New Nikon 1 Cameras and Lenses, Same Mistakes

We may be a bit late to publish this particular announcement, but it did take some time to comprehend what Nikon has done, or, to be precise, hasn’t done. Along with the USA availability of their D5200 DSLR camera, they have also introduced two new Nikon 1 cameras and lenses. Firstly, there’s the J3, which is a successor to the J2, which was announced less than half a year ago (click here for our review). If, previously, the J-series were thought to be entry-level Nikon 1 offerings, such positioning has changed with the introduction of a lower-end S1 camera. The two lenses are 6.7-13mm F3.5-5.6 VR wide-angle zoom (18-35mm equivalent) and 10-100mm F4-5.6 VR super-zoom (27-270mm equivalent).

Nikon 1 J3 Front

Key Specifications and Commentary

Lets start with the recent update to Nikon 1 J-series, the J3.

1) Nikon 1 J3

1.1)Specification Highlights
  • 14.2 megapixel CX (1″ sized) CMOS sensor with 4608 x 3072 image size and 2.7x crop factor
  • Tough metallic body construction, as with previous Nikon 1 cameras
  • Well-received Hybrid AF with both contrast- and phase-detect systems for very fast and accurate focus acquisition and up to 135 focus points
  • 3″ 921k dot LCD screen
  • Shutter speed range of 30s-1/16000s
  • 15 frames per second shooting speed
  • 1080p/60 video support with max 1200 frames per second recording at 320×120 resolution for super-slow motion playback
1.2)Commentary

In short, this is a Nikon V2 camera in a J2 body. If previously the J2 was only a minor update to the original J1, this time the newest camera in J-series gains 14.2 megapixel sensor from its bigger brother. As usual, it is very fast in both shooting speeds and autofocus, offering 15 frames per second with continuous AF. The high build quality is also a reassuring factor, no doubt. However, all is not so good when you take a closer look at what Nikon has done with the controls. I am about to rant now.

The first noticeable change is the move of the supposed mode dial to the top of the camera. As before, it doesn’t feature any of the usual and useful P/A/S/M modes, which, presumably, are still only accessible from the menu. But that’s something we are used not to expect from anything but the V2, as previously even V1 was plagued by this silly omission. The one useful button, F (function), has been moved to the main controller. Function button can presumably be set to change shooting modes, but then you rob yourself of other important settings, such as ISO and WB, both of which also have no direct way of being set other than through the menu. AE-L and AF-L button, in turn, is gone completely (that’s where the Function button now resides), while drive mode has been added (I’m not sure about other photographers, but personally, I don’t change this setting often at all) to choose shooting speeds. Shockingly, DISP button is also removed, so unless Nikon managed to put extensive control onto the main dial (which is part of the main controller), the previously poor camera from handling standpoint has become even worse.

Nikon 1 J3 Rear

What on Earth possessed Nikon to do all of that?

2) Nikon 1 S1

Nikon 1 S1 Front

2.1) Specifications Highlights
  • 10.1 megapixel CX (1″ sized) CMOS sensor with 3872 x 2592 image size and 2.7x crop factor
  • Well-received Hybrid AF with both contrast- and phase-detect systems for very fast and accurate focus acquisition and up to 135 focus points
  • 3″ 460k dot LCD screen
  • Shutter speed range of 30s-1/16000s
  • 15 frames per second shooting speed
  • 1080p/60 video support with max 1200 frames per second recording at 320×120 resolution for super-slow motion playback
2.2) Commentary

Nikon 1 S1 is a further stripped-down version of the J3, though differences are minor. First and foremost, there’s no mode dial at all, which is replaced with a graphical interface. The S1 also incorporates a lower resolution screen, previously seen in Nikon 1 J1, as well as the same 10.1 megapixel sensor. The two cameras are very similar on the whole – it seems like Nikon re-launched the J1 in a slightly different body at a lower starting price.

Nikon 1 S1 Rear

Apart from these changes and a slightly more compact, likely plastic body, the S1 is virtually identical to J3 and J1 in almost any other aspect while sharing J3′s control layout. In other words, there’s nothing new.

