The 16.2-million-pixel Coolpix A sports a fixed, retractable, 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens which – claims the firm – rivals a 28mm professional optic in image quality terms.

‘We see this as a space we should be playing in,’ said James
Loader, Nikon UK’s product manager for Consumer Products at a secret
press briefing yesterday.

The Coolpix A is due to land in UK stores on 21 March, priced £999.99.

However, UK consumers will get their first chance to see the Coolpix A at Focus on Imaging, which runs at the Birmingham NEC until tomorrow, 6 March 2013.

Trumpeted as ‘ideal for reportage photography’, the Coolpix A does not include a built-in EVF but will be compatible with an optional optical viewfinder.

The price of this accessory, the DF-CP1, had not been released at the time of writing.

Like a growing band of cameras, including Nikon’s recently announced D7100, the Coolpix A’s imaging sensor dispenses with an optical low-pass filter.

‘The result is an optical system that makes the most of the potential of the high-definition Nikkor lens and resolution of the DX-format sensor,’ said Nikon in a statement.

The hotshoe can also be used to attach a Speedlight flashgun, though photographers will also have the option of using the camera’s built-in flash.

Nikon says the Coolpix A’s 3in, 921,000-dot resolution, LCD screen offers the same quality as its top-end D4 DSLR.

Sporting a magnesium-alloy top plate, and aluminium-alloy body casing, the Coolpix A houses a 23.6×15.6mm CMOS imaging sensor, borrowed from Nikon’s D7000.

Its graphical user interface also hails from the firm’s DSLR line-up.

The newcomer’s seven-blade diaphragm optic is built from seven elements in five groups and includes an aspherical element.

Armoury also includes a manual focus ring and standard ISO sensitivity of 100-6400, expandable to 25,600.

On-board picture controls allow adjustment of colour and contrast settings. They include vivid, monochrome and custom options.

An info button aims to provide fast access to settings and a focus mode switch allows users to choose between AF, macro and manual options.

Unprocessed images can be edited in-camera.

‘The Coolpix A supports 14 bits-compressed raw (NEF) image data, conveniently in line with the format used in DSLRs,’ explained Nikon.

Boasting ‘DSLR performance in a compact body’, firepower also includes active D-lighting (six settings), an Expeed 2 image processor, a virtual horizon and an intervalometer to enable time-lapse shooting.

The Coolpix A incorporates four-frames-per-second shooting (for up to 26 frames), two custom modes accessible via the mode dial, and a customisable function (Fn) button.

The SD card-compatible model offers full HD (1920x1080p) movie recording with manual control, plus a built-in stereo microphone.

Users will have the option to save a still image from a sequence captured on video.

The newcomer will also be compatible with Nikon’s GPS accessory, the GPS-1.

The Coolpix A will come in black and titanium colour options.