2012-02-14

Nikon 1 J1 & V1


The last couple of years has seen the birth and remarkable rise of a new category of cameras that fall under the Compact System Camera (CSC) umbrella. The concept behind these cameras is to offer the quality advantages of digital SLRs with the convenience and simplicity of compact cameras. This new market segment has attracted the interest of many notable names including Panasonic, Olympus, Sony,Samsung and more recently Pentax. The two giants of photography, Canon and Nikon were conspicuous by their absence. Well, that was until today. Of these two fierce competitors it is Nikon who have made the first move with the launch of a new system that they are calling Nikon 1.


Nikon have launched the system with 2 cameras and 4 lenses, with many accessories and other lenses to follow shortly. At first glance the system appears to be much like the Sony NEX or Panasonic and Olympus Micro 4/3rds offerings, small mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses. The Nikon 1 system is different to the others on offer due to the size of the sensor being used.

The system is built around a 1” sensor measuring 13.2 x 8.8mm which results in a 2.7 x crop factor compared to the traditional 35mm standard. Nikon have named this sensor size ‘CX’ which will sit alongside the existing DX and FX formats. This sensor format is around 3 times larger than the average size used in compact cameras, but between 2 and 3 times smaller than those used in the other CSCs on offer from Nikon’s rivals. It may at first seem strange that Nikon have made the decision to go head to head with their rivals using a much smaller format, however I think there is a good reason for this. Samsung, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony are all very well established brands but they do not have a significant presence in the DSLR market, they are trying to wrestle market share from Nikon and Canon’s entry level DSLRs with their CSC offerings. Nikon it seems are filling the gap between the existing compact cameras and their current DSLRs such as the D3100 and D5100.


The two cameras Nikon are launching the 1 system with are the J1 and V1, both using a 10MP CMOS sensor. Both cameras also share Nikon’s new Expeed 3 image processor which is designed to handle the ultra high speed the cameras are capable of operating at.

Both models can capture full-resolution images at 60 frames per second as well as movies in Full HD 1080/60i. For super slow motion scenes you can reduce the resolution to record at an incredible 1200fps!

The J1 is the entry level model with a minimalist design and smooth lines. It has a high resolution 3” LCD screen on the back for composing and reviewing images and features a discreet pop-up flash. More advanced users may prefer the added features of the V1. The body is magnesium alloy which should provide greater robustness but the main advantages are the electronic viewfinder and accessory port. The V1 has a built in 1.4 million dot EVF for composing images, much better in bright conditions and a preference for many photographers used to using traditional SLRs. You can also expand the usefulness of the V1 by utilising the electronic accessory port. So far Nikon have announced a GPS unit called the GP-N100 and a new SB-N5 compact speedlight


Arguably the most interesting accessory will be the FT1 mount adapter which will allow you to mount Nikon’s vast array of F-Mount lenses from their SLR range onto the new Nikon 1 system models. When you mount existing Nikon lenses onto the Nikon 1 models you will notice that the lenses appear 2.7 x longer than on a full frame SLR. Imagine the benefits for wildlife and sports photography… the popular Nikon 80-400mm lens when put on the J1 or V1 will give you the equivalent field of view as a 219-1080mm zoom lens! Consider that on safari: You can shoot 10MP images at 60 frames per second at over 1000mm where most DSLR users would be struggling to even make out the subject!

The 4 lenses Nikon are launching with the J1 and V1 cameras are named 1 Nikkor lenses and are as follows:
We are expecting the first kits to start shipping in October, it’s certainly an exciting launch and something that our customers have expressed an interest in for a while now so I would expect high demand for the new models ahead of the Christmas period…best get your pre-orders in early!

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