Nikon has just announced a brand new lens for the CX mount – the Nikon 1 32mm f/1.2. While this news might not be interesting for Nikon DSLR, it surely will be to anyone that owns a Nikon 1 camera system. It is the first Nikon 1 lens with an insanely fast aperture of f/1.2, Nano Crystal Coat, Silent Wave Motor and a real manual focus ring. With a focal length of 32mm, this lens is equivalent to an 86mm lens on full-frame, which makes it a really nice portrait lens. In terms of depth of field, because the sensor of the Nikon 1 system is only 1 inch in size, the full frame equivalent would be around f/3.2 – a downside of a small sensor. Still, considering how much technology Nikon put into this lens, it will surely be the sharpest lens in the Nikon 1 line.
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).
Key Specifications and Commentary
Lets start with the recent update to Nikon 1 J-series, the J3.
1) Nikon 1 J3
- 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
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.
As promised, I have performed some additional dynamic range tests on the mirrorless cameras I am testing (Nikon 1 J2, Canon EOS-M, Sony NEX-F3, Sony NEX-5R, Sony NEX-6, Sony NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D EM-5) and I have the data ready for your viewing pleasure. As expected, the Sony APS-C sensors performed the best, with the Sony NEX-5R and NEX-6 leading the game (although other NEX series are extremely close) followed by the Olympus OM-D EM-5, then Canon EOS M and then finally the Nikon 1 J2. Here is a comparison chart that shows performance of the various mirrorless cameras:
I have spent a considerable amount of time working with 7 different mirrorless cameras from Sony, Canon, Nikon and Olympus. I apologize for not being able to provide periodic updates on these cameras. I have come up with new ways to measure digital camera sensor performance, so it took me a long time to do it in a way that I believe will be more accurate and objective compared to my previous methods. Not only will you be seeing crops of sensor performance in a controlled environment, but I will also provide some numbers to quantify performance in colors and dynamic range. As I have already mentioned before, I will be measuring dynamic range myself going forward without having to rely on other websites for the data. It will be interesting to see how my data compares to other sites like DxOMark. I am not planning to do anything super intensive and I bet my measurements will not be without issues and errors, but I believe it is something worth trying. Hopefully it will give a different perspective to testing sensors.
Here is the first test that shows the low light performance of the following mirrorless cameras: Nikon 1 J2, Canon EOS-M, Sony NEX-F3, Sony NEX-5R/NEX-6, Sony NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D EM-5. Since these cameras all look excellent at ISO levels between 100 and 800, I decided to only show ISO performance at 1600 and above. Take a look!
Nikon 1 J2
Bad product? Bad marketing? Predatory pricing? A simple act of desperation? Or all of the above? Nikon has just slashed the price of the Nikon 1 V1 kit (with the 10-30mm VR lens) again, down to $299. A product that sold for $899 exactly one year ago when I reviewed it. Wait, there is more – the Nikon 1 J1 camera, which has far less impressive specifications sells for $100 more. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
How can a product get 3 times cheaper in less than a year? Usually, you don’t see a 66% discount on an electronics product in a 12 month period after its launch. That just doesn’t happen…typically. And when it does happen, there is usually something wrong with the product, or the product fails to sell due to lack of mass adoption. Like Betamax versus VHS or HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray wars. Or many other similar stories. Nikon came a little late to the mirrorless market with its Nikon 1 system. The Micro 4/3 alliance already matured by then, with excellent lens choices, bigger sensor and lots of built-in features. Sony also gathered a big fanbase around its tiny cameras with big APS-C size sensors. Others were pushing hard with innovative designs, great lens choices and more. While Nikon wanted to capture the hearts and minds of many photographers, the product did not get the stamp of approval from the mirrorless community, mostly due to its high price tag. Many reviewers praised the Nikon 1 V1 camera, but could not justify its high price when compared to the competition. Not when Sony was selling its excellent mirrorless cameras like Sony NEX-5N for several hundred dollars less. And with Canon also adopting APS-C sensor size for its new EOS M mirrorless system, it was getting clear that Nikon would have a hard time competing in the mirrorless market. And now here we are – the Nikon 1 V1 is the cheapest of them all (in the high-end mirrorless category).
Looks like B&H is already getting ready for the holidays, with some great deals on high-end Canon and Fuji cameras. The Canon 5D Mark II has a huge drop in price while supplies last – it is now $1,699, which makes it the cheapest full-frame DSLR on the market today. The Canon 5D Mark III has also been reduced to $3,199, which finally brings it closer to the Nikon D800 in pricing. On top of that, the Fuji X-100 is now $200 off, bringing it down to $999 (regular price is $1,199). And if you have been buying cameras like D600 and need plenty of storage, you might need some good cheap memory – the Transcend 64GB SDXC memory is selling for $49. If you need faster cards, the Lexar CF and SD cards are also heavily discounted until the end of this month.
And here are the pre-order links for the newly announced Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR and Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless camera + accessories:
- Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR for $1,399
- Nikon 1 V2 Body Only for $799.95 (White Nikon 1 V2)
- Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm lens (White Kit)
- Nikon SB-N7 Speedlight for Nikon 1 V1/V2 for $159.95 (White SB-N7)
Both Nikon 1 V2 and Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR will be reviewed in November.
In this article, I will show feature differences between the Nikon 1 V1 and the newly announced Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless cameras. Judging by the J2 and V2 updates this year, it seems like Nikon will be refreshing the 1 line fairly often, so I am planning to provide feature comparisons like this to show what has changed between cameras after each announcement. As you may already know, the whole Nikon 1 line has a CX mount with a 2.7x crop factor and the J1/J2 cameras are targeted for photo hobbyists, while the V1/V2 cameras are targeted for more serious shooters. Hence, there is a significant difference in size, feature and performance between the two lines. Please keep in mind that this Nikon 1 V1 vs V2 comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Nikon 1 V2 Review.
Nikon has just announced the Nikon 1 V2, an update to the existing Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera that was released last year. Unlike the disappointing J2 release earlier this year that had almost no improvements over the J1 that it replaced, the V2 seems to be a much bigger upgrade. First, the camera body went through a complete rework, with a different ergonomic design of a much more serious camera. The camera grip looks similar to those found on Sony NEX series mirrorless cameras and there is now a dedicated PASM Command Mode Dial on the top of the camera. A small built-in flash is now included in the body, with an additional hot shoe that allows mounting Nikon 1 speedlights, similar to the also newly announced SB-N7 speedlight.
Today, Nikon released a firmware update for their popular Nikon 1 J1 and V1 compact system cameras. Updates bring minor improvements to camera operation and fix a couple of bugs previously affecting some of the cameras. Here is the list of changes for both J1 and V1:
- The exposure control program used with shooting in Smart Photo Selector mode, or still image shooting mode with Exposure mode set to P Programmed auto or Scene auto selector, has been revised for faster shutter speeds to prevent blurred subjects.
- Auto white balance performance has been increased.
- Exposure accuracy with ISO sensitivity set to Auto 100–3200, Auto 100–800, or Auto 100–400 has been increased with shooting using the optional Speedlight SB-N5 (built-in flash for for J1 owners) to photograph subjects at close distances.
Also, the following issues have been resolved:
- An error message was sometimes displayed during interval timer shooting, preventing capture of the specified number of shots.
- When the camera was turned on by releasing the retractable lens barrel lock on applicable lenses, there was sometimes a slight delay before the shutter could be released.
If you are currently thinking about buying either of these great little cameras, maybe our review of the V1 will help you decide?