Nikon Coolpix A Review

4.0
March 22, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16.2 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix A produced images of outstanding quality during the review period. The Coolpix A produces noise-free JPEG images at ISO 100-1600, with ISO 3200 also looking pretty good. ISO 6400 only shows a little noise, while the fastest settings of ISO 12800 and 25600 are quite a lot noisier and suffer from softening of fine detail and a loss of saturation, but the images are still perfectly usable for small prints and resizing for web use.

The images were a little soft straight out of the Coolpix A at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting for JPEG files. The night photograph was good, with the maximum shutter speed of 8 seconds allowing you to capture enough light in most situations. Red-eye was not a common occurrence with the built-in flash, and when we did encounter it, it was very moderate and easily cured by setting the flash to red-eye reduction mode. Active D-lighting managed to squeeze most of the dynamic range captured by the sensor into the JPEGs the camera produced.

Noise

The Nikon Coolpix A has 9 sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (Hi2) at full resolution.

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix A's fixed lens provides a focal length of 28mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

28mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops - the right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are slightly soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can alternatively change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

At full resolution, there are three JPEG quality settings available - Fine, Normal and Basic - and you can also shoot in the RAW format.

Fine (5.45Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (4.17Mb) (100% Crop)

   

Basic (1.39Mb) (100% Crop)

Raw (16Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix A shows little purple fringing, with very limited effects in areas of high contrast as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix A allows you to get as close as 10cms to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash card.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix A are Auto, Auto with Red-eye reduction, Slow Sync with Red-eye reduction, Slow Sync, Rear-curtain Sync and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m. Some vignetting and barrel distortion is apparent at the 28mm wide-angle setting, irrespective of whether you use the flash or not.

Flash Off

Auto

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto or the Auto with Red-eye reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Auto

Auto (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Nikon Coolpix A's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual mode with a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 25 seconds at ISO 100.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Active D-Lighting

D-lighting is Nikon's dynamic range optimisation tool that attempts to squeeze the full dynamic range of the sensor into JPEGs. The available settings are Off, Low, Medium, High, Extra High and Auto. The following examples demonstrate the differences between the various settings.

Off

Low
   

Normal

High

   

Extra High

 
 

Picture Controls

The Nikon Coolpix A has six different Picture Controls, which can be individually tweaked (sharpening, contrast and saturation) to suit your taste.

Standard

Neutral
   

Vivid

Monochrome

   

Portrait

Landscape

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 1080p, wide-angle, 16 megapixel, hdmi, nikon, coolpix, 28mm, APS-C, wideangle, 4fps, DX, a, nikon a review, D7000, 1.5x, Nikon Coolpix A Review

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