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|
|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|