Nikon J1 and V1 image quality first look


Try this for size - Sony NEX versus Nikon J1

More Nikon 1 images at (French website)

In an interview with Imaging-Resource, Nikon general manager of R&D said that image quality (not size) was the number one priority for the Nikon 1 series and that the camera has been in development for 4 years, a process which began even before Panasonic’s work on Micro Four Thirds.

Has it been worth it? You are about to find out.

Nikon say they have targeted the J1 and V1 at that mythical creature – the compact user who wants to upgrade for better image quality. This audience is a fickle one because they want to keep the small pocketable size of a compact and a long zoom.

But they want better image quality which means a bigger sensor like a DSLR.

The target is predominantly female and men have never understood this audience. Nikon have tried and the the J1 is the first Handbag Camera.

Nikon’s Masahiro Suzuki:

Basically, they’re currently compact-only users, but who are eager to step up, seeking a better quality image; but who feel that a DSLR would be too much, because of the complexity, or the bigger size. So, there’s some hesitation for a DSLR.

In developing the system image quality was the number one priority followed by (2) speed of shooting and (3) compact size and (4) ease of use. This system camera is not in fact meant as a simple point and shoot. It is an upgrade from your compact or smartphone and should be more advanced.

Nikon say that image quality on the J1 and V1 matches that of a DSLR. It is a DSLR without the bulk and complexity, they claim.

Let’s test this claim but be careful about what we benchmark it against.

The J1 is aimed at the entry level DSLR market and competes against the Canon G12 and high end compacts, Sony NEX C3 and 5N, the Panasonic GF3 and G3, Olympus E-PM3 (Mini PEN) and Canon 600D. Although the Canon 600D is a bulky DSLR it will be a consideration because it is still mightily popular, well priced and until now the number one choice for those upgrading from a compact to their first DSLR. My first DSLR was also a Rebel.

The enthusiast orientated V1 is priced quite high and therefore competes with the Sony NEX 7, Sony A65, Fuji X100 and Canon 60D.

In the end it is fair to compare Nikon 1 cameras to a wide spectrum of cameras from the Canon G12 right up to the Sony NEX 7, because the J1 and V1 cover a lot of people. It was Nikon’s intention to cover off as much of the market as possible without hurting their DSLR sales, though they admit some DSLR users are targeted – Nikon say the 1 series could be a second body for enthusiasts or pros who shoot with DSLRs.

Sensor size is interesting in Nikon’s compact rivals, the Canon G12, S100 and Fuji X10. The Canons have large for a compact 1/1.7″ sensors but the Fuji X10 has a larger 2/3″ sensor similar to the Nikon. Really the Fuji X10 and X100 are enthusiast cameras for men, not Handbag Cameras. But they’re tough competition for the more manly Nikon V1.

The image quality on the J1 and V1 is identical so I have used the new J1 samples from the excellent Imaging-Resource to do this test. Visit the site and make your own conclusions. Of course there is more to image quality than detail, colour and signal-to-noise ratios. Dynamic range and depth of field are two important attributes not tested by these samples. Because of the small 2.7x crop sensor of the Nikon V1 you will gain a shallower depth of field at the same focal length and aperture on all rival compact system cameras.

Nikon J1 versus Canon G12

This is the image quality gain you get for the extra cost and the sacrifice of not being able to pocket the camera. But since it is a Handbag Camera this is less of a problem. The kit zoom is roughly equivalent in range.

Base ISO, 1:1 pixel crop

J1 vs G12

They’re essential identical but for a bit of extra digital sharpening on Nikon’s default picture profile. Look at the halos on the colour chart.

This shot shows no gain in image quality. What about at ISO 3200 for low light indoor Handbag Photography?

ISO 3200

J1 vs G12 ISO 3200

Yes the J1 definitely has the edge here but the difference is not as big as you’d expect considering one is a compact at ISO 3200. The G12 will soon get a replacement and there is the newer CMOS based Powershot S100 as well which has DIGIC 5 noise reduction – it will likely match the J1 at high ISOs and surpass it at low ISOs.

Nikon J1 versus Panasonic G3

The Panasonic G3 is currently the best selling compact step up camera on the market in the UK, although it is not quite as small as the J1 it is a popular handbag camera and has better image quality than the GF3, matching the GH2. Unlike the J1 it has a built in EVF despite being priced similarly. The Nikon V1 with built in EVF is far more expensive. It has a 16MP sensor versus 10MP on the J1 and V1. Personally 10MP or 12MP is enough for me but those who crop images may enjoy the extra 6MP as this sample shows…

J1 vs G3 IS0 100

As you can see resolution is a bit of a none-contest. 16Mp is a big step up. Whether the Handbag Photographer target audience will notice is another matter – they don’t typically read pixel peeping reviews. But I find it unappetising that Nikon say image quality is the main reason for buying the J1 and V1 when it is really no better than a high end compact, and far less than offered by rival systems of the same price and similar size.

Now for the ISO 3200 test I downsampled the G3 to 10MP to match the J1 and to give a better idea of per-pixel performance in low light, since this is how photos will be printed and viewed on the web by users, down sampled not at 1:1 on a demanding LCD screen.

ISO 3200

J1 vs G3 ISO 3200

It is a win for the G3 and the difference in detail and noise will be far more noticeable in actual dim conditions, rather than under the studio lights as seen here.

CMOS sensors behave badly at high ISOs with dim low contrast details found in low light situations. Noise reduction smears more detail in low light since there is a higher level of noise to begin with. When you’re blasting 100 watt bulbs down the sensor at ISO 3200 the signal is far stronger than the noise. With dim lighting the signal is weaker. I really wish more reviews would show real world high ISO performance and turn the lights down.

Nikon J1 versus Canon 600D

In shops this will be an important battle. The 600D is the main seller for compact step up users who haven’t already embraced mirrorless, particularly in the US where the bulkier 600D is seen as superior especially by men. The 600D is priced right at the J1’s level and it is definitely this camera Nikon is trying to take market share from along with the Canon G12. They dominate the shop floor.

So how does it do? DSLR image quality in a small package?

18MP versus 10MP is a tough sell, but really at base ISO the J1 puts up a good fight despite the massive difference in resolution.

J1 vs 600D ISO 100

Now let’s look at the V1

The V1 is £849 and competes with a higher grade of camera for the attention of enthusiasts. It won’t sell as well as the J1 and I think it is here where Nikon have the biggest problem with their 1 series. The price is far too high for the performance it offers, and the size is not even very much different to a Micro Four Thirds camera. Enthusiasts do pixel peep, rightly or wrongly and don’t really go for cute features like the Handbag crowd do.

Enthusiasts like small 2nd cameras but despite the small sensor the V1 is larger than the Sony NEX 5N and Fuji X100 although the kit zoom is slightly smaller than the 18-55m Sony NEX kit zoom.

Video is a big selling point of the V1 for enthusiasts but it doesn’t have cinematic 24p, and Nikon have not even mentioned whether it has manual control or not yet. Detail looks good and well resolved with little moire or aliasing, but there are some doubts over the bitrate and compression of the J1 and V1 that is making me think twice about taking it seriously. Additionally the NEX 5N does 1080/60p for slow mo, something which is a big selling point on the Nikon V1. But the V1 can only do full HD 24p slow mo from 60p in short bursts, and 1080/60i is the worst video format known to modern man.

With adaptable fast lenses and 1080/30p you will be able to get some nice cinematic results from the Nikon V1 but the Panasonic GH2 is just far better specced.

There are no decent video samples out there so I can’t do in-depth video mode reviews yet.

We’ll look at the performance of the sensor and JPEG stills again.

ISO 100

J1 vs 5N ISO 100

Again the sheer amount of extra detail and a larger sensor for a shallower depth of field and better low light performance is what you upgrade from a compact for, in my view, and the Sony NEX 5N gives you that in far greater quantities than the Nikon V1 despite being more than £200 less and with an optional OLED viewfinder which is the best on the market.

The NEX 5N’s video mode is better and it has eye-catching features like Sweep Panorama, 3D Panorama, Smile Shutter and Handheld Twilight whereas the V1 has some better high speed shooting modes.

10fps continuous on the NEX 5N is not too shabby though either, and well up their with the high end Sony A77 and Canon 7D. The A65 destroys the £850 Nikon V1 for image quality, video and EVF though it is bulkier you can choose the NEX 7 which is even better though more expensive than the Nikon V1.

For video the GH2 is better than the lot of them if you don’t mind a slightly smaller than Super 35mm sensor.

Nikon V1 versus Fuji X100

ISO 3200

Nikon V1 vs Fuji X100 ISO 3200

The V1’s low light abilities are simply not at the same standard as the Fuji X100 or Sony NEX 5N, and bear in mind that the X100 also has a much faster standard lens in the box. The Nikon 10-30mm is F3.5 at the wide end, F5.6 at the telephoto / portrait end.

If you’re taking pictures of your girlfriend in romantically lit locations you’ll be far better off with just about any other £850 camera kit.

Nikon V1 versus A65

In a megapixel driven market place Sony and Nikon’s approaches couldn’t be more different. Nikon are playing a dangerous game here.

