Small and lightweight, but with a 16.2-million-pixel, APS-C sensor and 18.5mm lens, the Nikon Coolpix A could be an ideal second camera for many enthusiasts. Richard Sibley puts it to the test
Nikon Coolpix A review – Nikkor 18.5mm f/2.8 lens
There are many advantages to using a fixed lens. First, a fixed lens is smaller than even a short zoom lens, which helps to keep the camera size to a minimum. Another plus point is that a fixed lens has the potential to produce far sharper images than a zoom lens.
The Coolpix A is fitted with an 18.5mm f/2.8 lens that, when paired with the APS-C sensor, produces the same field of view as a 28mm lens on a full-frame camera. The optic comprises seven elements in five groups, which produces a minimum focus distance of 10cm when the camera is set to its macro mode.
I was very impressed with the quality of the lens. When combined with the lack of an anti-aliasing filter and the sensor, it resolves a superb amount of detail. Even more impressive is the sharpness of images in the corners. When shooting landscapes, grass, the trees and shrubs that would usually appear soft are still distinguishable and detailed. There is also only the merest hint of curvilinear distortion, so an aspherical lens element or two has clearly been used in the design.
Whether the 28mm-equivalent focal length is suitable will depend entirely on the individual’s style of photography and the images they take. I find that 28mm is my favoured focal length for landscapes and I use this focal length a lot, particularly when taking travel images. However, as a general-purpose lens, I find 35mm is more suitable. That said, users of the Coolpix A need only take a few steps forward to make up for this slight difference in focal length.
Image: The Nikon Coolpix A’s f/2.8 lens creates a nice shallow depth of field