Lens Commentary and The (Big) Problem

At this point I ask myself – what if we are expecting too much? As said by Nikon in its press release, the Nikon 1 J3 and S1 are “designed for consumers looking for a camera that offers the compact size and portability of a point-and-shoot camera“. When you look at it this way, Nikon has further minimized controls of the previously “cluttered” cameras for simpler use, as point-and-shoot camera users are likely more used to easier-to-understand menu settings. Then there is the Creative Mode, which sounds attractive to beginner photographers who know nothing about aperture and shutter speed, but want to capture fast action or achieve unfocused background. Unfortunately, the quote doesn’t quite end there. Nikon also says they offer J3 and S1 “with advanced controls and features found in high-end digital cameras“. I’m sorry, but that’s just not true.

It’s not the features that set camera classes apart these days. Mind you, all is well with the features list. These little cameras offer amazing autofocus system which is, dare I say it, at least on par with Nikon’s older DSLR AF systems, such as the one found in D200 and maybe even newer cameras. Even the cheapest S1 also offers faster shooting speed than Canon’s top and very expensive 1DX DSLR. But 3 frames per second days are now far behind us. Good AF system is almost a given, as well as decently quick shutter speeds. It’s the controls department that’s lacking. Nikon is positioning its 1 cameras against high-end point-and-shoot options. Remember Fujifilm X20? Not only does it have strong build quality, a likely very good AF system, a proper optical viewfinder, a proper mode dial, a large for a compact camera sensor with its great X-Trans technology and a bright f/2-2.8 manual zoom lens, there is also plenty of manual control available on the camera itself for you to spend less time in the menu, and more time shooting. And it sells for $599.95, which is J3 money when it’s paired with the 10-30mm lens. And that means Fujifilm offers more zoom range with a faster aperture, which should negate any sort of sensor-size advantage of Nikon 1 J3 paired with the kit lens.

1 Nikkor 10-100mm LensThen there are the lenses. Before I start, let me make one thing clear – the smaller the sensor of the camera, the easier it is to design brighter, smaller and cheaper lenses. Given the disadvantages of smaller sensors, particularly in low light, it is expected that these lenses offer at least the equivalent aperture in terms of light-gathering ability when paired to that smaller sensor. With that in mind, lets discuss the lenses Nikon 1 system can offer.

The new 10-100mm lens joins the ranks of other telephoto offerings by Nikon – another 10-100 model, which is bigger and more expensive, and 30-110mm model, which is smaller and less expensive. I would very much like to say something good about these offerings. I would say that the new 10-100mm lens offers the same useful zoom range as the older model, but with a slightly faster aperture at the wide end (f/4 vs f/4.5) and at a considerably smaller price. I would also say that all of these lenses offer vibration reduction, which is great. And that is true, of course, until you notice that aperture of f/5.6 at the long end on all three lenses is preposterous for such a tiny sensor. And then there’s the smaller price of just $546.95 against the $746.95 of the older 10-100mm lens, which is still huge. The only lens among the three to cost a reasonable $246.95 is the 30-110mm. Finally you may notice that, apart from two prime lenses on offer by Nikon, the 10mm f/2.8 and 18.5mm f/1.8, both of which are desperately too slow for CX-sized sensor, the 1 system contains only super-zooms, two kit zoom lenses and the 30-110. Oh, hold on. That is not strictly true. With the new 10-100mm lens Nikon also released a controversial wide-angle zoom.

1 Nikkor 6.7-13mm LensThe new 6.7-13mm lens is a very welcome addition to Nikon 1, finally offering a truly wide-angle zoom range equivalent to 18-35mm on a FF camera. More over, it also has VR, and as we know, stabilization is far from being useless even on wide-angle lenses. All is well, then. Until you think about two contradicting points. First of all, the lens has the aperture of f/3.5-5.6 throughout its zoom range. When you consider the tiny sensor on Nikon 1 cameras, such an aperture is very, very narrow, and yet might be sufficient given a reasonably cheap price. Now, if the aperture were at least a constant f/4 across the range, and better yet, a very reasonable f/3.5, one would expect the lens to cost around $500, which would be fine. Here’s the problem – the lens does indeed cost nearly $500, but there’s no fixed f/4 aperture across the zoom range. The 6.7-13mm is as slow as any other zoom lens Nikon 1 currently has, and thus heavily overpriced.

