Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony NEX-7
The Nikon Coolpix A and the Sony Alpha NEX-7 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2013 and August 2011. The Coolpix A is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-7 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 24 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 Sony Alpha NEX-7? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon Coolpix A and the Sony NEX-7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 NEX-7 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-7 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-7 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-7 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-7 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|2.||Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|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.||Fujifilm X100||126 mm||75 mm||54 mm||445 g||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199|
|7.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|9.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|10.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|11.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|12.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|14.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|15.||Sony NEX-6||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|16.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Coolpix A was launched at a lower price than the NEX-7, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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-7 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the NEX-7 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Coolpix A. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 4.78μm for the Coolpix A). Moreover, it should be noted that the Coolpix A is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the NEX-7, 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 resolution advantage of the Sony NEX-7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Coolpix A are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
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-7 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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.
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|7.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the NEX-7 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.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the NEX-7 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon Coolpix A and Sony NEX-7 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/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Fujifilm X100T||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X100S||2360||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X100||1440||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Sony NEX-6||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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-7 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Alpha NEX-7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Fujifilm X100T||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X100S||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X100||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Sony A6400||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Sony NEX-6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the NEX-7 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The Coolpix A does not feature such a mic input.
Both the Coolpix A and the NEX-7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Nikon and Sony. 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.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon Coolpix A or the Sony NEX-7 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix A:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-7 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-7).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the NEX-7).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-7:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- 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).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- 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 (430 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the NEX-7 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 7 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Coolpix A and the Sony NEX-7 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Coolpix A and the NEX-7 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.||Sony NEX-7||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|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.||Fujifilm X100||3/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199|
|7.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|9.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|10.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||4/5||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|11.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|12.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|14.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|15.||Sony NEX-6||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|16.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon SX410 vs Sony NEX-7
- Fujifilm X10 vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Olympus E-PM1
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Panasonic G100
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Panasonic ZS100
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony HX99
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony RX1
- Nikon D300 vs Sony NEX-7
- Olympus E-M5 III vs Sony NEX-7
- Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony NEX-7
- Sony A9 vs Sony NEX-7
- Sony NEX-7 vs Sony NEX-F3
Specifications: Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony NEX-7
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||Sony NEX-7|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2013||August 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 1,349|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Sony NEX-7|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.78 μm||3.90 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.37 MP/cm2||6.57 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 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||81|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.8||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1164||1016|
|Screen Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Sony NEX-7|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|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-7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Sony NEX-7|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon Coolpix A||Sony NEX-7|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||430 shots per charge|
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)||400 g (14.1 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.