Although the Nikon A does a great job at capturing sharp, high quality images, this is not a camera for the masses. So who is this camera designed for? Due to the inflexible 18.5mm fixed lens, many casual photographers will be quickly disillusioned by the lack of zoom. But for those photographers that want the shooting mode functionality of a DSLR, a large sensor, the image quality of a high performance of a f2.8 prime lens, and the portability of a point and shoot camera, then the Nikon A is right up your alley. All purpose shooters might want to look for a more flexible camera. That being said, this niche camera can truly deliver on image quality.
The Nikon A bravely entered a new camera genre that already has a few heavy-hitting contenders. If you are looking at purchasing a large sensor, fixed lens camera there are several options from which to choose: Leica X2 , Sony RX1 (full frame sensor), Fuji X100s, Nikon A, or the Ricoh GR. The Leica X2 will cost you about $2,000. The Sony RX1 is a whopping $2800, but it does have a full frame sensor unlike the others listed here. The Fuji X100s can be found for $1300. The Nikon A sells for $1100 and the Ricoh GR looks like a steal at $800. Of this group, only the Fuji X100s has a built-in viewfinder. The Sony RX1 is the only one in this group to have a full frame sensor. The Leica's pretty darn expensive when compared to the Nikon or Ricoh, but it is a Leica and that classic red badge does not come cheap (unless, of course, you buy it on ebay). Budget minded photographers that don't care about a viewfinder will naturally lean toward the Nikon A or the Ricoh GR. Both cameras created pictures with excellent image quality. The Nikon A was neck-and-neck with the Ricoh GR during our comparative testing. At this point it comes down to the build quality and feel of the camera since the image quality is very, very similar. The Nikon does have a build quality that is more solid and the menu is going to be slightly more appealing to most. On the other hand, there is a $300 savings when purchasing the Ricoh GR. Is $300 worth a slightly less robust built quality? That one's up to you.
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