Nikon 1 S1 review

Nikon's simplest CSC put to the test

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  • Good image quality
  • Small size
  • Best Moment Capture


  • No touchscreen
  • Long-winded operation
  • Can't shoot raw and JPEG files together

In the relatively short time since Nikon first introduced a compact system camera (CSC), it has managed to produce the best selling model, making serious dents into the sales figures of its nearest competitors, namely Panasonic and Sony.

Despite having a much smaller sensor than all but the Pentax Q range of compact system cameras, Nikon has managed to capture the imagination of the buying public with a variety of easy to use and fun cameras, with cameras such as the Nikon 1 V2 even beginning to appeal to more advanced users.

At the start of this year, Nikon introduced a new line to the already existing 1 V and 1 J series in the shape of the Nikon 1 S1. This is Nikon's simplest compact system camera to date, and is a no frills version of the Nikon 1 J3. That means it comes without the fuss of mode dials and lots of buttons, instead concentrating on enabling you to take pictures.

Nikon 1 S1 review

It still has all the manual control and raw shooting capability that you would expect of a camera with interchangeable lenses, it's just buried a little deeper - enabling you to explore those options if you want to, but also ignoring them if it's not for you.

As with the other Nikon 1 series cameras, the Nikon 1 S1 is equipped with a 1-inch CX format sensor. This gives it a crop factor of 2.7x, meaning the standard 11-27.5mm kit optic is roughly equivalent to 30-74mm on a full-frame (35mm camera).

The Nikon 1 S1's sensor has 10.1 million pixels, giving it the lowest pixel count of any of the current crop of Nikon 1 cameras.

Nikon 1 S1 review

Also onboard is Nikon's Expeed 3A processing engine, which enables the Nikon 1 series of cameras to boast what it describes as the world's fastest continuous shooting, at 15fps with autofocus, and up to 60fps with a fixed-point autofocus.

An advanced hybrid AF system makes its way onto the Nikon 1 S1. This means that the camera uses phase detection AF for speed, and contrast detection AF for greater precision. Depending on the scene, the sensor switches between the 73 phase detection focus areas and the 135 contrast detection focus areas.

Full HD video recording is available at 60 and 30 fps as well as 60i, 60p and 30p frame rates. Full resolution photos can also be captured while filming. Slow motion movies can be captured by recording at up to 1200 fps.

Nikon 1 S1 review

Buying Guide
Best Nikon camera
Best Nikon cameras

Squarely aimed at the beginner photographer, Nikon has incorporated several interesting features into the Nikon S1 to appeal to novices. For a start, Live Image Control enables you to preview the results of changes made on the LCD screen before you take the shot.

With non-photographic language to guide the beginner along, it should be a great way to get to grips with the intricacies of parameters such as shutter speed and aperture.

As has been seen before on Nikon 1 cameras, the Nikon 1 S1 includes Best Moment Capture. This incorporates Smart Photo Selector, which takes up to 15 high resolution photos before the shutter button is even fully pressed, suggesting five of the best for you to choose from.

Nikon 1 S1 review

Alternatively, Slow View captures up to 15 continuous shots, playing them back on the LCD screen until you choose the one you want.

It doesn't have Wi-Fi built in, but the Nikon 1 S1 is compatible with Nikon's Wu-1b wireless adaptor. At the back of the camera is a 460k dot, 3-inch LCD screen. It's not touch-sensitive, tiltable or articulated, though.

For now, the number of proprietary optics for the Nikon 1 system is fairly limited. However, if you already own Nikkor lenses for DSLRs, an adaptor is available for using with the Nikon 1 system - though it's worth remembering that the 2.7x crop factor will apply to any optic you attach.

With an asking price of £479.99/US$499.95 including one 11-27.5mm kit lens, the Nikon 1 S1 is one of the most affordable CSCs currently on the market. It goes head to head with the likes of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 and the Sony NEX-3N, both of which feature a larger sensor.

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
Product Family1
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Optical Zoom2.5x, 2.5x (Lens 1) - 3.6x (Lens 2)
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesTime Lapse Function, Self-timer, Face Detection, Live View, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4
Weight (Approximate)197 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
Image Sensor Size13.20 mm x 8.80 mm
Maximum Image Resolution3872 x 2592
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height60.5 mm
Width102 mm
Depth29.7 mm
Product Series1
Focal Length11 mm to 27.50 mm (Lens 1) - 30 mm to 110 mm (Lens 2)
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Focus ModesManual, Auto
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelS1
Product Name1 S1 Mirrorless Camera
Exposure Control
  • Manual
  • Programmed AE
  • Shutter-priority AE
  • Aperture-priority AE
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVVA191K007
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

When the decisive moment strikes, you need to be ready. But what if your "carry-anywhere" camera isn't up to the job?

The Nikon 1 S1 interchangeable lens system camera is always ready to spring into action; it's as convenient and easy to use as a compact camera, but much faster and significantly more powerful, with better image quality.

It boasts an astonishingly fast autofocus system, built-in auto pop-up flash, and intuitive digital controls. And with second-generation features like Best Moment Capture, Live Image Control, and Motion Snapshot, you'll always be ready to shoot high-quality photos and movies.

The S1's sophisticated features are refreshingly simple to use, giving you great results with less effort and ensuring that you never miss a moment.

Small enough to take with you everywhere, with a beautiful, minimal design that you won't want to leave at home, this is the ideal camera system for people who want to capture decisive moments with high-resolution images and Full HD movies.

Package Contents
  • 1 S1 Mirrorless Camera
  • 1 NIKKOR 11-27.5mm 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