Nikon Introduces Two New Mirrorless Cameras

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It’s not every day that a camera manufacturer introduces a new camera system and a whole new imaging format to go along with it. Nikon’s new 1 series cameras, the Nikon J1 and Nikon V1, are a pair of compact, mirrorless cameras that feature a new 10MP CX format (13.2 x 8.8mm / 3872 x 2592-dot) CMOS imaging sensor and a dedicated Nikon System 1 lens mount designed specifically for use with the new CX-format sensor, which has a crop factor of 2.7x the fields of view of full frame 35mm optics. Though rumors of a compact mirrorless camera from Nikon have been making the rounds for months, news of an imaging sensor sized somewhere between a 4/3 sensor and a point-and-shoot sensor seems to have caught everyone off guard.

The top-of-the-line 1 series Nikon is the Nikon V1, which features a svelte form factor (4.4 x 3 x 1.7" / 113 x 76 x 43.5 mm), light weight (10.4 oz / 294 g camera body only) and a choice of viewing options—a high definition, 1,4400,000-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) that comes into play when you raise the camera to your eye, or a more traditional 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot rear-mounted LCD for those who prefer squinting at a small screen under bright, sunny skies.

In terms of performance, the spec sheets say it all; up to 10 frames per second (full-res), JPEG, NEF(RAW) or NEF(RAW)+JPEG stills, full HD video (1,920 x 1,080/60i, 1,920 x 1,080/30p, 1,280 x 720/60p, as well as the ability to shoot at up to 60 frames per second for slow motion playback at 24 frames per second. There’s also a Smart Photo Selector that automatically captures a high-res still while recording HD 1080p video. The new System 1 cameras also feature Nikon’s newest dual core EXPEED 3 image processor, which according to Nikon is tuned to enable the new cameras to perform as advertised, including still capture at speeds up to 60 full-res frames per second—when you simply cannot afford to miss the shot.

The Nikon J1 is slightly smaller, slightly lighter, and about $250 less expensive than the Nikon V1, and relies solely on a 3.0-inch (460,000-dot) LCD for composing and reviewing stills and video. But aside from the lack of an EVF, and a lower-res LCD, the Nikon J1 and V1 share all of the abovementioned attributes and performance specs. The Nikon J1 will be available in black, red, silver, white and pink.

      

The ISO sensitivity range of Nikon’s System 1 cameras goes from 100 to 3200, with an extended ISO 6400 when the going gets dark. Autofocus is also reportedly quite responsive, thanks to a new 73-point  hybrid AF system that automatically switches between phase and contrast detection as needed, and allows for full-time continuous focusing while shooting.

        

Accessories for Nikon’s System 1 cameras include an SB-N5 Speedlight, an external stereo microphone for greater audio fidelity, and the GP-N100 GPS module, each of which couple to the camera via a Multi-Accessory port located on the camera’s top deck.

To complement the new cameras, Nikon has also introduced the first 1 Nikkor lenses, starting with the 1 Nikkor VR 10–30mm/f3.5–5.6 (27–81mm equivalent), which will serve as the standard kit lens for both cameras. There will also be a 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens (27mm equivalent), a 1 Nikkor 30–110mm f/3.8–5.6 (81–297mm equivalent) and a 1 Nikkor VR 10–100mm/4.5–5.6 (27–270mm equivalent) power zoom, which is optimized for smooth, quiet video capture. 


  Nikon J1 Nikon V1
Type Digital camera with interchangeable lens Digital camera with interchangeable lens
Mount Nikon 1 mount Nikon 1 mount
Effective Pixels 10.1 million 10.1 million
Sensor 13.2 x 8.8 mm CMOS 13.2 x 8.8mm CMOS
Memory SD, SDHC, SDXC SD, SDHC, SDXC
Viewfinder LCD Optical
Shutter Type Electronic Electronically-controlled 
Continuous Shooting 5, 10, 30, or 60 fps using Electronic (Hi) shutter 5, 10, 30, or 60 fps using Electronic (Hi) shutter
Self Timer 2, 5, 10 sec. 2, 5, 10 sec.
Exposure Metering TTL metering using image sensor TTL metering using image sensor
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Close-up, Auto Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Close-up, Auto
ISO 100-3200; 6400 100-3200; 6400
Flash Built-in Flash i-TTL flash control 
Interface USB, HDMI  USB, HDMI, NTSC/PAL, Stereo mini-pin jack
GPS Not specified by manufacturer Optional GP-N100 GPS unit
Battery EN-EL20 lithium-ion EN-EL15 lithium-ion
Dimensions (WxHxD) 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.2" / 10.7 x 6.1 x 3.0 cm 4.4 x 3.0 x 1.7" / 113 x 76 x 43.5mm
Weight 8.3 oz / 0.2 kg 10.4 oz / 294g 

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I am a real estate broker using exclusively wide-angle lenses under 20mm. With a 2.7 crop factor, Nikon will have to issue a 6mm lens for their new cameras. It scares me to think of the size and cost of this lens. I think Nikon's biggest mistake was the size of the sensor. With my Sony Nex-3, I have my 18mm at a cost of $600 with camera, 16mm lens and Sony's .75 adapter, thanks to it's APS-C size sensor. I expected more value from Nikon. I also expected a better looking camera. The target market has got to be point and shoot owners without concern for cost but want the brand name.

This new Nikon Product Announcement e is a big, unexpected suprise.  However, the preliminary information does not answer my main concern.   I would not consider purchasing  one of the new Nikon Mirrorless Cameras, or any other new camera for that matter, unless it offered High Dynamic Range [HDR].  Among their previous cameras, the very new new '5,100 is the first Nikon Camera to offer HDR.

David Lawrence Scally

Chevy Chase, MD

Any idea how quiet this thing is? Leica rangefinder quiet?

Hello when it is going to be available to buy?

Do the new 1 nikkor lenses have a manual focus ring?

I was waiting for Nikon to come out with a 4/3 camera, the smaller size is a surprize. Why did they go to a smaller size sensor? How doea the new format compare to the 4/3 format?

thanks