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Nikon 1 V1 & J1
It has been long rumored that Nikon was going to introduce a mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera, and now they’ve done it—two, in fact. The new Nikon 1 cameras are the V1 and the J1, and both are built around a new 10.1-megapixel CMOS sensor that’s about midway in size between Micro Four Thirds and the sensor in the Pentax Q. The camera bodies also fall between Micro Four Thirds and the Pentax Q in size, with the J1 being a bit smaller than the top-of-the-line V1. This makes them very easy to carry just about anywhere, even in tough terrain.
Set the mode dial to the Motion Snapshot icon, and the camera will record a frozen still image and a slow-motion sequence, ideal for many wildlife moments.
Multiple Video Formats
Both cameras can shoot 1920×1080 full HD video at 60i and 30p, and 1280×720 HD video at 60p, with stereo sound via built-in microphones. The V1 also has a socket for an external stereo mic. The cameras can do lower-res slow-motion video, 640×240 at 400 fps and 320×120 at 1200 fps. The cameras apply noise reduction to movie files and can record full HD movies for up to 29 minutes.
The 1-series cameras introduce Nikon’s new CX format, with a 10.1-megapixel CMOS sensor that measures 13.2×8.8mm and has a 2.7x focal-length factor (a 100mm lens on the V1 or J1 frames like a 270mm lens on a 35mm camera—good news for wildlife shooters, not so much for landscape specialists). New EXPEED 3 processing enhances image quality and improves operating speed and battery life. The cameras can shoot compressed 12-bit NEF (RAW) files as well as JPEGs.
Both cameras can shoot full-resolution images at 10 fps with autofocusing or 60 fps with focus locked. AF is via a new advanced hybrid phase-detection/contrast-detect system, with the phase-detection sensors on the image sensor.
Built-In Eye-Level EVF
The V1 features a built-in, 0.47-inch, 1,440,000-dot (SVGA) eye-level electronic viewfinder. The J1 doesn’t, nor is one available as an accessory. Both cameras have 3.0-inch LCD monitors; the V1’s features 921,600 dots, the J1 has 460,000 dots.
The new 1-series cameras have very compact, clean body designs. The V1’s features magnesium-alloy construction, while the J1 is available in a variety of colors, including black, silver, white, red and pink (note that the latter two may cast their colors on close-up subjects like flowers and insects).
Both the V1 and the J1 feature electronic shutters with a top speed of 1⁄16,000 sec. The V1 also has a mechanical shutter, which provides a more traditional feel, and flash sync up to 1⁄250 sec. (vs. 1⁄60 sec. for the electronic shutter).
Image Sensor: 10.1-megapixel (effective) CMOS
Sensor Size: 13.2×8.8mm (CX)
Lens Mount: Nikon 1 mount
Image Stabilization: In VR lenses
LCD Monitor: 3.0-inch, 921,600-dot (V1); 460,000-dot (J1)
Viewfinder: 0.47-inch, 1,440,000-dot EVF (V1)
Video: 1920×1080/60i, 1920×1080/30p, 1280×720/60p, 640×240/400, 320×120/1200
AF System: Hybrid phase/contrast detect
Shutter Speeds: 1⁄16,000 to 30 sec., X-sync up to 1⁄250 sec. (V1); 1⁄60 sec. (J1)
Flash: Built-in auto pop-up (J1), GN 5 (in meters, ISO 100); wireless control
ISO Settings: 100-3200, expandable to 6400
Continuous Firing Mode: 10 fps with AF, 60 fps with focus locked
Recording Format: JPEG, RAW, RAW + JPEG
Metering: Matrix, CW, spot
Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Power Source: Rechargeable EN-EL15 (V1)/EN-EL20 (J1) Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 4.4×3.0x1.7 inches (V1 body); 4.2×2.4×1.2 inches (J1 body)
Weight: 10.4 ounces (V1 body); 8.3 ounces (J1 body)
Estimated Street Price: V1 ($899); J1 ($649); both with 10-30mm zoom
The V1 will accept Nikon’s GP-N100 GPS unit, which automatically geotags images as you shoot them, especially handy for photography in the field. The optional Nikon 1 Speedlight SB-N5 for the V1 tilts and rotates to provide soft bounce flash, and it can produce light for an extended duration as required for the Smart Photo Selector and Motion Snapshot modes.
The V1 and J1 feature a new all-electric lens mount and use different lenses than Nikon DSLRs—lenses designed specifically for the new format. Nikon introduced four lenses with the cameras, with more to come: the 10-30mm kit zoom, a 10mm ƒ/2.8 pancake lens, a 10-100mm wide-range zoom and a 30-110mm telezoom. With the sensor’s 2.7x crop factor, this provides focal lengths equivalent to 27-297mm on a 35mm camera. There also will be an FT-1 F-mount adapter that permits using Nikon SLR lenses, with autofocusing with AF-S and AF-I Nikkors. For wildlife shooters, this means a 300mm lens for Nikon’s DSLRs effectively becomes an 810mm on the new cameras and a 400mm becomes a 1080mm (each focal length is available in Nikon’s lineup for under $2,000).
The Tamrac Rally 56 Hip Pack is ideal for a small mirrorless setup. The bag can hold a camera with the largest 1-series lens on it, as well as all of the available accessories.
Nothing improves your photography like a good tripod. A small camera can use a small tripod like the Giottos U.pod, which is sturdy, but very compact.
One of the best aspects of mirrorless cameras is that their lenses can be fitted with a high-quality polarizer like this HOYA model.