The Nikon Coolpix A looks like any old point-and-shoot: compact, attractive and handy as a possible vacation camera. But this is far from your typical shooter, and in fact further blurs the line between gear for professionals and the average consumers—at a cost, both in literal and figurative terms.
In the Coolpix A, Nikon managed to cram a DX-format sensor—16.2-megapixel APS-C—inside of a 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6-inches body. Consider, if you will, how large a comparable professional DSLR is, and there's reason to scoop this up for casual street photography, or maybe some easy landscape shots. The results, as you can see below, look pretty fantastic, showing off the Coolpix A's range in different lighting situations.
The first downside is that the 18.5mm (equivalent to 28.8mm on a full frame) lens is fixed, and doesn't zoom. That might not jive in a lot of shooting scenarios, but it's a sacrifice. The max aperture of f/2.8 will be great for low-light situations when coupled with an ISO range of 100 to 25600. That black and white profile is an example.
Users will get plenty of advanced settings and manual modes, including a manual focus ring and multiple Scene Modes. There's also a 4 frame-per-second burst mode to better capture action, and a dashboard menu on the LCD, along with additional body controls.
There's no optical viewfinder, interchangeable lens support or zoom, but it's compact, produces high quality results, and creeps toward what you'd expect in some of today's entry-level DSLRs. But it's also $1,100, which is a hefty price tag for something that sacrifices on features for size. Look out for the Coolpix A when it grops next month.