Nikon Coolpix A vs Olympus E-PL6
The Nikon Coolpix A and the Olympus PEN E-PL6 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2013 and May 2013. The Coolpix A is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PL6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Coolpix A) and a Four Thirds (E-PL6) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix A and the Olympus PEN E-PL6? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon Coolpix A and the Olympus E-PL6. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Coolpix A can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-PL6 is available in four color-versions (black, silver, red, white).
In this particular case, the Nikon Coolpix A and the Olympus E-PL6 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Coolpix A nor the E-PL6 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the Coolpix A has a lens built in, whereas the E-PL6 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-PL6 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|2.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|3.||Fujifilm X100T||127 mm||74 mm||52 mm||440 g||330||n||Sep 2014||1,299|
|4.||Fujifilm X100S||127 mm||74 mm||54 mm||445 g||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|6.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|13.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-6||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon Coolpix A features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL6 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL6 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the Coolpix A has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL6 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 16.1MP, the Coolpix A offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-PL6 (15.9MP), but the Coolpix A nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL6) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the Coolpix A has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon Coolpix A has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL6 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|2.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|10.||Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The Coolpix A and the E-PL6 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. However, optional viewfinders – the DF-CP1 for the Coolpix A and the VF-3 for the E-PL6 – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon Coolpix A and Olympus E-PL6 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n|
|6.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The Coolpix A has one, while the E-PL6 does not. While the built-in flash of the Coolpix A is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The E-PL6 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the Coolpix A does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon Coolpix A and the Olympus E-PL6 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Coolpix A and the E-PL6 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-PL6 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the Coolpix A cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Coolpix A and Olympus PEN E-PL6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the Coolpix A and the E-PL6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL6 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL7, while the Coolpix A does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon Coolpix A better than the Olympus E-PL6 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix A:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL6 requires a separate lens.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-PL6).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL6:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-PL6 comes out slightly ahead of the Coolpix A (10 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Coolpix A and the Olympus E-PL6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Coolpix A and the E-PL6 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099|
|2.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|3.||Fujifilm X100T||5/5||+||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,299|
|4.||Fujifilm X100S||5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|6.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|12.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|13.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-6||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon Coolpix A vs Olympus E-PL6
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon Coolpix A||Olympus E-PL6|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/2.8||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2013||May 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Olympus E-PL6|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.16 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.78 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.37 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.8||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1164||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Olympus E-PL6|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Olympus E-PL6|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Olympus E-PL6|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Olympus E-PL6|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
111 x 64 x 40 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
111 x 64 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||299 g (10.5 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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