As we’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with Nikon 1 cameras and lenses on the whole. It is a very capable, compact, fast and easy to understand system wrapped in an attractive package (the V2 might not make the last point for some). The problem is price. Starting with S1, which offers less for quite a bit more money than the “old” V1, all the way through V2, all the way through lens offerings, everything is just too expensive for what it is. Losing a large sensor is supposed to make the whole system much cheaper. That is not the case with Nikon 1, which should drop at the very least $100 off the initial price of most products. On the other hand, if Nikon is indeed stubborn to keep 1 as an expensive system, one would expect more direct controls and brighter lenses.

We hoped Nikon learned when they applied heavy discounts for the V1. It seems they haven’t. While I have no doubt in my mind these cameras and lenses will sell well in some regions, they will seem as a rather poor choice for the price for many photographers out there. Nonetheless, we are hoping to review them when we get a chance.

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Avatar of Romanas Naryškin About Romanas Naryškin

A student and a wedding photographer with a passion for cinematography and writing. You'll see me buying film even when there's no food in the fridge. Follow me on Google+, Facebook or visit my wedding photography website to see some of my work.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Bruce Randall

    It seems that Nikon has finally caught the plague (corporate greed) like all the other greedy corporations.

    • What strikes me is how different their approach is with DSLRs. I may be jumping to conclusions with Nikon 1, but it’s just… weird. Not bad cameras, just bad pricing.

      • 6
        ) Bruce Randall

        I still think their DSLR prices are inflated as well.

    • 7
      ) LanceJ

      Especially since the Nikon 1 cameras and lenses are all being made in Chinese factories with very low cost labor.

      • 14
        ) B!

        This never stopped Apple from charging exorbitant prices for sub-par products….and I’ve never seen Apple fan boys posting such statements either.

  2. 3
    ) Bruce Randall

    To add to my previous comment – Pay more and get less. Where are the price controls? Everybody, everywhere is controlling wages while at the same time the prices keep going up. How do they justify raising prices when the wages they pay are less. Someone must be paying the federal consumer affairs inspector really good or maybe there no longer is a consumer affairs department??

    • I’m not sure this is camera-market relevant, though. They could price their J3 at a $1000 – their choice. No one is obligated to buy one, though. :)

    • 10
      ) Adam

      Comrade Bruce, it’s called “free market capitalism.” You may have heard of it–it’s the thingy that produces 100% of the goods and services that make life pleasant.

      As long as the govt does not use its police powers to make you buy a Nikon at the point of a gun, you have nothing to squawk about.

      OTOH, if we were taxed or fined (for example) for not purchasing a Nikon 1 camera, I would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you at the barricades!

      • 11
        ) Bruce Randall

        It’s not called “the free market”,it’s called a “plutocracy”. Look it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia. From the dictionary: (1)Government by the wealthy. (2) A wealthy class that controls a government.(3) A government or state in which the wealthy rule.
        You must be of the greedy/wealthy class since you are defending a government that is run by your class,so what’s your beef,you have it made since your own class is ruling know??

        • 12
          ) Adam

          Bruce, It turns out that we agree more than we disagree.

          In the photo market, my argument stands, and your complaint doesn’t cut the mustard (though we agree that Nikon 1 isn’t a good value).

          Nikon lacks the power over life and death that the Government loves to use so much. More generally, this is why voluntary commerce is to be preferred over coercion at the point of a gun. “Crony capitalism” is not the same as “free market capitalism”, and is to be abhorred.

          • 15
            ) B!

            I have to agree with Adam here, don’t understand why anybody wouldn’t. He is on point and very clear about it.

  3. 5
    ) FrancoisR

    Marketting! Why kill the DSLR EF-S and DX market with potentially good, light and cheap bodies? The other companies have little market of their own and thence dare (a bit). Both Nikon and Canon risk to shoot themselves in the foot with such atrocities. Just like the big three lost to rice. They have eroded their milk cow (crop DSLR) with FF why doing so with mirrorless? I have no doubt that mirrorless is the way of the futur. In the meantime I carry big bricks cause I deserve a “minimum”.

