Updated 26/3/13: We've updated the local retail price for the Nikon A. It will be available for sale starting 26th March 2013.
The Nikon Coolpix A is the newest in the range of large sensor, compact cameras with fixed lenses. It comes with a 16MP APS-C sensor, the same size of sensors found in entry to mid-level DSLR cameras. Rumours are that the Coolpix A’s sensor is based on the one found in the Nikon D7000, which would make it three years old and a generation behind – but it's still a good sensor.
(But that name - imagine how conversations at the shops would go; "You have the Nikon A?" "Nikon what?" "Nikon A." "Nikon eh?" "Nikon A!")
The lens is a fixed 18.5mm (28mm in 35mm equivalent), which is wider than the 35mm found on the Sony RX1 and Fujifilm X100S but not very wide in itself. It also isn’t terribly fast; the lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 compared to the RX1 and X100S’ f/2 lenses. The Sony RX1 outclasses the Coolpix A when it comes to sensor size, with its large full-frame sensor, the same kind found in professional DSLR cameras. But the RX1 is also much more expensive, at S$3,999. The Coolpix A's local price hasn't been confirmed, but US site The Verge has pegged it at US$1099.95.
|Nikon Coolpix A||Fujifilm X100S||Sony RX1|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.6mm (APS-C)||23.6 x 15.8mm (APS-C)||35.8 x 23.8mm (full-frame)|
|Lens||28mm equivalent f/2.8||35mm equivalent f/2||35mm f/2|
|Monitor||3", 921k-dot TFT LCD||2.8", 460k-dot TFT LCD||3", 1229k-dot TFT LCD|
|Battery Life||230 images||300 images||
|Dimensions||111.0 x 64.3 x 40.3mm||126.5 x 74.4 x 53.9mm||113.3 x 65.4 x 69.6mm|
On the surface, the Coolpix A looks like it might go head to head with the Fujifilm X100S since they have the same APS-C size of sensors, and neither camera uses an optical low-pass filter, which should increase image clarity. One the Fujifilm X100S, it's unique X-Trans sensor design should reduce the possibility of moiré artifacts appearing in its images, while it’s still unclear how the Coolpix A will deal with moiré patterns.
The X100S also comes with a unique hybrid viewfinder, which can switch between optical and electronic. Nikon is offering an optional optical viewfinder with the Nikon A, but unlike the X100S, the attachment won’t be able to overlay shooting information on the viewfinder. Like the Sony RX1, the Coolpix A disappoints with a paltry battery life, being good for approximately 230 shots. The Fujifilm X100S fares slightly better, being rated for 300 shots.
In fact, when it comes to specifications, it seems that the Nikon Coolpix A is competing mostly based on its smaller size and weight. We recently received a demo Coolpix A unit and have written up our early impressions of the camera. Since it’s an early unit we can’t show images taken from the camera, and certain things about the camera may change in the final production unit.