What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Started Apr 18, 2013 | Discussions thread
hiplnsdrftr Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Darryl E Mylrea wrote:

I'm just a little unclear why anyone would spend over $1000 for a camera with a fixed, non-changeable 28mm lens?

Who is the target market for this camera?  I assume it takes great pics, but I would never consider super-gluing a wide angle lens on my D7100.

With the variety of high-end APS-C cameras on the market with changeable lenses, I don't understand the purpose of this "A" camera.

In 2000 you could buy a Contax T3 with a fixed 35mm lens for $1,000. Lets say that you shot and processed one thousand rolls of film over the next 3 years, that would add another $20,000. So essentially that camera cost you $21,000.

Well, now we have a chance to own nearly an identical camera in digital form, the unfortunately named Coolpix A. It costs $1,100. After film and processing, well it still only costs $1,100. Therefore simply by purchasing it I save almost $20,000, not a bad deal at all.

The reason I prefer to shoot with a Contax T3 or a Coolpix A are quite diverse. Obviously the size and form factor are important. While I could use my Canon 1Dx, there are many times, pretty much any given day I would prefer to carry the smallest possible body with the largest possible sensor. Even if I carried my 1Dx it would have a 28mm or a 40mm prime lens.

The fact that the Coolpix A has an APS sensor and a fixed 28mm lens should result is high quality images that match the general look and feeling of my 1Dx and 1Ds3. Therefore, I am able to combine shots from these very different cameras into a single body of work. While I have used Canon S70, G9 and S95... the resulting images are quite different from the FF dSLR images in terms of dynamic range and bokeh.

Many of my assignments require shooting in dark bars, alleys, random hellholes where I simply can not whip out a 1Dx with a 580EX speedlight mounted on top. However, I can usually get away with and sometimes blend in by using a camera like the Contax T3 or the Coolpix A. Furthermore, the size allows one handed operation in order to shoot while driving, riding a motorcycle, hanging off a railing, carrying bags, etc. For this typ of fast paced dynamic shooting I much prefer to compose using the viewscreen held at arms length, or elbows propped against my body in low light. The inclusion of a finder would have only made the A bigger and more expensive and I likely would not use it.

The 28mm lens is perfect for close interaction with my subjects. This is perfect for street photography, nightlife photography and really well suited for capturing crowd scenes and cityscapes. Obviously, if your thing is sports, wildlife, classic portraiture or astral photography this is simply not the camera for you. In my case I have never owned a zoom lens for a film camera and I only own one zoom lens for my dSLR rig and it is easily my least favorite lens.

Nikon saw it fit to design the A with a near silent shutter and a simple yet useful built in flash. At the same time they were wisely restrained and avoided the temptation to add gimmicks such as a flip screen, touch screen, electronic viewfinder or image stabilization. The result is a very compact, solid, clean, simple camera that is essentially the answer to my prayers.

It is interesting to note how similar the features are of the newly introduced Ricoh GR. Obviously Nikon is not the only one that recognizes the demand for this type of camera. Once again these cameras are obviously not meant for everyone, but there are currently hundreds of other choices that offer flip screens, zoom lenses, WIFI, interchangeable mounts, IBIS, bluetooth, touch screens, viewfinders etc... thank god the Coolpix A does not.

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Canon pro shooter.... Thankful for the Nikon A.

 hiplnsdrftr's gear list:hiplnsdrftr's gear list
Canon PowerShot S70 Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon Coolpix A Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III Canon EOS-1D X
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