"Clever Little Thing!"5.0 starson by NMesta
Pros: + Image quality is fantastic, clear, vibrant, sharp and colourful
+ Auto focus speed, very fast in good light and poor light
+ Auto modes are very good, can determine the kind of scene you are shooting
+ ISO range is VERY good and usable
Cons: - Camera cannot shoot 1080p video at 60p
- Not pocket size
- Lag when switch to advance mode
Summary: I have both a Nikon DSLR and a Nikon P7100 and enjoy both and I wondered where a J1 would sit for me in my photography, as the camera seems to cross over both of those camera types. In the end I feel that depending on what sort of things you shoot and how compact you want to go (and financial situation), it could replace none, one or both, it really is a personal thing, as all photography is.
I got the two lens kit. The lenses are very sharp edge to edge and the implementation of vibration reduction is the best that I have seen on any system. There is a lovely depth of colour and vibrance to the shots. JPEG and RAW output seem quite similar in prints, though I prefer RAW and the supplied software will convert it nicely. Auto White Balance is really accurate though typical of all digitals, indoor under artificial light is best taken out of auto white balance.
The software automatically adjusts noise (unlike say Lightroom which the user has control over, though I actually found the results in relation to noise reduction similar in both products) The software can be sluggish when you zoom in to something (I am using a dual core laptop - just pre Core i) to work on but once there for post processing it runs fine.
battery usage seems slightly on the heavy side, I have bought a spare - but then I always do with every camera I buy. It cost about $40 which seems cheaper than some other brands for an original. I have the camera set to continuous auto focus (default setting), which is probably why I find the battery usage higher than average.
The camera is famed for its auto focus speed and it is very fast in good light and poor light it seems to around the speed of any other mirrorless that I have used, which is still good. It uses the new Expeed 3 processor which is clearly a step forward and I look forward to seeing what this can do for other models.
The camera can be used as a simple point and shoot, the auto systems are VERY good. But there is also full manual capability and some new tricks for more creative photography. For example it can take a still, but as soon as you press the shutter half way it also takes a second of movie and then concludes with the still, so on playback, you get a bit of movie followed by the still. It is very clever but I think needs to evolve by taking a slightly longer piece of movie - imagine the footballer powers his leg back, takes the shot and then just as he makes contact with the ball, you get the still with 3 - 5 seconds of movie before the still, that is the kind of story that I think would be useful but at this time the 1 second movie bit is too short to turn the still into a meaninful story like that - but very clever none the less. I tried it out on our bird feeder. Two Goldfinch landed on a branch I have attached to the feeder. I was waiting for one to move hoping to catch the flight to the actual feeder - instead, they both took off and did that bonding thing where one tries to feed the other in mid air, just a lucky and very nice moment to capture as movie plus still.
The image quality of the camera is fantastic, clear, vibrant. sharp and colourful, it is really impressive what the relatively small sensor does. The sensor size is resulting in a x2.7 crop, so depth of field is deeper, this means that like many compacts, you will get distractions in the background in a way that a DSLR can in some situations avoid.
There is an adaptor that allows some of your DSLR Nikon lenses to be used and retain auto focus - the advantage of this for me would be to turn my 70 - 300mm VR into a super zoom (that x2.7 crop) and I could use some of the movie tricks in my wildlife photography.
Frames per second can be blistering ( upto 60!) using an electronic shutter and there is also a mode that takes 20 shots in the blink of an eye, keeps the sharpest 5 and then lets you select the one you want to keep.
The auto modes are very good and can determine the kind of scene you are shooting with remarkably accurate results, though I tend to use the PSAM modes. the camera does have some characteristics that you need to learn to get best use from it. for example, it tends to default to a low shutter speed (1/30), since you hold the camera out in front of you, you need to think about holding technique to avoid camera shake blur. I prefer to shoot is 'S' mode and just knock the shutter speed up a tad.
The ISO range is VERY good and usable. Users may want to set the camera to Auto 100 - 3200 and this is fine for general shots, but be aware that if you deploy the flash, for some reason it will use the highest ISO that you allow and will tend to over expose. I prefer to fix the camera at ISO 100 or 200 generally and specifically for flash shots - which at that setting are REALLY lovely and warm. On a poor light day, I set the ISO to auto 100 - 800.
The LCD is nice and sharp - beware though that if you make an EV adjustment, you need to press OK to make the changes visible in the LCD. Likewise if you under or over expose the shots in the manual modes the LCD does not show it - but it does display the words LO or HI at the bottom of the screen, so that you know you are wrongly exposed.
The camera seems to protect highlights. I did some swans yesterday and all the details was very clear without any blown highlights - the background water had gone dark in comparison and that was fully recoverable in PP to give a very pleasing result.
The bigger lens (30 - 130 or 300mm equivalent) is amazingly compact. Both lenses have VR and the cam and both lenses sit very nicely in a small camera bag, making this a very good travel companion. In movie mode, the camera automatically adjusts focus.
It is surprising that this model is dearer than the P7100 yet has nowhere near the same level of controls on the body. everything is in menu's. You quickly get used to this, but I think enthusiasts would like to have seen one or two programable functions on the body for things like quick access to ISO. But the menu button remembers that last setting you visited, so you can 'park' the menu in say ISO and then when you press menu you effectively get instant access to that setting.
It also lacks the arty filters that come with the P7100 and it seems that Nikon did not want this system to tread too much on the toes of either its P7100 or DSLRs - they have suceeded because it can be hard to choose which systems to keep or sell.
Overall this is a very nice portable camera that puts fun into photography. both serious and none serious users will be able to get very nice images from the camera and it will often leave the house with you. It has a metal body, so is surprisingly weighty but it is simply nice to own and use.
Finally, I had to choose between the dearer V1 or the J1. I really would have preferred an EFV but I felt that the price difference could not be justified for me, especially as i have invested in other kit. The V1 LCD has higher resolution but frankly the J1's is very good anyway. The sensor and processor are the same in both cameras, so image quality is the same. So I chose the J1. I think if the V1 had had more controls on the body, the decision might have been tougher but as it is, I am quite happy with the J1.
Only time will tell whether I start to use this more than either or both the P7100 and DSLR, I don't want 3 systems and financially one needs to go to fund my J1. From a compact point of view, the J1 needs a bigger bag than the P7100 and it has less instant access to controls and there is some lens chaning involved, but image and feature wise it really knocks the spots off the P7100. From a DSLR point of view, the advantages of the DSLR will be that generally it has a ton of ready accessable controls on the body (rather than in a menu) making sport and wildlife easier to capture and it is the king of getting a shallow depth of field and thereby isolating the subject. Also image quality is ultimately better on the larger DSLR sensor - (but you cannot fail to be impressed by the J1 image, which for many will be more than adequate and a lot of the time you would need to pixel peep to see those differences), so if those things are essential to your shooting, then it cannot replace a DSLR but for other users I think it can.
Also, speaking as a DSLR user, one of the nice things about this system is the fact that it is not a DSLR - its simplicity, excellent results, state of the art features and slim lines just make it a pleasure to use.
I can't really find much to fault with the camera, I think you could buy this and own it for a long time before worrying about what the next 'best thing' is, bottom line is it takes lovely pictures and makes photography a lot of fun. I do think that you are better buying the two lens kit from the outset, as you will simply get more photographic opportunities with the camera and it is a lot cheaper than buying the second lens later.
*NOTE, If you're will buy the this Nikon 1 J1, I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at: *******************/Nikon1-J1
Hope my review helps.