists I'll continue to ignore these so-called "niche" models. They just don't do enough, even at half the price.

You're ignoring it? I must have missed that part...

I'm glad people like the A. It's inevitable that some shooters would find it "just right." But wanting such a cam to also be good at portrait work is hardly a travesty and violation of the design. They limited it's bandwidth of versatility for marketing reasons and NOT to meet more serious demands.

I think it actually would be a pretty serious violation of the design in the sense that interchangeable prime lenses would inevitably stick out of the camera a good deal farther than the collapsable lens in the A. Look at Sigma - they basically saw the same demand you speak to and they built three nearly identical cameras at three different focal lengths rather than make it interchangeable. And you could more easily argue that an ILC approach would not violate THAT design because even the smallest of those lenses extends out from the already larger camera body an inch and a half or so.

So I fully get that this is not the camera for you and I understand WHY its not and I don't in any way criticize you for not wanting one. But that doesn't make it a failure or an inferior camera to the 7700 any more than an orange is an inferior fruit to a pineapple.

So, hooray for choices - you have several of them out there for your stated desires. Now I have two of them for mine as well...

-Ray

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toomanycanons
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Ray Sachs, Jun 13, 2013

Holy Carp, Ray, you sure are long winded.  Like everyone here is just dying to know your every move.

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Shotcents
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Re: The "A" gets an F
In reply to Ray Sachs, Jun 13, 2013

So I'd say its pocketable, at the very LEAST coat pocketable. Not like an S100 or even quite as easily as an RX100, but its pretty small. And while its less versatile than the 7700, its also vastly superior to it for its more limited purposes. I get that it's not to you for your uses, but to some of us, it definitely is. Those low light street shots simply wouldn't have happened with the 7700. Most were shot at ISO 6400 using zone focus techniques that simply wouldn't have been possible with a small sensor camera with slower reflexes and limited zone focus capabilities. This is my favorite type of shooting - not only at night but I've gotta be able to do it at night too...

The P7700 is also coat pocketable. Neither of these cams is anything close to being truly small. I own a few tiny Canon cams that actually do fit in a pocket comfortably. The A? Not so much. Maybe you own bigger shirts.

Ideal for some, not for others. Fortunately such options exist and are getting rather plentiful, just not from Nikon. Until a couple of months ago, there were ZERO fixed lens 28mm APS cameras that were at least somewhat pocketable. Now there are two and I and many like me are jumping for joy over it. So, as I think we agreed previously, its good there are such choices - none of us have to like all of them...

I don't think they will be around for long. The amount of pro shooters I know who want the A is zero. The amount of hobby shooters? Also zero. The only place I see folks wanting/owning one is online. My perception is that a fixed lens camera is a cheap camera, one that we can agree is very limited. The A will test a market segment and quietly go away in time, replaced by a system capable compact body only slightly larger than the A.

I think it actually would be a pretty serious violation of the design in the sense that interchangeable prime lenses would inevitably stick out of the camera a good deal farther than the collapsable lens in the A.

You're underestimating the technology. A even smaller cam can be built and the 28 and 18mm lenses could be quite small. The longer lenses would be another story, but so what? You'd have a great camera that would actually be able to do more than a few things.

A great camera is a flexible one. The A has a LONG way to go. That it happens to meet YOUR specific needs does not make it a successful product. Some buyers loved the Pacer and thought Laserdiscs were great.

So I fully get that this is not the camera for you and I understand WHY its not and I don't in any way criticize you for not wanting one. But that doesn't make it a failure or an inferior camera to the 7700 any more than an orange is an inferior fruit to a pineapple.

Both are cameras. They record images by collecting light via a lens and sensor. One has a better sensor, but it's window to the world is fixed in place. The other camera has a good, but lesser sensor. But its window to the world is variable. It's screen is also adjustable, important given the lack of optical VF. And it can wirelessly control outboard flashes and includes serviceable vibration reduction.

The A appears to be using the same type of sensor found in my D7000 and D5100. It's already quite old. The lens is good, but good 28mm lenses are not exactly hard to make. Even the zoom on the P7700 does a very good job at 28mm.

So we get the A, which seems to sacrifice a huge amount of capability just so it can shoot at ISO 1600 or 3200? I'd rather grab my D5100 for that and use even better glass. Oh, but the D5200 is too big, right? C'mon, it's pretty compact with my 20mm on it. So I'm going to take a step BACK in quality just for a camera that fits in a jacket pocket?

And allow me to revisit the AF. It's NOT quick at all. I really don't care if I'm shooting a dead tortoise frozen in ice. If I'm spending 1K on a camera like the A, it should be DSLR quick. But it's not. WHY??? And why did Nikon cripple the wireless flash capability?

So, based on your comments, Nikon built the A for the guy who wants to shoot not-too-wide street shots in poor light with a camera that can possibly fit in the pocket of a heavy shirt. They cut out things like VR because....ummmm, I don't know. They left of the wireless flash because no one would ever use a smallish cam for impromptu creative flash work.

And while I'm asking questions, where do you find 150 dollar hotshoe mount viewfinders for the A or P7700? All I can find is 40 year old crap on Ebay. I'd love a OVF for the P7700.

So, hooray for choices - you have several of them out there for your stated desires. Now I have two of them for mine as well...

-Ray

Ray, don't get me wrong. I'm happy that your happy. But I created the thread to give my opinion and give pause to some less experienced shooters who might want to carefully consider the Coolpix A weaknesses as well as its strengths.

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
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