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Nikon Unveils V1 And J1 Interchangeable Lens Cameras

David Gilbert


Nikon Unveils V1 And J1 Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Read our full hands-on preview of the Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon 1 J1 here.

We reported last week about Nikon’s impending release of a pair of compact system cameras and today it has gone official, announcing the Nikon 1 digital camera system and announced the first two cameras in the line the Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon 1 J1.

Nikon claims that it’s new cameras are the world’s smallest interchangelable lens cameras (among those with sensors larger than 1in) and offers the world’s fastest autofocus system and continuous shot mode offering up to 60fps in full high-definition, fixed-focus mode.

Nikon 1 V1

Taking its place alongside Nikon’s existing DX and FX-format sensors seen on the company’s DSLR cameras, the all-new (and significantly smaller) Nikon 1 CX-format (13.2mm x 8.8mm) CMOS image sensor has been designed specifically for the Nikon 1 system and promises “superb colour reproduction with 100-6400 (extended) ISO, low noise, RAW shooting and 10.1 megapixel resolution.” The new CX-size sensor has a crop factor of 2.7x.

The high-speed AF image system boasts the most focus points in the world and if you are shooting shiny or moving objects, it switches to the 73-point Phase-Detection AF system.

Nikon 1 V1

The new EXPEED 3 processor inside the cameras has two engines capable of processing 600 megapixels a second. This processing grunt will allow for pre-post capture technology meaning that even before you fully press the shutter button, and after you release it, image recording continues.

The EXPEED 3 power will also allow you to ability soot full resolution stills at 60fps and even snap a full res image while recording film.

Nikon 1 V1

Looking at the cameras individually, the Nikon 1 V1 is the flagship model incorporating an 1440k-dot electronic viewfinder and multi-accessory port, USB/HDMI connectivity, a 1200fps slo-mo capture mode, full HD (1080p30) and a 3in LCD. The V1 is available in black or white.

The Nikon 1 J1 looks pretty similar to its older brother and offers similar freatures but lacks the EVF and comes with a built-in flash. The 3in LCD screen also only boasts 460k dots compared to the 921k-dot LCD found on the V1. The J1 comes in five colours: red, black, silver, pink, and white.

Nikon 1 J1

"Our engineers have managed to house an incredibly powerful processor and sensor in a sleek, minimalist Nikon 1 body design: people will be able to take shots they didn't believe were possible,” said Jordi Brinkman, Product Manager, Nikon Europe.

Looking at the lenses launched with the new Nikon 1 system, as well as the 10mm-30mm kit lens (27-81mm equivalent, and approximately 3x zoom), there is 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6, a 10mm f/2.8, and a 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6. You will be able to use your old F-mount lenses too via an adapter, and there will be a Speedlight (SB-N5) flash and the GP-N100 GPS unit available.

Looking at the cost, the V1 with the 10-30mm kit lens will set you back £829 while the J1 with the same kit lens will cost £549. Lenses on their own will cost: 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 (£179.99); 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 (£229.99); 10mm f/2.8 (£229.99) and 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM (£679.99). The cameras and lenses will be available from 20 October.

Nikon 1 J1

The F-mount adapter will cost £229 (available from 1 December), the GPS unit will cost £109.99 (available 20 October) while the SB-N5 Speedlight will set you back £129.99 (available from 20 October).

We are at the official launch of the new Nikon 1 system cameras as we speak and will be hoping to get some hands-on time with the new cameras so stay tuned for more from us.


September 21, 2011, 4:28 pm

What a nice looking camera that V1 is. But at £829 I don't think so!

Martin Daler

September 21, 2011, 7:45 pm

I think it is a shrewd and brave move from Nikon to go for a 'small' 1" sensor.

Shrewd because as sensors improves image quality will reach a point where larger formats are simply overkill for the bulk of the market. For many shooters that point is already here, so why pay the price of increased weight and bulk of a larger format?

Brave, because the 'cognoscenti' will instantly dismiss the 'miniature' image sensing area, just as their fathers did when the 35mm film came out (likewise derided at it's launch as 'miniature').

But I do think it is a shame that Nikon have not exploited the smaller sensor size to give us faster or smaller lenses. And the basic form factor of a lens stuck on a box is still mired in the past. An opportunity for a truly radical rethink of "the thing which gets in the way of capturing a picture" seems to have been missed.

David Gilbert

September 21, 2011, 8:01 pm

We have just been saying that in the office Martin. Whatever about the small sensor (we'll wait until our full review to decide if this is an issue) Nikon seems to have missed a trick by not offering to a faster and smaller lens as standard which would have given it a distinct advantage ahead of it many's CSC rivals.

Martin Daler

September 21, 2011, 9:14 pm

...however, they do seem to have rethought the concept of a "picture". The idea of a 'moving picture' looks very interesting, capturing a brief 1 second movie together with the traditional still picture.

Clearly someone at Nikon noticed that we all look at our family photos on a screen of some sort, so they don't have to fit within the static confines of the old paper display format.

Hamish Campbell

September 22, 2011, 1:03 pm

@Martin Daler - did you say brief moving family portraits??

