Nikon 1 J5 review

A retro design and a rethought mode dial widens the appeal of Nikon's J-series CSC

Nikon 1 J5

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We've carried out lab tests on the Nikon 1 J5 across its full ISO range for resolution, noise (including signal to noise ratio) and dynamic range. We test the JPEGs shot by the camera, but we also check the performance with raw files. Most enthusiasts and pros prefer to shoot raw, and the results can often be quite different.

We've also picked out three of its chief rivals so that you can compare their performance directly.

Panasonic GM5: Another tiny compact system camera, but this one has a much larger Micro Four Thirds sensor and a built in electronic viewfinder.

Samsung NX Mini: Samsung's baby compact system camera uses a 1-inch sensor, just like the Nikon 1 J5.

Sony RX100 III: The Nikon 1 J5 is also competing with high-end compacts like the Sony, which also has a 1-inch sensor.

Nikon 1 J5 resolution chart

We test camera resolution using an industry-standard ISO test chart that allows precise visual comparisons. This gives us numerical values for resolution in line widths/picture height, and you can see how the Nikon 1 J5 compares with its rivals in the charts below.

Nikon 1 J5 resolution

Nikon 1 J5 resolution chart

JPEG analysis: All of these cameras offer broadly similar detail resolution at low-medium ISO settings, though the Sony is sharper than the rest up to ISO 400, and the Panasonic, with its bigger sensor, performs better at high ISOs. The Nikon 1 J5, however, produces the least sharp JPEGs.

Nikon 1 J5 resolution chart

Raw analysis: The performance of these four cameras is much closer when comparing raw files, though the Nikon 1 J5 is, again, the weakest. Its results are far better than you'd expect from a regular compact camera, but the Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are all a little bit sharper.

Test chart samples

Nikon 1 J5 resolution chart

This is the Nikon 1 J5's test result at its base ISO of 160. You need to zoom in on the area just to the right of centre to see the resolution lines.

Click here for a full size version.

Nikon 1 J5 resolution chart

And this is the result at ISO 6400, where the noise is obviously much greater and the resolution reduced.

Click here for a full size version.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.