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Tuesday, 05 March 2013


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I'd say the "competiton" is the Sigma DP-1 Merrill, just about the same specs at the same price point except for a sensor that's in a completely different universe.

Maybe it's just that I'm financially challenged or too new to photography... but $1,100? Hey I'm all for paying for quality even for a decent pocket/glove box camera and a DX sensor in something this size is a fantastic idea. Seems like a natural.

But is it really $700 better than a now deeply discounted Canon S110 (or a plethora of similar cameras) as a walk around portable? Even if I had the coin to play around with I'd argue not.

Thom Hogan's take (http://bythom.com/): "... no VR, no retro styling ala the Fujifilm X100, no phase detect AF, no commander mode on the flash, the small capacity of the EN-EL20 battery (230 shots CIPA), the lack of an optical viewfinder (though it's an expensive option ...), and the hybrid DSLR/Coolpix control system."

Nikon's lack of technical aggressiveness compared to Sony is striking, especially when you consider that cameras are now Nikon's main business. For every one of their major competitors, it's just a sideline.

This camera really surprised me - the last Nikon compact I remember liking was the 35Ti, and that's been awhile. I don't normally get excited about new cameras, I only bought my GRD4 because my GRD2 died and I just this week bought a new battery for my ancient Nikon D1x, but I'll be keeping my eye on this one. It seems to check a lot of boxes, at least for me:

  • Might actually fit in my jeans pocket
  • 28mm-E (great if you like 28mm)
  • 16MP (just about right in my opinion)
  • No AA filter
  • built-in flash plus works with speedlights
  • Hot shoe centered over the lens

Assuming no fatal flaws show up when it actually becomes available this thing could be real trouble for the Ricoh GRD5. That can't have been the niche Nikon was looking at can it?

Why won't anybody put a 50mm equivalent lens on one of these big sensor, prime lens compacts?? I think I would buy one if the image quality was as good as my K-01. A 50 mm Macro-capable f/2.0 lens would hit the spot for me.

What ever happened to active autofocus systems ?
It would make so much more sense for these fixed lens compacts.

The turnoff for me is you can't attach filters.

[Terry, From what I hear, you will be able to. What looks like a control ring is actually a screw cap that can be removed so a filter holder can be added. —Mike]

Is this supposed to be Nikon's answer to the wide DX prime question?

I think the design is great (body and the UI). I can personally attest to the pixie-dust awesomeness of that Sony 16-MP sensor, having used it in the D7000 & NEX-5N.

1. I wonder why the choice of 28mm-e for a "one focal length"? I am one of those folks weaned on the "normal" lens. Maybe a 45mm or 50mm-equivalent lens could have been faster than f/2.8, too.

2. Exactly how is this superior to my NEX-5N + Sigma 30/2.8 setup? They are alike in CDAF, full manual control, no viewfinder. I can live with the larger size for half the price and 60p video to boot.

But yes, way to go Nikon; and when they come up with a zoom-lens version with that DX sensor, I will be lining up with my money :-)

It seems to me these are direct competitors to the Sigma DP1 & DP2, and the Ricoh GRIII (although the Ricoh does not have a large sensor).

Those are all rather niche-oriented cameras, but maybe it's a growing niche. Witness the Canon G1X.

Very high resolution sensors married to fixed focal length high quality wide angle lenses for around $1000. Seems to be a trend. A bit too late for me; I was dying for such a beast about four years ago but I've since moved on. (Although the Coolpix A with that optical viewfinder might bring me back...)

Remember a few years back when the "DMD" was something that you could only hope would come true in your wildest dreams?

So for dinosaurs like me, the total cost becomes at least $1,500 because I won't buy a camera I can't raise to my eye to frame a photograph.

The slower lens handicaps the sensor, the sensor can't compensate for light it never receives. So I don't accept f 2.8 is the new f 2. Because shot noise is sensor independent, lower sensor read noise is not a complete solution. Nothing beats collecting more light because the shot noise depends on the square root of the light amplitude. This becomes most important for shadow integrity.