In reality just how much difference does 24Mp give you over the Nikon V1’s 10MP? These cameras cost the same money… Let’s see what you get for free on the Sony A65.

J1 vs A65 ISO 100


Well – despite the obvious gap in image quality to similar priced models I can actually see why some enthusiasts would choose the Nikon V1.

It has good high speed shootng options, good slow mo video, reasonably good video resolution from the clips we’ve seen so far and it is good for sports and action shooters, where the crop of the sensor gives you better telephoto and the speed of the AF system gives you best-in-class auto-focus for fast moving objects.

It also has phase detect AF on the sensor and many more focus points than virtually any other camera. The J1 also has a silent electronic shutter, though some skew is possible on very fast moving objects.

But for those enthusiasts not interested in speed, the V1 is a virtually a write off image quality wise especially for low light shooting with the Nikon CX lenses.


By now it should be clear to everyone that if you are upgrading from a compact like the Canon G12 searching for more image quality, virtually any other choice of camera is better for image quality than the Nikon J1 and V1.

In fact the Nikon V1 is by far the worst in it’s class for resolution and high ISO performance, in fact I’d go so far and say that for £850 it is a catastrophe against its peers. The Fuji X100 is far more interesting, more innovative, more fashionable and has far better image quality.

If Nikon had released this mirrorless camera 1 year ago it would have been FAR more competitive but all their rivals especially Sony have moved on in big steps recently especially with their CMOS and image processor technology.

For the normal mass market consumer (not the enthusiast) the Nikon J1 gives you no real meaningful image quality boost over a high end compact like the Canon G12 or upcoming PowerShot S100 and no size advantage.

For average consumers looking for a Handbag Camera, the Sony NEX 5N is a far better choice for a genuine compact step-up in terms of image quality.

It also has the added bonus that you can make a Hollywood film with it.

About Author

British filmmaker and editor of EOSHD, Andrew works in Berlin on his own self funded filmmaking and video projects.


  1. I’m sorry, but the V1 is on sale now for 899$, the price of the E-P3. Yet comes with the 250$ EVF built in, it has a better screen, has over trice the FPS, better auto-focus and has a magnesium frame compared to polycarbonate. Why the hate?

  2. Nikon took 4 years to make that? They took less than 2 years to develop the Nikon F, The camera that killed rangefinders. They could have killed the mirrors now if the marketing department would let the engineers concentrate on the pros instead of the the average American family. Probably the Engineers left and went to work on the Fuji X100.
    I AM | disappointed |

  3. I am sorry, but G3 is on sale for the price of $629 (Amazon), cheaper than J1”s $649, yet comes with $250 EVF built in, it has articulated touch screen, has twice the sensor size, built in supersonic dust reduction,and better ergonomics, why the ignorance?

  4. Please continue to ride herd on Nikon. We need them to get off their lazy asses and innovate. While we’re at it, why not push for some innovation elsewhere, as in Europe and or the US? Hass, Leica and Red are at least trying.

  5. How on earth does that change the fact that the V1 has one of it’s main competitors handily beaten? And I’d consider the G3 more of a V1 competitor myself, considering that it’s larger than the V1, and has a built in EVF. If you want a J1 competitor, then look at the 660$ GF3.

    So let’s see, the 1 series feature 73-point main-sensor PD-AF, a first in kind. It boggles me that this is something that hasn’t gained more attention, as it’s the holy grail for AF on mirrorless cams. Consider that the D3 has a 51 point PD-AF system. Whats more, they’ve got 60FPS 10mp read-out capability, 10 FPS continuous shooting with continuous AF, more than one control-dial and in the case of the GF3, more than 2 buttons, a aluminium or aluminium/magnesium frame, high quality displays and they’re smaller than the GF3 and G3 respectively. So I repeat, why the hate? Because the sensor is half the size of m43? Well guess what, m43 is half the size of APS-C, yet it never seemed to bother anyone. And in contrast to most m43 cams, the 1 series doesn’t utilize a sensor that first appeared in 2008.

  6. I’m sorry, but the Sony NEX 5N is on sale for $699, cheaper than the V1. For an extra $299 you can add the best OLED EVF ever made, which you can angle freely unlike on the V1. The NEX has better video recording, and a sensor which is 3x bigger. This makes a big difference believe me.

    60fps at 10mp on the V1 lasts for… erm… 0.5 seconds. Yes, a full 30 frames. It’s a gimmick.

    Yes for sports shooting the AF is great on the 1 Series, in fact it is the only real strong point over the competition.

    For an extra $100 you can get a Fuji X100 which has innovation by the bucket load.

    I am not that impressed with the GF3 and EP3. They have old sensors, reheated and rolled out for the third time. The G3 is far better. The E-PM1 and E-PL3 represent better deals and Olympus have some of the best glass available.

    Whilst on the subject of glass – in fact the whole Micro Four Thirds range has better glass than Nikon are offering. There aren’t even any fast primes for the 1 series. Good luck with shallow depth of field at F4 with your kit zoom.

  7. It’s pretty astonishing the US and Europe don’t have more camera companies, it is almost a Japanese monopoly!

    There’s a massive gap for a innovative new camera company… massive changes in the market open up holes.

  8. If sensor-size and ultimate IQ is what you value, then discard both m43 and the CX system. But as a system, the NEX is larger. The normal zoom is almost 50% longer, and the telezoom is almost 80% longer. This makes a big difference, believe me. To many it’s not important to have the best possible IQ, but to have IQ that’s good enough. And everything points to the fact that the 1-series will have good enough IQ. And the longer you go, the larger the difference gets.

    That’s what a F/1.2 portrait-prime a la 1″ looks like.

    And no, 60FPS@10mp isn’t a gimmick. It’s innovation. The fact that they’re able to read 10mp at 60 FPS is unheard of. 8Kp24, 4Kp60, 1080p120, it’s all just up to the buffer.With the nice addition of being able to take full resolution stills while recording. And the main break-through is the 73-point main-sensor PD-AF system. That’s a even larger innovation. It opens to possibility to use all PD-AF lenses on a mirrorless body without any drop in AF-speed with a simple adapter. No hunting or expensive SLT adapters. Don’t be surprised if the D5100 is the last entry-level DSLR you’ll see from Nikon. Please look at the big picture, at what all of these innovations will mean to other Nikon products. In comparison the X100 has what, a prism that allows the Epson made EVF to reflect through the OVF. Bucket loads indeed.

    So how was the m43 or NEX at launch? NEX had a kit-zoom, a superzoom and a wide-angle pancake. The 1 series has the same, but with a telephoto zoom as well. If you’ve followed the 1 launch at all you’d know about the mock-ups shown. There’s a 18mm F/1.4 and 30mm F/1.2 in the pipe-line. As is a Macro and a plethora of zooms. And Olympus has a no better reputation making glass than Nikon. Both make some of the best available.

  9. Forget all the technobabble about a million point focusing, or price. All the images I’ve seen so far from both the Nikon cameras suck. Granted, these are early days, but I don’t hold out much hope. i expected better. Bit of a fail as far as I can see.

  10. I dunno but the more I see the camera (or rather the system) the more inclined I am to give it a chance, if for no other reason than I think Nikon has pulled off something rather remarkable sensor-wise. For me the problem isn’t with its still capabilities; I find the still images not bad at low ISOs and especially like the Neutral and Portrait settings versus the harsher Standard settings that most have been using. And I don’t have a problem with a 1″ sensor; in fact, some of my favorite videos that I’ve been looking at lately (from a technical perspective) are coming off Ikonoskop’s new 2/3 camera. They have an organic filmlike quality that I find gorgeous. If Kodak had half a brain (which they don’t, God bless ‘em) they’d be cranking out video cameras that use their own sensors and selling them to the masses.

    No, what has me disappointed the most is that the 1 series has taken this sensor, which is an incredible speed demon given its size, and wasted it on a very average, consumery video mode. 30p is especially disappointing, it looks like 60i is resolving more detail and actually looks fairly decent if played straight to a TV set (imaging-resource has a clip up now of Times Square at night). The sensor is perfectly capable of scanning the entire frame – you can extract a full still out of the video mode without it skipping a beat – but for some reason they aren’t using that horsepower for video. The chipset is there at a consumer level: JVC has been doing it with Falconbrid for almost a year now to generate video by downsampling high-mp Bayer sensors, with razor sharp results. Looking at early videos it almost appears that Nikon is actually doing a full sensor scan but then just goes and throws out most of the data. It’s weird, I don’t see moire or aliasing inherent with subsampling except in high-speed mode, but the resolution is coarse in 1080, 30p being notably jagged. Come on guys, most camera companies would KILL if they could sample their sensors that fast for video. I suspect the lack of 24/25/50p is due to clock rate issues, something that could probably be corrected in a second generation sensor (if I were them I’d work on getting the video downsampling right first, though others would probably disagree). It’s not like Nikon couldn’t see the video revolution coming, even two years ago it was very apparent it was going to be the Next Big Thing in digital photography.

