Thanks to Instagram, in 2013 everybody is a food photographer. The plethora of filters the social app provides has undoubtedly contributed to making culinary still lifes more visually intriguing, but it's done little to heighten the medium of photography itself. Nikon aims to improve this with their recently-released Coolpix A, a compact point-and-shoot that packs a large APS-C sensor (typically used in their D-SLR cameras) to help with dimly lit restaurants, as well as a handy macro mode for shooting close-ups and Wi-Fi capability for instant humble brags.
We were invited to put the camera to the test at Brooklyn's high-end beer joint Tørst, where we had the pleasure of sampling dishes from Luksus, chef Daniel Burns' new 26-seat restaurant opening today behind a semi-secret door at the back of the bar. Helmed by Danish gypsy brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, (who owns Evil Twin Brewery and whose twin brother runs Copenhagen's Mikkeller Brewing), Tørst opened in Greenpoint last spring and has been gaining traction for its highly curious selection of specialty beers. Chef Burns is adding to the outpost's Scandinavian vibe and commitment to superior food and drink with his tasting menu of seasonal fare, which he deftly prepares using his previous experiences in the kitchens of the world-class restaurants of St. John, Noma and Momofuku.
The Coolpix A's 28mm fixed lens lends itself to portraits and subject-focused photographs, and the option to work in a manual setting gives diners greater creative control while shooting food than with a standard automatic point-and-shoot. Controls on the back of the camera make toggling between the ISO, aperture and shutter speed is a snap, and the option to manually focus the lens means the user can dictate which part of the composition they would want to zero in on.
A powerful pocket-sized camera, the Coolpix A offers a full spectrum of features that go beyond enhancing food photography. Nikon enthusiasts will delight in having a smaller camera that still offers all that the brand has come to stand for, and budding lensmen will enjoy the simplicity of its interface and the overall encouraging nature of its design. As an avid user of the comparable Sony Cyber-Shot RX100, the only shortcoming we see in the Coolpix A is its steeper pricetag—Sony's retails for around $650 while the Nikon comes in at $1100 due to its brand pedigree and significantly larger sensor. Both are outstanding compact cameras, but Nikon has clearly usurped the industry with the nearly professional-grade Coolpix A.
The Coolpix A comes in black or silver and sells online from Nikon and Amazon, as well as camera stores around world. To learn more about Chef Daniel Burns or to make a reservation at Luksus, have a look at their website.
All photos from Luksus are presented as shot on the Nikon Coolpix A (sans cropping). Photos by Karen Day, image of the Coolpix A courtesy of Nikon. See more images in the slideshow.