    Eventually my camera will be mirroless, APSC or better FF sensor with proper controls, fast focus and compact lenses but capable of using the big glass. A bit bigger than Micro Four-Thirds maybe but at least half the weight of current DSLR. An affordable Leica M9 clone maybe? One bold move Nikon made in 2012 was challenging medium format with D800E :D.

    thanks for great article again, hope the big two read it lloll…

    • 16
      ) B!

      Nikon is in business of making money. Why kill their cash cow (DSLR) with a cheap and affordable mirorless camera.

  4. 8
    ) HomoSapiensWannaBe

    The Nikon 1 marketing and engineering team is dazed and confused! A wide angle zoom with f5.6 at 35mm equivalent? Confusing model numbers, feature sets, pricing, etc. Dazed at the onslaught of competition for the APS-C DSLR market.

    Like I mentioned in another N1 post on this blog, “kawaii” (think Hello Kitty cute) sells well in Japan, but most of the rest of the world wants more function to go with the form.

    Thom Hogan’s recent article comparing Nikon 1 model numbers and pricing shows just how sad and comical the N1 state of affairs has become. Imagine being a dealer and having to stock and try to differentiate these confusing, overlapping models to potential customers vs. offerings like the NEX-5/6 and M4/3 cameras. Then, there is the Sony RX100.

    With this latest announcement, I’m finally over my Nikon 1 infatuation, and I’m glad I didn’t buy a V1 kit.

    As Romanas pointed out, for $600 you get a much more capable camera in the Fuji X20 compared to the J3 with 10-30. The X20 is built better in high cost Japan, has superior features, ergonomics, controls, hotshoe, and a novel optical viewfinder. It should at least equal, if not surpass, the image quality of the latest 14mp CX sensor. The X20 may not have interchangeable lenses, but I think it will be a better “grab n’ go” photography tool than a 10-30 equipped J3.

  5. 9
    ) hoang

    on DX we have 18-55 , 18-70 , 18-105 , 18-135 , 18-200 , 18-300 . I have a feeling that soon Nikon user will get there 10-25 , 10-35 , 10-70 , 10-100 … variant .

    Is Nikon still Nikon , the company that didn’t abandone their F-mount just to keep the user from suffering of buying a whole new system , now they only offer a whole new kind of kit lens for their beloved customer . Where is the old Nikon ?

  6. 13
    ) Van

    These Nikon 1 cameras must be a hit somewhere, our local Costco has been overstocked on J1, two lens kits for months, (at $500) and I have yet to see anyone shooting with one. I bought the V1/one lens kit for $349 and it feels like a fair deal for me, especially since it uses the same battery and remote as my main DSLR. I can’t imagine anyone paying over $1000 for the J3 with 10-100 when the D5100 can now be had new for $745 w/55-300, leaving more than $250 for a second lens. Sure, the D5100 is larger but it is light, has great ergonomics, a real flash and superior image quality, especially in low light. The proper hand grip makes if much faster and easier to use when out walking, and less likely to be dropped. This is what I recommend to someone serious about the image the camera produces, not the fashion image it projects.

  7. 17
    ) B!

    It’s very easy Roman to provide an answer to your frustration about slow lenses. The whole process is designed to progressively make money at each upgrade. When digital cameras started we were given an upgrade of an extra 1-2 MPix with each generation. Go back to CD-ROMs and the CD-R as a perfect examples.

    We bought 2x then 4x, then 8x, then 16x then 24x then 32, spending hard earned money each step of the way ….and just when you thought you were done with upgrades, DVD showed up. And so we went with 1X, 2X, 4X, 8X you get my point.

    If Nikon listened to most of the photographers here and on other fora and produced the camera the crowd asked for, it would be the last camera people would buy; for a long time at least. Instead put some of the features now, let people buy it and then add something else 2 years later to get people to upgrade yet again. Something will be missing then too so that the milking can begin again in few years’ time.

  8. 18
    ) Steven Lawrence

    Your statement about the primes being too slow for the CX sensor has me confused. What exactly do we mean by that statement? I was hoping the wide angle lens would be around $300. Especially with its aperture range. I have the Nikon D600 and a V1 and I enjoy both cameras.

