Nikon COOLPIX A Black & Silver In Stock at B&H

retow

All-Pro
If it had he V1`s AF speed I`d be all over this since it would be the ultimate street camera. Assuming the first comments about AF are accurate, it looks just like another promising large sensor compact requiring ZF as the workaround to get the street shot. Will be interesting what Ray has to say about the shutter lag in real life use. I hope at least this one will be close to "none".
 

Ray Sachs

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A not so stellar commentary about the Nikon A's AF abilities.

Nikon Coolpix A: The first sample images - Pocket-lint

Seems to be a common finding - it's sort of OK but not up to the best of current standards. Not an issue for me at this focal length - I bet it's a whole lot faster than the GXR. And when I'm shooting moving subjects at this length it's almost never with AF. But I 'spect I'll know soon enough.

-Ray
 

Ray Sachs

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you should be able to figure it out...
If it had he V1`s AF speed I`d be all over this since it would be the ultimate street camera. Assuming the first comments about AF are accurate, it looks just like another promising large sensor compact requiring ZF as the workaround to get the street shot. Will be interesting what Ray has to say about the shutter lag in real life use. I hope at least this one will be close to "none".
For some of us, ZF isn't the workaround, it's the preferred method! :cool: I use ZF with my OMD and 12mm and its not due to any lack of auto focus speed! But, yes, any discernible shutter lag in manual focus mode would be a deal breaker, so I'll let you know.

-Ray
 

Ray Sachs

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OK, very very very first initial impressions. I'll do a separate thread once I've had a chance to actually shoot with it, but I've been playing around with the setup and I think I'm gonna like it as a quick little shooter. First, its small, easily pocketable, but not tiny. Solid feeling but not heavy. About the size of the LX7 with almost no lens protrusion. A good deal smaller than the GXR with the 28mm module. And a WHOLE lot smaller than the X-Pro with the 18mm. Here's a quick pic between the LX7 and the GXR:

View attachment 66904
Coolpix A size comp-2 by ramboorider1, on Flickr

Despite the lack of any real grip, it feels pretty good in the hand, maybe because its small enough not to need much of a grip. The little raised leatherette "ridge" thing on the front is actually really helpful and gives a nice anchor for your finger(s). The buttons are standard size, plenty big. Two control dials except the one around the OK button doesn't do much in most modes. The business end of the camera is the thumb dial on the top just behind and to the right of the shutter button. The auto-ISO implementation seems to be all I'd ever ask for. You can use it aperture priority and set both the max ISO (anywhere in the range) and minimum shutter speeds up to 1/1000! It also appears to work great in manual mode with the exposure comp adjustment still active. But with such flexibility in the minimum shutter speed, I doubt I'd find much reason to use this in manual mode. But the option is there.

The AF is plenty fast. I'm not sure what folks are complaining about. At least as fast as any Fuji before the X100s. Waaaaay faster than the Ricoh GXR. Not as fast as the OMD, but I can't ever see it being a problem. No problems in the relatively low light of my office, seems ok in the lowest light I can find, but in really low light, it'll hunt if there's no contrast. Edge of a wall, no problem - dark fabric, problem. A good solid little AF / macro / MF switch on the side of the camera. The manual focus distance is not sticky either when switching between AF and MF or when turning the camera off or on. So that's a strike against it. But, the focus ring works very well with the reasonably detailed distance scale along the side of the screen, so working with this in zone focus should be a very pleasant shooting experience. It won't be as quick as the Ricoh or the LX7 in switching around between focus modes a lot though, but still relatively high marks for the easy of scale or zone focus. On par with the X-Pro I'd say. One slight oddity, the exposure compensation setting isn't displayed anywhere on the screen no matter how much or how little information you choose to have up. It shows up when you press the exposure comp button and then you can adjust it with the thumb dial, but you have to press the button to remind yourself where you are. Since the button is on the left side of the camera, this becomes a two handed operation anytime you want to check or adjust exposure comp. BUT, the easy workaround for me is to program the fn1 button (located on the front, right about where my ring finger lives) to also show exposure comp. Which, with one handed operation (which this camera feel like it was made for), I can hit that button to instantly check exposure comp and adjust it with the thumb dial if needed. It feels like it'll be second nature very quickly. There are a couple of fn buttons and not many functions I see needing quite that instantly (other than exposure comp and, if I'm not using auto-ISO, ISO), so it should be plenty. And there's an "I" button that pulls up the moral equivalent of what the "Q" button does on the Fuji or the Super Control Panel on the Oly cameras. So very easy to get at the full list of key settings.

