Nikon COOLPIX A Compact Camera

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75% Silver Award
The lack of anti-aliasing filter, combined with a very sharp lens means the Coolpix A is capable of some highly detailed images.”

Read more of the review

Key Features

  • 16MP DX-format CMOS sensor
  • 28mm equivalent F2.8 lens
  • ISO 100-3200 (expandable to 25600)
  • Up to 4 fps continuous shooting
  • 3" LCD with 921,000 dots
  • 1080/30fps HD Video (H.264, MPEG-4)
  • Built-in flash
  • Wi-Fi and GPS compatible (sold separately)
  • Raw and Raw+JPEG

Product Description

The Nikon Coolpix A is a high-end compact camera with a DX (APS-C) format sensor, and a fixed 28mm (equivalent) lens. Ergonomically, the A is a cross between Nikon's previous high-end compacts like the P7700, and its recent mid-range DSLRs. Offering full manual control and solid build quality, this camera is designed to appeal to enthusiasts. Its large 16MP CMOS sensor is undoubtedly the camera's major selling point, and it lacks an optical low-pass filter for maximum resolution. It's compatible with Nikon Wi-Fi and GPS units, speedlight flashes, cable release, and has its own dedicated optical viewfinder.


Body type
Body type Large sensor compact
Max resolution 4928 x 3264
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 17 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
ISO Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 2000, 3200 6400, (12800, 25600 with boost)
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.) 28 mm
Optical zoom 1×
Maximum aperture F2.8
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Center
  • Tracking
  • Face Detection
Digital zoom No
Manual focus Yes
Normal focus range 50 cm (19.69)
Macro focus range 10 cm (3.94)
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD No
Screen size 3
Screen dots 921,000
Screen type TFT LCD monitor
Viewfinder type Optical (optional)
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/2000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes (Pop-up)
Flash range 11.50 m
External flash Yes (via ISO 518 hot-shoe with sync and data contacts and safety lock)
Flash modes Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow-sync
Continuous drive 4.0 fps
Self-timer Yes (2, 5, 10 or 20 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24fps), 1280 x 720p (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25, 24 fps)
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Wireless Optional
Wireless notes via optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description Nikon EN-EL20 Lithium-Ion battery
Battery Life (CIPA) 230
Weight (inc. batteries) 299 g (0.66 lb / 10.55 oz)
Dimensions 111 x 64 x 40 mm (4.37 x 2.52 x 1.57)
Other features
GPS Optional
GPS notes GP-1


DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Silver Award
Silver Award
75 %
Overall Score

The Coolpix A offers DSLR-standard image quality and an excellent 28mm-equivalent lens in a well-polished, pocketable camera. Its user interface will be immediately familiar to Nikon shooters and its results are dependably good. It's not the only game in town, though, and while solid in most respects, it's not class-leading in any respect.

Good For

Nikon users looking for a pocketable alternative to their DSLR (particularly those who own Nikon Speedlights).

Not So Good For

User Reviews

4.25 out of 5 stars
  • dale thorn, Mar 25, 2013 GMT:
    Nikon Coolpix 'A' APS-C digital compact camera review

    The Coolpix 'A' is a very small APS-C camera that can be carried in a reinforced shirt pocket, but since it's not a user-accessible sensor for cleaning, keep it wrapped up before carrying in bags or pockets to prevent dust working its way in. I think most DSLR users as well as strictly compact camera users will get on with the settings, or figure them out from the manual quickly enough. It's nice to have the manual focus ring around the lens, but focusing with the monitor is impossible ...

    Continue Reading

  • Duckie, Nov 23, 2013 GMT:
    Not perfect but I like it

    To put things in perspective, been shooting pure MF fall the years years because I could never get AF working for me. This camera forces me to use AF (electronic fake MF is less reliable than AF). This camera has excellent colour response. I salute to that. This one thing overcompensates all other shortcomings. To be fair, I still have to go through the shortcomings. The edge of the lens is REALLY blurry and this is REALLY field relevant once you start to notice it. (The high resolution ...

