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Nikon J1 - Sample Images: ISO Performance

Audley Jarvis

By Audley Jarvis


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Review Price £549.99


Images shot at the baseline ISO 100 are noise free.


There are no problems with ISO 200 either.


At ISO 400 there is a minor softening of detail, but overall quality is still very good.


At ISO 800 the softening of detail is more pronounced, but noise is still well controlled.


At ISO 1600 is quite soft and shadow detail has been compromised, but there is little sign of colour noise.


The sea-change occurs at ISO 3200, where the image begins to fall apart.


ISO 6400 is really only for emergencies only.

The following full-size examples show what the J1 is capable of in a real-world situation at higher ISO settings. Click on the images to enlarge.

Nikon J1 ISO1600

ISO 1600

Nikon J1 ISO1600

ISO 1600

Nikon J1 ISO3200

ISO 3200

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November 5, 2011, 3:48 am

While cameras do wonders with such small sensor i really don't understand Nikon. This new 1 range priced to go head to head with micro 4/3 and SONY NEX cameras but both (especially NEX) are far superior in image quality and it seems in usability too. Other than brand loyalty I don't really see any reason to buy this camera over competition.

SONY NEX 5N is still by far the best by in this category because both image quality and ability to use SONY alpha/Minolta lenses with adapter (what's the category called anyway? Exchangeable lens compact? I even heard Mirrorless DSLR which really makes no sense.)

Martin Daler

November 5, 2011, 6:54 pm

I don't see any 'far superior' IQ from micro 4/3 and Sony NEX. They may have the edge technically, but most people are not bothered about pixel-peeping. There has to be a point at which IQ is generally good enough for most people, and pushing relentlessly beyond that point brings no benefit for them.

Then comes usability - and speed of focus and general ease of use are paramount here, as is actually having the camera with you. Here the Nikon 1 scores heavily - it is lightening quick to focus and follow the focus, and being smaller it is more likely you don't leave it at home.

The great majority of shots that people regard as poor or spoilt, I'll bet focus is at issue, and not any of the IQ metrics beloved of the pixel-peepers. Or else they missed the shot completely, because the camera was not quick enough/simple enough to use, or was left at home. The Nikon 1 address those 'majority' issues square on, while delivering more than adequate IQ.


November 6, 2011, 6:03 pm

Few things make me laugh more than when people that know about cameras and photography are accused of being pixel-peeping know it alls with no grasp of real-life shooting when pointing out significant drawbacks of 'lesser' cameras.

Any mug can see the difference between an SLR and a compact when they're made aware of what to look for, and the deficiencies of the 1 range are also easily identified. I cite my sister (who of course isn't a mug :D) who tried several new compacts while looking to replace her aging 4 megapixel model but could find none that matched the image quality. Low and behold her old camera had a larger than average sensor and great quality, fast optics. I pointed her in the direction of the LX5 and she immediately noticed its quality.

Moreover, our complaints about this particular camera only come down in small part to its ultimate IQ. There are many other issues like usability and price.

Real pixel-peeping is picking between ni-on identical cameras or lenses to find that last little bit of IQ difference. This, I agree is where it all gets rather silly. Accusing someone of pixel-peeping when they're comparing two cameras with significantly different size sensors, though, is patently stupid (given today's technology at least).

Martin Daler

November 6, 2011, 6:38 pm

But Ed, at what point do you say, 'yes, the other camera has better IQ, but so what, this camera's IQ is already good, and besides which IQ is not the main issue keeping you from producing photos that you want to keep'?

I'm sorry if the term 'pixel-peeping' got your goat, that was not the intention. But look through sombody's photo album, see the shots that went into the 'bin', were also-rans for whatever reason, or were missed altogether, and identify what went wrong, what prevented it being a great shot. Ask yourself, how many would have been put right through better IQ, better DR, better SNR. And how many were just a victim of poor focus, poor composition, shutter delay, timing, etc. I suspect the majority fall into the latter category.

Cameras are not the sole preserve of "people who know about cameras and photography", they are for people who want to take pictures that they will enjoy, and that is a much wider group.


November 6, 2011, 7:27 pm

Well, i really needed that shoe in my mouth. Since I wrote these i saw some new user experiences. And one particular made me why it had its greatness.

He was shooting show in aqua park show with orcas and dolphins holding his 3 years old son in one had using best shot mode. Seeing those picture explained it all to me.


November 7, 2011, 1:07 am

I forgot to mention that it's still grossly overpriced. It does provide more then even pro compacts like g12 but for camera which is mostly meant for point and shoot 550 pounds is nothing less than luxury tax.

Mohammad Halim

December 21, 2012, 4:36 pm

Please do not buy this camera (Nikon 1 - J1) i have done biggest mistake of my life. Faulty within less than month. Repaired and sent back by Nikon but still having the same problem.
I find the customer service / support teams for Nikon are very rude and unhelpful.
Not recommended at all
Mohammad Halim

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