    So setting aside the initial disappointment I’m wishing Nikon the best. They took a gamble going with this system and most people (me included) think their first attempt missed the mark. But I do see some signs they’ve at least got a clue (I especially liked their little pimped-out video rig they had on display in NY). If they focus on what this system is good at (SPEED!!) and design their cameras around that instead of worrying about what colors they come in they may stand a chance over the upcoming cutthroat decade. And throw in built-in panorama and HDR modes while you’re at it, they’re actually useful; hell if Fuji and Pentax can rip off Sony I don’t see why Nikon can’t.

  11. Should Nikon be given a free pass? Any other company who would release this would also get a big thumbs down…so why should we be gentle on Nikon? They need to wake up. What they have delivered here is a interchangable coolpix camera.

    As for the stupid age old NEX is too big to be portable arguement…theres plenty of small lenses available to use on NEX and makes it very portable….check out rangefinder glass.
    The Nikon 1 series just is too chunky once lenses are on…and that photo of the camera with the zoom lens? cmon! This camera should of had a fixed lens and accept rivalling the lx5 or canon G…Because thats the standard in quality thats o offer from the 1
    image quality for the best price is what is important…and this is why M4/3 and Nex system are far more desirable.
    Too little too late Nikon?….I bet the irony is that it’ll sell well…not because its a good camera but because of the (dilluded) Nikon fanbase and hard sell marketing (one of the reps on a you tube vudeo seemed to be trying jedi mind tricks with the reviewer)…if that happens…this to me would be the real bad news as it’ll only encourage the other companies to make similar products…make cheap sell high.
    I just dont understand why they didnt make it apsc DX based…theres plenty of affordable decent DX lenses
    btw Id love samyang to make cameras ;-)

  12. The kit-zoom is almost 50% longer, and the telephoto-zoom is almost 80% longer. Rangefinder glass doesn’t change that. The chunky zoom you’re complaining about is the superzoom. But you know what? It’s internally focusing, internally zooming and it’s motorized. Meaning that the lens does not extend when focusing or zooming, and has a power-zoom. What lenses are you comparing it to when complaining about size? There are no other superzooms that are built to those standards.

    And again, the difference in sensor-size between 1 and m43 is about the same as the difference between m43 and APS-C. The LX5 has a sensor that’s 3 times smaller than the 1. And the sensor is brand new, and seems to be well designed. The same cant be said for m43:

    Personally, I believe it will sell well because it’s a Nikon, its metal frame gives it a good build compared especially to the polycarbonate frames layered with aluminium shells m43 cameras use, it offers fast AF for both static and tracking for both video and stills and snappy performance in general, and it offers good enough image quality in the smallest package, and retains decent manual controls while doing so. Oh, and it’s filled with bells and whistles non-photographers might find fun.

    As for a DX and FX mirrorless, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s coming. You might have missed the fact that the 1 has main-sensor PD-AF. That basically made the SLT Sony uses obsolete, and allows Nikon to just pluck the mirror away if they want and still retain full compatibility with their lenses. Meaning that the can move from DSLR to mirrorless without loosing any legacy support. The 1 series broke the ground for that.

  13. The 18mm F1.4 is a portrait lens for this system, have you tried doing portraits with an 18mm on a full frame sensor and cropping them middle out? Notice how people’s ears suddenly seem much further away from the tip of their nose than in reality. That is not a good look.

    The 30mm F1.2 is more attractive but good luck using it in confined spaces.

    The speed of the sensor is a break through but they have had to dramatically chop down the size of the sensor to make that possible and I just don’t think it’s a trade off worth having especially since they haven’t exploited it to the full. No 1080/120p, no 4K, instead we’ve got 60i and 30p!

    If the video feed is crisp, clean and better detailed than the GH2 I might consider one, but I doubt it has manual control and I doubt I will be happy with a 2.7x crop with my existing lenses. My Zeiss 85mm F1.4 will be too long. My fast 35mm stuff will be telephoto. Wide angle too wide for portrait. Can’t take advantage of the 1 series unique selling point – AF – with any of them. I will be investing elsewhere I think.

    One thing Nikon have got right is to put the phase detect AF sensors on the CMOS rather than Sony’s SLT which loses 30% of the light to feed them elsewhere. The whole thing however is rather fruitless since contrast detect AF on the Olympus EP3 is faster than phase detect and better than on the Nikon D3. Go figure!

  14. The sensor (designed by Nikon and mass produced in a Sony factory) has 24 channels and an A/D converter on every one, it delivers a full 10MP digital output to the image processor at 60fps.

    The problem with both Falconbird and Expeed 3 is that due to cost, heat and battery economy reasons they can’t then take that huge amount of data and encode it to H.264 without taking some serious liberties, especially with progressive outputs.

    The buffers are too small, the card IO controller not fast enough, most people’s SD cards are too slow and fragmented and the Expeed 3 chip is too slow to encode H.264 as well as scale (when not scaling and outputting to a JPEG it can do 10MP at 60fps for 0.5 seconds, but if it created 10MP MJPEGs the battery would last about a minute and the camera would be melting by the time it powered off).

    We will get there eventually.

    The sensors are well ahead of everything else. Yes… It is a waste.

    What needs to happen is for a European version of RED to license a sensor from Nikon or Sony and put their own powerful image processor with it, a big battery and a heat pipe. Sadly it seems not many people have the vision to do this… or the investors.

  15. Dude, Panasonic already have internally focussing, internally zooming power zoom telephoto lenses. The 45-175mm I tried at the IFA does what the Nikon does. It isn’t unique.

    Yes the sensor in Micro Four Thirds cameras are could be better but the cameras themselves are far more advanced than the Nikon 1 Handbag Camera. The 18-55mm NEX lens is actually pretty small despite the fact it has OIS built in, and the Olympus lenses without OIS are smaller still… look at the 14-150mm…. That is the smallest optic for its range ever made. Nikon made a serious mistake not putting IS in the body, because OIS really bulks up the lens.

    Aside from the fact the new Olympus contrast detect is better (and GH2 very close) – yes I agree with you phase detect AF on the sensor is smart move compared to Sony’s SLT approach.

    And it does translate well into future DX and FX mirrorless cameras. But the problem is THERE ARE STILL NO DX and FX mirrorless cameras!!

    My problem with Nikon is not their tech it’s their application of it. The mid-range DSLRs are backward, conservative and clunky, the low end mirrorless cameras are designed for mums.

    It is far more profitable for Nikon to design cameras for the masses than for people who actually love cameras. The people who love cameras do not get a lot of love from Nikon.

  16. 18mm is a 45mm equivalent. A wee bit longer than the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7. The 30mm is a 80mm equivalent. A wee bit shorter than the Olympus 45mm F/1.8. Both pairs offer about identical DOF control.

    Perceptive distortion is dependent on magnification and FOV, thus also distance to subject. If you try to achieve high magnification with a lens that has a wide FOV, for instance a portrait with a wide, you get perspective distortion.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re using a 60mm lens on 645, or a 4mm lens on your iPhone.

    Sensor-size has nothing to do with the data throughput. The system is able to handle 600MBps, and it doesn’t matter where it comes from. It’s the Expeed 3, which will be featured in the D400, D4 and D800. Incidentally, they might be a bit better suited for your usage-scenario.

    The E-P3 is bested for static AF by a D3 using even the 14-24mm. That’s even though the D3 has shallower DOF, and the 14-24mm is far from Nikons fastest focusing lens.
    Couple the D3 with the 24-70mm and the difference is even bigger. Shoot anything that moves, and there’s no contest. CD-AF is unable to tell if the subject is in front or behind the plane of focus, and thus needs to hunt to know both in which direction to correct, and to know when it has achieved focus. PD-AF has no such limitations.

    Now, the 1 series further extends the m43 advantage of deep DOF, and according to Nikons own words its the fastest focusing camera they’ve ever made.

  17. How is the V1 zoom smaller than the one for the Nex? 72mm diameter for the V1 kit lens? What the…? This is supposed to be pocketable? How big is the jacket that comes with that pocket, one wonders.

    Epic fail for Nikon. But like someone above said, I have no doubt this camera will sell well simply because it is a Nikon. Too bad.

  18. And might I just add that my GF1 with m4/3 pancake lenses take me with a 3 prime lens set up from 24mm/2.5, 50mm/1.4 to 90mm/2.8 for autofocus video, or 50mm/3.5 and 70mm/2.5 Voigtlander-M’s for manual focus – and the whole 5 lens set up takes up the same space in my bag as a Nikon D7000 with kit lens!

    Bears repeating: epic fail for Nikon. I don’t think they get it.

  19. I’ll split this in two, as if I post it in one reply it will apparently get stuck in moderation Limbo.

    18mm is a 45mm equivalent. A wee bit longer than the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7. The 30mm is a 80mm equivalent. A wee bit shorter than the Olympus 45mm F/1.8. Both pairs offer about identical DOF control.

    Perceptive distortion is dependent on magnification and FOV, thus also distance to subject. If you try to achieve high magnification with a lens that has a wide FOV, for instance a portrait with a wide, you get perspective distortion.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re using a 60mm lens on 645, or a 4mm lens on your iPhone.

