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Thursday, 07 March 2013


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This is an excellent description of what's happened in the Pentax community the last couple of years as well. While Pentax users gush about the quality of lenses, in years past they could also praise the value as prices were relatively low. Then, Pentax raised lens prices to competitive levels with other brands (particularly their pro-build-quality) lenses, and the Pentax community cries foul. If the lenses were that good (I think they are), then why the complete when they are priced at comparable levels to other brands? People are strange.

I feel you have summed up this situation perfectly.

The U.K. muttering rotters still attempt to down play the Lexus by calling it the Toyota Lexus.

Strange I never hear them talking about the VW Bentley or BMW Rolls Royce.

I think that negative reactions to cameras mostly reflect the fact that the camera in question does not live up to what we have been hoping for. We all have our dream camera(s) -- almost none of which we can actually buy. So when a new camera is announced that falls short, or costs too much, we feel betrayed. How could Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc. have been so obtuse as to not make the camera that I want?
I have no (or very little) interest in a fixed-lens camera, even one with a big, fat, juicy sensor that can easily slip into a coat pocket. It just doesn't fill a photographic need for me, and I'd rather use that money to buy lenses for my existing cameras. If I'm critical of the CoolPix A, it's really because I'd like to see Nikon make a DX (or FX) mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, on-sensor phase-detection AF, etc., etc. And did I mention, it should cost less than $1,000? Are you getting a sense of what my dream camera might look like?

To me there is no such thing as a premium or even usable camera without an accurate eye level viewfinder. The only way I can frame accurately with the rear lcd is on a tripod (with a dark cloth in sunlight) and I want to have the focus point marked instead of guessing or using auto point selection.

I think you're just way off base with this analysis. For instance, if the Coolpix A is only designed with the "local" (Japanese) market in mind, why is Nikon USA bothering to spend all the time, money, and effort to import, market and sell it? It just doesn't make sense.

I think I'm exactly the kind of photographer this product is designed to appeal to. Unfortunately, the price is just insane. If the thing is milled from a solid block of titanium by hand then *maybe* it would be worth it. But the lens doesn't appear to be anything spectacular, the sensor doesn't seem to be particularly sensitive for it's tradeoff in pixel count, and Nikon has said nothing about the build quality or materials.

For an $1100 point and shoot camera with 16MP and a fixed focal-length lens, here are some things I would expect: ISO up to 25,600; a larger maximum aperture (a 35/2 would have been a better option IMO); weather sealing; titanium shell wrapped around a magnesium alloy body; built-in Wi-FI and GPS.

This is in no way an unreasonable expectation. The concept of the Coolpix A is great, but the execution on paper appears to be significantly flawed. The 35/28Ti cameras—an apt comparison—were among the pinnacle of enthusiast compact cameras in the mid-90s, and the design and materials justified the $1100 price tag. The Coolpix A simply does not come close.

The Coolpix A would be a decent value at $700-800. At $1100, it's an insult to anyone with half a brain.

Nikon aside, I think camera buyers seem to have become more and more exercised by a long catalogue of things they want a camera to be, or to do. Was it always like this? Is it a phenomenon of the Internet and the digital age where camera performance can now be analysed ad nauseam by anyone?

Of course, there is no silver bullet camera. If your photographic needs are even minutely diverse, no one camera or system is going to fit the bill

"In other words, we might be assuming we're seeing strategic moves, but the company might simply be dabbling dilettantishly in a sandbox it doesn't consider its territory."

If true, it's Nikon being even dumber than we thought. It's the only mass-market camera producer who mostly makes cameras (not true of Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, or Olympus). It makes everything from the $69 Coolpix S3300 to the D4. There is no place in between that isn't its territory.

Right now, Sony is leading the pack in camera technology. How did Nikon ever let a consumer electronics company get past them?

I'm with you. When I saw the small size and what sounds like a good build and 28mm I immediately thought "nice backpackers camera." For the price I'd likely still get the Sigma equivalent because I love how the files look at low iso, but I'm sure this has a lot less quirk for the buck. I like the way cameras are heading.

The Volkswagen Phaeton is pretty much the same as the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur . Ferdinand Piëch has a knack for cars that confound brand expectations. His Porsche 914/6 managed to simultaneously be perceived as an overpriced VW and a downmarket Porsche . It cost as nearly as much as a 911, made a better race car*, but looked just like the half as expensive VW version. Not a formula for commercial success.
*see 1970 LeMans results.

I find it silly that people are judging a camera on the basis of a press release and what it looks like, but then again I think my 914/6 is all the fun of a Porsche without the annoying brand recognition, ie perfect.

I am not biased in favor or against the new Nikon camera. That is because I have absolutely no intension of buying one. But looking at the design, (though I have not set my eyes on it) it, sort of, puts me off. A 28mm equivalent lens with no provision for either a filter or lens hood is not anybody's idea of non interchangeable lens. All decent cameras should have tangible, physical shutter speed dials, aperture dials, focusing dials, depth of field dials, ASA dials, exposure compensation dials, mode selection dials and eye level viewfinders with relevant informations displayed in it. I admit, none of the modern day cameras have those things, save some exceptions.
In other words this new camera too is one more of those mindlessly designed and eminently forgettable gizmos. Give it the pass it deserves.