  9. 19
    ) Tonio

    I’ve got no problem with what you’ve said criticizimg Nikon’s 1 system decisions, but the comparison with Fuji’s X20 is ridiculous. if f1.8 is too slow for Nikon’s CX sensor, how is f2 “fast” for the X20′s even smaller sensor? (Witn a crop factor of 3.93 That’s f8 equiv vs f5 for the Nikon?) And assuming anything from Fuji will have solid AF is stretching credulity — the X10′s AF is, according to DPReview about par for compacts, and its more expensive APS cameras are notorious for mediocre AF (and poor fly-by-wire MF).

    Are Nikon 1 system bodies and cameras overpriced, weirdly chosen, slow, etc? No doubt. But don’t hold up an overpriced compact whose key differentiating feature is retro design as something we want Nikon to aspire to.

    • Tonio. Nikon has a single lens, so far, which has an aperture of f/1.8 and is of fixed focal length. This is a rather narrow aperture for such a tiny sensor, as you noted yourself, and thus far, far from being difficult to design. Then there is the 10mm f/2.8, which should be f/1.8 at least at that price. Then there are all the zoom lenses, which, at their wide angle, are f/3.5 or worse, on a tiny CX sensor, and always end at *f/5.6*, which is full-frame territory. Nikon is under the impression that the only thing they need to trouble themselves with when designing 1 lenses is focal length equivalence and fooling everyone around when it comes to aperture. They are wrong to do so. They are selling numbers we are used to – numbers that are good when seen next to a large-sensor camera. But Nikon 1 don’t have large sensors. The fastest lens for my Mamiya RZ system is a 110mm f/2.8 Sekor. On that camera, an aperture of f/2.8 is roughly equivalent to f/1.4 on a full-frame camera, while the focal length is roughly in 50mm cequivalent class. Both aperture and focal length are matched.

      Nikon has everything except will to match those 1 apertures, too, and make the whole system a lot more usable. That 18.5mm lens should have been f/1, and don’t misunderstand me, such an aperture for a small sensor is not that difficult to design.

      When it comes to Fujifilm, they have a *zoom* lens on the X20 that’s, at the wide end, is as close as makes no difference comparable to Nikon’s current fastest *prime* lens. On the long end, it’s comparable to second fastest prime Nikon has. No Nikon 1 zoom lens even starts at comparable aperture to where Fujifilm ends, at least in light gathering if not depth of field. Fujifilm X20 may not have a fast enough lens for its small sensor, but it’s faster even when just comparing numbers to full-frame alternatives, and faster when comparing them to Nikon 1 lenses. At least as far as numbers go. There are no f/2-2.8 28-112mm zoom lenses around for a FF camera. Not even close to that. There are plenty of 50mm f/1.8 lenses, not to mention zooms that start with f/3.5 and end at f/5.6. Nikon hasn’t managed to pull away even from full-frame. That is commendable of Fujifilm to do. More than that, you don’t have to buy this zoom lens separately and pay $500 for it. Even further on, the camera itself doesn’t compromise on handling and has an optical viewfinder. You pay $600 and you have all of that. If you want similar manual control and a viewfinder from a current Nikon 1 (and the whole system competes with high-end compacts more than other mirrorless systems), you need to go for the V2, which is very expensive.

      Finally, autofocus – with the latest two cameras, X20 and X100S, they’ve gone for phase-detect sensors. In other words, both cameras incorporate hybrid AF system similar to that excellent one found in Nikon 1 cameras. I’m not saying it’s as good or better – I wouldn’t know – but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty safe to say they’ve moved forward enough to make these two cameras competitive. Those AF speeds will be good enough.

      And as a side note, don’t underestimate the good looks of a camera. It’s an advantage in quite a few situations, as I’ve explained in my Mamiya RZ67 review (http://photographylife.com/reviews/mamiya-rz67-pro). As another side note, Fujifilm has managed to produce a 18mm f/2 lens for their APS-C mirrorless, which, focal-length wise, is equivalent to 1 Nikkor 10mm lens. Still, the 18mm Fujinon is small and faster than the Nikkor no matter how you look at it, whether the number itself or as an equivalent aperture. Not that hard now, is it?

