Nikon was late to the compact system camera party with the 1 Series, and the announcement was quite a surprise for many, due to the small sensor size and other new technologies included as standard.
The CX format sensor, at 13.2 x 8.8mm, is much smaller than the APS-C sensor in the Sony NEX series and the Micro Four Thirds sensor in Olympus and Panasonic CSCs. This results in a crop factor of 2.7x, which means an 18.5mm lens would provide an angle of view equivalent to a 50mm lens used on a 35mm camera.
Having such a small sensor may cause issues for Nikon producing wide-angle lenses for the system, due to the short focal lengths required. Currently only a few lenses are available for the system, but an adaptor is available to enable Nikon F Mount lenses to be used.
Nikon is the only manufacturer currently to employ a hybrid focusing system, which combines the benefits of phase and contrast detection autofocus. To reduce shutter lag, the 1 series also begins taking images before the shutter is fully pressed.
Nikon 1 J2
Spec: 10.1MP, 1080p video, 3-inch LCD screen, creative mode
Unlike other systems, Nikon uses a smaller, 1-inch CX format sensor in the Nikon 1 J1 and Nikon 1 J2, which enables a smaller overall body size.
More of a tweak here and there than a full-blown upgrade, the Nikon 1 J2 nevertheless is a good camera that is more than fit for purpose. The extra resolution on the screen is a welcome addition, as is the ability to more quickly access creative modes.
Read our Nikon 1 J2 review
Nikon 1 J3
Price: £580/US$600 (around AU$875)
Spec: 14MP, 1080p video, 3-inch LCD screen
The J3 has the world's smallest body for a compact system camera, with a CX format (1-inch) sensor. The fact that it has a higher resolution, has some much needed tweaks - and has the addition of some extra modes (such as Slow View), makes this a decent upgrade from the J1.
The Nikon 1 J3 is a very likeable camera, and if you're new to the CSC market it's certainly a good option. The number of compatible optics are growing for the Nikon 1 range, with some, such as the 50mm f/1.8, being a good investment to help you get more from the camera. With a few niggles, though, it's far from being perfect.
Read our Nikon 1 J3 review
Nikon 1 V2
Spec: 14.2MP, 1080p video, 3-inch LCD screen, creative mode
Nikon has replaced the Nikon 1 V1 with the Nikon 1 V2, producing a more sophisticated CSC that is more likely to appeal to advanced photography enthusiasts, thanks to the addition of a mode dial and the improved ergonomics.
Whether it will tempt anyone away from the slew of larger sensored compact system cameras currently on the market seems questionable. Although it probably still won't overtake the J series in terms of popularity, the images from it are a step up for those looking to get a little more serious with their photography, making it a good introduction to the world of CSCs.
Read our Nikon 1 V2 review
Nikon 1 J1
Spec: 10.1MP, 1080p video, 3-inch LCD screen, 60fps continuous shooting
Aimed at those ready for a step up from conventional compact digital cameras, the Nikon1 J1 is designed to be compact and, above all, easy to use. The modest 10.1MP resolution is among the lowest found on current CSCs, but since each pixel should have a larger area to react to light, this should help the camera's performance at high ISO sensitivities. A built-in flash is available for extra illumination.
The sleek, compact body is available in a range of five colours, enabling you to choose the one that suits you best. In addition to the HD video feature, which can record 1080p resolution footage, full resolution still images can be taken during recording, which is quite a handy feature. Fast action can be captured at a blazingly fast 60fps at full resolution too.
The Smart Photo Selector feature shoots images before and after the shutter button is pressed, saving the 'best' five to the memory card for whittling down later. This feature is unique to the Nikon 1 series, and should increase your chances of getting the shot you're after.
Read our Nikon 1 J1 review
Nikon 1 V1
Spec: 10.1MP, 1080p video, 3-inch LCD screen, EVF, 60fps continuous shooting
The Nikon V1 is very similar to the J1, except that it has a higher resolution 3-inch LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder, but lacks a built-in flash. A hotshoe is provided for attaching the new Speedlight SB-N5, which is an optional extra.
The same Smart Photo Selector feature and still image taking during movie recording are present, as is the ability to take shots continuously at 60fps. Slow motion video at 400fps complements the HD video feature, which records 1080p video at 60fps.
Read our Nikon 1 V1 review