Ever since digital took hold in photography, photographers have desired a high-quality compact camera that could match the quality of their DSLRs when they wanted to travel light or work unobtrusively. While we’ve seen a series of compacts aimed at the serious photographer, only a handful have featured a sensor with the same physical APS-C size dimensions as those found in most DSLRs. And while it could look like Compact System Cameras would see off these high-end compacts, there’s a growing range of these niche compacts emerging.

The latest two APS-C sensor based compacts cameras are Fujifilm’s X100S, building on the success of the original X100 from two years ago, and the Nikon Coolpix A, which is their first APS-C premium compact.

Both feature fast, fixed lenses and almost identical resolutions, but have their own interpretations of what a photographer-focused premium compact should be, so which one comes out on top?

Fujifilm X100S

Fujifilm X100S front view

Read our full standalone review of the Fujifilm X100S


Key Specs

 Sensor – 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS
Output size – 4896 x 3264px
Lens – 23mm f/2
Focal length magnification- 1.5x
Shutter speeds – 30secs-1/4000sec, bulb
Max flash sync – 1/4000sec
ISO 200-6400 (Extendable to 100-25,600)
Drive mode – 6fps
Movie mode – Full HD (1920×1080) @ 60/30fps
Display – 2.8in, 460k-dot screen & Hybrid viewfinder
Field of view – 100%
Focus points 49
Dimensions – 126.5 x 74.4 x 53.9mm
Weight – 445g  


Superb lens and sensor combination; Hybrid viewfinder Handling characteristics


35mm lens might be a bit restrictive; AF still not quick in all situations Display could be better




Nikon COOLPIX A front view

Read our full standalone review of the Nikon COOLPIX A

Key Specs

 Sensor – 16.2MP APS-C CMOS
Output size – 4928 x 3264px
Lens – 18mm f/2.8
Focal length magnification – 1.5x
Shutter speeds – 30secs-1/2000sec, bulb
Max flash sync – TBC
ISO – 100-6400 (Extendable to 25,600)
Drive mode – 4fps
Movie mode – Full HD (1920×1080) @ 30/25/24fps
Display – 3in, 921k-dot screen
Field of view – 100%
Focus points – Multi-area
Dimensions – 111 x 64.3 x 40.3mm
Weight – 299g


Compact design; Excellent image quality; Simple menu system; Fantastic LCD screen


Slow focusing speed; No viewfinder; Minimum focus distance; No filter thread

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Nikon COOLPIX A vs. Fujifilm X100S
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  • D.Bosch

    I have to agree, fuji x100s looks incredible and desirable, Nikon Coolpix A looks like $79.99 point and shoot camera on sale.- minimum 3 people are at fault in Nikon for that less then mediocre look, person who designed it, person who approved it and a person who could but said nothing.

    Anyway is it me or the first architectural shot of ceiling looks much sharper on Coolpix A? X100s version looks blurry. was tripod used?

  • Dennis

    Sorry guys, IMO it’s the Nikon which delivers the better image quality, there’s just more clearance in its images, as I see it. Compare image 5: The Ferrari’s front wheel, the letters on the brake calliper! Or above the hotel entrance, the balcony balustrade!
    If I’d be sure to get along with the attachable viewfinder, I’d prefer the Nikon. You could combine it with a second camera and a normal lens or a short tele lens (or a zoom).

  • artHarris

    You should at least mention the Sony RX-100. Altho’ not APS-C sized captor, it is bigger than normal for a compact camera, in a smaller lighter body, with a zoom lens and 22Mpixels and half the price.