Uppity price? I use Nikon products and like them but there's no way I'd pay more than half of what they're asking for this i.e. $550 at the most.

I studied marketing in college and I agree with every sentiment you just expressed. There is good academic support for every point. That said, I still think it's still far too expensive for what it "is".

I accept that there are legitimate reasons for the price premiums for smaller cameras that pack in performance. But even when they are far considerably less capable than similarly "sensored" DSLR's at half the price?. Sorry, but to this admitted neophyte it still smells wrong. shrug...

Apparently I am in the minority as my reaction was none of those listed. I'm glad Nikon has released this camera because I hope it will get Canon to remember that it has a Camera division and not just a Cinema division.

Twenty years ago, a rep once told me that the difference between Nikon and Canon was that Canon was a huge corporation involved in many types of businesses and literally crapping camera out at an enormous rate, whereas Nikon was a tiny little company making many less cameras and batch making lenses on demand.

I don't know if any of this is true, but it still may be.

My frustration with Nikon is that they seem to have a scatter shot approach to camera introduction and lens building. The have never built any APS-C primes specifically sized for APS-C in the f/2.8 group. Their reliance on their "legacy" lens mount, which as most Nikon owners know, really didn't work back and forth with modern and vintage stuff, even in the film hey-day, and now they're doing it again with cameras that won't use their earlier shaft drive focus, while they try to catch up with the Canon lens mount with their "G" series lenses.

They use what I can only assume are precious resources, if the company size vs. Canon is a reality, to build "huh" camera like the J series. [I think Tom means the 1-series, which includes the Nikon 1 J1, J2, and J3. —Ed.]

It amazes me that they have a somewhat loyal professional following, altho I still hear of people changing their Nikon systems over to Canon, and loving them.

As an aside, I read on a trade site a while ago, that the "J" series stuff was a huge success in Japan, so what do I know?

I think most "pros" and "prosumers" bugaboo with both Canon (think M) and Nikon, is that most of the cameras they introduce seem to be "almost there", so why did they stop? Why does this nicely built camera with almost everything I want have this one fatal lens/feature flaw that makes it an also ran? It seem endemic in camera design...

I'm still finding joy in my M4/3rd's exploration, so the Nikon goes up on eBay in summer.

I pre-ordered an A. I'm thrilled! As a longtime Ricoh GRD shooter it looks fantastic! I just hope Ricoh steps up later this year.

I have been reading the online comments. There is always a lot of negativity when any new camera is announced. A few people love to come online and voice their "expert" opinion about such things. Some just like to stir the pot and create controversy.

What I'm seeing is a lot of closed-mindedness and unwillingness to acknowledge that even though a given camera "is not perfect for me" - therefore it sucks - there just may be an audience for it elsewhere. In regards to the A, a few people simply wonder why in the heck anyone would want a 28mm fixed focal camera. If you have to explain it to them then...

The other things is, what's wrong with choice? We all should be applauding the fact that we have so many fixed focal length compacts available today! Good times.

Speaking of Ferdinand Piëch and racing, it should be remembered that at the same time as he was working on the 914 his other more famous project was the 917.

Business... it's the new Sports!

Looking at the standings, it looks like Olympus will draw Fuji in the first round of the playoffs. Should be a great matchup.

Seriously, all the negativity gets to me. I genuinely winced reading some of the comments on the Coolpix A post. More people should adhere to "Thumper's Law" (If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all).

Let's all cut Mike the Moderator a break and try to keep the comments thoughtful/interesting/funny/kind. Makes our clubhouse kinda special, ya know?

Mike, you show signs of being a pretty astute social psychologist. I think your Nikon analysis today is reasoned and well-stated. Looking ahead to later in the year: I wonder what "they" are going to say about the new D4x when it arrives.

Jeez, Mike. . . chill out.

I was one of those who made a brief, snarky comment about the new Nikon. Doesn't mean I hate the company, or even the camera. I only tried to observe that similar cameras, with better features and sharper pricing, were already available from several makers. Accordingly, I doubt that the camera will sell well.

I do hear what you are saying about perceived value and brand prejudice. However, I believe that Leica products should be exempt from such discussions-- Leica for some time has existed in a parallel universe where (among the faithful) conventional price / performance considerations do not apply.

[Chaz, I wasn't actually singling out anyone personally. Nor, for that matter, disputing anyone's right to say whatever they wished. —Mike]

Understand the behavior within a murmuration of starlings, and you'll be on your way to understanding the behavior in online forums at the announcement or release of a new camera or lens.

"....more bizarre and seemingly pointless than anything ever produced from the drug-enhanced imagination of an eccentric Oxford don."


Yes. They're only cameras.

I'm something of sucker for cameras of this ilk - I was an early buyer of the V1 - but this camera seems utterly senseless at this price point. I can't see why anyone in his right mind would want one, much less buy one. There are far better choices for less money.
500 for a viewfinder? Come on.

[Fair enough, Paul, but the number is 450, and it's just a rumor for now; and I'll assume you have no need for one of these. Just sayin'. —Mike]

Color me mystified by the response to the A.

Self-capping lens? Check.
Takes my SB-900 for bounce flash? Check.
Usable with a remote release? Check.
High ISO goodness? Check.
Coat pocket size? Check.
Genuinely wide angle lens? Check, albeit just.

