Low-end point-and-shoot digital cameras are vanishing. Smart phones have taken their place, even though the best smart phones lack zoom lenses. Only a few smart phones provide creative controls on par with even the least expensive point-and-shoot camera.
Nevertheless, to stay in the game, camera manufacturers are now concentrating on higher-end models, which appeal to serious photographers and those who demand unsurpassed image quality and a wider array of features.
The population of consumers who would actually consider buying the Nikon COOLPIX A is small, given its price tag, but that doesn't matter. The "A" is a street camera for a professional -- a photojournalist or photo essayist who "gets" what this camera is all about.
The device, you see, has a large DX-format CMOS sensor borrowed from one of Nikon's D-SLR models. If you know anything about image sensors, you know size matters, and the COOLPIX A has a big one. This translates to top quality images that can be enlarged to show the smallest detail.
The camera is also equipped with a prime lens, rather than a zoom, which is somewhat unusual. The 18.5mm, f/2.8 (equivalent to a 28mm angle of view in 35mm format) fixed focal length NIKKOR lens is designed to work superbly with the camera's 16.2-million pixel CMOS sensor. The results are spectacular!
The COOLPIX A measures approximately 4.4 inches wide, 2.5 inches high, 1.6 inches deep, and weighs approximately 10.5 ounces. Despite its compact size, it is fully capable of delivering the same image quality, rich tone expression, and color reproduction as a digital SLR. The body's lack of an optical low-pass filter further corroborates that this camera caters to pros, not snapshot photographers.
In addition its ability to record 14-bit compressed RAW images, the COOLPIX A is equipped with a manual focus ring that can be used to achieve stunning effects. It can also record 1920 x 1080/30p full-HD movies.
The camera's metallic look and feel is also impressive, particularly the durable magnesium alloy has been adopted for the top cover.
Optional accessories include the Optical Viewfinder DF-CP1, the Adapter Ring UR-E24, which enables attachment of lens hoods and filters, and the metal Lens Hood HN-CP18, which restricts light passing through the lens without negatively influencing images and also helps to protect the surface of the lens.
The camera is also compatible with Nikon Speedlights, the GPS Unit GP-1, which enables recording of information such as locating latitude, longitude, altitude, and date and time with image data, and the Wireless Mobile Adapter WU-1a, which can be used to easily share still images and movies recorded with the camera with a smart device (all accessories available separately).
The Nikon COOLPIX A is available in Black or Silver. The street price is around $1,100. For more information, visit NikonUSA.com.
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