Considering the entry-level status of the Nikon S1, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s not as fast and responsive as more expensive cameras. But, while it’s by no means the best performing CSC ever made, most buyers will delight at its speed.
The Nikon 1 S1 brings subjects into focus in no time at all, with focus determined almost the instant that the shutter buttons is half depressed. It rarely slows down between shots, even when you're capturing larger Raw files, which traditionally put more strain on the camera's processor – an area in which other CSCs around the same price point have traditionally struggled.
The screen is excellent, too. It’s clear and easy to use, even in brighter lighting conditions where it only slightly drops off. Indeed, any gripes with the Nikon 1 S1, such as how the indicator lamp is right under the natural resting place for your thumb while shooting, are small. It’s a joy to use.
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Click on 'Photos' tab above to see test shots.There's an awful lot to like about the Nikon 1 S1's photos, too, though it’s not without its faults.
The Auto White Balance system consistently renders colours correctly with a noticeable absence of any particular colour cast. If anything, colours are a tad subdued – if you have the skill it’s worth boosting them when editing afterwards. The S1's exposure system is also generally reliable, with metering only exhibiting the slight tendency to underexpose.
One area where the Nikon 1 S1, somewhat predictably, suffers, is noise control at high ISO settings. Owing to the smaller sensor employed in the S1 in comparison to other similar CSCs, noise is problematic even at lower ISO settings. Although the camera managed to maintain a certain amount of detail at these higher settings, the necessary noise reduction results in some detail lost and sharpness loss.
There's an awful lot to like about the Nikon 1 S1 – it’s fast, takes good photos and is easy to use. It’s also reasonably priced, which assuming it comes down in price as time goes by, will make it absolutely bargain in future. Its Achilles heel, and why it doesn’t walk away with a Recommended Award, is the loss of detail and so-so low-light performance in comparison with rivals.
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