So far it seems like a pricier, more competent version of the GF3, which I typically carry with the 14/2.5. (And the original list of the GF3 was insanely high, well past what I would pay for it.) I'll wait for reviews, but I wouldn't rule out owning one.

Wow, I would have been all over that Nikon 28Ti if I had known about it back in 1994. Around that time I bought a relatively inexpensive Nikon LiteTouch AF, as I wanted something inexpensive, compact and with a 28mm lens (hard to come by at the time, especially for people on a limited budget). It had virtually no controls, but the lens was pretty sharp and focus and exposure where quite reliable in normal daytime use. I used to run self-loaded rolls of Tri-X through it, which garnered a lot of snickers and giggles from some of my art school colleagues.

When I took a hastily-planned 18-day getaway to Italy in 1998 that was the only camera I took with me. (And I used it for one of my favourite shots ever -- a self-appointed "hit" -- taken inside the Coliseum in Rome, although I regret to inform you it has been stolen from me much less than the urinal photo I mentioned last week [http://www.blork.org/mondaymorning/index.php?showimage=23 ]).

The LiteTouch had a "panorama mode" which was nothing more than a couple of shutters that masked a section of the top and bottom of the frame. The panorama switch was a bit too easy to flick inadvertently, so I super-glued it in the normal position. This is how we should address a quirky feature that doesn't appeal to us; ignore it.

When my LiteTouch finally died around 1999 the model was no longer in production, so I replaced it with a little P&S Olympus, but for some reason that Oly never really had the same magic and I barely used it.

All that to say that niche cameras can be very well loved by the people within the niche. Just because a camera has quirks or specifications that seem to make little sense to most people doesn't mean there aren't lots of others for whom the thing is perfect. I hope Nikon and others never forget that.

Well, I have half a brain. Two halves, actually. Another Bravo! from me, Mike, on making the link back to the 28Ti. What a neat idea for a compact camera the 35Ti and 28Ti model was. My local camera shop had a 35Ti in their display case for at least five years. At just about the time I decided I'd buy the thing it was gone.

The Coolpix A is tempting.

I'm from the south and I always thought "Thumper's Law" was "If you can't say anyhing nice about someone, come over and sit by me."

I'm a dedicated Nikon user, lenses, cameras, pajamas. I said mean stuff about the camera.

Now I feel really, really bad because that camera is probably feeling really bad too. My Aunt Lu would have smacked me with a hot pad and said "Mind your GRACE!!" if she caught me typing what I said.

I think you're right on, Mike, about market perceptions. I think Andrew is right, too, about the narcissism of amateur pundits.

But I also think there's a lot of just plain bleacher talk in all those comments. Like how every fan of a sports team has an emphatic, definitive opinion about the latest coach or roster change, even though most of those fans have little or no experience running a team or playing the sport. In other words, not to be taken too seriously.

I also liked your thought about the A going at Leica's X2. The A is likely a better camera at half the price. But more than any practical reason, I like the historical symmetry of Nikon mixing it up with Leica on Leica's turf.

Am I the only one who thinks "A" is a fine name for a camera--or at least as good as any other out there? Or that Nikon getting this serious about serious compacts just by itself makes things more interesting?

Mike, I like the A. The more I look at it the more I think I would like to own one.

I wonder somedays if, in North America, we no longer know how to value anything. For many it seems that every camera should be perfect, do everything, and cost $400.

We shouldn't be such price hawks.

If I had more money, I wouldn't be.

As it is, unless we see amazing performance, the competitors are too good. The comparison to the "Nikon 1-Series, the just-discontinued (and future collectible) Pentax K-01, and the Canon EOS M" seems apt: I've never seen anyone with any of those cameras. They've barely registered on Flickr's Camera finder.

Logical competitors to all three, however, are reasonably popular: the Sony NEX series, along with Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless cameras.

Flickr data isn't the final word, but it is striking.

I'm not angry or irritated. I might be slightly disappointed, however. If the AF is good, however, I could imagine wanting a Coolpix A. . . when the price is 40 – 50% of the MSRP.

Um... maybe the comparison should be Leica X2 versus the Nikon A?


Ah well, so it's Nikon's turn to be rubbished, often by people who intend to use something else anyway. Leica users are familiar with that sort of thing! Incidentally you were not exactly optimistic about the prospects for the M-E a month or so back but I was in a Leica dealer yesterday and I gather they are selling rather well. I also had a chance to handle an M which rather confirmed my feeling that the two cameras are so different that there's plenty of room for both. Time will tell!

The reasons for all the hate is pretty simple: Three years ago, this would've been met with a chorus of hallelujahs and about-damn-times. It would've sold like hotcakes and made a lot of photographers very, very, very happy. This year? It's a me-too camera that is more expensive and less exciting than the competition. More expensive will be forgotten soon enough, but the fact that this camera is duller than the Canon M could be the kiss of death.

I'm just gonna say that last bit again: duller than the Canon M. I suppose that's an accomplishment, but not the kind anyone should be proud of. At least the Canon M has the 22mm f2.0 and the promise of more good glass to come. The Nikon is what it is, and always will be.