This doesn't imply the sensor is inferior. Nor do I think the lens-sensor combination is undesirable. In fact I expect the sensor to be great. I wonder if this sensor is ISOless like the D7000's. This would be convenient for NEF shooters because they would never have to change ISO.

The focal length choice is interesting. I would enjoy hearing the inside discussions about this decision. All in all this camera seems to bring a useful option to photographers who value mobility. It will be easier to pocket than it's competitors and it offers a unique angle of view. I suspect photographers who want a camera they can slip into their pocket will not care one bit about the slower lens speed. I have read arguments that this lens' angle of view with this sensor is closer to human vision than the narrower result from a 35 mm lens with the same sensor area.

I can't wait to see the next series of Aston Kutcher ads.

I have to say that I really do like the styling of the camera a lot. It's clean and purposeful, very cool.

The price, however, is quite a bit too high. If it had a built-in viewfinder, maybe. But without it, I can't see this being a very hot seller for Nikon.

I'll stick with my X-100 and X-e1, and I'm a Nikon user. This camera doesn't seem to know where it belongs, seemingly no viewfinder unless you buy the ($$)optional optical. 230 photos per battery charge, and no photo aspect alterations.

Close but no cigar, it's an 1100 dollar camera that's gonna be a lint, crumb and pocket dust collector after a couple of months. I'm using my Canon s90 for that with fantastic results and for the price I got it for it rules and is a worthy sacrifice to the pocket hazards. Jeez, $1,100 clams?

Looks a Nikon GRD! Ups the ante for the Ricoh GRD5.

Wait a sec... according to DPReview that optical viewfinder will cost (wait for it...) "about $450."

$450! For the viewfinder! NO SALE.

Nice stats- but for that price, someone coulda/shoulda styled it beyond a box.

This new camera is confusing. On the one hand it seems to sit in the same space as the 1 series, except the focus won't be as good.

On the other hand, it seems to be trying to get into the premium large sensor pocket camera space, for which it's a few years too late and nowhere near as nice as the competition.

I see this being available at 1/3rd the price in a year, similar to what happened to the V1 camera kits.


Since Thom did of course beat me to the AF comment, I can only add: Wee bairn? Been reading Welsh lately?

First the vI with a point and shoot sensor, now a point and shoot with an APS-C sensor?

No, I will not buy another Nikon product until I see strong evidence they are not making fun of us- well, maybe when they are available at fire sale prices four months from.now. Just before A2 is introduced.

This is exactly the sort of camera I jump for, except I made the move a few days ago to the Sigma DP1 Merrill. Why? Because 28mm-E is my go-to focal length for landscape and because there are darn few good (affordable, reasonably sized, optically excellent) lens choices in that focal length matched to a state-of-the-art APS sensor.

I'm almost offended by the A. To me, it feels lazy and somewhat begrudged.

Nikon's slogan for the A should read, "The new Coolpix A: well, there you go. Don't say we never did nothing for ya."

I'm a Nikon user, so I've paid for the privilege to whine.

Too little too late....

Two years ago I'd have been a little excited, perhaps a lot even, if it has excellent all-around performance. Today, it seems very much a me-too camera aimed squarely at the Nikon faithful. It's hard to envision it pulling many new, well-heeled customers into the Nikon fold, as the advanced compact field is chockfull of excellent contenders. Then too, there's µ4/3 and NEX.

Seems about as daring as the Eos M, which is to say not so much.


> In fairness, that combination (Fuji XE1 + 18mm f/2) is $500 more expensive.

Not after you factor in the Coolpix A's add-on viewfinder. Speaking of which, is the DF-CP1 likely to be that much better, than, say a $210 CV 28-mm-e finder, or is this a silly, semi-arbitrary premium price like that of the V1 grip that originally came out at $120.