  20. Sensor-size has nothing to do with the data throughput. The system is able to handle 600MBps, and it doesn’t matter where it comes from. It’s the Expeed 3, which will be featured in the D400, D4 and D800. Incidentally, they might be a bit better suited for your usage-scenario.

    The E-P3 is bested for static AF by a D3 using even the 14-24mm. That’s even though the D3 has shallower DOF, and the 14-24mm is far from Nikons fastest focusing lens.
    Couple the D3 with the 24-70mm and the difference is even bigger. Shoot anything that moves, and there’s no contest. CD-AF is unable to tell if the subject is in front or behind the plane of focus, and thus needs to hunt to know both in which direction to correct, and to know when it has achieved focus. PD-AF has no such limitations.

    Now, the 1 series further extends the m43 advantage of deep DOF, and according to Nikons own words its the fastest focusing camera they’ve ever made.

  21. Where did you hear that the sensor is fabbed by Sony? All I’ve heard is to the contrary:

    “Nikon’s Masahiro Suzuki, General Manager, R&D Department, Development HQ, says there were three factors in choosing the sensor size: image quality, responsiveness and ease of use (specifically in terms of portability). He says the sensor was both designed and engineered by Nikon and stressed it is ‘not built by Sony.'”

  22. Comments are unmoderated here, there’s only an automatic spam robot.

    And I don’t like the 20mm Lumix pancake for portraits either, the depth compression is not enough. It’s too wide. Did you know medium format exists for a reason?

    “Doesn’t matter if you’re using a 60mm lens on 645, or a 4mm lens on your iPhone.”

    Sorry but that is complete rubbish!!

  23. It is engineered, designed, specced and prototyped by Nikon. It is fabbed by Sony.

    Hirotake Nozaki: “We designed this new CMOS sensor, but it is an external company that deals with the production.”

    Nikon don’t currently have the mass production CMOS fabrication plants on the scale needed. Sony and Panasonic do.

  24. Dude, the Panasonic isn’t a superzoom, it’s a telephoto. 10x vs 3.9x. The Nikon 30-110mm VR is a 3.6x telephoto zoom that’s 3 centimeter shorter than the Pana X. The 10-30mm with VR is as small as the Oly collapsible 14-42mm without.

    And no, the E-P3 isn’t better. It’s a tad slower than phase-detect with a fast lens for static objects, and much slower for moving ones.

    You might consider something like the D5100 or D7000 backwards and clunky. Most consider them among the best in class.

    You might consider mirrorless cameras superior to DSLRs, but most who love *photography* still prefer DSLRs. That’s why they handily outsell mirrorless cams. And as far as DSLRs go, Nikon is as good as any. As for Nikon only catering for the masses, Canon and Nikon are the only two succeeding with cameras that cost more than 2000$. Mirrorless caters mainly for the masses, but there’s DSLRs that only cater for enthusiasts and professionals.

  25. The Nikon 28-80mm equivalent is 57.5x42mm. The NEX is 60x62mm.
    The Nikon 80-300mm equivalent is 60x61mm. The NEX is 63.8x108mm
    The internally focusing, internally zooming 10x power-zoom is 77x95mm. The NEX externally focusing, externally zooming 10x non-power zoom is 76x99mm

  26. The Panasonic 14mm is a 28mm equivalent. But anyway, Nikon’s line-up once launched will have a 28mm equivalent F/2.8, 45mm equivalent F/1.4 and 80mm equivalent F/1.2. Fail indeed.

  27. And that robot considers anything over x letters spam.

    Sorry, but it isn’t, read up on that Wiki link I posted. I do know medium format exists for a reason, there’s even a reason why I shoot 645. But the fact of the matter is, it isn’t perspective distortion, and that article there will tell you as much.

  28. No, and neither do I have any intention of buying the 1 series. But the thing is, when I come in contact with misinformation somewhere, I like to try to correct that. How about you?

  29. I know that they’re fabless, but where have you heard that it’s fabbed by Sony? They’re not the only one with fabbing capacity. From the quote earlier: “He says the sensor was both designed and engineered by Nikon and stressed it is ‘not built by Sony.’”

    I’ve yet to hear Nikon outright deny any connection to Sony when that wasn’t the case.

  30. I agree with you that the Nikon 1 system is kind of pointless, but your understanding of perspective is still incorrect. Perspective is determined by the distance of the camera to the subject only. Nothing else. It has nothing to do with focal length:

    A portrait of someone 3 metres away taken with an 18mm on full frame will have the same perspective at a portrait taken with a 50mm lens on full frame if the person is still 3 metres away. The 18mm will just have a wider field of view, and therefore the person will be smaller.

    A portrait of a person 3 meters away taken on a 2.72 crop camera with an 18mm lens will again have an identical perspective and will also have an almost identical field of view to the 50mm on full frame. The difference of course is that the subject separation with the full frame will be very pleasing to the eye, were as the subject separation on the 2.72 crop camera will be virtually non existent.

    So to summarise, there are many advantages to a larger sensor but less perspective distortion is not one of them.

  31. Stop with the propaganda drivel already, it is really tiring. You have your opinion, I have mine. So what. You are not even buying the damned camera, so stop wasting your time and go and defend something else!

  32. DSLRs only cater for enthusiasts and pros, what utter drivel.

    NEX 7
    NEX 5N
    NEX 3 (yes, with peaking!!)
    Voigtlander 25mm F0.95
    Sony OLED VF
    Leica M lenses
    Leica M8 come to think of it!!

    Just a very small list of some none-DSLR mirrorless products that cater for enthusiasts. Seriously dude go and do something else with your time instead of wasting ours and trolling the comments forum.

  33. Oh boy, gl0g is having a hard time with the reality of Nikon’s failure to bring the best of their heritage and know-how to this mirrorless revolution. My love of Nikon SLR/DSLR goes back 40 years, and although I have sold off most of the gear, I have kept the best of my Nikkor glass. The Panasonic announcement in mid 2008 was so compelling I jumped on micro 4/3 as soon as I could (ordered a G1 in October 2008). EOSHD, you are absolutely right on the money, and I applaud you for calling it like it is. I also want to thank you for an exceedingly good forum providing excellent analysis and advice, which for newbies like me in video is very much appreciated. As a result, I have learned to use my GH2 so much better, and the results reflect the knowledge gained through your site. As for the Nikon CX system, it does do a great service to on-going development in mirroless hybrid camera development, as it shows more clearly what the future could be. If Nikon have the courage to develop an EX mirrorless system in the space between DX and FX, they should be able to adopt most of the design and engineering that has gone into CX (just double the scale), and then I think they would have a winner which enthusiast and professionals will be all over. Sure, DX and FX can live on for quite a few years yet, but the IQ from a near APS-H sensor at current Sony APS-C performance levels would likely obviate the call for FF mirrorless development, especially if Nikon facilitated AF use of the FX glass on this dreamed for EX platform.

  34. Excellent review. Nikon should tell the enthusiasts to simply ignore the Nikon Series 1, it is not for them! As I state on this is a lifestyle camera designed to be pretty enough to extract more money from the hipsters. That’s all it is. This is a camera for the supermodels, not the photographers

  35. Way to misread. I said that there are DSLRs that only cater for enthusiasts and pros, not that only DSLRs cater for enthusiasts and pros. No-one expect a enthusiast or pro would ever buy a D3.

    Seriously dude, relax, and read what you’re responding to.

  36. What on earth does that have to do with what I said? How about you re-read what I wrote, and reconsider your reply.

  37. We’ll find out soon enough, there is a company out there that takes apart sensors from cameras and evaluates them (

    I think Sony is mentioned so much as the real manufacturer simply because they are the go-to company for fast consumer sensors. In fact their first one appeared (wait for it—-) about 4 years ago. It has specs that are remarkably similar to Son, errr, Nikon’s new sensor ( That’s not to say there aren’t other sensor makers out there that couldn’t build this thing, but there are probably seriously large numbers of them being made right now and the list of companies capable of handling these numbers can’t be very long. Also just saw that Sony has recently debuted a 1″ 6mp CCD sensor capable of 25fps full scan readout.

    As for Falconbrid, I’m pretty sure that they have in fact managed to pull off the impressive feat of taking Sony’s 1/2.3″ fast sensor and using its progressive full scan mode to generate video. The clues come from the GC-PX1 which came out early this year in Japan ( It crops the center 3200×1800 portion of the sensor and downscales the entire area for its video. Their new camera (PX10) will be using a 3840×2160 area for its 1080 video.

    So it IS doable – today – from a high mp sensor, provided the sensor is fast enough. JVC upped their streaming rate to 36mbps to help out (they could probably go even faster since they have 32GB of onboard storage). To demonstrate I’ve put up a crop of a still grab downsampled to 1080 in Photoshop from the PX1 alongside a video grab of roughly the same scene:

  38. He means not engineered by Sony, it’s just a language thing. Sony have a production deal in place with Nikon and nothing has changed.