      • 23
        ) Viet

        Romanas

        This article and your detail explanation here is helpful to me, my friend

        I’m now still waiting for a full review of Nikkor 1 18.5mm f/1.8 from photographylife before making a decision:

        Buy Nikkor 1 18.5mm f/1.8 now

        or

        Wait for Nikkor 1 18.5mm f/1 and keep on using 2 lenses: 10-30 & 30-110

        I really love to take portrait photos with swallow DoF using my J1

      • 27
        ) Tonio

        I think your assertion that an f1 lens is not hard to design needs to be taken with a large grain of salt. The camera business is pretty competitive and yet there isn’t a single compact camera with a lens faster than f1.8 on the market (forget CX, not even 2/3″ sensor cameras). Panasonic’s lenses are designed by Leica, and Sony’s are designed by Zeiss and somehow these guys haven’t, between them, come up with an optical design faster than f1.8.

        I suspect the problem is that designing such a small fast lens that is sharp is actually very difficult. (And, by the way, the Nikon 1 system lenses are quite sharp.)

        Note that I can mount my 35mm f1.8 on my Nikon 1 with a ~$200 adapter to get an f1.8 95mm (equivalent) portrait lens with full autofocus support, etc.

        Again, i think the controls on the V1 and V2 are simply stupid, and agree that the interesting lenses are overpriced, and there are too many boring lenses. And the Fuji cameras do look great and I love their controls, and the X100S seems to have an awesome manual focus system, but the X20 comparison is silly.

        • 29
          ) Tonio

          Correction to my earlier comment re f1.8 — the LX-7 has an f1.4-2.3 lens on a 2/3″ sensor. Even so that’s equivalent to f2 on a CX sensor.

          • Yes, Tonio. Now, does Nikon 1 have a single zoom that’s not even an equivalent, but simply with an aperture of f/2? The apertures Nikon uses on its zooms are found on the cheapest compact cameras out there, and cheapest Nikon DX/FF zooms, too.
            I compared J3 to an X20 for a very simple reason. Were I to choose between the two, even though I’m not a fan of compact cameras on the whole, I would go with the X20 despite its smaller sensor, because it’s a more pleasurable package to use and doesn’t make one feel as if Fuji didn’t try their best.

            • 31
              ) Tonio

              Since you posted this article we find the J3 doesnt have an AA filter. Nikon may have figured out how to reduce moire entirely in software while gaining the sharpness benefit of not using an AA filter and the additional benefit of having usable RAW files.

              I don’t think the Nikon 1 series is a result of Nikon not trying its best so much as trying to achieve something that doesnt make sense, at least to me. I think they’re trying to produce a “modern” camera but they lack the design taste of (say) a Steve Jobs. (It’s clear to me that Nikon has problems in the design taste department — every UI change is, at best, two steps forward and one back. Consider the relentless improvement of Olympus’s, Panasonic’s, and Canon’s premium compacts while Nikon makes seemingly random changes that annoy as many people as they please.)

              It’s easier to simply imitate classic designs (Fujifilm’s approach with its X series cameras). I’m sure if Nikon produced a digital FM body everyone would go nuts for it (it’s actually completely perplexing that they don’t).

              I appreciate that Nikon is TRYING to skate to “where the puck is heading” (including picking a controversially small sensor size because, frankly, in a few generations it will be good enough) but i wish they were better at it.

          • 33
            ) HomoSapiensWannaBe

            The LX-7 sensor is a 1/1.7″ (7.44 x 5.58 mm), not a 2/3″

            There is a reason some of us are more impressed with the Fuji X20 than any N1 camera to date.
            Designs become classic because they work! Putting the viewfinder on the left side as on the X20 makes more ergonomic sense, unless of course, you can’t use your right eye. (I shot Leica M 30 years ago.)

            Besides, there is really nothing innovative about the N1 body/lens packages thus far in terms of user interface and design. The trick modes that dominate the misplaced mode dial (on all but 2 models) are largely gimmicks. They uneccessarily mess up many basic controls, the main reason I did not buy a V1 even at the cheap price.

            Then there is the poor value proposition of N1 unless you get the end-of-model-cycle dump deals. The 18/1.8 lens cost about the same as the FX 50/1.8G if you factor in the included lens hood and case with the latter. The 18/1.8, which even lacks a focus ring, costs much less to produce than the 50/1.8G. The V2/10-30 weighs and costs almost as much as a NEX-6/16-50. The 11-27 lens doesn’t even have VR. The anticipated 32mm/1.2 will likely not be much less than $1000, if it is ever produced. Etcetera.