Not to dicker, but your B&H link to the XE-1 includes a lens bundle discount so the XE-1 with the 18/2 lens would be $1300, $200 more than the Nikon A. I'm pretty sure I'd pony up the extra theoretical $200.

[Thanks GRJ. Fixed now. --Mike]

Re: how few lenses there are for NEX, I didn't realize they had a lens yet. I thought it was just an amazing sensor tucked away somewhere. News to me.

Nikon doesn't have the resources to develop such a camera and didn't do any R&D to make this camera special. Unless someone can prove to me otherwise, this is the same modified Sony "part" made for Pentax K-01 and Leica X2, with a Coolpix wrapper.

The Pentax version was $399 and I believe they were still making a profit.

We don't have to take the price of the viewfinder seriously since there is an alternative from Voigtlander for less than 200 Euro

No viewfinder.  No lens options.  No styling cachet.  For that kind of coin.

Wow, I'll bet that Nikon will eventually sell hundreds of these.   Hundreds, I tell you!

"Nice stats- but for that price, someone coulda/shoulda styled it beyond a box."

The styling is the best thing about it, not one of those soap bar cameras. I LIKE corners and edges on my cameras.

And that Hulcher was pretty expensive in its day

Sid Lissner: "Nikon has made an APS-C version of a Ricoh GR-D IV."

In some sensese (pockatable, no EVF, optical VF) but without the UI features that make the GRD unique (snap focus? assisted autofocus?).

The GRD V will be out later in the year (if they stick to their 2 year cycle). Will it have type 1/1.7" or type 1" or APS-C sensor? Hmmm.

Manuel: "Same focal length, same aperture, same sensor area, same compact body. Why Nikon felt the need to compete against the Sigma model is something that escapes me"

Good high ISO performance and support in most major post-processing apps? Ouch! :-)

We already know how this camera will perform as it's most likley the same Sony sensor as in the D7000, D5100, Pentax K01, K5 and the Fuji X-Pro1 (different CFA but the same sensor). DxOmarks have already been done.

Seriously though Nikon make cameras to make money (we think). Even the derided Nikon 1 is the best seller in Japan. I could see this camera being "big in Japan" too.

There are rumors that Olympus might have a similar sort of camera later in the year (not the E-P5 or the next OMD).

I though they might do this with a type 1 inch CX sensor from the Nikon 1 with PDAF for much faster focus to compete with the RX100 at the RX100 price point. Or the CX sensor with a fixed 28mm f/1.8 prime lens for GRD fans. They're both believable as Coolpix cameras in the $600 price range (still too expensive though) but a $1.1K Coolpix?

Why 28mm eq? It's "big in Japan" too and general purpose so you can crop to zoom -- 16Mpx at 28mm or 13Mpx at 35mm or 11Mpx at 42mm ("normal") for those who are not card-carrying Pixel Conservancy members.

It's a very odd camera that reminds me of the Nikon 28ti (even that primary dial in the top righ corner on both ... there are definite design hints from the 28ti to the A). It was an expensive pocket sized compact from Nikon. They have history!


We have a (Cockney) expression here in England : "they're 'avin a larff, in't they?"

Nice Nikon! Small camera BIG sensor. 2,8 is OK I think. Do you remember film?

Nikon appear to be very concerned about their DSLR range and any camera that might affect sales of their high end products. Nikon keep producing cameras that they don't want to sell. It's beyond me why anyone would possibly buy this camera. It offers significantly less than the competition for more money.

As a Nikon user, I am really hard to understand what Nikon was/is thinking when creating these compact camera systems. I got a Nikon 1 V1 with a 18.5mm lens and am conservatively happy in waiting for Nikon to get something right out.

What an odd duck. The price point and fixed lens take it quickly out of the realm of the casual shooter and into the pro/serious amateur zone, at least as a second camera. But it's still called a Coolpix, a mistake, I think, as it implies something downmarket. On the other hand, the 2.8 lens and minimal controls on the top panel would seem to be a turnoff to a serious shooter.