  39. It remains to be seen if those lenses – once announced – will be pancakes like the 10mm. But the fact will still remain: the Nikon 1 system is an epic fail for being (a) too late to the party (b) with a mucho small sensor at that (it’s smaller than the m4/3 than the m4/3 is to the APS-C, and just 5 days ago many Canikon shooters were dismissing the m4/3 as far too small to be taken seriously!), (c) yet not being appreciably smaller in size (d) nor cheaper in price for that tinier sensor size.

    At least the Pentax Q is qute and makes sensible use of its smaller sensor by actually being pocket friendly.

  40. Given that this is an HD video site and not a photography site, I think it’s safe to say that here, the Nikon 1 system as it is has no impact other than being an idle curiosity. Enough about gear: I have hardly even begun to explore my GF1, so I’m off to read the excellent tips and techniques that keep me coming back to this site.

  41. I have to say, though, the recent phenomenon of small sensor cameras with removable lenses puzzles me. This category to me is neither here nor there. Are there really that many handbag camera users out there who have been pining for a range of prime lenses to go with their do-everything zoom? And conversely, are there that many enthusiasts out there who wish they can have an interchangeable lens system, but on a tinier sensor?

    Pentax and Nikon talk about a niche market of compact camera users who want better quality but do not necessarily want to lug a DSLR around. So why not just stick a large sensor into a fixed zoom lens body and be done with it? After all, many people I know who buy m4/3 or entry level DSLRs never go beyond their kit lenses.

  42. V1 handily beats its competitors how? By having a much smaller sensor that is only just slightly bigger than the one you find in quality compacts? Or having a current 2-lens line-up, perhaps? And as you say, if the G3 is really the competitor to the V1, when the G3 already handily beats the J1, well… then the V1 cannot possibly be “handily beating” its main competitors, can it?

    I cannot agree that more multipoint AF sensor points is the holy grail of compact system cameras (not when I only ever use one, that is). Rather, I would say faster AF speed is the holy grail, and if the spec sheet is to be believed the Nikon 1 system achieves this. This is good, as it would provide other systems a benchmark to compete against, which would be good for the market.

    And I must nitpick: the m4/3 is half the size of a FULL FRAME camera, not APS-C. The difference between APS-C and m4/3 is actually almost negligible.

  43. It is not a personal attack, but a debate about what really counts.
    Sure, the Nikon J1/V1 brings some improved or new technology to the table (eg PDAF on the sensor), but the package is the failure, part of it being just a failure in design and execution, and part of that is slavish adherence to construction standards from Nikon’s DSLR designing stable instead of adopting Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung component design and construction methods that provide the function and durability in a small package at a compelling price point. Take the issue of the V1 case. Why expensive milled magnesium in a mediocre IQ product targeted at some entry level market? My GH2 is built around a much lighter and cheaper internal frameplate design, and it is adequate. I’m not a foreign correspondent banging this up constantly, and even if I was, I’m not sure that it wouldn’t be serviceable. Given the better IQ in the larger format Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Samsung mirrorless products, and no large size, weight, or price advantage in these Nikon CX products, why would any photographer on a limited budget doing a modest amount of product research consider this Nikon offering? Sure, I would like to borrow one for awhile, but there is not a chance of buying it. Is it a luxury item, like Leica? Hardly. So bang for the buck is what really counts in this market segment, and Nikon has come up seriously short. Andrew Reid is spot on. So is Mike Johnston of TOP – see

  44. It has nothing to do with slavish adherence to Nikons construction methods. They’ve made polycarbonate SLRs since the film era, and have continuously gathered praise for the quality of said polycarbonate cams. They decided to make a higher end product, for one reason or the other.

    As for IQ, I’ll wait until the staple reviewers get their hands on production samples before I pass judgement. But the fact remains that the 1 series is indeed small. The J1 is smaller than the GF3, and the J1 is smaller than the G3.

  45. The Pentax Q has a sensor that’s 4 times smaller than the CX. And now, 5 days later, m43 shooters are piling on the 1 series for having a small sensor after furiously defending m43 for 3 years. Funny how that works.

  46. The 1 series has a sensor that’s 3 times as large as in the best compacts. It’s half the size of m43. m43 is half the size of APS-C. APS-C is half the size of 135. Interesting that you draw the line at 1″, but not m43 or APS-C. m43 is 225m^2, while 135 or full-frame is 864mm^2. That’s not half, but a quarter

    V1 is the G3 competitor with the built in EVF, while J1 is the GF3 competitor. Reading the specs, the one clear advantage the G3 has over the V1 is sensor-size, but we’ll have to wait for DxO to get their hands on a production camera to see how much that affects real-life performance. FPS, display quality and presumably build and auto-focus goes to the V1. But again, I’ll reserve judgement until someone has actually had the opportunity to review both cameras. The V1 and J1 are both smaller than their competitors.

    It’s the PD-AF that’s the breakthrough. CD-AF is unable to tell if the subject is in front or behind the plane of focus, and thus needs to hunt to know both in which direction to correct, and to know when it has achieved focus. PD-AF has no such limitations.

  47. Fortunately, if size and curvy lines is all that one desires, the Olympus EPM3 is smaller than the J1. The Olympus zoom is bigger than the J1’s, but the Panasonic one isn’t. And when you stick the 17mm f2.8 prime on the EPM3, it’s smaller than the J1 with the 10mm pancake.

    PLUS, the EPM3 is cheaper, has a larger sensor, and has a bigger database of quality lenses – the zooms of which are far smaller than the Nikon 1 monstrosity yet provide more length coverage all the way from 14mm to 300mm – available for use right now.

    Epic fail for the Nikon 1 in all counts. Heheh.

  48. Yes, it is funny, isn’t it. You spend years defending the 4/3 and later m4/3 from Canikon shooters with samples to boot, and then suddenly only to be told in the end that, eh, actually small does not equal bad and that “sometimes good enough is okay”. Hmm. Odd, that.

  49. I agree about the importance of the AF breakthrough, if it indeeds pans out. I am already happy with the AF on the GF1, and its continuous AF for video is useful in some situations. But even faster AF is never a bad thing.

  50. +2
    Its a LX5 rival and should of been made as such…this niche group will most likely not be spending extra on additional lenses.
    Funny thing (and im sure others have noticed) these other sort of niche groups tend to buy a large Canon and Nikon dslrs with kitlense to show off (to look pro no?) and then just shoot everything in auto mode. (might explain Glogs point on how well the large dslrs sell…does not mean the ones buying are pros or real enthusiasts!)
    So its all bloody waste of time this Nikon 1

  51. The Pentax Q has a 28mm^2 sensor, while the Nikon 1 has a 116mm^2 sensor. That’s a tad over 4 times. Well. if you’ve spent years defending m43, then you’d probably understand that half the size doesn’t necessarily mean too small.

  52. The EPM3 is in fact a smidgen larger than the J1, and with a tad more direct controls to boot. The 17mm F/2.8 is exactly the same size as the 10mm. The Panasonic 14mm is 2mm smaller. The Panasonic normal zoom is larger, while the collapsible Olympus normal is about the same size. The Pana X will be smaller, while Nikons upcoming compact normal once again will be about the same size. Nikons 80-300mm equivalent is in fact a bit over 2cm shorter than the Olympus 80-300mm. The 10-100mm is large indeed, but it’s internally focusing&zooming and is a power-zoom.

    The sensor is larger, but it’s 3 years older, so I’ll wait until DxO measures them to see which one matters more. It’s true that the lens line-up is larger, but I’d say 4 lenses at launch isn’t that bad. Now it all depends on how fast Nikon announces new ones.

  53. @gl0g

    I’m not really persuaded by the lens size argument. The truth is that pretty much all mirrorless cams are pocketable with pancakes attached; none of them are pocketable with anything remotely zoomy attached. Does it make a difference that the CX lenses are a few cm shorter than the equivalent NEX lenses? Who knows. For some it might. For me it wont – i’m going to need something extra to carry them around in anyway.

    There are plenty of cool new features in the 1 series cams. Expeed3 and PD-AF being two of the most prominent. For me though, the core of any camera is it’s ability to image, and the sensor is a huge part of that. Imo, the CX is too small to be a serious prospect for “serious” photographers. 2.7 is a crop factor too far, and makes DOF control extremely difficult (although i concede this really does depend on the sort of photographer you are – landscape guys might love the extra DOF). High ISO/DR performance is about pixel pitch rather than absolute size however, and in this respect the 1 series isn’t as bad as everyone is making out. The pixel pitch is slightly less than the forthcoming nex-7, though that camera gives you 2 and a half times as many pixels at that pitch to work with, and you get a lot more in the way of physical controls. Low light shooting is important for me though, so both these cameras might be out for me.

    What really grates about the 1 series is nikon’s reasons for not going with an APS-C sensor. It’s purely to protect their DSLR lines. They don’t want to compete with themselves. Gl0g you mentioned something about Nikon’s entry level DSLRs vanishing from the market. The truth is completely the opposite.