So I'm initially favorably impressed with the setup and the feel of the controls. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to happily shoot with this camera. The auto-ISO looks like one of the best implementations I've seen, up there with the RX1 - I think this is gonna have to become a baseline expectation soon as these cameras with all sorts of ISO range continue to evolve. So, I'll do some shooting in the next few days, hopefully with this and the RX1, and do a bit more of a post... Unfortunately, Lightroom doesn't support these raw files yet, so I'm gonna have to be shooting jpegs for a while and won't be able to do the head to head I'd hoped to with the GXR and the X-Pro with the 18mm. I've set the jpeg NR to "off" but we never really know whether that really means off anymore or not.

-Ray
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Thanks Ray! As you may have surmised, this camera is VERY interesting to me. The size comparison is very helpful, and thanks for the initial comments. It looks nice and compact and makes the GXR look chunky in contrast. It looks like a serious camera - a serious compact :) I do have one question if you know the answer offhand - what is the minimum focus distance of the A? I am spoiled by the macro ability on the GRD4 and often use it.

I just sold two Leica lenses as I move away from the GXR Mount and I'm about to sell the X100. Making room for a more serious 28mm camera this year than the GRD4 (although that camera will never leave me!). With the A out in the wild the pressure is on Ricoh to enhance the GRD. So many Ricoh rumors these days, but I heard one over the weekend that Ricoh is dropping all cameras except for the GRD. In truth, I assume that has already happened - GXR stalled, PX seemingly gone, CX distribution is decreasing.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to your comments on the A. Thank you for making the effort to post your thoughts. I was also wondering how you became a B&H reviewer; is that through the Serious Compacts relationship? Not looking to become one myself; just curious how it works.

Also, what straps are those - Gordy's? I recently dropped a GRD4 causing its demise, so going forward I'm looking at straps.

Thanks!
 

Ray Sachs

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you should be able to figure it out...
Thanks Ray! As you may have surmised, this camera is VERY interesting to me. The size comparison is very helpful, and thanks for the initial comments. It looks nice and compact and makes the GXR look chunky in contrast. It looks like a serious camera - a serious compact :) I do have one question if you know the answer offhand - what is the minimum focus distance of the A? I am spoiled by the macro ability on the GRD4 and often use it.

I just sold two Leica lenses as I move away from the GXR Mount and I'm about to sell the X100. Making room for a more serious 28mm camera this year than the GRD4 (although that camera will never leave me!). With the A out in the wild the pressure is on Ricoh to enhance the GRD. So many Ricoh rumors these days, but I heard one over the weekend that Ricoh is dropping all cameras except for the GRD. In truth, I assume that has already happened - GXR stalled, PX seemingly gone, CX distribution is decreasing.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to your comments on the A. Thank you for making the effort to post your thoughts. I was also wondering how you became a B&H reviewer; is that through the Serious Compacts relationship? Not looking to become one myself; just curious how it works.

Also, what straps are those - Gordy's? I recently dropped a GRD4 causing its demise, so going forward I'm looking at straps.

Thanks!

Andrew, the minimum focus distance appears to be about 4" in macro mode. Its nothing like the GRD or LX7 or any of the small sensor compacts, but not bad. But, no, its not like the GRD where you have to be careful not to hit the object you're trying to focus on with the lens!