Ohhh shit, someone at Nikon has been watching too much Harry Potter. :)

simon jackson

September 22, 2011, 3:00 pm


It's true that as technology advances, manufacturers will be able to do more with less sensor real estate. However, there is a limit. What makes smaller sensors less effective than larger ones from an IQ perspective is the laws of physics - SNR, DR, diffraction etc. In any given generation, IQ from larger sensors with the same electronics will far outstrip that achievable with smaller sensors. Actually we should be more specific here. We're not really talking about sensor size, we're talking about pixel pitch, and by that measure, the V1 is not that much different from the upcoming nex-7. Course, you get a lot more pixels at that pitch for your money in the nex-7, for better or worse.

And the 35mm analogy isn't really applicable. That was a genuinely convenient technology - what it offered compensated for the compromises. No true tog will say that ILCs aren't the wave of the future. I shoot a D3s, and i want one. No true tog will claim that a smaller camera isn't, in most cases, a better camera. What the 'cognoscenti' will complain about here is that nikon is sacrificing too much of what it doesn't need to sacrifice, to give us nothing at all in return. The NEX-5N is no bigger than the V1, and yet contains an APS-C sensor. The reason nikon hasn't done the same has nothing to do with being brave, it's to protect its DSLR line. It doesn't want to cannibalize it's DSLR sales by offering a product which offers a similar capability in a smaller package. More fool them, because their competition are already doing it.

simon jackson

September 22, 2011, 3:01 pm


Your final point is the best evidence for what i'm saying. If nikon were genuinely wishing to be "brave" and offer something genuinely ground breaking, they would have made this camera system capable of the kind of performance i'm talking about. Low pixel pitch doesn't matter if you have super fast lenses, and super fast lenses they could have had, because the sensor is so small. DOF could have been kept under control, even at f.95, and the lenses wouldn't have had to be huuuuuge. This would have offset the density issue by giving us more light. And therefore the system, judged as a whole, would have had a lot more potential. And then again there's the crop factor and its effect on focal length....

Ultimately why not stick a DX sensor in there and use the DX lens line-up? Why invent a whole new system? These cameras aren't cheap. They're not priced as point and shoots. They're priced in the semi-pro range. And right now, although its early days, they don't seem to live up to expectations.

Martin Daler

September 22, 2011, 4:33 pm

Simon, you raise some good points, especially the fact that the pixel pitch is not so different to that of the Sony-NEX. But given that technical quality is now good enough I don't think that pixel-level SNR, DR and diffraction will be uppermost in most purchasers thoughts. I think the camera will succeed or fail by how effectively it enables users to capture moments and memories (sorry if that sounds a bit like Kodak!). So responsiveness, speed of focus (my No1 bugbear in non-SLRs), portability, etc, will be more important. What I am trying to say is that I think the pixels in this camera will be the last thing buyers trouble themselves with - and I hope the reviews will not just take the easy route of subjecting its output to largely irrelevant technical analysis, to the exclusion of all else.

That said, there does seem to be a problem with the price! It is up there with the technophile photog's kit.

It would be interesting to research which photos users especially value in their collection and to find out why, and how they enjoy them. I doubt they will be much correlation with SNR, DR etc, and I doubt they are enjoyed on paper.

simon jackson

September 22, 2011, 4:34 pm

@ David Gilbert

Actually, I don't think it would have given them a distinct advantage; it would have brought them up to par capability-wise. Faster lenses would have compensated for the smaller sensor, but the larger aperture would have made them physically bigger. Whether it would make them AS large as those required for a larger sensor is just a question of design. And to be frank, no ILCs are pocketable with anything but a pancake on, so whether there is a genuine convenience advantage to having slightly smaller zoom lenses for your ILC is up for debate. At the moment, the Nikon system has the worst of the two worlds: comparable speed lenses to the competition, but a smaller sensor. I was holding out for this Nikon announcement, but i think i'll be going for a NEX now. The only question is whether its a 5N or a 7. The pixel pitch puts me off the 7, but the physical controls are a real draw.

simon jackson

September 22, 2011, 5:02 pm

Hi Martin! Perhaps you're right, but at this sort of price, aren't they targeting the sort of discerning customers who do think about these issues?

"Sorry if that sounds a bit like Kodak" - not at all! I'm very much of that philosophy - good pictures are made by good photographers, not good cameras. I do see technology as an enabler though, and something that can help us push the boundaries. For example, I can shoot weddings entirely flash free, which opens all sorts of doors creatively. I couldn't really have done that 5-10 years ago. Technology allows me to take pictures in situations i couldn't have before - it doesn't make the pictures "good", even more importantly than that, it enables me to get pictures i simply couldn't have before.

It feels to me like you're talking about the compact camera crowd. These technical details are less important to them, because at web-sizes, a lot of - for example - noise is lost simply through subsampling. I'm still not sure i'd accept they're irrelevent, because they do massively effect image quality, which a lot of people (pro tog or not) are sensitive to. However, this camera isn't priced like a compact. It's priced like a mid-range DSLR. It's the sort of money was expecting to spend on an ILC and i'm a semi pro. Why would a compact owner want to spend £850 on this when they can have a nex-c3 for £350? I wouldn't be criticising the V1 if it were that price...


September 30, 2011, 10:30 pm

i am impressed with the performance and overwhelmed with the range of accessories they are considering (Popphoto.com had pics of a projector and movie light off a battery pack). I too would like a fast lens with macro to make my LX3 superflous. Panorama in the firmware would also be nice.

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