    Continue Reading


Nikon COOLPIX A Compact Camera by DPReview

Questions & Answers


Zoom or 2 bodies?

Hi, I have D700 and several primes range from 20mm to 180mm but no zoom. I have a habit in using primes since film's day. I used to own some mid-range zooms and sold them because of an inconsistent in quality through out the zoom range (and focus range). After my son started to walk I've been having a hard time using a set of fix lens to snap the moments. I still love primes so I experiment with D700 paired with 105mm f2 DC and my wife's GF2 paired with 14mm f2.5 and the result is great! I have both wide angle and tele choices without having to change lens but I really don't like how GF2 render skin tone and a small raw headroom so I'm looking for other options. I saw many people here happy about 24-70mm f2.8 so I think I'm going to give it a try. Fast focus and high contrast render are indeed very interesting features. But then when I see a test from Nikon Coolpix A the image quality is so good that I can't stop thinking about it! So which setup is better in your opinion? D700 + ...

xteapot asked
1 year ago


Really hard to say not knowing what you like to shoot. But if these are the only choices, I personally, would choose the D700+24-70/2.8. Of course there's LOTS more options you could consider and I'm sure you'll hear about them. :) Continue Reading

leighton w answered
1 year ago

90% of the time I shoot my family portrait so it 105mm f2 almost all the time. But for everything else I need another lens like 24mm f2.8 or 35mm f2. For a trip I usually bring most of my lenses with me so there's no problem there. Only for a daily family snap that I need a wide+tele solution. Thanks! Continue Reading

xteapot answered
1 year ago

If that's the case, I think I would consider the 24-120 f4. Continue Reading

leighton w answered
1 year ago


'Nikon Coolpix A' or 'Sony NEX-5T' w/Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Prime len?

On DXOmark , the Nikon got a rating of 22, while the Sony got only 17... Is the difference really big, in real life ? I mean... do the colors coming from the Nikon, be more lifelike ? thanks!

eyal1983 asked
3 months ago


Fujifilm X. They have an 18 F2 and 16 F1.4. Coolpix A is kind of a waste of money... RX100 III is only marginally smaller wide open at the same FL (4.4mm vs 5.7mm), zooms, and costs less Continue Reading

sportyaccordy answered
3 months ago

Ni, the Fuji's system is too expensive... Continue Reading

eyal1983 answered
3 months ago

I just bought the 20f28 for my Nex 5R and I love it. The Nex system allows you the versatility of also having an interchangeable lens system. I have 3 other lenses for it. The coolpix may 'score ' higher, but what does that mean in the real world? I'm not sure. What are you going to use the camera for? Are you planning to blow up your prints to poster size or do massive amounts of cropping to get the shot you want? There will always be a sharper 'better' system out there. Doesn't mean you can't create art with either choice. As someone who primarily enjoys street and photojournalism, having the extreme corners of a photo less than perfect doesn't really matter to me, and I think thats the primary difference between the 2 choices. With the sony though, I can slap on my 55-210 and go take decent shots at the zoo too. I really like the look and compactness of the Nikon, but I wanted to do a little more than a fixed focal length would offer. What if you want a telephoto? A macro lens? ... Continue Reading

The Sparrow answered
3 months ago

Warranty Information

"No registration or "warranty" card is included or needed with a Nikon D-SLR or Coolpix camera. Keep your original, dated proof of purchase from the Authorized Nikon Inc. dealer in case warranty service is ever needed. These products do include either a mail-in form or a paper with a web link to our registration page:
It's advised to register your product with Nikon so that we can send you information about future updates or service issues that may arise.

Nikkor lenses come with a standard one year warranty and Nikon Inc. lenses sold by authorized Nikon Inc. dealers will have a Nikon Inc. Five Year Extension. To register for the five year extension, one copy of the included form must be mailed in as indicated. Keep the Customer copy of the form as well as the original proof of purchase (sales receipt)."

Read the full warranty.

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