Nikon 1 J1 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 J1 mirrorless camera that came out on September 21, 2011 along with the Nikon 1 V1 camera and three 1 Nikkor lenses. The Nikon 1 J1 and V1 cameras are Nikon’s first attempt to produce a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, which took 5 years of careful design and development by Nikon’s engineers. Why did Nikon decide to enter the mirrorless market and where is the mirrorless technology positioned relative to the DSLR and point and shoot market? How does the Nikon 1 mirrorless system compare against the competition? In this review, I will provide answers to these questions, along with comparisons of the Nikon 1 J1 against the Sony NEX-5n and the Olympus E-PL3 mirrorless cameras.

Nikon 1 J1

The Nikon 1 J1 and V1 cameras, along with 1 Nikkor lenses were kindly provided by B&H – the largest photo reseller in the world that I personally use to buy my photography gear.

1) Nikon 1 J1 Specifications

Main Features:

  1. 10.1 Megapixel CX-format (2.7x crop factor) CMOS Image Sensor
  2. 13.2mm x 8.8mm sensor size
  3. Nikon 1 Lens Mount
  4. Compatible with SD, SDHC and SDXC cards
  5. 3:2 aspect ratio for still images
  6. 12-bit compressed RAW image support
  7. Full 1080p HD Cinematic Video at 1080/60i, 1080/30p, 720/60p video resolutions (16:9 aspect ratio)
  8. Slow-motion Video at 400fps / 640×240 resolution and 1200fps / 320×120 resolution
  9. Hybrid phase detection / contrast-detect Autofocus with up to 135 focus points and an AF-assist illuminator
  10. Subject and face tracking
  11. ISO sensitivity 100-3200, expandable to ISO 6400 equivalent
  12. 3-in. LCD monitor with with 460,000 dots
  13. Built-in HDMI and USB ports
  14. 5 Automatic Exposure Scene Modes – Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Close-up and Auto
  15. 5 Shooting Modes – Still Image, Smart Photo Selector, Movie, Movie Slow Motion and Motion Snapshot
  16. 5 Exposure Modes – Programed Auto (P), Shutter Priority (S), Aperture Priority (A), Manual (M) and Scene Auto Selector
  17. Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape Picture Controls
  18. Compact and Lightweight Design
  19. Features Nikon’s new EXPEED 3 image processing engine
  20. Active D-Lighting for shadow highlight recovery
  21. Dust-reduction system
  22. Electronic lens aperture control
  23. Electronic shutter with up to 1/16,000 sec shutter speed
  24. Flash Sync Speed 1/60
  25. Built-in intervalometer
  26. Up to 5 fps in standard mode, up to 10, 30 or 60 fps in electronic [Hi] mode
  27. Spot, Center-weighted and Matrix metering modes
  28. Focus Modes – Auto (AF), Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A), Single-servo AF (AF-S), Continuous-servo (AF-C), Full-time Servo (AF-F), Manual Focus (MF)
  29. An FT1 adapter (must be purchased separately) allows using certain legacy F Mount Nikkor DSLR lenses on the camera
  30. Battery Life up to 230 shots per charge
  31. Dimensions 4.2″ x 2.4″ x 1.2″ / 106mm x 61mm x 29.8mm
  32. Weight: 8.3oz (234g)

Detailed technical specifications for the Nikon 1 J1 are available on

Nikon 1 J1 Sample (16)

NIKON 1 J1 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 16.3mm, ISO 100, 1/200, f/11.0

2) The Mirrorless Market and the CX Sensor

I analysed the mirrorless market, why Nikon released the 1 series cameras and what the CX sensor is all about in my Nikon 1 V1 review. I won’t be repeating the same thing in this review, so I highly recommend that you check it out.

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