I'm surprised it's either all back or all silver. I guess Nikon didn't get the memo that black bodies with silver trim are hot right now. Not that that has anything to do with image quality, which may well be boffo, but it would generate way more buzz if it at least appeared to be somewhat retro.

Oh look they invented a digital 28Ti. About...2 years too late.

I'm still in love with my x100, and dream of an x100s, but you have to admit, that if this is a bad/boring camera, then we are spoiled for choice nowadays. A fantastic sensor, made even shared with lack of AA filter, tiny size and hopefully a decent lens? The price stinks but if the camera flops then that will address itself. And if it does flop, man, what a great camera for IR conversion!:)

Re: Coolpix A vs. DPX Merrills vs. RX100 vs. GRD4[5]

This doesn't make me regret buying the GRD4 right now (instead of waiting for the GRD5).

Among fixed lens compacts: the Sigmas stand out for their IQ, the RX100 for its IQ and compactness, the Ricoh for its low light and stealth shooting capability (of which more below). The Nikon, on paper, doesn't stand out for anything. It certainly is an outlier in terms of price.

The GRD4, in addition to its fast F/2 (F/1.9) lens, is capable of long exposures and time-lapse shooting. Although other compacts have bulb and time shutter speed settings, only the GRD4 has a composite time-lapse ("interval-composite") mode which extends exposure time virtually indefinitely. Never had to shoot beyond ISO 400.

The GRD4 also has a class leading LCD resolution (similar to the RX100 and the NEX's), image stabilization, hybrid autofocus. These make up for its modest resolution (10MP) and small sensor (1/1.7"). Ultimately though, I chose the GRD4 for its unique UI for which there's no competition, except from its big brother, the GXR. (When I've mastered this, it can be a mean street shooting machine, as touted.)

My wish for the GRD5 is that it will come equipped with a larger, higher resolution sensor (the RX100's 1-in. sensor will do nicely) for better IQ at a price point of <=800 USD. Most everything else can remain the same. As it is, the GRD4's IQ is good enough for monitor viewing and small prints (up to 9 X 12 at 300dpi). (I have GRD4 sample photos in my blog.)

I'd love to chuck in the Coolpix A's OVF, with its built-in diopter, in my GRD4 if its price (less than 200 shy of the GRD4's current price!) was much lower.

GRD4 User

Yawn. That's one of the most unimaginitive cameras I've seen in a long time. Why anyone would buy this instead of the way cool X100s, or even the X20, is completely beyond me.

What was Nkon thinking?

Oh, wait, they weren't.

Used X100's are now selling for $700, so there's really no need to part with another $400 here. And are they allergic to viewfinders in Japan now or what? I'll let you know when I'm interested in paying the price of an entry level DSLR just for an optical finder. Now with parallax!

Nope. Too wide. Look at that first sample image. Put a 50 on it and I'm in. Or not. Got a Fuji X20 coming.


Carsten said

> Wee bairn? Been reading Welsh lately?

Sorry, can't resist. Try the Scots Wikipedia.


I think the Welsh might be "plentyn bach," but I wouldn't really know, as my exposure is limited to Sam Tân (Fireman Sam) :-)


Take care.

Too bad it comes with a lens instead of an f-mount.

could have been worse. at least it wasn't like the canon g1x.

I wonder who this is aimed at in Japan too. Most guys I knew who were interested in the V1 series were interested in it because they could use their Nikon lenses if they wanted too. Those seriously into street photography seem to lean strongly toward the Fuji X series, Ricoh, Olympus m43, an occasional Sony NEX (seems somewhat popular with female enthusiasts) or even go full loony with a Leica M9. Of course, I don't know enough people to make anything other that a wild guess. Still, I wonder who will buy that camera at that price as it has neither the romance nor the performance of other cameras it is challenging. And not to be sexist, but most of the Japanese women I know would not chose this one for looks or convenience.

