Although mirrorless cameras got a firm grip on the market in the last several years, DSLR sale numbers are higher still. They are bigger, heavier and do not offer better image quality than comparable mirrorless with APS-C sensors. So what’s the catch? Why are they still more popular on global market? I tried to figure it out testing the latest entry-level Nikon DLSR: the D3300.
When it was announced, I thought of the Nikon Df that it would be a dream come true. Classic styling, external controls for just about anything and superb full frame sensor from the flagship D4 camera should make any photographer drop their jaw and involuntarily grasp for their credit card. Even more, Nikon build the tensions with several “Pure photography” teaser videos so the expectations were quite high. Expectations are one thing; reality another. Df might just be the biggest disappointment of the last year. Find out why.
Both Nikon and Canon are very traditional companies. If it was up to them, mirrorless cameras would not even exist. But it is not up to them (luckily). Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Fuji are putting all their effort in mirrorless concept and there’s a lot of customers who ditched DSLR and gone for smaller mirrorless form factor. In order to keep up to competition, Canon and Nikon released their own mirrorless cameras but there’s a catch. They didn’t want those models to compete with their own entry level DSLR models so they made them worse than they could be. Canon EOS M has dead slow AF, Nikon used too small sensor size and both were too expensive from beginning. So (almost) nobody bought them. What a surprise.
In order to compete with far more advanced NEX, OM-D and Fuji cameras, you need to have something that makes you special. After two years, Nikon finally realized that so now we have AW1. Detail that makes it different is waterproofing so this little camera can go 15m (49ft) underwater, can withstand drops from 2m (6.6ft) and will happily work at -10°C (14°F). And all that without the need for special underwater case and you can still change lenses. Now we’re talking!
Nikon Coolpix P330 is a small and affordable compact camera aimed at more demanding users. Exterior dimensions are similar to almost any other compact camera on the market, yet it has a full range of manual controls, RAW mode and significantly better image sensor. The lens has 5x optical zoom with the bright F/1.8 aperture at wide angle and it records full HD video with stereo sound. P330 is a successor of P310 but it is improved to the level at which those two models cannot be compared (image quality wise). Most important, it sells for $300 and as I found out, it performs splendid.
Nikon Coolpix A is a first compact camera from Nikon with APS-C sized sensor. It is paired with a fixed focal length lens of 18.5mm (28mm in 35mm eq.). Coolpix A offers a full range of manual controls, RAW mode and is meant to compete with smartphones which flooded the market in the last few years and. Compact camera market is shrinkig each day and camera manafacturers are releasing more advanced cameras to boost the sales figures. A camera like this was unheard of only few years before, but it seems every camera manafacture has one. More choice for us.
Nikon Coolpix P520 is a flagship ultra zoom camera from Nikon. Besides this one there are two cheaper models; the L820 which I already reviewed and the basic L320. P520 offers more features and had better specs in almost all regards compared to cheaper brothers; it has 42x optical zoom with image stabilization (VR), back-illuminated 18 megapixel sensor, GPS, records full HD video with stereo sound and has a nice set of manual functions and controls. Its main competitors are Canon SX50 and Sony HX300.
Nikon D7100 is an advanced DSLR aimed at professionals and demanding amateurs alike. It is still a bit unclear whether Nikon intended this model to be a replacement for both D7000 and D300s… A mystical high end APS-C model (D400) is expected for a long time, yet rumor blogs have not a single proof of its existence. To add to confusion D7100 has a lot of “pro” features, from weather sealed body, 1/8000 shutter speed, dual SD card slots up to 51 AF system derived from D300s. It is also priced just below D600 which falls into different category due to its large full-frame image sensor. As for now, Nikon users who cannot afford or simply do not need full-frame camera, D7100 is the best model in the range. I spent a very pleasant week using it, so keep reading to learn more about this camera.
Nikon Coolpix L820 is the latest affordable ultrazoom from Nikon. With its features and price it competes directly to Canon SX500IS, Sony H200 and Olympus SP820UZ. It has 16 megapixel sensor, 30x optical zoom with image stabilization and Full HD video. Nothing spectacular at a first glance, but Coolpix L820 has few tricks up its sleeve which I think may in fact make it the best affordable ultrazoom on the market.
D5200 is second model in current Nikon DSLR lineup, just above D3200 and below the newly announced semi-pro D7100. In terms of features and especially size or ergonomics it is pretty much the same as both its predecessor the D5100 or the current base model D3200. Since I already published D3200 review and D5200 is rather similar camera, I will cover only the differences and overall user experience in this review.
Compared to its predecessor, the D5200 has a new 24 MP sensor, more advanced focus system with 39 AF points, 2016 pixel color sensitive metering sensor and stereo microphone for video recording. The Auto-ISO option is also upgraded and now allows automatic setting of minimum shutter speed based on the lens focal length – pretty important for zoom lens users. Movie aficionados will love the option of manual setting of shutter, aperture and ISO during movie recording. Everything else is practically the same as on D5100.
We live in interesting times from as far as the gear is concerned. Compact camera market is being squeezed between smartphones and mirrorless models, so all the major companies are trying to develop high IQ models. Therefore, large-sensor compacts are popping out like mushrooms after the rain and I like it that way. Today, Nikon has announced the new Coolpix A – compact camera the size of Sony DSC-RX100 but with APS-C sensor and a fixed 18.5mm lens (28mm equivalent).