Photo nerds rejoice this morning at the announcement of the new Nikon Coolpix A. (We can say “photo nerds” since we are photo nerds, right?) This camera ups the ante on the previously-sparsely-populated category of “compact cameras pros take on vacation.”
The most famous tenant in that category, and in fact the only real tenant for years and years: The Canon G series.
Those of you who a) threaded the projector back when they called it Junior High & b) are old enough to remember film projectors: you know the term “rangefinder.” The G was pretty much a rangefinder, writ digital. That is to say, One. Lens. Only. (channeling Red October)
The G was/is a bit chubbier (as my 6 y.o. would call it) than normal pocket cams. But it offered, and still offers, much better image quality, in exchange for the extra beef, compared to the “deck of cards” sized point-and-shoot.
Now Nikon comes barging in to the category with the Coolpix A.
- The Canon costs $500, the Nikon costs $1,000.
- Canon has a 5x zoom, Nikon no zoom (what, no zoom!?)
- Pros are happier with a better lens despite the lack of “reach” provided by a zoom.
- The Nikon lens can have a larger max aperture, resulting in nicer bokeh
- If you don’t know about bokeh, be sure to click that link. You’ve seen it, and it does make a photo look “pro.”
- The Nikon sensor is larger, which works well in concert with the bigger aperture lens
- That bigger Nikon sensor is better in low-light, not to mention has more pixels.
- Though if you read this blog, you know more pixels isn’t always better.
Like many cams now, the Nikon A shoots 1080p video. It also tips a hat to modernity with the available wi-fi transmitter, allowing convenient connection to any wi-fi device.
So unless you really need the zoom reach, you can consider the Nikon A as a compact substitute for your DSLR. Oh, and that assumes you’re up for spending a grand on a little camera!