Nikon made a little splash this morning with their announcement of two new Coolpix models. One of them, is an entirely new design and new category, the DX formatted Coolpix A. Odd naming aside, it's an interesting departure for Nikon. This new camera joins the ranks of the Fuji X100/s, The Sigma DP series and the Sony RX1. To be fair, it's not really a competitor for the RX1 as that's a full frame camera. Nikon have obviously taken note of the popularity of Fuji's x-series compact and decided to have a go. I'm not rely sure what to make of it at this point. There are some good things about it and some not so good things.
Firstly, people are complaining about the price (hey, it's the internet, it would be a surprise if people didn't complain) but at $1100 it compares favourably with the X100s which is currently retailing at $1299. Mind you, the X100s has a faster f/2 lens and a built in optical viewfinder. The Nikon on the other hand has a f/2.8 fixed lens. Its also wider than the X100s at 18.5mm (28mm full frame) vs the X100's 23mm (35mm full frame). Some people will undoubtedly prefer the wider angle of view, while for others it will be too wide. The control layout is also a standard coolpix affair, unlike the Fuji's retro design, but then not everyone likes the retro operation of the Fuji (which I know is a had concept for some to accept!)
I suspect this will appeal to Nikon fans, and I suspect it will be successful, but without seeing it, I can't see it comparing well to the Fuji X100 / X100s. Mind you, I haven't seen the X100s yet either, so I don't know if the X100s fixes the laggy interface of the X100. I love my X100, but I know the sluggishness of the menu system and the camera in general is a put off to some people, and they are potential customers for Nikon. (I'm pretty sure that's not an issue with the X100s though. Right Fuji ? :-))
Anyway, if nothing else, it's good to have competition in the space. It will be interesting to see if Canon do an Aps-C version of the S110. I know they have a large sensor version of the G series, but that's a much bigger camera. It will also be interesting to see if Sony comes out with an RX Series compact between the RX1 and the RX100, with an Aps-C sensor.
Nikon have sample images from the Coolpix A up on their website. Looks good.