This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 J2 mirrorless camera that came out on August 9, 2012, less than a year after Nikon debuted its mirrorless system with the introduction of the Nikon 1 J1 and V1. Along with the J2, Nikon also released the 1 Nikkor 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5-6 zoom lens, a very compact lens to complement the J1/J2 cameras. In this review, I will go over the features of the camera, talk about its pros and cons and compare it to other mirrorless cameras such as Sony NEX-series, Canon EOS M and Olympus OM-D E-M5. This is the first camera from the “Battle of the Mirrorless” series. The recently evaluated Nikon 1 V2 will be featured in the second part.
On August 9th, Nikon announced a mild refresh to the popular entry level Nikon 1 J1 camera – the J2. While it doesn’t seem to improve much on the camera it replaces, Nikon made a smart move by lowering the initial price by $100 compared to J1. It makes for a very sensible choice for those who were thinking of buying the “older” camera.
Along with the new compact system camera, Nikon also introduced an underwater housing for Nikon 1 J1 and J2 cameras, and a new zoom lens.
1) The Underwater Case
The new underwater case WP-N1 is suitable for both J1 and J2 and will house one of these cameras with a 10-30mm VR lens attached (read review). The case is waterproof up to 40m (approximately 131 feet), which is likely enough for any kind of vacation you may take your J1/J2 to.
2) The Lens
While it’s hard to say what advantages the new 11-27.5mm F/3.5-5.6 lens may have over the basic 10-30mm VR kit lens without properly testing it first, Nikon wouldn’t have released it just for the fun of it. The lens, being equivalent to 30-75mm (in 35mm format), is very small (3cm/1.22″) and lightweight, and thus would suit your J1/J2 camera very well. It features one aspherical element and internal focusing.
3) The Camera
Likely the biggest change J2 brings us is the higher resolution screen (921k dots versus J1′s 460k dots) previously used in the higher-end V1. Hopefully, these sharp screens will now be default choice even for low-end devices. Also, the J2 is built around a metal body (J1 has an aluminum front panel), so it should be ever so slightly tougher than its predecessor. While other changes, like the Creative Mode (artistic filters) and more body color options (now available in orange, too) make it a nicer camera on paper for some, the biggest omission still is the lack of EVF – a potential deal-breaker for many buyers. But then, there has to be something to separate the J2 from V1, and EVF is one of such features.