Thom Hogan's views on the Coolpix A are also worth reading:


Every camera with this sensor has stellar image quality and I'm sure this will be no different. Pocket size D7000 with a 28mm (e) prime? Definitely interesting.

Interesting how personally people seem to take it when they feel a camera isn't made for them.

As a thought experiment, imagine the forum reactions if this product was not released in English speaking markets. You'd get the same expressions of disappointment about why we were being deprived of access to such a premium camera.

I think the markets that you mention could be critical to understanding what happens with camera offerings and design. On one of his websites, Thom Hogan mentions that m4/3 cameras have not been selling all that well in North America, and suggests that one reason for that is that neither Olympus or Panasonic have bothered to create much of a distribution system in the U.S. I think that Americans are going to have to get used to the fact that other large nations are becoming affluent, and that as this happens, we'll wind up as only the fourth largest market, after China, India, and what you might call the greater European Common Market (including Scandinavia and Russia.) China, for example, is on average quite a poor country, but has so many people -- more than 1.3 billion -- that if only 5% can afford an upscale camera, that would amount to 65 million people. And the thing about these newly affluent markets is that high-end camera penetration is still low, and tastes have not yet been set, so that is where the real growth potential lies, and where a real struggle between camera-makers will inevitably take place.

All that said, I really don't much understand these single-focal-length enthusiast cameras, when very similar cameras are offered with zoom lenses, or even interchangeable lenses. I mean, what does this Nikon offer that would make it preferable to a Panasonic GX1 and one of the pancake lenses?

It seems to me that a lot of what went into the comments i've seen can be traced back to one particulet Nikon oriented site. There were many, many echoes of Thom Hogan's analysies of Nikon, market share, product categories etc.

They should make more cameras with the analogue dials like that old 28Ti. (or the Epson RD1, for that matter).

And viewfinders. They were good, too.

One thing I do like about the Coolpix A is that it's neither retro nor blobby.

I think some of the frustration from enthusiast photographers comes from the fact that (as you pointed out) Nikon and Canon both made film versions of the digital pocket camera enthusiasts have wanted (in Canon's case the Classic Canonette GIII). The new camera is seen as very late and each time they make a small camera that is not really for the enthusiast market, there is backlash (because we think the world should revolve around photo enthusiasts)
It's probably a capable camera that most of us would enjoy having in our pockets, but it does strike me as quite expensive for what you get (compared to a D3200 or other compact offerings from many manufacturers) and add that to the fact that Nikon is probably being Dinged for being late to the party. (...they obviously knew how to make the fine 35&28Ti's so what took so long)
Regarding the Nikon 1 not really being for the American market, that may well be true, but Nikon did not help themselves with it's marketing---for two years now at PhotoPlus (a pro's show in NY) they have devoted 1/3 to 1/2 of their exhibit space to a sparse set with dancers taking pictures of one another with Nikon 1.
They were not clear about their target market.
On the other hand, if the Nikon A can focus as well as the 1 and the lens is crisp, it could be a nice (albeit expensive) camera
Still, We all owe a lot to Nikon & Canon for all the great stuff they DO make we should probably cut them some slack.

It is great that we are finally getting compact cameras with large sensors to fill the need that TOP articulated first and best. But I must admit that now that Nikon & Canon have finally made APS C compacts aimed at enthusiasts I would really like to know how neither one has figured out that enthusiasts like to LOOK Through a semi accurate viewfinder befor taking a picture.
I'm just sayin'...

I like to put my "long-view" glasses on and pretend that it's two years later. Does this camera have the chops to be worth $1100? Look back two years at what we got all excited about and where those similar camera designs are today.

It comes down to lack of innovation. There's a clear divide of companies pushing the envelope (Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Fuji, Sigma, Panasonic) and established or small players that don't (Nikon, Canon, Pentax). Leica does not count since, as mentioned by the comments, it lives in an alternate universe.
With this camera, the only thing where Nikon raises the bar is price. In this day and age, not having an active viewfinder of some sort (EVF or hybrid, whether integrated or optional) just tells me that the camera maker does not get it. The mirrorless cameras are now innovating at an astonishing fast pace - Nikon did give a few hints of brilliance with the fast phase-focus of the CX series, but overall, along with Canon, it's just a boring company churning out boring DSLRs.

"In other words, we might be assuming we're seeing strategic moves, but the company might simply be dabbling dilettantishly in a sandbox it doesn't consider its territory."

I think it's important to remember that it minimally costs millions of dollars to commercialize a product. Any company that would spend this much money just to be "dabbling dilettantishly in a sandbox" has got to have some very wacked-out corporate values and sensibilities, not to mention very poor business sense.

I think Thom Hogan got it right, he doesn't understand the value proposition, either.

As someone who teaches and manages highly technical product development teams in "Voice of the Customer" (VOC), it's clear that Nikon and Canon got their VOC completely wrong (if they actually did any, that is...).

Every consumer has quite a good sense of what products just seem "right" to them and also whether those product offerings constitute a value proposition. I don't need to recapitulate it here, but Apple is absolutely brilliant at this.

When the Fujifilm X100 debuted, the entire photography world was abuzz with excitement and anticipation. This camera, despite it's intial quirks and flaws, really struck a resonant chord with photographers and aficionado, pros and and amateurs alike. It became an instant classic.

