Nikon Coolpix A

Nikon may not do things first, but they sure make great decisions. Need proof?

Shown larger (depending on your screen) than actual size. | Nikon

It’s a good time for the camera enthusiast. Fixed lenses, huge apertures and colossal sensors. Lilliputian bodies. These powerhouse shooters offer the photographic muscle we all crave while packed into compact bodies that are actually jacket pocketable, or at least minimally intrusive to a day’s carry. The snobs and pros can clamor on all day about the perfect combination of the DSLR+iPhone, but what about quite literally everyone else?

Nikon may not do things first, but they sure do make smart decisions. The Coolpix A ($1,099), Nikon’s new flagship compact, is loaded with a DSLR-sized DX-format APS-C sensor good for over 16-megapixels. Paired with the sharpness photographers have come to expect in Nikkor glass, the A delivers its proof in the bokeh-pudding; in fact, it comes mated with an ambitious fixed-18.5mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.8 prime lens. Zoom? Use your feet, good sir. Vibration reduction? Skip the coffee. And keeping with the ever-so-important need for connectivity, an optional wi-fi sensor is available too, which probably means you won’t want to purchase it. Alternatively, since the A relies on its screen as a viewfinder, an optional hot-shoe mountable optical viewfinder is available, an accessory you probably will want to purchase.

Of course, Nikon tenders up other expected niceties. HD video, hot-shoe, fast AF performance and 4-fps burst shooting all come standard along with a slew of creative camera filters; additionally, the requisite manual exposure and focus control, controlled via manual ring. The result? Another enticing option jockeying for position in the crowding enthusiast-compact scene (stay tuned for our buyer’s guide). The upside here is that Nikon’s option joins Sony’s and Fujifilm’s as a sharply dressed contender. RX-1 this is not, but if you’re hankering for a Nikon D7000 without the bulk — or price — your camera has just arrived.

Buy Now: $1,099

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