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 – LCD, live view and video
The specification of the Coolpix A’s screen will be familiar to many. The 3in, 921,000-dot screen has been used by Nikon in a number of other cameras going back almost six years to the Nikon D300 and D3. However, in that time technology has improved and the screen of the Coolpix A is noticeably better than that of the D300. The glass above the LCD screen is much thinner, which helps to reduce reflections, and the screen is also brighter, but with deeper blacks to create a higher contrast and better colours. Although there might be higher-resolution screens available, that include white pixels to help improve colour, brightness and contrast, the screen of the Coolpix A is very good and perfectly usable even in bright conditions.
There is no viewfinder, optical or digital, built in to the Coolpix A, but an optional optical unit can be attached via the camera’s hotshoe. This should appeal to many people, and by not including such a viewfinder the cost and size of the camera can be reduced.
I still find it incredible that so many compact cameras can record full HD 1080p video at 30fps, including the Coolpix A. Sadly, the movie mode is tucked away among the shooting modes, and there is no direct record button. For most photographers this shouldn’t be an issue as the video will hardly be used, but it is worth noting.