Perhaps Nikon knows something we don't. Or perhaps we'll be able to pick one up for cheap in a few months if for some reason we decide we need another slow-focusing camera.

You said it yourself: what this camera comes closest to is the Leica X2 (although lacking the X2's EVF interface, the X1 as well).

If it performs well, on par with the Leica X2, then it's a bargain. Can't tell you how much photography I've done with the X2 in the scant seven months I've owned it.

If it had an integral viewfinder instead of a $450 add on, it would be better.

Eh, how uncool do you wanna make a camera look? A 1000 $ camera that looks like a 1970 Revenuon compact....did Nikon layoff there design department....and replace it with a bunch of toddlers.

Greets, Ed

WOW, this camera is getting a wazoo rip job in the comment closet.

What if it turns out to be great like Tony the tiger? Im gonna feel stupid cause I participated.

Interesting and also testament to the fact that people come out in droves when your posts are equipment driven. Toss up some very interesting quizzes about style, quality/quantity of work/greatest hits and folks start snorting out zzzz's and go over to DPreview to get their jones on. Although I didn't get any answers correct on the quizzes, It made me think quite a bit about what it is that I do every single day.

I lobby for the deep shit most of the time and avoid the equipment chatter. What you do here in that regard is very hard to find on the internet in the form of fresh and thoughtful content on a daily basis.

Let the wazoo proceed. As you were, gentlepeople.

Just more evidence that Nikon's rudderless. Instead of a NEX-beating MILC, we get this. The same $ buys a D7000+35/1.8G; with the obscenely-priced viewfinder,the same $ you can get a D7100+35/1.8G next week. An 1100 buck Coolpix isn't a plan, Nikon.

With all the sniping at Nikon, I doubt anyone really cares, but:

"By the way, that's not a control ring around the lens."

According to DPReview, yes it is. I quote: "The Coolpix A has a dedicated manual focus ring, which can be used to override autofocus at any time. In front of it is a slim screw-off ring that covers a thread which can be used to mount an (optional) adaptor, to allow the use of 46mm filters or the HN-CP18 hood."

See http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-coolpix-a.

APS-C sensor in a compact camera, with a 28mm (equivalent) lens? It's been done before, and done well, by Ricoh with their GXR camera body, fitted with the 28mm f/2.5 lens module. Okay, it was a 12-MP sensor, but still a fine camera. Optional EVF too... with features that Nikon seem unwilling to give us, such as live histogram, and/or highlight/shadow "blinkies." Configurability? Nothing comes close to the Ricohs for photographer-centric controls.

Nikon certainly are treading carefully. Overly so, in the opinion of this Nikon DSLR shooter. The now reasonably priced Nikon 1 V1 is more appealing than this, to me. Then again Fuji, and Sony's offerings with EVF are much more tempting in the mirrorless market.

For the money their asking, I'd take a D7100 any day. Heck it doesn't even look appealing!

Looking forward to seeing what Ricoh come out with next...

There are people who prefer retro, but there are many who prefer modern style (as proven by NEX). The modern style looks good and allows you to disappear as a photographer and just shoot.

Not many people have mentioned this, and I am sure Nikon had to make many compromises for this reason, but this is the only camera with DSLR sized sensors (including m4/3) that is pocketable.

If this camera can match the IQ of Pentax K-5 IIs, it will a big winner, probably giving RX-1 a run for its money.

If you think it's expensive in the States, it's just under 50% more in the UK.

Pity, I think it's an interesting camera but not at that price.

FWIW, the two sample photos accompanying this post do not look like they came from a 19mm/28mm-e lens. The subjects are in the foreground with little geometric/perspective indicators of the wideness of the lens' angle of view. I could easily be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time since lunch.

That said, it seems like a nice enough camera for someone, but not me. That is not a value judgment of the camera.

Patrick Perez

I'm sure I won't be buying one but I'd sure pick one over the Hasselbad Lunar.

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