Nikon Coolpix A Review

 
Camera Reviews / Nikon Cameras / Nikon Coolpix i Review

Nikon Coolpix A Performance


Timing and Performance

Fair performance overall.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.9 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~1.0 second

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
2 seconds after 20 Large/Fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
8 seconds after 17 RAW files*
10 seconds after 10 RAW+ LF JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time is a bit on the slow side. Buffer clearing times are good with fast 95MB/s UHS-1 compliant card.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.0 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.2 seconds

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are fairly good.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.582 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
0.577 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled
0.667 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, Auto flash enabled.

Continuous AF
0.566 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.235 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.065 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Nikon Coolpix A's autofocus and shutter lag times are a little sluggish compared to most compacts these days. Full autofocus shutter lag is about 0.58 second in both Single-area (center) and Multi-area AF modes. With the flash enabled, the Coolpix A's full AF shutter lag increases to about 0.67s to account for the preflash metering. Continuous AF mode is slightly faster than single AF, at 0.57 second. When manually focused, the Nikon Coolpix A's shutter lag drops to 0.235 second and when prefocused, shutter lag is a quick 0.065 second which is competitive to DSLRs but slower than most compacts.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.96 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 1 second to clear.*

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.96 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 1 second to clear.*

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG
1.04 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds o clear.*

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.25 second (4.07 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing.

Continuous Mode
RAW

0.25 second (4.07 frames per second);
17 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 17 frames, then slows to an average of about 0.63s or 01.58 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous Mode
RAW + LF JPEG

0.25 second (4.05 frames per second);
10 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 10 frames, then slows to 0.94s or 1.06 fps when buffer is full with a lot of variation between frames.

Flash Recycling

5.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/sec UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times are about average for a compact camera at just under one second for JPEGs or RAW files, and just over a second for RAW+JPEG, but that's quite a bit slower than most DSLRs.

In Continuous mode, the Coolpix A captures frames at about 4.1 frames per second no matter the file type, which is a little below average these days.

Buffer depth for Large/Fine JPEGs is excellent at over 20 frames in our test. When shooting RAW frames, buffer depth drops to 17 frames, which is still very good. With RAW+L/F JPEGs, buffer depth drops to 10 frames, which is fair. Buffer clearing is however quite fast with our fast UHS-1 compliant SDHC card.

The built-in flash takes 5.2 seconds on average to recycle after a full discharge.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

7,171 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds are pretty fast, quick enough that you likely won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Pro 95MB/sec UHS-1 card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, we'd characterize the Nikon Coolpix A's performance as fair. Most compacts (and DSLRs) are faster at just about everything, but the Nikon A isn't the slowest either. Startup is a bit sluggish, autofocus is slower than most point and shoots, and burst speeds are mediocre, however prefocused shutter lag and buffer clearing are pretty fast.

Battery

Battery Life
Somewhat short battery life.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard)
230 shots

The Nikon Coolpix A uses a custom rechargeable EN-EL20 lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with a battery charger. The battery is rated for 230 shots per charge using the CIPA standard, which includes 50% flash shots with the built-in flash. We strongly recommend getting a second battery for your Coolpix A if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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