Nikon 1 J3 review

Can Nikon's smallest CSC deliver the goods?

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In some respects, the Nikon 1 J3 feels like the upgrade that the Nikon J2 should have been, and coming only a few short months after it, it looks like Nikon feels the same.

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.

Images generally are pretty good, although the fact that two camera bodies produced such different results in our lab tests raises questions about quality assurance and consistency between units.

It's also a shame that digital filters still haven't been improved, or that Nikon couldn't see fit to add a touchscreen to the camera.

We liked

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The body redesign to make this the smallest and lightest CSC on the market (with a decent) sensor size makes it an attractive camera for carrying around on a day-to-day basis.

We disliked

It's a huge shame that the camera performed badly in our labs tests.

Final verdict

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.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution14.2 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product Family1
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Optical Zoom3x, 3x (Lens 1) - 3.6x (Lens 2)
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesLive View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer, Time Lapse Function, Face Detection
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)201 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, RoHS
Image Sensor Size13.20 mm x 8.80 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3072
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height60.5 mm
Width101 mm
Depth28.8 mm
Product Series1
Focal Length10 mm to 30 mm (Lens 1) - 30 mm to 110 mm (Lens 2)
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelJ3
Product Name1 J3 Mirrorless Camera
Exposure Control
  • Manual
  • Shutter-priority AE
  • Programmed AE
  • Aperture-priority AE
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVVA181K003
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Don't just watch events unfold-take control of life with this super-fast Nikon 1 interchangeable lens system camera.

When it's this quick and easy to make beautiful photos and movies, your creativity flows naturally. The stylish Nikon 1 J3 is smaller and faster than ever before, with second-generation technologies that ensure you won't miss a single moment. Great features like Motion Snapshot and Best Moment Capture will reward you with unique, detailed pictures of your family's active lives.

The luxurious, aluminum exterior feels even better than it looks, and the way it performs is even more impressive. The exceptionally fast autofocus system, built-in auto pop-up flash and direct access to unique Nikon 1 features via the mode dial make shooting high-quality photos and movies effortless.

Package Contents
  • 1 J3 Mirrorless Camera
  • 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6
  • BF-N1000 Body Cap
  • EN-EL20 Rechargeable Li-ion battery (with terminal cover)
  • MH-27 Battery Charger
  • AN-N1000 Strap
  • UC-E19 USB Cable
  • User's Manual
  • Reference Manual CD
  • Software CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year