Previous page Next page

ISO Accuracy

The actual sensitivity of each indicated ISO is measured using the same shots as are used to measure ISO noise levels, we simply compare the exposure for each shot to the metered light level (using a calibrated Sekonic L-358), middle gray matched. We estimate the accuracy of these results to be +/- 1/6 EV (the margin of error given in the ISO specifications). In our tests we found that measured ISOs from the Nikon Coolpix A match the marked ISOs within 1/6 stop accuracy, meaning ISO 200 indicated = ISO 200 measured.

Noise and Noise Reduction (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Note: this page features our new interactive noise comparison widget. By default, we show you the default noise reduction settings of the camera tested, and three other models of the same class. You can select from all available NR options, and from other cameras. The 'tricolor' patches beneath the familiar gray/black/portrait images are taken from the same test chart, and show how noise impacts upon blue, green and red areas of a scene.

The Coolpix follows the usual Nikon route of concentrating its efforts on suppressing chroma noise and allowing a little luminance noise to remain. This gives the impression of retaining detail longer than its more heavy-handed rivals, but it's a fairly similar approach to the one being taken by the Ricoh, so it's not particularly obvious, here.

Above ISO 6400 a little chroma noise starts to make itself felt in the greys but overall the image ends up looking better than the Ricoh's result at the same sensitivity.

Noise Reduction options

The Coolpix A's noise reduction options differ only in terms of intensity - there's no choice to be made between chroma noise reduction and saturation, or detail and luminance noise.

ACR noise (ACR 7.4, noise reduction set to zero)

Here we look at the Raw files processed through Adobe Camera Raw (in this case version 7.4). Images are brightness matched and processed with all noise reduction options set to zero. Adobe does a degree of noise reduction even when the user-controlled NR is turned off.

The amount of NR applied 'under the hood' is not high, but it does vary by camera (Adobe is attempting to normalize output across different sensors), so inevitably we are still looking at a balance of noise and noise reduction, rather than pure noise levels. However, the use of the most popular third-party Raw converter is intended to give a photographically relevant result, rather than simply comparing sensor performance in an abstract manner.

The Raw output is pretty clean and, interestingly, essentially identical to the Ricoh GR's results. They exhibit very similar noise and detail retention pattersn throughout the ISO range - lending credence to the idea that the two cameras are based around the same or, at least, very similar sensors.

Previous page Next page
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 7

See it for $400 on amazon now in silver. Looks good for aerial photography but it lacks HDR, time-lapse and video is "basic". Only missing feature for time-lapse is that 4FPS is too fast, would be nice to slow it down (likely via time-lapse feature) to 1 FPS. I simply use rubber bands to hold my current camera's shutter button down and shoot continuously. Simple and adds no weight (rubber bands are also holding the camera down, so they are needed regardless).


Just bought one from BH Photo including the electronic viewfinder for $490.00. Quite a camera for that price.


Frankly, how you can let yourself be disappointed by autofocus when the camera has manual focus is beyond me. Pre-focus and snap away!


I see what looks like the same Coolpix A offered on for about 1000 dollars and for about 650 dollars. The latter is marked "import". Anybody able to explain the difference?


Any deeply discounted price indicates that it is likely an import. Nikon will not service it if you have a problem. You can take the risk, but if you experience a problem do not give Nikon a bad review. Don't say I knew but...

Also note that you will not be able to download firmware updates for the camera. I would not touch an imported camera. If you want to save money, then wait about a year and hope they are coming out with a newer version - and that is when they offer great discounts. For example, Nikon just dropped the price on the camera for only $699.


That price!

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting

Over $1,000 for a DX sensor with a fixed 28mm lens? I get that it is for "enthusiasts", but that seems like quite a bit of enthusiasm to me.

Total comments: 7