I haven't been waiting around for Ricoh - my question was just whether this would offer enough advantages over the GXR to justify replacing it (since I only use it as a fixed lens camera with the 28 anyway). So far, the size is compelling and the controls seem quite good but not as good as the GXR. Good enough? I won't know until I get out there and shoot with it a while. And then image quality, particularly at high ISO, will be a biggie. My guess is it'll be notably better, but I don't know yet. That matters to me even for marginal light, not just really low light. Having a usable ISO 6400 or beyond opens up some really good zone focus opportunities in marginal light that just aren't there with 1600 or even 3200. So, I'll have to see on that one.

One more little niggle that I haven't solved yet. There's a little question mark button on the bottom left of the camera back that doubles as a de-magnifier button, depending on mode. So I'm shooting in relatively low light, but well within the capabilities of the settings I've selected, and a little yellow question mark is flashing at me on the screen. To see what it means, I have to push the little button. At which point a little though bubble comes up on the screen (I think, I don't think its just happening in my head!) that says "lighting is poor, flash recommended". OK, I know the lighting, I'm using settings designed to cope with it. Please shut up little flashing question mark. I'm trying to figure out where I can turn that little SOB off before I jam an ice pick into the LCD (which would obviously be a bad and expensive idea). There MUST be a way, but I'll be damned if I can find it in the menus anywhere. In due time, in due time.

The straps are Luigis. Not as strong as Gordy's but strong enough and a lot more supple and comfortable to me. And a lot less bulky.

-Ray
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
One more little niggle that I haven't solved yet. There's a little question mark button on the bottom left of the camera back that doubles as a de-magnifier button, depending on mode. So I'm shooting in relatively low light, but well within the capabilities of the settings I've selected, and a little yellow question mark is flashing at me on the screen. To see what it means, I have to push the little button. At which point a little though bubble comes up on the screen (I think, I don't think its just happening in my head!) that says "lighting is poor, flash recommended". OK, I know the lighting, I'm using settings designed to cope with it. Please shut up little flashing question mark. I'm trying to figure out where I can turn that little SOB off before I jam an ice pick into the LCD (which would obviously be a bad and expensive idea). There MUST be a way, but I'll be damned if I can find it in the menus anywhere. In due time, in due time.

Oh my... sounds annoying as all get out!
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Me, too! Thanks so much for the early reports, I'm really looking forward to your comparisons with the GXR 28, and perhaps with the RX1 if you feel so inclined. The initial size comparison with the GXR really makes it clear that this a considerably smaller camera. It's smaller than the OM-D with a pancake lens, too!

As much as the Coolpix A interests me, I'm still willing to hang on until Ricoh announces the GRD V. It would bug me to all get-out if I bought a Nikon A and Ricoh announced something just as small with an aps-c sensor this year.
 

Ray Sachs

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you should be able to figure it out...
Heading into Philly with the RX1 and Coolpix A in a little over an hour. Patience!

Relative to the GXR, I've been playing around with the Coolpix a fair amount and most of it seems pretty fast and intuitive in use, but I'm bumming that the manual focus distance isn't sticky and changes to the AF distance you focus at if you switch to AF and back to MF or to infinity if you turn the camera off and back on. The focus ring is quick and responsive and distance scale clear and detailed, but this is at least a small bummer. I'll let you know how much it bothers me after a day on the streets.

One more thing I've found playing around with the Coolpix, GXR, and Fuji X-Pro with the 18mm (all the same sensor size and focal length) is further confirmation of the Fuji's ISO inflation. At the lowest common aperture of f2.8, half pressing on the same relatively low light scene, the Nikon and the Ricoh chose the identical shutter speed. The Fuji just about doubled it. Switching the Fuji to 6400 brought it close to the other two at 3200. I'd always found this between the Fuji and Ricoh and OMD (before I sold the 14mm lens) - now the Nikon is further confirmation. Fuji gets bragging rights for the cleanest 6400 (the GXR only goes to 3200 and the Coolpix isn't as clean at 6400, at least in terms of jpegs), but if 6400 isn't 6400 it don't matter. The Nikon does appear notably cleaner at 3200 than the Ricoh, though. The Fuji does have an f2.0 lens, though, so you can get to about the same place, but not if you're pushing the limits of zone focus in lower light.

-Ray
 

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