  54. Personally what’s most important to me is that there’s a portrait prime that’s compact enough. The 30mm F/1.2 mock-up and the Olympus 45mm F/1.8 are the two that fit the bill in my oppinion. Incidentally both offer about equal DOF control. As does the upcoming 18mm F/1.4 and the Pana 20mm F/1.7. The NEX 50mm is a tad wide and a tad too large for my taste, and the Samsung 85mm F/1.4 is complete overkill.

    Whether or not the smaller zooms matter is up to personal opinion, to me it doesn’t as I don’t use zooms for anything but events and portrait sessions. I’m just pointing out that in contrast to what’s being said, the 1 series does offer some size advantage when it comes to both the body and some lenses.

    A cam with a APS-C sensor can’t hit the segment Nikon 1 is aiming for. You forcibly sacrifice some size for better IQ. Due to main-sensor PD-AF the only thing a mirror is needed for anymore is the OVF, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nikon introduced EVF equipped DX cams with a simple adapter for F-mount lenses within a couple of years. But just as with DSLRs now they would target another, more IQ conscious segment.

  55. @christophernheu
    tool: One who lacks the mental capacity to know he is being used. A fool. A cretin. Characterized by low intelligence and/or self-steem.

    troll: In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community

    Sounds like someone who’d log-on only to hurl insults without adding anything creative or constructive to a discussion.

  56. Maybe. But the 1 series wouldn’t the first Nikon sensor that isn’t fabbed by Sony, and I’d expect DPreview to get their translations straight.

  57. To me the “portrait prime compactness” requirement (if i can call it that) feels rather niche. I would argue most people who’re likely to buy cameras like this would find a “normal” focal length lens more flexible and useful day-to-day. This is the main reason i chose to distinguish between the pocketable “wide” pancake capability and the zooms. Maybe you’re off on a trip out for the day and you’ll be taking a wide variety of different sorts of shots, but you want something you can still fit in a pocket. I think under those circumstances, you’d always take the wider lens (within reason). I don’t know the details of the cx lens line-up, but from your post it seems like there’s a 30 f/1.2 on the way? At equivalent 81mm FOV that’s way too long to be useful as a walkabout lens as far as i’m concerned. Course, if taking portraits is your main bag, i can see why that’s all you’d be interested in. But as i say, I believe for most people, the ability to pocket something with 81mm FOV isn’t so useful.

    It is indeed entirely a matter of personal preference, and i quite agree the 1 series offers some size advantages when it comes to lenses. However, to compensate for that lower pixel pitch, and if Nikon were serious about this lens system for high-end users, i’d have wanted to see some very fast lenses. Like f.95. This would have also given us some more (less, technically) DOF to play with. But of course, 0.95 lenses would have been bigger….

    Actually i think they can and do. Your size argument, to me, seems predicated on still being very compact with a portrait prime attached. This isn’t, as i have explained in detail above, something i think the majority of the mirrorless market is interested in. Indeed, I’m not sure precisely what segment nikon is pitching for with those prices. £850 is firmly in semi-pro/serious amateur territory. The crop factor and the high iso performance are not in-line with what the vast majority of that market is interested in imo. Which is why i can’t understand your comment about more IQ conscious users. Anyone with £850 to spend body-only, is highly likely to be IQ conscious aren’t they?

  58. As far as I can tell there’s both a 45mm equivalent F/1.4 and a 80mm equivalent F/1.2 on the way, and the 28mm is already out. As I said, they’ll offer as much DOF control as the 20mm F/1.7 and 45mm F/1.8.

    The portrait prime is important to me because it rounds of the kit. When I go shooting with my kit I take a 28mm, 50mm and 105mm on 135. That covers all I want to shoot. Thus, a system that only has a compact wide-angle and normal but no compact portrait-prime still isn’t compact enough for me, and then I’ll just as well shoot 135. That’s the reason why I won’t for example consider the Samsung NX, even though it has a excellent selection of wide and normal pancakes. The 85mm F/1.4 is ridiculous.

    To have a compact portrait prime is important to me, but that’s not what Nikon was aiming for. They were aiming for a system that would be compact even with zooms attached to it, and that’s something you apparently can’t get with APS-C. As I’ve said, the 28-80mm is almost 50% shorter and the 80-300mm is almost 80% shorter than the equivalent NEX or NX. They’re aiming at the P&S upgrades, and P&Ss have zooms.

    850£ might be in the semi-pro segment, but 850$ isn’t. It’s up there with the E-P3 and below the GH2. I’d say upper entry-level. Those who spend 850$ or £ are of course conscious of IQ, but it apparently isn’t the only thing they care about. m43 has proven as much. As I’ve said, I’ll wait until DxO has put the V1 through their paces before I make any judgement on the sensor performance. JPGs, especially pre-production, isn’t a very valid way to judge in my opinion. That’s what lead to the A77 witch-hunt which turned out to be premature.

  59. I quite agree that drawing any conclusions right now about IQ is premature. All i’m really expressing here are concerns, and i’d be more than happy to have them proven totally unfounded. I’m a Nikon shooter myself. Professionally I use a D3s, and i’ve been waiting to take the plunge on an ILC system til Nikon and Canon both got their offerings out there.

    Whether 45mm f1.8 equivalent DOF at 80mm FOV is sufficient for any given shooter is totally a personal choice i think. Ultimately, you’re always going to have less (more) DOF from a smaller sensor at any given FOV/effective focal length. I’m not sure it’s enough for me…. but then again i’m after an ILC for trips out, traveling and events with family and friends, so I’m not expecting my D3s in a package 1/10th the size and weight.

    I accept the figures about the zooms, i just think they’re largely irrelevant. They’re big enough to require something to carry them, either another free pocket or a bag, so a few centimeters here and there doesn’t matter so much. I’m sure Nikon will market that point though, and it may even be a factor in sales for a lot of people. I just don’t really accept there’s much practical advantage.

    For my purposes the most useful lens to have on a camera like this is a super or normal zoom. If i’m in a situation where IQ (from glass, not just from the camera) is critical, i’ll be taking my “proper” camera. An ILC will be for general every day use.

    With an EVF the 5N is a comparable price (over this side of the pond at any rate). The 5N has much better high ISO performance and more MP, but bigger lenses and less sophisticated AF. It just depends what your priorities are. I hate shooting with flash (which is why i own a D3s) so low light performance is really important for me. And, to be frank, Nikon going with a smaller sensor than DX has left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. For all the other great features this camera has, it’s sensor was made smaller than the competition purely to protect Nikon’s DSLR lines. I know we’ve discussed crop factor and DOF at length, but it’s hard to spin these as advantages. At best, they’re a price that some people (you for example) are willing to pay for compactness and primes at the right length. For most people though, they’re serious disadvantages.

  60. Oh, poor gl0g, u’re a very funny kind of person and u’ve a similar attitude Nikon has: refuse reality. U both need a reality check and understand that the world isn’t a YELLOW ball with “NIKON” letters engraved on the equator. Understood? Not? Well, let me explain a bit better… When I, as user, go to a store and find out a camera that is priced at over 800 US Dollars, well, I ask myself how many other products fall in that price range and well… we’ve soooo much of them right now: higher resolution, more competent sensors, better video, better bodies, better lens line-ups, CHEAPER price. Don’t U understand that reasoning? Ok, I’ll give U more details… ;-) The presumptuous assunction Nikon moves on is a suicidal one: everything I make will sell, no matter what. U cannot think this way today, simple as that. Nikon didn’t care at all of the already mature market and users and this is a reckless behaviour. Wanna know what is needed to Canon to completely erase Nikon One? A better specd G13, simple as that. Yes a G13. Nikon One is a mirrorless brought to a level of a compact but with the cost of an DSLR (how unrespectful for your owners, Nikon); Canon needs to grow the “compact” to a higher level simple as that and the Imaging-Resource comparative tests EOS HD posted demonstrate how little more effort is needed for a G13 to catch up and destroy the J1/V1. Faster AF, better IQ, better video. END of the Story.
    gl0g, take into account I’m so HEAVILY involved in Nikon stuff U can never imagine so I’m speaking with a lot of clues about the situation and, believe me, I’m really pissed of by their behaviour. They deserve a big hit just to gain humbleness, they NEED it. Bye, gl0g, don’t waste your time defending the undefendable.

  61. Well, again, it’s up to personal preference. You want the larger sensor, and you do not mind that the lenses, in particular zooms, are larger. Then the NEX system is of course a better choice. I’m just saying what the design principle of the 1 series is. Nikon is apparently banking on there being enough people who value the size difference in lenses over the size difference in sensor. Personally I can imagine that as a successful strategy, because I believe that those who actually know the difference in sensor performance are in the small minority. Most entry-level DSLR buyers never buy additional lenses, they don’t pixel-peep, and they wouldn’t know what a one stop difference in noise means. They buy cameras with interchangeable lenses because that to them means better quality, leave the kit lens on and the camera on auto and snap away.

    For my compact needs I’ve got a 135 and 645 rangefinder, and for pocket size I’ve got a S90. I just feel that the 1 series has gathered a lot of unwarranted flak by people who’ve misunderstood its purpose, specs or both.

