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Monday, 12 August 2013


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The Ricoh GR happened.

I was really excited about this camera when it came out. However, I'm not a 28mm (equiv) guy and was concerned about spending this kind of money on a focal length I'm not sure will work for me.

By all accounts, the Ricoh GR does just about everything better for less money. You do need to hold a Coolpix A to appreciate the build quality (it is very nice) but Nikon needs to drop the price.

If it had a 35mm (equiv) lens I would have bought one already.

With the 28mm I need it to come to $800.00. Then I'm probably reaching for my wallet.

Although both cameras are small, they aren't as small as I would have liked.

The big question is why isn't Olympus mixing it up with this lot?

I suspect the near simultaneous release of the similarly spec'ced Ricoh GR, At $300 less and with better reviews, stole a lot of the Nikon's thunder.

This is not a particularly original analysis as this has been discussed elsewhere, but it seems pretty clear that that Ricoh GR comprehensively stole the Coolpix A's thunder. Cheaper, better lens, basically the same size and image quality, friendlier interface, no nonsense operation and significantly cheaper.

The reasons to choose the Coolpix A evaporated in the face of (arguably) superior competition.

Hi Mike,
Been a long time reader of your site here (great job BTW!).
I think this is typical of the 'Big' camera manufacturers' take on the non-DSLR market and their attempted protection of that market.
CaNikon have not done much more than dipping their toes in the waters of this market, big mistake!
Fuji, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus etc., are *the* names in this market now, and rightfully so as they dived in with intent on making something new. Of course those companies didn't have much in the way of SLR baggage, but I still admire their commitment to breaking with the legacy of the older mechanical camera models.

By all accounts the Coolpix (and what a horrific name!) is a pretty spectacular camera for image quality and all in a super compact body, Ming Thein did a great review of it some while ago. But it certainly didn't get the star treatment from Nikon's advertising budget. Overpriced too, for what it is - there's stiff competition in the marketplace for this type of camera (or at least what most people assume is this type of camera).

I'm one of the many photographers who have now dropped their Nikon SLR kit for a mirrorless camera, Sony Nex-7 in my case.
I'm delighted by the super-compact kit I can now carry with me nearly everywhere and still capture shockingly good high-res images.
This alone has done more to improve the quantity and quality of my photography more than any other kit I've bought.

Buy hey, what do I know - I only *buy* cameras! ツ

As Paddy asks, why the heck hasn't Olympus and Panasonic made a m43 compact yet? No doubt the high quality compacts have been the most spoken about cameras lately.

yep, I agree with Paddy C.

I am waiting for Olympus with a 35mm-40mm equiv. large sensor pocket camera, as a kind of spiritual successor of the classic Mju II, XA, 35RC models!

While I do have a Olympus Pen (E-PL2) I would rather like to have a fixed lens compact with similar performance!

Perhaps Samsung will come up with a fixed lens large sensor compact (to complement the NX300)?

Both this and the Ricoh are saddled with non-interchangeable lenses at f/2.8, which pretty much drops them from any kind of "premium" level consideration.

A price thing I would guess. The Ricoh has same image quality and lens quality as the Coolpix A but is $300 cheaper.

However, I have an A and have shot the sox off of it since spring. I absolutely love it. I thought the fixed lens would bother me, but it mostly doesn't.

I think there could really be something very, very good in a move to these high quality, small bodied, large sensor, fixed lens cameras. I could carry 3 or 4 of them easily in place of one Big Dragoon with its various Big Lump lenses. And would prefer 3 or 4 of them even over the smaller mirrorless bodies because there would be no lens changing. So I for one hope Nikon brings out some follow-ups in different focal lengths -- and much lower prices.

The Olympus E-PL5 and Panasonic GF6 are already very compact bodies.

What's need to complete a comparable or better M43 body is a smaller lens that collapsed into the camera body and doesn't protrude a great deal when collapsed.

None of the current M43 lenses can do that and this seems like a better use of limited R&D budgets. Done this way, it's not necessary to completely redesign a camera body and lens, plus you'll still have the ability to use other lenses when desired.

I purchased the "A" and, quite frankly, have found it to be the ingredient needed to become a more active photography enthusiast. I chose the "A" over the GR primarilly because it just felt more solid in hand- Japan vs. China manufacture. Additonally, I have always been amazed at Nikon's mastery of color red.

There is no question the GR gets better, MUCH BETTER, reviews on the web. I am not qualified to rebutt numerous statements applauding the "advanced customizeability" of the GR but can say, personally, I found the GR menu and controls to be more of a confounding maze than a feature to be prized. The Nikon "A" is pretty simple and straight forward when it comes to menus and controls.

On build Quality: I dropped it approximately three feet onto a concrete floor at Great American Ballpark; aside from a few scratches, no damage....One problems associated with the "large sensor compact" concept is that you wind up treating it like a compact, e.g. forget about the fact that it is sitting in your lap when you get up to cheer the team.