By contrast, when you look at the EOS M or the Coolpix A, my response (and clearly Thom Hogan's as well) with quizzical expression intact is: "Wha....??? What were they thinking?"

And for 1100 smackers? Fuggeddabbouddit. I can buy an X20 for about half that and be WAY happier.

I like how one of your readers summed it up: "Nikon will sell hundreds of them. Hundreds, I tell ya."

Not interested in the coolpix - the lens doesn't suit me - but that has nothing to do with Nikon hate.
OK ... it's just a bit too expensive for me, too. But again, no hard feelings for Nikon because of that.
I wish them all the best with it, and I'm pleased that another manufacturer has embraced the concept, but it's just a little bit 'meh'.

That 28Ti, though....

As for an uppity price, did you see what they are asking for the eye level finder...... ?

The Nikon A demonstrates just how micro-fragmented the camera market has become. For the same price as the Nikon A and its viewfinder, a photographer could buy a Sony NEX-6 or Fuji X-E1 and a fast prime. Both cameras have more capability than the A, including excellent electronic viewfinders. But if size and "pocketability" are your primary considerations, the A wins (at least until the viewfinder is attached).

It's like the Hasselblad Lunar (?), ff you don't want it, don't buy it. For crying out loud, it's not like they changed the formula for Coke.

I'd love to see a photographic version of the "Playa Haters Ball" from the Chappelle's Show. I could only imagine the venom.


Hate? No way. Disappointed in features that all Nikon DSLR's seem to be lacking in live-view, such as a histogram. Even my basic 2006 waterproof Pentax point-and-shoot, has that feature.

So Mike, would you want a Nikkor 45mm f/2.8P for your D800?! There are (were) four second-hand silver ones for sale here:

Spot on. Smallest ASP-C camera with best IQ (no competition in DR and high ISO performance) and I'm sure the Price will be Down $2-300 in around 6 months from now.

Generally people think they know what the market wants - not the case - Nikon J1 shows that. Best selling mirrorless camera in Japan 2012 and ranks #2 on Amazon in compact camera sales just after Panasonic G5.

Designing and making a three dimensional object is a lot more difficult than you may think.

Hi Mike,

Won't try to speak to the intentions of others, although I perceive more puzzlement than antipathy from the older post's comments. While I stand by my notes in that thread, I'll add that I have higher expectations from Nikon than they seem to have on display here.

They're an industry leader and yet with the luxury of time spent comtemplating all the competing cameras that have come before this one, why not a 2013 version of the 28Ti? Some design elegance and innovation would be very welcome in this segment.

Performance aside (as we know zilch, today) make it something special. Then, you might have my interest, Nikon.

p.s. Which would have chosen between the 28Ti and the Contax T3? I chose the latter, and loved, loved loved that little jewel. Doesn't mean the little Nikon wasn't a terrific option.


Many of the so-called critical comments are simply prejudice disguised behind technical terminology. Whatever happened to simply considering "letting the marketplace decide" the merits, over time? Sorta brings to mind a certain "rush to judgment" IMHO...

Its just a camera.... BUT not the one we wanted or expected from Nikon.... hince the heat....After the success/failure of the Fuji x100 and was hope'in that Nikon could do one better with its sensors and menus ect, a S2 style...we just expected more....in my photojournalism world anyhow.

At this price point, I would have expected a more focused marketing from Nikon. I think the general response to the Coolpix A is the result of a vague message by Nikon;

The Nikon press release may be dry and factual, but it is in line with my impression of the Coolpix A. (Good glass, sturdy built, possibly good enough to validate the price, a remake of my 35ti).

Beyond the press release, however, things become very vague:

The Nikon USA website has a blurb about family and friends being 'dazzled' with 1080p video, but also has a video positioning the camera as a street photography artists' dream come true. The press release's "we have accessoires" becomes "grow your capabilities with our accessoires". (What, with the 350,- viewfinder, you mean?) The EU marketing blurb even mentions "maximum image quality at minimal energy use". (Zzzz)

Ok, so it's not for me: I prefer a 35mm lens. But look at the big picture: Now we have plenty of real choises within a cathegory that didn't exist 3-4 years ago: compact, larger sensor cameras with pretty fast fixed lenses (as well as systems). Several camera producers offer a 28 mm, others offer a 35 mm, and then Sigma even offers a 45 mm. Some of them with plenty of controls, others controlled by touch screens. I'll never understand why so many people feel offended every time they see a new camera that doesn't suit their needs.

True, the initial reactions to Coopix A seem unduly negative. And, although I doubt it, it could indeed have been designed primarily for the Japanese or another market. But I can't help but think that this is merely a myopic Nikon attempt to come up with a me-too camera to compete with the Canon EOS-M or some other perceived competitor(s).

I also think it is a huge missed opportunity for Nikon. It already comes without a low-pass filter and (presumably) uses the D7000's excellent sensor. With a little forethought (say, a close focusing 24 mme 2.8 fixed lens, a built in viewfinder, panorama crop, built in HDR, and not much else), they could've marketed it as the first lightweight, pocketable "landscape photographer's dream" camera, one truly designed for hikers (and wanna be hikers). And they could've packaged it as a companion to Nikon DSLRs, a second camera for the serious landscape shooter who doesn't always want to take along the big rig.