  62. Wow, do yourself a favor and check the original article:

    “the Nikon J1 clearly does much better than the Canon G12 at ISO 1,600, with better detail everywhere.”
    “The Nikon J1 holds detail much better than the Canon G12 at ISO 3,200. The images pretty well speak for themselves”

    And as a kicker, ISO3200: “The Nikon J1 seems to be facing down this storm of noise much better than the Olympus E-PM1. While the E-PM1 is busy sharpening and killing noise, losing color in the process, the Nikon is still producing a comparatively even image. ”

    Please, instead of blanket insults, why don’t you adress anything I’ve said. If I’m as deluded as you claim, surely what I say must be false. I understand that you’re hurt because the 1 series isn’t the cam you’ve been waiting for. But that doesn’t mean that what I’ve said isn’t true.

  63. An well-written pro-m43 opinion-piece. Doesn’t have much to do with what I’ve said, though, and certainly isn’t saying anything new.

  64. I agree the 1 series cameras have attracted over-the-top criticism since their announcement. A lot of people are angry. A lot of people feel these cameras are an unmitigated failure. Personally I’m disappointed. I was hoping Nikon would release an ILC system i could really buy into without a second thought. Judged against my requirements, the 1 series is probably a compromise too far. Sensor size and with it high ISO performance and DOF control have been sacrificed for smaller lenses (the v1 body is slightly larger than a 5N). You’re 100% correct though, this just comes down to each individual’s priorities. And you may well be totally correct about the target audience of the 1 series. I agree with you that those are the sorts of people Nikon is targeting, people who don’t obsess over IQ and noise, and who value compact kit. To them, perhaps the differences between the V1 and the 5N are that one has much bigger lenses and doesn’t focus as fast.

    For the reasons you mention i think a 5N is probably the best camera for me. I don’t like the lack of in-built EVF or the lack of physical controls, but i suspect the nex-7 is going to have the same problems as the 1 series at high ISO given it’s almost identical pixel pitch. Obviously im going to reserve all judgment until these cameras are all on the shelves and have been thoroughly tested, and make a choice then though.

  65. I’d wait for DxO to get their hands on the NEX7 before I’d pull the trigger. If you look at the test of the A77
    you’ll find that the A77 has about identical noise performance as the A55. And as the A55 has about the same sensor as the 5N, plus the SLT mirror golbin up light, I would expect the 7 and 5N ISO performance to be very, very close indeed. For DR and color the NEX7 might even have the 5N beat.

  66. I think we’ve run out of consecutive replies, but thanks for the heads up – I’ll definitely be waiting! So the sony SLRs have a translucent mirror instead of one which moves? So they always have less light getting to the sensor? If the NEX 7 has the same ISO performance as the NEX-5N, or even close, it’s a no brainer for me. The physical controls and built in EVF make it much more attractive. I really couldn’t be less fussed about all those extra megapixels though – i don’t have any billboard campaigns to shoot ;D

  67. Yup, the new Axx series has got a semi-silvered mirror that never moves. You loose about 1/3 of a stop in DR, color and noise due to the lightloss, but it enables live-view PD-AF off a separate sensor. Well, for me, if the noise performance is as good, and the DR and color is as good or better, then it’s a no-brainer to take the sensor with more resolution. It never hurts :).

  68. Interesting! So the Axx series aren’t technically SLRs then? I think i’d rather have the extra light hitting the sensor and a moving mirror personally, but innovation is always a good thing. It will be interesting to see how the contrast detect AF on the nex7 compares with the PD on the 1 series. Sony claim its super fast apparently. And yeah, if there is no significant penalty in noise and DR, i might as well take the extra pixels! I just wish they’d hurry up and release review samples.

  69. Well, no, I think you can say that they aren’t. I don’t think you’ll see much difference between the 1 series and the NEX7 for static AF if the 7 is up there with the E-P3, but unless either the 7 has some major breakthrough or the 1 fails miserably, there should be no contest for focus tracking.

  70. Rubbish. Where do you get your info?
    “You might consider something like the D5100 or D7000 backwards and clunky. Most consider them among the best in class.”
    Most? And don’t give me these useless numbers from Amazon.

    “You might consider mirrorless cameras superior to DSLRs, but most who love *photography* still prefer DSLRs.”
    With no professional body, of course. Look at the NEX-7 though – outsold the A77.

  71. What hate? People just don’t like it. The camera has a sensor smaller than m43, yet the lenses are as big. One is as big as its NEX counterpart! Another thing is the price. Why would I pay the same price or even more for a smaller sensor? Doesn’t make any sense.
    The only two interesting things are the AF and 60fps. That’s all. No matter how you look at it, m43 and NEX are both better bang for the buck solutions.

  72. Not really. They’re as small or smaller than what others have to offer, and the difference in sensor-size is about the same between 1 and m43 as between m43 and APS-C. Which each step you gain a wee bit in size, especially in the long end and with zooms.

  73. Rubbish? Strong words.
    “The D7000 produces great image quality and feels very responsive […] and an abundance of customization options place this camera firmly into the upper end of the mid-range segment of the market.”

    “The D5100 is without doubt one of the most compelling products in its class, and offers an excellent mixture of straightforward handling, a well-targeted feature set, and excellent video and still image quality”

    “The Nikon D7000 is an excellent digital SLR, and an important player in Nikon’s digital camera lineup. It’s my first choice for anyone serious about getting great shots of their family, a great choice for the enthusiast photographer, and a great starter camera for anyone wanting to get more serious about still or video photography.”

    “For its target market, though, the Nikon D5100 offers an approachable design that couples a great feature set with excellent image quality, and that combination makes it an easy choice for a Dave’s Pick.”

    “The Nikon D7000 is a fantastic addition to Nikon’s DSLR lineup and is a well-deserved recipient of our Highly Recommended award.”

    “This is precisely what a DSLR that’s competitively priced for the mass-market should deliver, and judged on that criteria, the Nikon D5100 is a very worthy winner of our Highly Recommended award.”

    The Amazon link intended to drive home the point that DSLRs still massively outsell mirrorless cams, at least outside of Japan. Does the NEX7 outsell the D7000, D300, 60D or 7D?

  74. Actually, proportionate to the sensor size, the Nikon 1 system lenses are huge. The sensor is half the size of the m4/3, yet the lenses are just a few mm smaller, when they should be at least a third smaller. At least m4/3 lenses are mostly smaller than APS-C, so the sensor to lens size ratio makes sense.

  75. You are kidding. The 27-300 NEX is the same size and weight as the 27-270 Nikon. The equivalents from Panasonic and Olympus are even smaller and lighter. Olympus’ standard zooms are pretty much te same size as the 27-81 Nikon. And they now introduced the X series. I really don’t see the advantage over the competition here.

  76. You just cited favorable reviews for a good camera. I can show you the same kind of reviews for the K-5, A-55, NEX-5, Canon 7D, etc.
    I still don’t see who are those most that consider them best in class. No data.

    Yes, DSLRs outsell mirrorless cameras and I suggested why. But your original point was that “most who love *photography* still prefer DSLRs”, which is based on…? No data.

  77. There’s nothing to address here. The J1 is better than the G12 at very high ISO. It better be. And that’s exactly what’s in the article above.

  78. From my post you first replied to: “Most consider them among the best in class.” See that among there? It has meaning, don’t ignore it.

    It’s based on the fact that at all price-points, DSLRs outsell mirrorless cams. And on the fact that for general IQ, performance and lens selection, DSLRs are unbeaten. What do you base your notion to the contrary on?

  79. “Doesn’t matter if you’re using a 60mm lens on 645, or a 4mm lens on your iPhone.”
    – true

    Sorry man – love your site – but perspective distortion is due to the distance between the camera and person. Test this your self – look at yourself in the mirror from 5feet with one eye – then walk up to 1 foot from the mirror and look at yourself again with one eye – you will see the perspective difference for yourself. Your nose will look huge and your ears small. You have to close one eye because your brain fixes the distortion automatically with both eyes, but somehow doesn’t with one.

  80. No, I don’t see it. Where’s that statistic?
    I base my notion on what I’ve said above. And also on the fact that mirrorless are relatively new and expensive.

  81. “You might consider something like the D5100 or D7000 backwards and clunky. Most consider them *among* the best in class.”

    It’s right there. Among. As in one of. As in not the only one.

    You haven’t given any reason nor statistics to back-up your claim, in your last post or in the ones above. Canon and Nikon control some 75% of the interchangeable lens camera market. You do the math.

  82. My bad for the “among”.
    My claim is that your claim isn’t true.
    “most who love *photography* still prefer DSLRs”
    It is up to you to support it with relevant data, which you haven’t done. The fact that DSLRs sell better is not enough.

  83. If you are so sure Nikon suddenly don’t have a partnership with Sony for sensor production, who is manufacturing their sensors instead? Omnivision? That info seems a little bit less forward from you, and I am wondering why since you seem to know all the confidential Nikon sensor arrangements as sure as anything!

