Nikon Coolpix A comparative review
In general, the Nikon Coolpix A's image quality is very good. The lack of an AA filter helps it produce sharp, detailed images and the theoretical risk of moiré rarely troubles the camera's output. Its familiar JPEG engine tends to result in pleasant colors and the default processing settings steer a sensible course between revealing detail and the artificial appearance that over-sharpening can bring.
The camera's white balance is pretty dependable - and there's a choice of whether it leaves some 'warmth' when shooting under artificial light, or whether it'll try to more fully correct it.
As the lens tests show, there is also some fairly severe vignetting at all apertures - something the camera makes no attempt to correct, either in Raw or JPEG mode.
As we've already seen, the Nikon's lens can be very good (even if there is some corner softness at its widest apertures at close focusing distances). Even at F2.8 the lens is very sharp and things get even better when you stop down - by F4 the Coolpix A's output is consistently sharp across the frame.
Vignetting is the lens' main drawback. It appears in the Coolpix A's images, so we're surprised there's no option to remove it in the camera's JPEGs - a function offered in the company's DSLRs. However, while it's present at apertures, the Coolpix A's vignetting is very even and progressive, so isn't especially noticeable unless you have expanses of even tones such as the blue sky in the example below.
In the above image, we've shot a bright light scene at F7.1 and converted it without lens correction in Adobe Camera Raw (a result that's consistent with the camera's JPEGs), then applied the vignetting aspect of Adobe's lens profile for the Coolpix A. Comparing the two can exaggerate how noticeable the vignetting actually is, but it is there if it's something that worries you.
An 18.5mm F2.8 lens is never going to be the first choice when it comes to blurring backgrounds. If you're shooting anything but close-up work, the camera will only offer a little bit of background defocus. In the example below, most of the buildings are around 750m (0.46 miles) away, yet are only just beginning to drop out of focus, when the camera is focused on an object around 1.5m away.
|Nikon Coolpix A - F2.8, ISO 100||100% Crop|
|Ricoh GR - F2.8, ISO 100||100% Crop|
The Nikon's bokeh is a little harsh and bright-edged, leading to a rather 'busy' rendition of background detail. The Ricoh isn't much better - its rendering of defocused regions is a touch smoother, suggesting slightly less hard-edged bokeh but instead exhibits clearer signs of axial chromatic aberration - leaving the background with odd green-tinged edges.
Low light performance
Nikon has a pretty solid recent history of combining very capable sensors with sophisticated image processing to give cameras with excellent low light performance. The Coolpix benefits from this heritage and continues to produce usable JPEGS even in low light.
That said, the results aren't significantly better than the Ricoh's output. Both shot at the default noise reduction settings and the differences are subtle.
|Nikon Coolpix A - F8, ISO 6400||100% Crop|
|Ricoh GR - F8, ISO 6400||100% Crop|
The Coolpix A's focus slows down as the light level drops but, even with the AF illuminator disengaged, it will continue to focus in very low light if you ensure there is a decent degree of contrast for it to identify.
The Coolpix A has a small internal flash which, at Guide number 6, is on a par with a small mirrorless camera but considerably less powerful than the one you'll find on an entry-level DSLR. That said, the Coolpix's fast maximum aperture will help extend its working range.
The Coolpix A's main advantage, when it comes to flash, is that it can be used with Nikon iTTL flashguns (handy if you already have one). Sadly, however, the internal flash can't be used to control off-board flashguns, the way some Nikon DSLRs can. This feature is included on the company's less expensive Coolpix P7700, yet is missed off the Coolpix A.
|The Coolpix A's flash is a bit heavy-handed but, thanks to the relatively bright F2.8 maximum aperture, still has a reasonable reach.|
The Coolpix A's mode for dealing with high contrast scenes is Nikon's now-familiar Active D-Lighting system. This will reduce the exposure of a shot by up to 1EV and use adaptive processing to incorporate the extra tonal information it captures in the highlights, while brightening darker areas of the image.
Because Active D-Lighting changes the camera's exposure, it has to be set at the point of exposure - you can adjust the extent of the processing in Raw conversion, but you can't fully remove the effect of the Active D-Lighting selection you made when the image was first captured.
As usual, we're pretty impressed with the results - the camera has been able to cope with this high dynamic range scene without requiring multiple exposures or giving unnatural-looking output. Active D-Lighting is supposed to assess and protect local contrast, so that the image doesn't end up looking too flat or washed-out and, even at the Extra High setting, has done a pretty good job of it.
For JPEG shooters in particular, this is a really nice feature to have.
Apr 18, 2016
Mar 23, 2016
Dec 14, 2015
Jul 27, 2015
|Hot Air Balloons Over Bagan by User9320321874|
|Blue mood by darub|
from Fixed lens shootout.
|Yellow Warbler by LeeS|
from A Big Year - birds
|Waiting for the Parade by tcoker1103|
from - La Vida Loca - (Black and White Street Photography+ A Border)
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.