Is there a niche for that? Perhaps, perhaps not. But judging by the proliferation of landscape photography hobbyists out there, surely that is a better way to market it than trying to push an overpriced, last-to-market camera with no clear target user.

I'm not sure "hate" is the right word. Confusion and pity is more like it.

I think Thom Hogan sums it up fairly well in his piece. No matter what market Nikon is or is not going after, it's hard to glean any sort of coherent strategy from their actions and product decisions.

"That camera sucks" is pure self-centered Internet haterade.

"I don't understand why they would make that camera, given the other equipment available in their product line" is a more thoughtful statement IMHO.

It is good to remember that not all engineering solutions suitable when designing a $100 camera scale up well to a $1,000 design. Telescopic lens sucks air in every time it expands. A little bit of dust gets inside the camera body. The sensor is charged and tends to attract a few particles of dust - and this is accumulative process.
So you buy a $1,000 APS-C sensor camera knowing that the sensor would be practically impossible (or very expensive and time consuming) to clean? Have we reached a stage of $1,000 disposable cameras? This is a classic example of engineering incompetence and/or arrogance (yes, I know, not only Nikon displays this attitude). I do not love/hate Nikon, Canon or any other manufacturer. However as an engineer myself I react when I see engineering arrogance, and refusal to learn and accept simple truths documented many years ago. If Nikon really wanted to have specific Coolpix A ergonomics, and is satisfied with the way it looks, would it be so difficult to design a simple lens flange with six screws around the lens allowing easy service access for cleaning the sensor?

What JBerardi said in the featured comments echos my own thoughts, except towards DX SLRs - Nikon in not keeping up with DX development is seriously in danger of losing me as a customer.

Also, I can't believe all those who like 35mm so much. Me? I dislike it. I'll take 28mm or 50mm over it.

I think people do have a point about price. When Nikon 1 was introduced, I teased about its lacking of some directly accessible controls. However, when V1 kit's price dropped to its lowest (about 1/3 of its initial asking), I bought one. Its a bargain for that price. Now how if Nikon is asking, say, $800 for the A? Wait till it happens.

There's a proven market for nice little mirrorless camera that works well with Nikkor lenses and has those great sensors that Nikon uses in their DSLRs. Too bad Sony beat Nikon to the Nikon compatable market. with their NEX cameras, but a few little features like a wired remote or tethered operation, and better operation with a flash (or autofocusing, not that that seems to be any sort of issue ) would be enough differentiation to turn it into a "pro" camera, and Nikon could walk away with the market. When the full frame NEXs hit the market, I don't think Nikon will be able to catch up.

I'm about to switch back to Nikon for a DSLR but the one thing that has me hesitating is the awfull reputation that they have developed for repairs, and their hostility to repair shops. EPOI was never as bad as Nikon USA . They had a reasonable professional support program and there were a bunch of indipendant shops that could repair and even modify them. If there is anything to bust Nikon's chops over, their abysmal service policies would be it.

I'll second Ken's on the missed opportunity. The recession laid me low in a big way and I sold my D3 , M9 & pair of M8.2 plus a lot of stellar glass to keep our house and make ends meet. Took a "real" job and bought a Fuji X100 for consolation. Loved the DR & IQ but hated the marginal AF and useless MF. Returned for a D7000 and older D series zoom plus a fast, sharp Voigtander 58mm prime.

Good, preferably better, Nikon DX primes are really lacking and I miss the gesalt / experience of the Fuji X100 (well in truth the M9). Now that cash flow is better and Nikon refuses to produce a 35mm equivalent lens for DX would I purchase a mirrorless using the D7000 sensor that had a fast fixed prime, fast AF, and an EVF? Yes without question. Did Nikon produce that camera? No. Has Nikon released a complement of DX F1.8 primes that take advantage of the newer, high density DX sensors? No. Has Nikon produced a reasonably priced DX mid-range VR F2.8 zoom to use with 16/28 DX sensors? No.

Did Nikon produce a marginal DX compact that is competitive with no one? Yes. Is Nikon about to lose more than one loyal customer with incompetent strategic planning? Yes.

Nikon still need to stop worrying about internal competition. It doesn't matter whether people buy a mirrorless camera or SLR, as long as it's a Nikon.

I love the analogue display of the 28Ti and 35Ti. I have the 28Ti and I take it out on weekends sometimes. I prefer the 28Ti to the Coolpix A.

I don't care for small sensor P&S anymore. Understand this new one has a APS-C sensor. Don't want another APS-C/DX body - I love my D300.

If I need a compact digital, I'll borrow my wife's LX 5 :)

No, I do not hate Nikon.

I already have a Coolpix A. It's called the Ricoh GXR with A12 28mm f2.5 module. I've had it for a year!

Plus, I have a choice of EVF or clip on OVF to use with the GXR, with built in hyperfocal / snap focus modes.

Believe it or not, but the Elmar M 50 is one of the best lenses Leica has ever made for B&W photography - somehow the balance between sharpness, contrast and bokeh are just in the sweet spot. I absolutely love this lens - you can see my humble sample shots here;http://www.flickr.com/search/show/?q=Leica+Elmar+50mm+f2.8+II&w=59177039%40N00.
I also own the Nikkor 45p, but I must admit I have used it mainly on a digital camera for some time, and with great satisfaction, but have not compared it in B&W - now will do...

