Nikon 1 J1 review

Nikon's simplest mirrorless compact system camera

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Nikon j1 review

The majority of our test images look good straight from the Nikon J1. There is some variation, but generally the colours are fairly natural-looking, if slightly on the warm side, with just enough saturation to give them a bit of punch.

Under natural or flash light, the automatic white balance system performs well on most occasions, but a few of our shots taken in very overcast conditions have a slight magenta cast.

Although edges can look a little bolder than they should when viewed at 100% on the screen, fine details look a little soft. However, at more sensible printing sizes, images look good.

Nikon is mainly aiming the J1 at relatively inexperienced photographers who haven't yet learned the complexities and stumbling blocks of light metering. These users will find that the multi-purpose Matrix metering mode performs very well, and the camera isn't easily fooled by very bright or dark areas in the scene.

Nikon j1 review

Considering the size of the sensor, the Nikon J1 resolves a respectable level of detail. However, our resolution tests reveal that it can't record as much detail as some Micro Four Thirds cameras. As usual, more detail can be extracted from raw files than is present in the simultaneously recorded JPEGs.

Noise is pretty well controlled, but even images captured at the lowest sensitivity settings have a faint texture that is just visible when they are examined at 100% on the computer screen.

Pushing the sensitivity to ISO 800 introduces some mottled colouring in shadow areas, which becomes increasingly noticeable (at 100%) as the sensitivity is increased. The best high sensitivity images are created by tailoring to the noise reduction for each raw file using Capture NX2.

Interestingly, although Nikon tells us that the J1 applies chromatic aberration correction to JPEG images, when we opened some raw files in Capture NX2 we found that they showed less chromatic aberration than their JPEG counterparts. Turning off the software's chromatic aberration correction brought the two file types closer into line.

Nikon makes some bold claims for the J1's AF system, and in many situations it performs well, even managing to keep up with fast-moving subjects. Not surprisingly, though, it isn't infallible. In low light, the lens is prone to a brief spell of hunting. On many occasions this is just a quick back and forwards adjustment in focus, but it's noticeable, nevertheless.

When Auto Area AF mode is selected, the Nikon J1 usually does a good job of identifying the subject. But switching to Single Point AF mode and setting the point yourself brings extra confidence, especially in busy scenes. The Subject Tracking AF mode also performs well, but the mechanics of activating it means it's hard to achieve the initial lock-on with some moving subjects.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution10.1 Megapixel
HD Movie ModeYes
Optical Zoom3x, 3x (Lens 1) - 3.7x (Lens 2)
Brand NameNikon
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Weight (Approximate)234 g
Image Sensor Size13.20 mm x 8.80 mm
Maximum Image Resolution3872 x 2592
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height61 mm
Width106 mm
Depth29.8 mm
Focal Length10 mm to 30 mm (Lens 1) - 30 mm to 110 mm (Lens 2)
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelJ1
Product NameJ1 Mirrorless Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVVA151K003
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Busy lives filled with fleeting chances to record loved ones in action demand a camera that can keep up.

Designed to think fast and act even faster, the super-small Nikon 1 J1 interchangeable lens camera offers all you need to shoot great photos and movies.

Portable enough to take anywhere and easy to operate, it will bring new levels of speed, simplicity and enjoyment to the way you capture your world.

Package Contents
  • J1 Mirrorless Camera
  • Strap AN-N1000
  • Body Cap BF-N1000
  • Li-on Rechargeable Battery EN-EL20
  • Lens 10-30mm
  • Lens 30-110mm
  • Battery Charger MH-27
  • Software CD-ROM
  • USB Cable UC-E15
  • EG-CP14 Audio/Video Cable
Limited Warranty1 Year