One area where I found the A to be vastly superior to the GR in implementation of manual focus. I have no regrets, if I had to make the choice again, I would go with the Nikon again.

We told you at the time, "Nikon will sell hundreds of 'em, I tell ya, hundreds..."

And we were right...

Bottom line is that Nikon and Canon are still virtually clueless about the "large sensor/compact/mirrorless" market.

A classic example of Clayton Christensen's model of the disruptive innovation being disregarded by the dominant incumbent (re: "The Innovator's Dilemma").

I don't know that this might be part of it, but paying somewhat more then a thousand dollars for something called a "Coolpix", doesn't seem quite right either.

Instead of spending three hundred dollars less, I just spent three hundred dollars and bought the EOS-M with 22mm F2 lens, now that is a disruptive camera.
I find that it is best used on a tripod, but still works hand held, a bit fumbly but the image quality is excellent.
I find that using a balky camera can be good therapy for an overly fast finger, stop and focus on the roses.

I think it's as simple as the price being too high. I used it briefly and found it to be an outstanding camera - truly pocketable. Fantastic image quality, and fun to shoot with. But ultimately just a little overpriced.

We're in the midst of doing the final pass of a comparison of the X100S, the A, and the GR (part I is already up on the site - click on my name), but I do think the A's lens could well be the best of the lot. If not, at least as good as the GR.

Thing is, the GR is cheaper, much nicer to use, and well, cheaper. Price has a big part to play in this current economic situation, I think.

Oh, and Nikon being Nikon. Somehow I wonder if their strategic management is a little lost beyond DSLRs.

I considered the Coolpix A, but I'm not really a 28mm equivalent fan for general shooting, preferring a 35mm equivalent. I went the Canon EOS M route. Less than 1/3 the price of the Coolpix for body, 22mm lens, lens hood, two spare batteries (aftermarket), and speedlite. And, if I get bored with the 22mm, I can adapt other lenses. I'm happy with the IQ from the Canon, but not having used the Coolpix I can't compare. I find the M gives me files that I can easily convert to B&W, and that's enough.

I'm still waiting for the price drop - at the current price, it should have both the the AF from the Nikon 1 and flash commander abilities. But as a nikon shooter I'd love to have less menu conflicts, and while I love my X100, something truely pocketable would be SOOOOOO nice with two kiddos to shuffle.

I think the other trump card that the GR has is it's 35mm mode which I believe still gives you a 10mp file.

Regarding Olympus, I can't see them making an APS-C compact as it would highlight the fact that the sensor in their (overpriced) M4/3 range is somewhat smaller...

The same thing that happened to the EOS M, happened to the Coolpix A: too expensive, especially in the current economy. One year from now, if it drops significantly in price (like the EOS M), it will probably sell very well. After all, it is a great little camera.

I can only echo the sentiments of other comments. An Olympus Trip-D would be great. Olympus or Panasonic could even do a very competitive take on the Leica X Vario concept (and likely provide a faster lens, in a body of the same size, thanks to the Four Thirds sensor).

Haven't seen one on the shelf yet here in Australia - and 1's are getting rather rare too. Nikon is going to have to try harder ( or at least sell these particular cameras a lot cheaper).

Nikon just doesn't get the MILC form factor. Judging from their financials,it doesn't stop there. Noticed recently that my local Costco slashed their selection of p&s cameras,and not a few were Coolpix models. Why? The residual market for these just keeps shrinking as smartphones take their place.

The Coolpix A reminds me of Nikon's premium-priced dust-catcher 35mm p&s models.

Regarding Canikon cluelessness with premium compacts -- didn't the Canon S90 (or maybe something earlier from Canon, I realize I'm un-dating myself here...) generate the idea of a capable compact camera? I realize it's not in the same league with A,GR,RX1(00), etc., but the S90 is the modern generator of that segment. For me, it may as well have been a fixed 28mm-equivalent lens, since that's all I shot it with.

Nikon A is too expensive, though -- I've moved on the Oly m4/3...

It might also be that after their traumatic experience with the Nikon 1 series (misjudging the market, overpricing, overproduction, then drastically dropping the price to blow out over-inventory), Nikon has put a screeching halt on production. Even so, it's still likely that the price will drop, though not as much as with the Nikon V1. The holiday sales aren't that far away. Anyone who's interested in one can afford to wait a while.

Very simply, we know Nikon by now.

I actually liked the P7100 very much. Paid almost $500 new. Within a year, year and a half, I paid $235 for a refurb like-new one.

Paid, I don't know, $800+ for a new V1 body. Within a year and a half, I bought a white one plus a lens for $225 new.

These cameras were widely derided when they came out, yet early adapters defied the crowds and started buying them anyway. Nikon threw the early adapters under the bus, not making any attempt to protect their investment.

Sure, high tech prices fall, but not like Nikon little camera prices.

Nikon taught us to be patient and black friday will reward us. The patient are rewarded in spite of arrogant rollout pricing choices.

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