Nikon COOLPIX A - Low Light Street

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Ray Sachs, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I spent the weekend in New York City and took the Sony RX1, Fuji X100s (with the 28mm conversion lens), and the Nikon Coolpix A. Because photography was not the priority or reason for this trip, I found myself with only the Nikon much of the time, pretty much all the time after dark. But I managed some street shooting with it mostly Friday night in and around the Times Square area. I basically used auto-ISO with a max ISO of 6400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 (which there was too little light for much of the time, so the camera shot at whatever shutter speed it needed to for the available light). I also used zone focus for nearly all of these shots with a focus distance of about 2-6 feet and an aperture of between f4.5-5.6, depending on light - parts of Times Square are pretty bright. Lots of color, lots of B&W, lots of keepers, plenty of misses too (but you don't get to see those). I'm definitely buying this camera. It couldn't be more in my wheelhouse if I'd designed it myself. I'd change one or two minor things if I could tweak the firmware, but otherwise, its close to perfect for me. The full set of shots from New York (which I'll be adding lots of daytime shots and RX! and X100s shots to in the coming days) is here:

    NYC April 2013 - a set on Flickr

    And a sampling is here:


    NYC Coolpix A-150-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-186-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    NYC Coolpix A-74-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-75-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-136-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Evidently the best Falafel stand in New York City, at 53rd and 6th. HUGE lines every night...

    NYC Coolpix A-250-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    NYC Coolpix A-94-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-134-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-63-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-135-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-146-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-151-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-225-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    -Ray
     
  2. Penfan2010

    Penfan2010 SC Top Veteran

    747
    Jul 21, 2012
    NJ, USA
    Ed
    Great shots, as usual, Ray. The glum-looking woman amidst all the hustle and bustle in photo 4 says a lot about how the "city that never sleeps" can also wear you down. I also like the photo of the magazine stall keeper in the following shot, and there is something very interesting about the woman and her flowing blond hair in the third to last photo. Pretty interesting how the noise renders nicely as film grain for the most part-presume this is how the sensor rendered the images at high ISO?

    Ed
     
  3. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    This camera looks pretty impressive!! Great images as usual!!!
     
  4. norman shearer

    norman shearer SC Veteran

    Fine work there Ray. Looks like this camera is very useable in low light.
     
  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    The blond in the brown coat that Ed referred to in the 3rd from last photo looks so detailed and real I can almost touch the coat. really great processing.
     
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Thanks Ed. Yeah, mid-town can really kick your ass if you stay there for any length of time. We got in Friday late afternoon and walking from Penn Station up to 54th had me wondering what I ever liked about this city. But then the next morning we took the subway down to Chelsea (where I lived for a month last April), went to a few of our favorite places, walked through the Village, and suddenly I was back in love with the place. But mid-town, particularly anywhere around Times Square, can kill you. Just waaay too many people way too much of the time. But of course, that's perfect for an hour or two of street shooting every now and then... ;)

    I really like the noise pattern with this camera. Even at the highest native ISO of 6400, while there's plenty of noise in the darker areas, its a pretty nice tight pattern and very easy to work with if you liked film grain to begin with. Great for raw - the high ISO jpegs were pretty bad though, unlike the Fuji jpegs which seem to have NR pretty well nailed...

    -Ray
     
  7. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Well, it ain't the RX-1, lol -- but it isn't bad at all.

    Great work, Ray. Someday maybe I'll get your boldness in street shooting -- that and your eye are excellent.
     
  8. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    I'm not sold, Ray ... show me more.

    Gary
     
  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'm taking orders - whadda ya wanna see? I've got a bunch of RX1 and X100s stuff processed and up on Flickr and some more Nikon daytime shots left to get to.

    Its not really about the images quality for this type of street shooting - its mostly about getting the shot. And this Nikon makes it particularly easy due to its small silent discrete demeanor, ability to pull it out of a pocket and fire it up at a moment's notice, its quick shot to shot reflexes, and the ISO latitude it has that allows me to shoot the way I like to (with enough DOF possible even in low light to shoot with a zone focus approach). None of my other cameras do all of these things, some don't do any. Only the RX1 allows better shooting at higher ISOs, but its combination of longer focal length and larger sensor really limits DOF until you get waaaaaay up there into small apertures. I've tried it in low light - it doesn't cut it, even though its the best low light camera I've shot with in every other regard.

    So I'm sold. But I'm a very particular audience of one. I don't expect my preferences to translate all that well!

    -Ray
     
  10. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    I just want to see more stuff ...
     
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    +1

    lol!
     
  12. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Ray, I'm curious to see if you agree or disagree that the sensor of the A is rendering RAW files with more details than the fabled X-Trans sensors in the X100S, XP1 and XE1. Maybe you already discussed this before ... sorry if you did ... my brain cells are diminishing with passage of time. In my brief experience with the X100S and A, the A appears to be rendering more detail at all ISO levels (notwithstanding the levels of noise). DPR just published its studio comparisons, and it also appears that the A is rendering more details than any of the Fuji X cameras. As far as 16 mp APS-C sensors are concerned, the A and the Pentax K5IIs are fairly evenly matched. In spite of Lightroom 4.4, the Fuji X RAW files still appear rather soft.
     
