Nikon's only gone and "done a Fuji" by unveiling its first APS-C sensor compact camera: the Nikon Coolpix A. We're rather excited by this small-bodied, large-sensor compact.
In Nikon speak, the Coolpix A has the same "DX" sensor size - measuring 23.6 x 15.6mm - as found in most of its consumer DSLR cameras. It has a 16.2-megapixel resolution, so we'd anticipate it's of a similar ilk to that found in the Nikon D7000 DSLR - although there's no confirmation whether these are entirely different sensors that we're talking about.
What we do know about the sensor is that there's no optical low-pass filter, so the usual softening caused by anti-aliasing is avoided and, therefore, shots should be sharper. But that doesn't rule out potential issues with moire, jaggies and possible colour issues - something Nikon had previously explained as possible in the D7100 DSLR because of its considerable resolution. Will it pass the 16-megapixel test? We'll have to wait and see.
A peek at the front of the A's lens reveals that it's an 18.5mm f/2.8 - but with the 1.5x crop factor considered that equates to a fixed 28mm equivalent. It's fairly wide angle and there's no zoom available here, much like other high-spec compacts such as the Fujifilm X100S.
The Coolpix A combines the sensor with Nikon's Expeed 2 image processing engine - no Expeed 3 to be found here - to deliver shots from ISO 100 through to ISO 6400 (extendable to ISO 25,600), including 14-bit raw file capture. When we get our hands on one of these units we'll be testing it to the max to see how well it can deliver on the image quality front. For the time being we can only dream.
Elsewhere there's Wi-Fi compatibility, 1080p movie recording, the same user interface as per the latest Nikon DSLR cameras and a burst mode up to 4 frames per second (4fps).
However all this comes at a price. A cool £1,000 in fact - and that's without the optional optical viewfinder included. That might be a bitter pill to swallow, seeing as the original Fujifilm X100 is now floating around online for £550.
Still, we're excited by this Nikon - it's hard not to be as this one's been a long time in the making. Perhaps a little too long, as the use of an older generation processor and sensor technology sounds somewhat at odds with the price tag.
Interested? The Nikon Coolpix A will be in the shops from 21 March, available in black as well as the champagne-silver images we've shown here.
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