Nikon J1 and V1 review
With Olympus, Sony and Panasonic having launched their mirrorless cameras way back, everybody puzzled, when, and even when, the massive two, Canon and Nikon would enter the area. After a lot hypothesis, Nikon has lastly damaged the silence with the V1 and J1, two mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras which might be a part of the brand new Nikon 1 system.
Not adhering to the custom micro 4 thirds commonplace, Nikon has chosen to develop their very own 1-inch sensor dubbed the CX, which has additionally known as for a redesign of not jus the lenses, but in addition the lens mount. We seize each the cameras and put them by means of their paces to see whether or not they stay as much as the hype that comes from being a flagship Nikon Product.
Notice: Models reviewed listed here are the Black Nikon 1 V1 that got here bundled with the 10mm f/2.Eight pancake lens and a White Nikon V1 J1 that got here bundled with the 10-30mm f/three.5-5.6 and the 30-110mm f/three.Eight-5.6 lenses. Each the lenses that got here with the J1 additionally sport Nikon’s proprietary Vibration Discount expertise. For the reason that cameras are an identical, apart from a couple of key variations that we are going to word as we go alongside, we determined to do a joint assessment.
Within the field
Digicam (Nikon 1 V1 or Nikon 1 J1)
Digicam Strap (Black for the V1, White for J1, except you got a J1 of a distinct coloration)
Paperwork (Consumer manuals, guarantee papers)
Battery (EN-EL15 for the V1 and EN-EL20 for the J1)
Lenses (relying on what equipment you buy)
Nikon J1 and V1 Construct
The very first thing we discover after we pull each the cameras out of their packing containers is how comparable they appear to point-and-shoot cameras, particularly the J1. Respecting the hierarchy of classification, the J1 is visibly thinner and smaller than its large brother, the V1.
The physique of the J1 is constructed out of excessive grade plastic, however on the finish of the day, it’s nonetheless plastic. We marvel if it might survive an unintended five-foot drop – tempted, as we have been to strive, we could not since we needed to return the assessment unit to Nikon. On the flip aspect, the center and glory of the V1 are housed in a sturdy all-metal physique that isn’t shiny, however matte. We really feel a Leica affect right here for certain.
Nikon J1 and V1 Ergonomics
The V1 is greater and thicker which suggests it could possibly match an even bigger battery than the J1. Not that we’re complaining, as a result of, properly, nothing there’s nothing worse than working out of juice throughout an necessary shoot.
There’s a minimal quantity of buttons on each the cameras, with the Energy, Shutter and a devoted Video button being positioned on high of the digicam. The again includes a small dial that permits switching between the restricted capturing modes. There’s a secondary dial that controls digicam particular options together with a quartet of buttons.
An fascinating addition to the controls is the horizontal bar on the high proper nook of the again panel. On the V1, it serves as a method to vary the aperture or shutter pace. On the J1, it solely serves as a method to zoom into the whereas in preview mode. In our expertise with the V1, this horizontal bar appeared somewhat counter intuitive for altering aperture or shutter pace values, as up until at present, all cameras have utilized the spinning dial on the again to register adjustments to those settings. We regularly ended up spinning the again dial when wanting to vary the aperture values, solely to comprehend that we have been twiddling with the fallacious controller. That is one thing that may take somewhat getting used to.
The V1 additionally enjoys the addition of a 1440Okay Dot TFT LCD viewfinder (also referred to as an digital viewfinder), a function that visibly units the V1 and J1 aside, because the latter doesn’t have a viewfinder. The view mechanically switches from the again LCD to the viewfinder due to a sensor positioned subsequent to the viewfinder.
Nikon J1 and V1 Options
The function set on each cameras is similar as you’ll anticipate from any excessive finish point-and-shoot. One fascinating level of distinction is the Twin Shutter current within the V1. Whereas each the V1 and J1 sport an digital shutter that may shoot exposures with values starting from 30 seconds to 1/16000th of a second, the V1 additionally comes with a mechanical shutter.
The 2 shutters serve very totally different functions, bringing with them their very own distinctive benefits and disadvantages. The mechanical shutter permits the flash-sync-speed to achieve as much as 1/250th of a second, however reduces the general quickest shutter pace attainable to 1/4000th of a second. The mechanical shutter additionally creates a sound each time it fires. The digital shutter brings the flash sync pace all the way down to a painful 1/60th of a second, however gives silent capturing, boosts the quickest shutter pace to 1/16000th of a second (sure, that could be a BLAZING ONE-SIXTEEN-THOUSANDTH OF A SECOND!) and the power to shoot 10 frames per second.
There may be extra shutter magic to be loved on the Nikon 1 system and it comes within the type of loopy quick burst capturing modes. When the shutter is switched to Digital (Hello), the V1 can shoot at 10,30 or 60 frames per second. Nonetheless, there’s a catch. For the reason that images can’t be written to the reminiscence card as quick because the are being shot, precise variety of frames captures is about 34 frames when capturing at 10 fps and 30 frames when capturing at 30 and 60 fps.
For the J1, the frames captured are 13 frames at 10 fps and 12 frames at 30 and 60 fps. One disadvantage of having the ability to shoot so many frames in such quick spans of time is that when the information must be written to the reminiscence playing cards, it takes fairly some time and throughout the time, the digicam may lock up as a result of unavailability of area. Regardless, nothing can tarnish the enjoyment that comes from capturing at such thoughts numbing speeds.
An fascinating distinction between the 2 cameras is that the J1 sports activities a in-built flash that pops up on the push of a button (and have to be manually pushed again into the closed place). The V1 lacks an on-board flash. As an alternative, it positive factors an adjunct port that can be utilized to connect an exterior flash unit or an exterior mic for video recording.