[I must admit, that's beautiful B&W work. I'd stick to that lens if I were you. --Mike]

It looks like a good camera. Same idea as my X2, but less expensive and smaller. Might be a little too small for my hands. Not that I'm going to buy one .. I'm quite pleased with the X2, although it is more expensive than I'd prefer.

Nice but quite boring *Yawn*. Is it a competitor to the Fuji X100S? The Sigma DP-watever? I guess this falls into the "Pleasure at the news with expressions of personal reservation" category. The P330 looks more interesting if only for the BSI sensor. Fuji's X100s looks good on paper but is probably plagued by firmware bugs. So at least one gets a fully functional camera for $1100 by going for the the Nikon.

Hey, I went back to your little squib last fall on the X-E1 because I wanted to insert a comment saying “Mike! The DMD is finally here!”, but the comment-shop is closed there. See http://goo.gl/ID7K2 and http://goo.gl/Q8EAF, and there’ll be new pix from Tokyo for the next few days on the blog.

Feel free not to approve this on the blog, it doesn’t add value to the Nikonery, but I think the world would benefit from you getting your hands on an X-E1.

I agree with you, Mike.

Nikon was satisficing when they decided to make the Coolpix A.

Remember the best camera is the one that is with you!

This camera is always going to be with me because IT IS SMALL (as small as my Canon S90 which is always in my pocket)and the sensor is HUGE WITH GOOD DYNAMIC RANGE AND CLEAN ISOs.
This may be Nikon’s ‘Cult Classic’ like the Olympus mju ii and the Contax T3!

I would buy this because:

I am a Nikon Fanboy

It has a true wide-angle (not a semi wide or ultra wide)

F2.8 is more than enough for landscapes

Can be used for Street Photography

Can be used as a Spy Camera in Macro mode (for surreptitiously copying documents)

I am sick of all the prejudice and hate on this camera all over the net. Other than the price (which we may expect to come down, there is nothing wrong with this Camera)

Please give Nikon a break

I am increasingly more concerned with back up service and I contrast Leica - who replaced a sensor in my M9 without question - and Canon who won't replace without charge a shutter unit that has failed after 1100 actuations because (it was a back-up body) it is out of warranty. It seems if you don't use a product it is deemed ok for it to fail even if it has been kept in a dry cabinet away from humidity. The Nikon will probably be obsolete in 6 months anyway. I am on a mission to stop buying new cameras - lenses of course are a different thing - and to give some Canon some balance I am in love with my new 85mm F1.2. But oh how their service sucks.

Why Nikon? Why 28mm?

Every time I see a quality 28mm (or equivalent) lens I feel the camera manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to remind us how life is full of compromises... so you cannot have a 24mm or 35mm equivalent which have far greater acceptance around the world.. 28mm it is and you better accept it!

The grip and MRP reminds me of V1, and its fate (shudder)

I am pretty convinced Nikon doesn't know the target audience for this camera. But I guess we shouldn't be complaining much - this will be a darn good camera at half the MRP six months down the line...


[For some reason, 28mm is quite popular in Japan and quite unpopular elsewhere in the world. One of those little cultural things...inexplicable from both directions. --Mike]

After reading Thom site, it would be odd for me trying to get my 28 F1.8G instead to get a ... Canon EOS M!!! That is bad for Nikon given I am a Canon hater. That is very bad. I totally agree Nikon should try the 1" sensor instead of this.

Have said that, can I hate Nikon of finally gave me the 80-400 AFS which I wait since the day of D200 ... But it is so expensive ... Have to think about that.

Not a good day to be a Nikonian.

Nikon hate.....nonsence Mike. I was seriously considering the D7100 and the D600. For the former my dad "left" (he's 80 and uses micro 4/3 since well light becomes more important then absolute picture quality) me a great 18-200. For the D600 I would have a choice of Ai and AF-S glass going back to the early 80th...there are no less then 7 Nikons hanging around the house from a trusted F (rock solid reliable) to a D200 that saw service once and about everything in between.

But when they started to build digital they where forced into the update/upgrade rat race (F1 to F6 4 decades, D1 to D4 10 years) and frankly they don't seem to be that good at it. Problems all around, oil on sensors of the D600, D7000, backfocus issues with a 6900 euro D4 (and lots of other Canons and Nikons), and when I bought my second hand OM-D the other day I was staring at an HDMI monitor that turned green when attatched to a D4 (after a few minutes of perfect operation), now that could have been the monitor but the D4 did it on two different brands.....

I don't hate Nikon (hell I don't even hate Leica), but I get the feeling these days that Nikon hates it's customers, not only because they don't seem to be able to rescue their more or less uncompromising quality into the digital age, but also about the way they usually treat their customers.....how many (experienced) photographers were told by Nikon that they used the D4 wrongly when the backfocus issues appeared, to find them cured by a software update? How many had their D600 and D7000 sensors cleaned in order to experience it dirtying up again within a week or so?

