Nikon 1 J2 review

How do the tweaks improve the most popular CSC of the past 12 months?

TODO alt text


  • Good screen
  • Quick start-up
  • Smart Photo Selector


  • Small sensor
  • No viewfinder
  • Poor art filters

Nikon was one of the last manufacturers to enter the compact system camera (CSC) market, launching the Nikon 1 system in September 2011. 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.

Although it perhaps wasn't the system many were expecting from the company, it - or rather the Nikon 1 J1 - has performed exceptionally well, topping the CSC sales charts at several points in its 12 month history.

In the intervening time since the Nikon 1's launch, we've finally seen what biggest rival Canon has to offer, in the shape of the Canon EOS M. Unlike Nikon, Canon has chosen to use a large APS-C sensor, the same device found in the Canon 650D, one of its entry-level DSLRs.

Nikon 1 J2 review

Perhaps Nikon is keen to avoid cannibalising its already successful lineup of beginner and enthusiast-level DSLRs, but the Nikon 1 system is so far straying pretty far away from the full manual control, advanced bodies we're currently seeing from the likes of Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus.

Less than a year after the launch, Nikon has already refreshed the J1 with the J2. It's more of a tweaked upgrade than a full-scale refresh, but still features a couple of notable improvements.

Nikon 1 J2 review

Firstly, it uses the same screen as found on the higher end Nikon 1 V1, bringing it up to 920,000 dots, where the Nikon 1 J1 included a 460k device. Secondly, it's now much easier to access those all-important creative and manual modes, thanks to a new Creative mode that can be accessed from the mode dial.

As of yet, we haven't seen an upgrade offered for the Nikon 1 V1. Since the compact system camera was not as successful as it had been hoped, it's a possibility that the camera will be discontinued altogether, perhaps to be replaced by a much more advanced model.

Nikon 1 J2 review

Cosmetically, the Nikon 1 J2 remains pretty much identical. There are, however, some extra colour variations, with a couple of them featuring brushed metal and textured surfaces. The basic colours, such as black and white, remain exactly the same.

Inside, you'll find the same 10.1 million pixel CX format sensor, which measures 13.2 x 8.8mm. This format means that mounted lenses have a 2.7x focal length magnification factor. Bundled as standard is the 10-30mm kit optic, which is 27-81mm in 35mm equivalent terms.

Nikon 1 J2 review

Also exactly the same is the processor, sensitivity (ISO) range, and a high continuous shooting rate. A hybrid autofocusing system also returns, which uses both phase and contrast detection. Unlike DSLRs that use a dedicated AF sensor, the Nikon 1 J2 (and Nikon 1 J1 and Nikon 1 V1) use 73 pixels on the imaging sensor as phase detection AF sensors.

Both contrast and phase detection is used, because although phase detection is generally quicker, contract detection is usually more accurate.

Nikon 1 J2 review

Thanks to an electronic shutter, the Nikon 1 J2's continuous shooting rate, like the Nikon 1 J1's, can be pushed as high as 60fps, while 30fps and 10fps options are also available.

Nikon continues to aim this camera - priced at around £550/$550 - at family and beginner photographers, emphasising the fully automatic modes and other appealing features. But P,A,S,M modes are still accessible.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution10.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesContinuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer, Time Lapse Function, Face Detection, Live View
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)238 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, RoHS
Image Sensor Size13.20 mm x 8.80 mm
Maximum Image Resolution3872 x 2592
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height61 mm
Width106.7 mm
Depth30.5 mm
Focal Length10 mm to 30 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelJ2
Product NameJ2 Mirrorless Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVVA161K001
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Life's at its best when you live it in the moment. So how about a camera that's speedy enough, clever enough, and creative enough to capture the fun in your world without missing a beat?

Designed to think fast and act even faster, the intelligent Nikon 1 J2 interchangeable lens camera ensures you stay a click ahead of the action. Ultra-portable and simple to operate, it has all you need to capture great photos and movies.

The bright LCD screen offers crystal-clear shooting and playback. Functions like the innovative Motion Snapshot and the easy-to-use Creative Mode keep up with the way you want to record your life.

Package Contents
  • J2 Mirrorless Camera
  • VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
  • EN-EL20 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (with Terminal Cover)
  • MH-27 Battery Charger
  • BF-N1000 Body Cap
  • UC-E15 USB Cable
  • AN-N1000 Strap
  • Software CD
  • User's Manual
  • Reference Manual CD
Limited Warranty1 Year