Nikon's $650 advanced compact might unseat Sony

dl2485bklcd3.jpg
Nikon

Nikon might be late to the party with its mainstream advanced compact, the DL24-85, but at least Nikon doesn't make the mistake of coming in with ho-hum specs as we've seen from others. It's created a new DL series of "premium" fixed-lens cameras, launching with two compacts, the DL18-50 and DL24-85, in addition to the DL24-500, a 20x full-size megazoom.

The two compacts are almost identical with only a few exceptions -- most notably the lens, as indicated by the product names. The DL24-85 is the more mainstream-targeted of the two; it has a longer 2.6x zoom, a built-in flash, and at $650 costs about $200 less than the shorter-zoom DL18-50. (I don't have other pricing yet, but that's equivalent to £460 and AU$900, directly converted, and a price difference of £141, AU$276.) It also has a Super Macro mode for 1:1 close-up shooting. The camera's scheduled to ship in June.

For everyday photography, the DL24-85 stands out for its fast continuous shooting rated at up to 20 frames-per-second with autofocus and autoexposure; that will likely make it a great choice for photographing kids and pets in action, if the relatively short 85mm maximum focal length doesn't hold you back. The 24-85mm focal-length range is a solid choice for most travel, landscape, street and portrait photography, though the longer 10x zoom range of the Panasonic ZS100 might turn out to be more attractive for a lot of people than the Nikon's 3.6x zoom.

Common specs of the DL cameras

  • Sensor and image processor. They pair a 20.8-megapixel 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor with the Expeed 6A processor for a sensitivity range of 160-6400, or ISO 12800 in the expanded range.
  • Stabilitzation. "Dual-detect" Optical VR. This is Nikon's branding for its optical-plus-electronic-for-movies stabilization system.
  • Lens. They have different lenses, but both have a maximum aperture of f1.8-2.8, a manual aperture ring on the lens and nine-blade apertures for smooth out-of-focus areas. Nikon also adds a fluorine coating to the front element to protect it, and they'll accept screw-on filters.
  • Autofocus. Hybrid phase- (171 points) and contrast- (105 areas) detection autofocus system, the same as in Nikon 1 J5.
  • Performance. Both can shoot a up to of 20 frames per second with continuous autofocus and autoexposure at full resolution.
  • Design. They both take the optional, hot-shoe-based tilting electronic viewfinder and have a 3-inch tilting and flip-up OLED LCD.
  • Video. Support for recording Ultra HD 4K (3,840x2,160) video at 30p, as well as slow motion at up to 1,200fps, albeit at a tiny 400x144 resolution. They offer cleain HDMI output, 4K frame grabs, time-lapse movie, and more.
  • Connectivity. Bluetooth for a persistent low-power wireless connection along with NFC and Wi-Fi.

My take

At its price, the DL24-85 looks quite promising: it offers a more-than competitive set of features, with the added bonus of its fast continuous shooting. Though I expect the DL18-50 has a better lens, it might be worth the trade-off for the longer lens and cheaper price of the DL24-85, even for hard-core enthusiasts. Plus, it's far less expensive than and will likely offer better performance than the Sony RX100 IV, though that model does have a built-in viewfinder. (The price for the Nikon's optional viewfinder has not yet been announced, that that may make a big difference in its competitive position vs. the RX100 IV.)