Nikon made some great camera's and makes some great camera's, and build up a rock solid reputation. But lads in Sendai you have to live up to that reputation as well. I pay good money for my gear and I want good gear and good service in return. Now shit can happen. The display of my GF1 seperated from the rest of the camera after 3 month of use. Brought it back to the dealer, he send it to Pana Holland and it was serviced without a problem. When the Olympus OM-D developed haircracks in the diplay Olympus investigated the problem, isolated the series that where affected and issued an appology (and a service scheme). Now that is the way to build up confidence.

So I hope Nikon reads this and get's it act together.....I still have great glass lying around and a reliable Nikon D600 (including reliable NPS service (include peeped out swear word of the blasphamous variety) would be a no brainer to me. Hell I was scraping funds together until I learned of the oil sensor problems that sort of put me of (I have to be carefull about the way I spend my money as most of us do these days). Come on Nikon management, you don't have to commit harakiri just one statement along the lines of Olympus....11 words:

Yes, we have seen the oil problems and will adress them.

That would have more then sufficed to restore my confidence and yes than I wouldn't have minded the extra weight....

Greets, Ed.

Abhishek's comment reminded me that the 28mm Elmarit has become my lens of choice on the M9. I have absolutely no idea how this came about, 'cos I was always a 35mm-50mm kind of guy... (actually I think I do know, but it's not a subject for a blog comment)

.. seconding Andrew H. I have had excellent service from Leica, such as fixing the rangefinder alignment free of charge without asking me why I had decided to drop it on a hard surface.....

I'd be willing to bet that most commenters are invested in either Canon or Nikon systems. We like our DSLR rigs, we like Canon and/or Nikon, but we want in on the small camera/high quality action. Problem is we sit and wait for these companies to come around and they give us, well, a Toyota while Fuji, Olympus and others are designing that little BMW 2002 you asked about!

Toyotas are great, as we all know. They get you from point A to point B reliably, and the Nikon A will surely take great photos which is what matters. But we all have perfectly capable cameras already. We don't want mirrorless because we can't take good photos, we want mirrorless so we can *enjoy* our cameras when we put down the five pound workhorse DSLRs. Canon and Nikon don't seem to want to scratch this itch for us. I think folks' reactions are mostly out of mild disappointment.

A second comment real quick:

Think about it this way: Canon has the ability to manufacture exceptionally reliable, functional machines, but the EOS M is boring. Fuji has the ability to design some really compelling new cameras, but they can't make one without 20 firmware bugs. How frustrating is it that Canon can't find some of that Fuji magic in their design, so we can have the best of both worlds?

But alas there can be no perfect camera, so I'm gonna go for a walk with my X100 now and hope the battery doesn't die after 20 minutes! :D

The part that frustrates me is the focal length. I'm not a wide angle guy and I consider a 35mm eq lens to be a compromise that I have to make. A lens closer to 50mm eq would be ideal, but we don't really get to see them.

I know that this length does not make for a smaller camera, but I would rather have longer lens on a carry around.

I don't understand all of this fuss. Nobody that I've heard of has has the the A in their hands. So there are pictures of it, sample images from Nikon, and specs. Yet the camera is being 'reviewed' on the blogs and forums. I see reference to high quality images, good handling, and high ISO. How do you know? Nikon may make great SLRs but they have hardly ever made good compact cameras. In fact, I heard (with no evidence) that almost all Nikon compacts are not made by Nikon.

I'm sure that by next week we will have 'deep discussions' on the Coolpix B.

My comments apply to all camera manufacturers. They announce cameras before they are ready to produce them to stop their fans from buying other brands, a disgusting but widely used marketing tool. Why should their be updates for cameras within a couple of weeks after their appearance, including cameras costings thousands. No manufacturer (including high holy Leica which I used for decades) takes real pride in their workmanship any more.

If I am serious about a new camera I will wait a month or two after it is available to find out about possible problems.

I would sell everything I have in digital for the following camera with integrated lens:

Good metal body with more buttons and features that emulate film, like a shutter speed dial. Manual exposure settings with easy +/- exposure dial. Color dial too.

Integrated sharp lens in the 35mm equivalent of 28mm to 35mm on the low end, 85mm on the high end, f/2.8 to f/4.5 for the widest f/stops. I do literally 99% of my professional work in the 35mm-85mm range. Close focusing built in the the lens system, but 2 feet or so on the long end is fine, doesn't need to be macro. More important to make it close focusing and dead sharp than wider than 35mm. Ditto for longer than 85mm, who cares! Shorter than 85mm is no good. Every one that says 70/75mm is a portrait lens is wrong, and having a lens that goes to 120mm/140mm is useless, I never use anything between 85 and 200, and everything over 200 for "effect" only. Get it down to 35-85, and I bet you can make it "killer" sharp!

Imaging chip in the 4/3rd's to APS-C range somewhere. 16 megapixel is fine.

Standard hot shoe plus PC connector.

Multiple formats, like M4/3rd's: 16:9, 4:3, 3:2, and 1:1.

Electronic eye-level viewfinder about 2 megapixel or better, back screen 1 megapixel or better, doesn't even need to be articulated, as far as I'm concerned.

The Canon GX1 came close, or so close, the G15 is close too, but the eye-level finders are useless.

You could go around the world professionally with a camera like this....

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