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Nikon 1 J1 and V1

Audley Jarvis

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Reviewed:

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Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1
  • Nikon 1 J1 and V1

Summary

User Score:

Key Features

  • Nikon CX-format sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm)
  • ISO 100-3200 (expandable to ISO 6400)
  • 1080p Full HD movie recording at 30fps
  • All-new dual-core Expeed 3 image processor
  • Super fast contrast/phase-detect AF performance
  • Manufacturer: Nikon
  • Review Price: £549.99

Nikon has finally made its long-anticipated entrance into the interchangeable lens compact system camera market with the launch of the Nikon 1 system, and the V1 and J1 cameras pictured below are the first models to grace the range. Nikon gave us some extended hands-on time with both of the new Nikon 1 models along with the full set of dedicated lenses that have been designed specifically for use with the new CX- format mount (Nikon’s first new mount since the F-mount in 1959, no less).

Nikon 1 7

Given that the samples on show were pre-production models without final firmware Nikon was understandably reluctant to let anyone take any images with them, although they did at least load some of the test samples with memory cards so that we could get a better feel for them.

We’re not going to re-list all of the technical specifications in any great detail here, as these details are easy to find elsewhere – either in our original news article or on Nikon’s own microsite. We are, however, happy to share our initial thoughts on what the new cameras and lenses, indeed the new system as a whole, brings to the table and what we’ll be especially keen to look at in more detail as and when we get some review samples in for a full test.

First impressions for both of the new Nikon 1 bodies are, we have to say, very positive; picking them up for the first time, both cameras feel extremely stylish and well made. Both models share the same unfussy, uncluttered approach, allowing the clean lines and simple form factor of each to shine through.

Nikon 1 5

Size-wise, the J1 is especially small, smaller than the Sony NEX-C3 even. The V1 is a bit bigger and chunkier, primarily due to the Electronic ViewFinder (EVF) that juts out of the top. There’s no finger grip at all on the J1 and the V1 gets little more than a raised bar. Neither model gets a thumb rest either. Despite these omissions, both cameras sit quite well in the hand and give easy access to the various controls and buttons.

Martin Daler

September 22, 2011, 4:47 pm

Excellent first look. Nice to see a camera appraised for what (potentially..) it can do rather than simply a critical evaluation of its bits, bytes and pixels. In other words, how little does it interfere with capturing and recording what I see.

simon jackson

September 22, 2011, 8:23 pm

Well, colour me disappointed I'm afraid. There are some cool new features (the slow mo stuff, 1080p video, phase detection AF) but ultimately the most important aspect of any camera, at least for me, is it's ability to image. And whilst i'm reserving judgment until release and proper testing, i have serious reservations about such a small sensor.

I can understand the desire to see things in a positive light, but the truth is Nikon has done this to try and preserve their DSLR market, not because it offers the best product for the consumer. There are smaller, cheaper ILC cameras with m43 or even APS-C-sized sensors in them. About the only arguments i can really see for using a smaller sensor are in order to make the camera cheaper - which doesn't seem to be being passed on to the consumer here - and in order to reduce lens size. The latter is almost irrelevant as far as because no ILC, CX sized sensor or larger, is pocketable with a zoom attached. And the larger sensor cameras are still pocketable with a pancake just like these.

Voldenuit

September 23, 2011, 8:06 am

"... but for now they appear to win hands-down in the miniaturisation stakes. Only the Pentax Q system is likely to offer an interchangeable lens system with smaller lenses."

ORLY?

Panasonic 14/2.5 lens: 55 g

Nikon CX 10/2.8 lens: 74 g

Both lenses provide an equivalent ~28mm focal length, yet the Nikon is bigger and heavier despite being slower and covering a smaller image circle.

The V1 is also bigger than an E-PL3 (although to be fair the J1 is slightly smaller).

Lastly, the lack of PASM settings on the mode dial quite clearly shows that Nikon is targeting this camera at casual users.

It's obvious that they're trying to protect their DSLR business instead of releasing something truly competitive. So why would anyone pay $900 for a half-baked product?

simon jackson

September 23, 2011, 3:24 pm

My sentiments exactly. Interesting info about the lenses. This confirms my anecdotal observation that they don't really look any smaller than other CSC lenses. They're probably smaller than NEX lenses, but as i've said before, the truth is none of the CSC cameras are pocketable with anything other than a pancake on, so im not sure any slight size advantage in the zooms really counts for much. You still need something other than a pocket to carry the camera+lens, so what difference does an extra centimetre or two make.

John Rich

September 23, 2011, 5:14 pm

I think the potential here is very good, I've just seen some sample images from the Pentax Q, and was very impressed by what the 1.2/3 sensor (from Sony) has managed. Being Nikon, this may also be a Sony sensor and much larger than the Q. I reckon we'll see very good results whether or not this is a Sony sensor.

Nigel Cummings

September 23, 2011, 5:29 pm

I think Nikon have dropped a clanger with this new range, reminds me of their half-baked Pronea range which totally bombed! I use Nikon DSLRs commercially and Nikon Compacts for leisure. When I want a portable, quality, large sensor camera I opt for a Sony NEX -5, Which by the way I can fit Nikkor lenses too via a cheap and cheerful adapter off eBay. I was really hoping Nikon would have bought out a mirrorless compact APS-C sensor camera that would blow the NEX range out of the water, so I could go totally Nikon. Alas Nikon have not! Test pics available on the web already, from this new Nikon design are gritty to say the least, the tiny 10MP sensor and 2.7x rcrop factor will result in nothing more than 'snapshots' despite the bells and whistles this new range possesses. I will buy one, eventually, as a leisure camera, but I will wait until the 'early adopters' have wasted their money, and then, next year when the V1 and J1 are on clearance in camera store bargain basements, I will go shopping !

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