Nikon J1 and V1 Focus System
One of the crucial spectacular function units of the Nikon 1 system is its distinction/part detect focusing system. Standard cameras (together with DSLRs) use one or the opposite focusing mechanisms, however Nikon has managed to merge the 2 collectively, leading to a system that’s blazing quick to amass focus, even in very low gentle.
Moreover being fast to focus, the system may be tuned into one in every of three configurations; Single Level (with a complete of 135 factors to pick from), Auto-Space (41 factors to pick from) and Topic monitoring mode to trace transferring objects. We should point out right here that the Nikon 1 system has essentially the most focus factors up to now in a mirrorless interchangeable lens digicam system and so they all work very successfully.
Nikon J1 and V1 Lens System
Now we usually have by no means spoken about lenses in a assessment, however the mirrorless cameras are altering that up since these cameras aren’t a lot with no lens. At present, there are solely 4 lenses accessible for the Nikon 1 system:
10mm f/2.Eight pancake lens (pancake as a result of these lenses are very skinny)
10-110mm f/four.5-5.6 PD-Zoom
10-30mm f/three.5-5.6 VR
30-110mm f/three.Eight-5.6 VR
We acquired to check out all of the above lenses, apart from the 10-110mm tremendous zoom. In our use, we discovered that earlier than the lenses may very well be used, they needed to be unlocked by pushing a button adopted by turning them to the precise. This brought on the lenses to protrude about an inch to the entrance, which we discovered extraordinarily worrisome. This design doesn’t work properly within the occasion there are any unintended bumps to the digicam whereas strolling round. The one method to keep away from the unintended harm could be to lock the lens after each use, which is kind of cumbersome in itself.
One other somewhat stunning omission on the lenses was a handbook focus ring. For a digicam system that goals at being extra SLR-like, why would Nikon select to omit such a defining function?
Simply to be clear, the shortage of a focusing ring on the lenses doesn’t imply that handbook focus will not be accessible on the digicam. We discovered that switching the digicam’s focus mode to handbook and the spinning the dial on the again allowed us to focus manually. That is one other cumbersome function that defines each the V1 and J1 extra in the identical household as point-and-shoots somewhat than DSLR replacements.
Nikon J1 and V1 Imaging
Like we talked about earlier, Nikon has developed a proprietary 10 megapixel sensor for the 1 system and dubbed it the CX format. The sensor measures 1-inch in diagonal, putting it comfortably midway between the point-and-shoot and 4 Thirds format. The sensor has a conversion issue or 2.7, which means lens marketed as 10mm would truly yield a viewable space of10x2.7 = 27mm and so forth.
To be honest, capturing with the Nikon 1 system (each the V1 and J1) was fairly pleasant. After all that was the case as soon as we stopped bothering about switching into any mode aside from auto, as the method of doing so requires going into the menu system and tinkering with the settings. The cameras do function a dial that allowed us to change between stills, Sensible Photograph Selector, Movement Snapshot and Video modes, however Handbook, Aperture Precedence and Shutter Precedence choices are omitted from this dial.
One disadvantage of getting a small sensor is that basically, picture high quality takes a success as a result of the per-pixel dimension will get significantly diminished. With respect to that, the CX format sensor performs exceptionally properly, delivering pictures with nice readability, properly saturated colours and a somewhat pleasing stage of distinction. With the ability to shoot in RAW was a aid as by now we’re questioning if there are any SLR like options within the two cameras.
One space the place the sensor fails to carry out is almost about depth of area. Sadly, the small dimension of the sensor leads to a larger-than-expected depth of area. This was obvious after we used the 10mm f/2.Eight pancake lens and shot an object at f/2.Eight. There was background blur, however not as a lot as we’d have seen from an identical lens capturing on the identical aperture on a DSLR.
Nikon J1 and V1 Video
The V1 and J1 each function a devoted video button subsequent to the shutter button on high, nevertheless, video recording at full HD was solely attainable if the mode dial on the again was on Video. We’re not even certain why there’s a devoted video button if we nonetheless want to change over to the video mode earlier than we are able to shoot. This isn’t to say that video can’t be recording when in Nonetheless Shot mode. The one drawback with video whereas in Single Nonetheless mode is that the decision of the video recorded is an unconventional 1072×720 at 60 frames per second and no, we didn’t have any management over this. The video recording dimension can be restricted to 4GB.
The frustrations of design clearly movement into hampering the video recording expertise. There may be, nevertheless, a silver lining of types. Whereas recording full HD video, we have been in a position to shoot stills as properly (albeit they have been solely 9 megapixel stills, with out affecting the video recording in any means.
Nikon J1 and V1 Verdict
We’re having a tough time greedy what Nikon was aiming at attaining with the Nikon 1 system. Venturing right into a realm that’s taking a look at being a DSLR various whereas managing a compact dimension, Nikon acquired the ‘compact’ half considerably proper, however fell means quick on the ‘DSLR’ half.
The shortage of devoted buttons to entry fast options akin to capturing modes (regardless of a bodily dial being current!), lack of ability to shoot video spontaneously regardless of a devoted video button and to not point out, an entire lack of focus ring on the lenses makes the Nikon 1 system extra like a glorified point-and-shoot somewhat than a DSLR competitor.
In favor of the Nikon 1 system, the larger sensor does ship some wonderful trying pictures, together with providing a blazing quick auto-focus system. The V1 helps an adjunct port, however equipment are at the moment restricted to only an exterior flash and mic.
For extra footage of Nikon V1 and J1 go to our image gallery.