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    OK, well I've added a bunch to the NYC 2013 set. So if you're a real glutton for punishment, you can see as much as there is (including a lot of X100s and RX1 shots too) at:

    NYC April 2013 - a set on Flickr

    And several more Nikon shots here, by something approaching semi-popular demand...

    First a couple more night shots and then a bunch of daylight shooting:

    On the way back from seeing "Book of Mormon", I realized we'd missed Leonard Cohen. Jeez, an embarrassment of riches!
    8635750356_52a65da3fe_b.
    NYC Coolpix A-437-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    8635749968_14de9128fa_b.
    NYC Coolpix A-440-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-352-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-469-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-314-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-327-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-476-Edit-2 by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-343-Edit-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    And some from the Park, because New York isn't New York without some time in the Park...
    8634641469_e2df71747f_b.
    NYC Coolpix A-518-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC Coolpix A-575-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    8634641989_9086e489f9_b.
    NYC Coolpix A-504-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr
     
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Its kind of hard for me to say anything even remotely reliable on that Armando. I mean, I know that TO ME, the real strength and beauty of what Fuji's done with the X-Trans sensor (and realistically with the X100 before that and the EXR sensor in the X10) has more to do with its silky smooth, creamy, and wonderful files, colors, etc. To the extent that I've mostly shot jpegs with any of the Fuji's I've used - I shoot Fuji's a lot like I used to shoot film cameras. As with the X100 when I first got it, and the X-Pro soon after I got it, when I got the X100s I played around with the raw files and they seemed fine to me, but the jpegs are so much better than what I could personally get out of the raws that I just used the jpegs. I've been shooting a fair amount with film simulation bracketing on the X100s and between the standard Provia, the ultra-vivid Velvia, and the wide open Pro-Neg Standard (shadow areas as accessible as about any raw file), I can pretty much always get a file that's right for the shot in question and with plenty of latitude for additional processing. So I see this all as a particular type of strength. Such that I really haven't gone in and looked for the ultimate in sharpness from the X-Trans files and, accordingly, I don't know if its even possible. To me that would be like looking for the hidden load hauling capacity in a Ferrari - its just not what I like it for or what it does best. The Nikon, OTOH, is pretty much razor sharp so I guess I play to that strength when I work with its files. And the RX1 seems somewhere in between - very sharp and very detailed, as the resolution of the lens and the sensor would make all but inevitable, but also a bit smoother than the Nikon files naturally want to be.

    I try to work with what the camera wants to give me since I don't have a pre-conceived notion of what I'm looking for up front, at least generally.

    I mean, look at these two SOOC jpegs from the X-100s, both velvia, with nothing added to the jpeg except the borders. Click through and look at them full size on your 27" monitor. Now WHY would I want to look for problems with these files at 100%? I just wouldn't. If there are micro-organisms floating around in the raw files that cause the pixels to think they're water colors, that's a fantasy that doesn't have any impact on the images I'd ever create with this camera. Because I already have an X-Pro and the particular new strengths of the X100s are nothing terribly important to me, I'm not in any danger of buying that camera. But its a wonderful camera capable of beautiful output. I don't now if its the sharpest tack in the box, but it'll do for my purposes for sure...


    NYC X100s-47-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr


    NYC X100s-61-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    So, after all of that, the only way I can answer your question is to say that, yeah, PROBABLY the Nikon files are more detailed and sharper than the Fuji files. But that's as far as I can go with it...

    -Ray
     
  15. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Thanks Ray. I'm a pixel peeper ... born this way ... can't help it! :)

    The X100's files are also sharper than the X100S/XPro1/XE1. I also tend to use JPG only on the X100 and XPro1/XE1 (when I had the latter two). I'm just perplexed when some folks and Fuji talk about super detail sharpness as one of the strongest merits of the X-Trans sensor. Wondering if I'm missing something that others are seeing.
     
  16. Penfan2010

    Penfan2010 SC Top Veteran

    747
    Jul 21, 2012
    NJ, USA
    Ed
    Another great set, Ray. In the photo with the two walking women, I thought the face of the one on the left was actually part of a billboard ad; the composition of the woman walking with sunglasses is really great. I'd also love to have seen the faces of the kids who happened upon a dozing big bird!
     
  17. dcsang

    dcsang SC Rookie

    20
    Apr 11, 2013
    Toronto
    Dave
    I have been waiting for a replacement to the GRD series and while I keep hearing rumours of a GRD V with an APSC size sensor, I don't know if one will ever be produced. I really adored the ergonomics of the GRD and I think this Nikon has almost equalled those ergonomics. The image quality is, based on some test shots I took, pretty outstanding considering this is a P&S camera. The lens is just right for what it should be used for as shown here - street - I honestly did not think I would want or get this camera but after having played with it a bit and seeing how great the image quality is and combine that with decent ergonomics and I'm sold... *sigh*.. a lot of money but it'll hold its own for some time I think.

    Cheers,
    Dave
     
  18. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Welcome to the forum Dave!
     
  19. dcsang

    dcsang SC Rookie

    20
    Apr 11, 2013
    Toronto
    Dave
    Thanks !!

    I caved today.. bought a black one - the matte finish feels just a little more "secure" in my hand.

    Cheers,
    Dave
     
  20. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Maybe it's not cool to say in a thread about pixel peeping, but i love that Big Bird shot, and I don't care what camera captured it.