Comparative specs

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Nikon DL18-50 Nikon DL24-85 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100
Panasonic Lumix TZ100 (UK)
Panasonic Lumix TZ110 (AU)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV
Sensor effective resolution 20.2MP HS CMOS 20.8MP BSI CMOS 20.8MP BSI CMOS 20.1MP MOS 20.2MP Exmor RS CMOS
Sensor size 1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8mm)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8mm)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8mm)
Focal-length multiplier 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x
OLPF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 12800/25600 (exp) ISO 160 - ISO 6400/ISO 12800 (exp) ISO 160 - ISO 6400/ISO 12800 (exp) ISO 80 (exp)/ISO 125 - ISO 12800/ISO 25600 (exp) ISO 80 (exp)/ISO 125 - ISO 12800
Lens (35mm equivalent) 24-100mm
f1.8-2.8
4.2x
18-50mm
f1.8-2.8
2.8x
24-85mm
f1.8-2.8
3.6x
25-250mm
f2.8-5.9
10x
24 - 70mm
f1.8-2.8
2.9x
Closest focus 2.0 in/5 cm 1.2 in/3 cm 1.2 in/3 cm 2 in/5 cm 1.9 in/5 cm
Burst shooting 5.4fps
46 JPEG/n/a raw
(8 shots with focus and exposure fixed on first frame)
20fps
n/a
(60fps with AE/AF/WB locked on first frame)
20fps
n/a
(60fps with AE/AF/WB locked on first frame)
5fps
n/a
(10fps without AF; 30fps at 4K)
5.5fps
(with electronic shutter; 16fps with fixed focus and exposure)
n/a
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
None Optional tilting EVF
2.4m dots
n/a
Optional tilting EVF
2.4m dots
n/a
EVF
0.2-inch/tkmm
1.2m dots
100% coverage
2.6x/0.5x
OLED EVF
0.4-inch/10.2mm
1.44m dots
100% coverage
Hot shoe No Yes Yes No Yes
Autofocus 31-area
Contrast AF
105-point phase detection
171-area contrast AF
105-point phase detection
171-area contrast AF
49-area
Contrast AF
25-area
Contrast AF
AF sensitivity n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Shutter speed 250 - 1/2,000 sec; bulb 30 - 1/1,600 secs (1/16,000 sec electronic shutter); Time to 120 secs 30 - 1/1,600 secs (1/16,000 sec electronic shutter); Time to 120 secs 60 sec - 1/2,000 sec (1/16,000 electronic shutter); Time to 4 minutes 30 - 1/2,000 sec (1/32,000 electronic shutter); bulb
Metering n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Metering sensitivity n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p
H.264 MP4 4K UHD/30p, 25p; 1080/60p; 1080/120p; 400x144/1200p H.264 MP4 4K UHD/30p, 25p; 1080/60p; slow motion 1080/120p; 400x144/1200p MP4 UHD/30p; AVCHD 1080/60p, 60i, 30p XAVC S 4K 2160/30p, 25p, 24p @ 100Mbps
Audio Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes n/a n/a Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time 4GB/29:59 minutes n/a n/a 15 minutes 5 minutes
Optical zoom while recording Yes n/a n/a n/a Yes
Clean HDMI out No Yes Yes n/a n/a
IS Optical Optical Optical Optical
5-axis hybrid
Optical
LCD 3 in/7.5 cm
Flip-up, tilting touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Tilting, flip up, touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Tilting, flip up, touchscreen
1.04m dots
(97% coverage)
3 in/7.5cm
Fixed
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Tilting
921,600 dots
(plus another set of white dots for brightness)
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash No No No No No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 265 shots
(1,250 mAh)
290 shots
(850mAh)
290 shots
(850mAh)
300 shots (LCD); 240 shots (EVF)
(1,025 mAh)
280 shots (LCD);
230 shots (Viewfinder)
(1,240 mAh)
Size (WHD) 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.7 in
106 x 61 x 42 mm
4.2 x 2.5 x 2.2 in
106 x 63 x 58 mm
4.2 x 2.5 x 2.0 in
105 x 61 x 50 mm
4.4 x 2.5 x 1.7 in
110.5 x 64.5 x 44.3 mm
4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 inches
101.6 x 58.1 x 41 mm
Body operating weight 11.3 oz (est.)
319 g (est.)
12.8 oz (est.)
365 g (est.)
12.3 oz (est.)
350 g (est.)
11 oz (est)
312 g (est)
10.4 oz
294 g
Mfr. price $700
£560
$850 $650 $700
£550
AU$1,000
$950
£920
AU$1,400
Release date (US) May 2016 June 2016 June 2016 March 2016 July 2015

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Features flash +/- compensation
  • Guide Number (m / ISO 100) 5
  • Weight 12.34 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 20.8 Megapixel
  • Optical Zoom 3.6 x
  • Lens Aperture f/1.8-2.8
  • Focus Adjustment automatic
    manual
  • Min Focus Distance 11.8 in
  • Digital Zoom 4 x
  • Optical Sensor Size 1.0"
  • Optical Sensor Type BSI-CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 20.8 pixels