            By the way, I am not attacking you or your admiration for N1, just explaining why it doesn’t appeal to me enough to buy.

            • 34
              ) Tonio

              My “admiration” for N1?! So… where is this admiration?

              I think the closest thing to admiration is that I assume Nikon is trying and failing to design something great and forward looking (and failing) whereas you think everyone is stupid and that designing cheap f1 lenses is easy.

  10. 20
    ) Chris weller

    I still think the 1 series is the most misunderstood camera system on the market. Most of the people actually rent or own one quickly figure out It’s niche. Put it on an R strap with the tiny, bouncable external flash and the 18mm f1.8 and you’ve got an extremely competent camera that is unparalled in fps and autofocus speed and accuracy that you can literally take anywhere and not even notice it’s there.

    Throw a 30-110 zoom or a maybe the forthcoming 32 1.2 in your pocket as well and you’ve got quite a little system. If you have to shoot above 800 iso, use that awesome little flash. 800 and below you’re good without it. I took this system with me for 5 days in NY a month a go and got shots everwhere and didn’t need a chiropractor when I returned.

    I dont think the 18mm 1.8 is not too slow for the cx sensor. It’s 4.9 FF equivalent, which isn’t quite as fast as I would like, but it’s certainly acceptable. The forthcoming 32mm 1.2 should be a real winner.

    I love my V1, I just don’t expect it to be something it’s not. It has a very specific purpose. I have a bunch of other Nikon camera’s and lenses, but there are plenty of times, when I wouldn’t want to bring those camera’s and the V1 fits the bill. the 30-110 is great for nature walks, sporting events (i got some very nice baseball and football shots with it), daytime only of course. I use it at resteraunts and birthday parties and just about anywhere that I don’t want to be “that guy with the huge camera”

    • All would be well if Nikon charged in relation to how cheap those lenses really are, (and how their cameras are positioned in the competing market) but they charge them as though they were equivalents. That is my only complaint with Nikon 1 system. I’ve said again and again, there is nothing wrong with the cameras or lenses on the whole, they are just overpriced. Either prices are cut considerably off both cameras and lenses, or lenses are made considerably higher-spec in addition to cheaper bodies. The only reasonable offering at this moment is the soon-to-be-gone Nikon V1.

      • 28
        ) Tonio

        By the same token micro four thirds primes are generally more expensive than their DX and FX counterparts … E.g. You can buy the Nikon f1.8 28mm, 50mm, and 85mm for less than their (effectively slower, optically inferior) Olympus M43 counterparts. What’s with that?

        It’s possible that these guys are ripping us off, but it’s also possible that sometimes building things smaller makes them more expensive. It is interesting that Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony are happy to slash prices on compact system bodies, but never seem to offer steep discounts on lenses.

  11. 24
    ) Frank Clark

    New Nikon 1 Cameras and Lenses, Same Mistakes
    Same mistake as being the best selling mirrorless camera (J1) in Japan in 2012 (according to reported BCN numbers. Same mistake as being the best-selling mirrorless camera in the UK according to Nikon sources. Same mistake as being consistently high in Amazon best-selling cameras in the CSC category.
    As a photography enthusiast I too am disappointed at the lack of camera features that I consider important but maybe Nikon strategy in aiming these cameras at casual users makes sense?
    Don’t forget the aim of most businesses is to sell product and make money.

    • Japan is a very strange market, Frank. They like pink cameras, too. I’m not saying no one will buy them – they will. I am saying, however, that Nikon 1 is heavily overpriced. :)

  12. 26
    ) Van

    I am happy to see Nikon moved the shooting mode selector to the top panel on the J3, and the flash pop-up support looks beefier. Bottom line for me: Did image quality improve?

    I see lots of complaints because of lack of a PASM selector dial. As I use these cameras more, I realize that jumping in and out of the shooting menu can be done very quickly, and I usually need to alter more than just exposure mode, making trips in and out of the shooting menu has second nature.

