Nikon 1 J2 Review

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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.

Nikon 1 J2

While the J2 is supposed to be an update to the J1, Nikon changed very little in the camera as can be seen from the comparison below. The sensor size, AF system, camera design (for the most part) and size stayed the same. Nikon made some minor upgrades to the LCD, changed the front plate from aluminum to magnesium alloy for extra durability, added more funky colors and reduced the price of the kit to $549, which is $100 below what the J1 launched at. Looks like the J2 is what the J1 should have been when Nikon introduced it to the market. Let’s take a look at it a bit closer…

1) Nikon 1 J2 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 921,000 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. 6 Exposure Modes – Programed Auto (P), Shutter Priority (S), Aperture Priority Auto (A), Aperture Priority (A), Manual (M) and Scene Auto Selector
  17. Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, User-Customizable 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: 8.4oz (238g)

Detailed technical specifications for the Nikon 1 J2 are available on

Nikon 1 J2 Review (10)

NIKON 1 J2 @ 17.5mm, ISO 800, 1/60, f/4.5

2) Nikon 1 J1 vs J2

Since very few things changed on the Nikon 1 J2, I will only list the differences.

Camera FeatureNikon 1 J1Nikon 1 J2
Creative Mode (Dial)NoYes
Camera ConstructionAluminum (Front Plate)Magnesium Alloy (Front Plate)
Mode DialPlasticMetal
LCD Resolution460,000 dots921,000 dots
Weight8.3oz / 234g8.4oz / 238g
Available in ColorsWhite, Black, Red, SilverWhite, Black, Red, Silver, Pink, Orange
MSRP Price$649.95$549.95

The above differences are self-explanatory, except perhaps for item #1 – Creative Mode (Dial). Nikon added another option to the main dial on the back of the camera called “Creative Mode”, which allows choosing between a number of different shooting modes like Panorama, Selective Color, Miniature, Soft, Night Landscape, Backlighting and Night Portraits. Nikon also released an underwater case that is specifically designed to accommodate both the Nikon 1 J1 and J2 cameras with the 10-30mm lens.

Nikon 1 J2 Review (3)

NIKON 1 J2 @ 10mm, ISO 1600, 1/30, f/5.6

3) 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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