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Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony NEX-6

The Nikon Coolpix A and the Sony Alpha NEX-6 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2013 and September 2012. The Coolpix A is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon Coolpix A versus Sony NEX-6
Nikon Coolpix A Sony NEX-6
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28mm f/2.8 Sony E mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-25,600
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
111 x 64 x 40 mm, 299 g 120 x 67 x 43 mm, 345 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix A and the Sony Alpha NEX-6? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon Coolpix A and the Sony NEX-6 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Coolpix A can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the NEX-6 is only available in black.

Size Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony NEX-6
Compare Coolpix A versus NEX-6 top
Comparison Coolpix A or NEX-6 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-6 is notably larger (13 percent) than the Nikon Coolpix A. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Coolpix A nor the NEX-6 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 NEX-6 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 NEX-6 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon Coolpix A 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Sony NEX-6 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 12.2 oz 360 n Sep 2012 999i
 
Fujifilm X100T 5.0 in 2.9 in 2.0 in 15.5 oz 330 n Sep 2014 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X100S 5.0 in 2.9 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 330 n Jan 2013 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X-E2 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Oct 2013 999i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Ricoh GR II 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 n Jun 2015 699 i
 
Ricoh GR 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799i
 
Sony A6000 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony NEX-3N 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-5R 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2012 749i
 
Sony NEX-F3 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.1 oz 470 n May 2012 599i
 
Sony NEX-5N 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.5 oz 460 n Aug 2011 699i
 
Sony NEX-3 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599i
 
Sony NEX-5 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-6 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Nikon Coolpix A and Sony NEX-6 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the Coolpix A offers a slightly higher resolution than the NEX-6 (16MP), but the Coolpix A nevertheless has the same individual pixel size (pixel pitch of 4.78μm) as the NEX-6 due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the Coolpix A is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the NEX-6, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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 Sony Alpha NEX-6 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

Coolpix A versus NEX-6 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
 
Sony NEX-6 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878
 
Fujifilm X100T APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X100S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-E2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Ricoh GR II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the NEX-6 provides a faster frame rate than the Coolpix A. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the NEX-6 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Coolpix A relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Coolpix A can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DF-CP1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon Coolpix A, the Sony NEX-6, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-62359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X100T2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X100S2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-E22360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Ricoh GR IIoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Ricoh GRoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Sony NEX-5optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n

The Nikon Coolpix A has 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.

The Coolpix A writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-6 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The NEX-6 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.

Connectivity comparison

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 Sony Alpha NEX-6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
 
Sony NEX-6Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X100TYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X100SYstereomono--micro2.0---
 
Fujifilm X-E2YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Ricoh GR IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Ricoh GRYmonomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the NEX-6 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the Coolpix A does not provide wifi capability.

Both the Coolpix A and the NEX-6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-6 was replaced by the Sony A6000, 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 Sony websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon Coolpix A better than the Sony NEX-6 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix A:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-6 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x64mm vs 120x67mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the NEX-6).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 5 months after the NEX-6).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha NEX-6:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 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.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-6 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Coolpix A 07:11 NEX-6

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Coolpix A and the Sony NEX-6 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Coolpix A or the NEX-6. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon Coolpix A+75/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Sony NEX-6+ +78/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999i
 
Fujifilm X100T+81/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2014 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X100S+ +81/1004.5/54/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X-E2..80/1004.5/5..5/5 Oct 2013 999i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Ricoh GR II....4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699 i
 
Ricoh GR..79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
 
Sony A6000+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-5R....4.5/5..4.5/5 Aug 2012 749i
 
Sony NEX-F3..74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599i
 
Sony NEX-5N+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699i
 
Sony NEX-3..70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599i
 
Sony NEX-5+ +71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon Coolpix A:
Check Ebay offers
Sony NEX-6:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony NEX-6

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon Coolpix A Sony NEX-6
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28mm f/2.8 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2013 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 1,099 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Nikon Coolpix A Sony NEX-6
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.6 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 368.16 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.78 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 4.37 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.8 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1164 1018
    Screen Specs Nikon Coolpix A Sony NEX-6
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon Coolpix A Sony NEX-6
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Nikon Coolpix A Sony NEX-6
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Nikon Coolpix A Sony NEX-6
    Battery Type EN-EL20 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge360 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 111 x 64 x 40 mm
    (4.4 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
    120 x 67 x 43 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 299 g (10.5 oz) 345 g (12.2 oz)

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