    I believe the V1, with the EVF and big, convenient, D7000/D600 battery, hit the sweet spot when the price dropped recently to less than that for a new J1 (I own both). The best thing all of these Nikon 1 cameras do that my other, heavy artillery or P&S do not, is shoot frames blazingly fast while AF has the subject nailed in time to hit the shutter release. And the included slo-mo is really fun, if not hi -res.

    I wonder why interval shooting went away, perhaps related to the existing 5 sec minimum interval in the early cameras?

    Another mystery for me is why the V1, with same battery as the D600, is rated for less than half as many shots on a charge as the D600. The displays should use the same amount of power, there appears to be less electronics overall to support, and there is no mirror (or shutter in E mode) to power as in the SLR. Is the always-on VR the culprit?

    • 32
      ) Tonio

      PASM isn’t a big deal, indeed not accidentally switching exposure modes is good. What i don’t get is having the mode dial at all. I find myself accidentally switching between the different modes (still, movie, best shot, and motion still). Frankly i don’t know why simply having a movie button and a still button isn’t sufficient.

      But if you want to be infuriated, try the manual focus controls on the V1 (same on the J bodies? I don’t know). It’s hard to use a 1 series for an extended period without bumping into WTF moments.

  13. 35
    ) Anders

    I must make some observations concerning your conclusions. I am an experienced photographer with over 15 years of experience. I own full frame, aps-c, and now CX format cameras. I have done extensive testing comparing image quality between my D7000 and the V1 and I must respectfully disagree with some of your conclusions. I will start by agreeing with you that this system is still in its infancy and is missing lens offerings. I further agree that the V1 is not a DSLR replacement for the professional.

    However, this system will satisfy the needs of most competent amateurs and enthusiast photographers. First, the autofocus on this camera is extremely fast and exceptionally accurate in most lighting conditions. The V1 rarely misses focus. This is not something one can claim with the D7000. Though depth of field helps in this regard, I performed tests using both cameras at the same effective depth of field, as to negate depth of field as a factor, and the V1 consistently produced sharp and properly focused images. The D7000 could not approach this level of accuracy.

    As for the ISO issue, the smaller sensor is not far behind aps-c cameras in its performance. However, there is one caveat, you must expose properly as this camera’s noise performance degrades much more with improper exposure as compared to an aps-c sensor camera. When properly exposed and when using normal cropping (less than 100%), the effective performance difference is less than one stop in most conditions as compared to the D7000. However, if you over or under expose by a wide margin and then crop to 100%, then you will notice a greater difference. However, if you are doing that with this camera, or most aps-c cameras for that matter, you may want to invest less in gear and more on lessons on how to extract the most from your equipment.

    As for depth of field, this is a big red herring. I am using the V1 with the Ft-1 adapter and sigma 30mm f1.4 and am getting fantastic subject isolation and great portraits. More importantly, this lens has been transformed since I began using it on the V1. Knowledgeable photographers know that f1.4 – f1.8 is generally too shallow a depth of field for portraits on full frame cameras and also to some extent on aps-c cameras. Not so on the V1. I find it a perfect aperture for portraits. More importantly, I can actually shoot wide open in low light with acceptable depth of field. Try shooting at f1.4 with your D7000 in marginal light and see what happens. You will find that in most instances, you will lack the necessary depth of field to properly render your subject, requiring you to stop down and negating the benefits of the large aperture.

    I could go on and on about the positives of this small sensor. I could also go on and on about the negatives of the system and deplorable marketing decisions that Nikon has made with respect to this system. The firmware choices, such as purposely crippling functions as to not cannibalize their other camera lines is very underhanded. I’m am by no means a Nikon fanboy and have no problem criticizing their products. However, in spite of Nikon’s best efforts to cripple this camera, they have inadvertently produced a system that accomplishes a great deal and meets the necessities of most amateur photographers.

    It’s unfortunate that Nikon remains tone deaf and has come out with the V2, a camera that makes V1 owners happy about to hold on to their V1 and makes perspective buyers wonder weather Nikon has any clue as to what consumers really want. Who knows, maybe they will have the last laugh. At current prices, the V1 is a no brainer decision and I venture to say that many entry level DSLR owners would be happier with a V1 than their current setup.

    Just my 2.5 cents.

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