  84. People voting with their wallets would work only if everything else is equal, which it isn’t.
    – until now Canikon didn’t have a mirrorless system – that means that people needed to switch systems or buy a second body and use their lenses with MF. If they bought the next Canikon DSLR instead, does it mean that they don’t like mirrorless?
    – there are plenty of entry-level DSLRs which are actually cheaper than mirrorless cameras. If people buy them does it mean that they don’t like mirrorless?
    – in the enthusiast/pro level there isn’t any decent mirrorless body. People don’t even have an alternative.
    – etc.

  85. Nothing you said have any bearing on the fact that for the moment, for the price, DSLRs offer a better alternative for most.

  86. The 10-100mm is a power-zoom with internal zooming and focusing. Hence the size. The Pana X is a 400$ lens that’s no smaller than the mock-up of the 1 series compact zoom.

  87. The non-collapsible m43 normal zooms are hardly any smaller than the APS-C non-collapsible normal zooms. The telephotos are. And the same is true for the 1, the normal zoom is hardly any smaller, but the telephoto is.

  88. There’s nothing sudden about it. When Nikon has used sensors based on Sony designs, like the DX 12 and 16mp or the FX 24mp, they’ve naturally been fabbed by Sony. But the FX 12mp for instance was all in-house, and is probably fabbed by either Toshiba or Renasas.

  89. Why the hate?

    To quote the article, “The target is predominantly female and men have never understood this audience. Nikon have tried and the the J1 is the first Handbag Camera.”

    This is demeaning to women! Both men and women use compact cameras because they are portable and easy to handle. And the MILC and DSLR market isn’t limited to men. There are women, like myself, who want more than a point and shoot camera.

    The Nikon J1 and V1 have poor image quality and no bokeh. They are grossly overpriced; they can’t compete against comparably priced MFT or NEX cameras or against entry level DSLRs from Sony, Canon, and Nikon too.

    I am disappointed that Nikon doesn’t take mirrorless cameras or women seriously. Nikon doesn’t realize it but mirrorless cameras are the future of photography, for sensors of all sizes, because they are smaller and lighter so easier to carry around. The Sony NEX-7 can compete directly against the Nikon D7000 and the Canon 60D and win hands down. And micro four thirds has a sensor four times the size of the Nikon 1, with bodies and lenses close in size. The Nikon 1 system has nothing to offer.

  90. gl0g – if you put as much effort into shooting as you do typing, you’d be an Oscar winning director by now. Please… give it a break. Let’s move on now.

  91. Ay, videos posted on youtube are useless, when are people going to realize they should be using vimeo or offering a download to the original files?

    Anywhoo, how they’re getting their video is weird indeed. I have yet to see signs of moire or aliasing but neither there is much resolution, especially at 30p (60i seems to be better). What I THINK they’re doing, at least at 30p, is taking the 3840×2160 sampling area for video then cutting it by 4 to get a 960×540 resolution then rescaling that back up to 1080p. Taking the native video files I can find on the internet I can see looked slightly blocky, like they had been rather coarsely upscaled, so I reduced them in Photoshop to 960×540 and then resized them back up to 1080p and could see no loss of detail (they just lost their jagged look). But downsampling further, to say WVGA, and then rescaling did seem to cut down on detail in the video. So I suspect they are using QuarterHD for an internal resolution.

    Now HOW they’re getting that is beyond me, I don’t think it’s traditional subsampling or you’d be seeing moire or aliasing; they could be binning a 4×4 block (or something), I’m not sure I’ll have to run it by some people who are wise to these things. Whatever the case it does seem to involve a factor of 4 at 30p (I think 60i is running a typical interlaced scan on every other line; some fast shutter videos have me a bit confused but I think they can be explained). The burst and motion snapshot modes are much cleaner and appear to be using a complete scan. Again this is a shame since the sensor is capable of cranking out a full scan 60 times a second; hopefully a hack or higher end model can take advantage of this

  92. I very much agree with EC2 that all Canon need to do to erase the majority of potential Nikon 1 sales is to bring out the G13.

    I expect the delay might be something to do with a 2/3″ sensor for it, since it is about time the line had a proper leap rather than another very small incremental update.

    Also, the PowerShot S100 would be a better choice than the Nikon J1 for many.

    Nikon really do need to grow a pair of balls and start competing. Nobody who the J1 is aimed at cares about the speed of its image processor.

  93. Nikon has introduced a System, not just two models. making a system is like hitting the nail…it takes time and energy to go through deep of the market. they can play with price (as anyone does) and can replace the sensor with anything else anytime.. if they had the gut to inject a new category, they will have muscle to press it
    despite that, (with this kind of phase detection enabled fast sensors) a mirrorless D5100 will be a Pushing the Trigger for NEX and a mirrorless D3100 replacement will be Shot in the Head for m4/3
    as Canon is dancing with the stars in Hollywood, next decade photography race will be between Nikon and Sony

  94. Yeah, I’m wondering where you got the Sony info too.

    This new ICL camera and it’s small sensor are the perfect indication Nikon’s weakness in the market (to compete with m4/3 and the NEX). Nikon has seen the profitability of this segment of the market (small mirrorless cameras with big sensors) and were “forced” to introduce something or be left behind (Pana, Oly and Sony already have at least a two year head start). Yet since they have no ability to manufacture large sensors that the buyers in this market are after, they are stuck with this offering. I have no doubt that given their druthers, Nikon would have loved for this camera to have a m4/3 or larger sensor. But Sony’s new cash cow in the camera market is the NEX line and they aren’t going to shoot themselves in the foot by giving away that competitive advantage. Why would Sony sell sensors to a rival camera company for a product that would end up competing head to head with the NEX line?

  95. “The non-collapsible m43 normal zooms are hardly any smaller than the APS-C non-collapsible normal zooms. The telephotos are. And the same is true for the 1, the normal zoom is hardly any smaller, but the telephoto is.”

    That’s not true. The kit lens on my Canon 30D positively dwarfs the kit lens on my GF1, ad they both cover more or less the same FOV (28-85mm) and have similar apertures (f3.5-5.6). Also, when talking about size, you should also take into account the girth – Leica M mount lenses can sometimes be as long or in fact longer than the Leica R SLR equivalents (in fact many Olympus OM Zuiko SLR lenses are shorter than the Leica M lenses), but when you look at the diameter, there’s where the biggest difference lies.

    The Nikon 1 superzoom may or may not be shorter than the m4/3 equivalent, but the filter thread of 72mm is bigger than even my APS-C EOS standard zoom. The Panasonic 14-140mm is 10mm smaller than the Nikon 1 superzoom, and 5mm smaller than my APS-C EOS standard zoom.

  96. “Well. if you’ve spent years defending m43, then you’d probably understand that half the size doesn’t necessarily mean too small.”

    Well, when we’ve been told over the past 5 years that anything smaller than APS-C is too small to be taken seriously as a photographic imager, than it stands to reason that anything smaller than m4/3 must be FAR too small to be taken seriously at all.

    Basically, I see this as a divine comeuppance to the detractors of the 4/3 standard. Now that their own have thrown out such a tiny sensor, let’s see if they will continue to walk the talk they have been talking these past few years. And evidently, some have, to their credit. Hence the bitterness among even hardcore Nikonians.

  97. That remains to be seen but for now I am unconvinced of your statement. It seems to me that the trend for the next decade will be hybrid cameras and as it is Nikon is still struggling with video features on their lines. It seems to me that Canon seems better poised to spearhead the top end of the market, with Sony in the middle ground (and possibly m4/3 if they can squeeze in VFs into all their cameras). The entry level will be taken over by camerphones.

    Nikon will be reduced to a niche player at the upper mid to top end.

  98. I agree. I think a G13 with 2/3″ sensor will probably kill off 70% of the market for the Nikon 1. There’s no need for larger sensors in this market because the users have not exactly been clamouring for removable lenses, they just want better quality in the same easy to use (and easy to carry, one size fits all) package.

    What are Nikon going to do then? Probably either introduce the Nikon 2 system with APS-C, or go mirrorless in the D3200 and D5200. Which is what they should have done in the first place but didn’t have the balls to do.

  99. @Mattoid and @jbgeach

    Practically, then, the logic that larger sensors introduce lesser perspective distortion holds true even if technically sensor size has no bearing on the matter?

    Example: I shoot a talking head with an 85mm lens on an EOS 5D Mk II and stand 8 feet away. To get the same shot on the EOS 60D using the same lens I would have to stand 12 feet away – therefore the perspective changes, because I had to change my position relative to the subject to accomodate the sensor restrictions.

    To shoot a talking head at 8 feet away using the EOS 60D I would have to switch to a 50mm lens. This is fine. But perspective distortion will come into play when I have to use wider and wider lenses on the 60D to match the same FOV on the 5D – eg, to shoot equal to full frame 24mm on the 60D, I would need to use a 15mm (14mm) lens, which is almost fisheye territory. Hence, smaller sensors may not cause perspective distortion, but it will induce you to shoot in a way that there will be distortion at shorter focal lenses?

    Is that correct?

  100. @ruhayatx.

    No. You need to consider the FOV, not the focal-length. A 50mm on APS-C will have as much perspective distortion as a 75mm on FF if you want the same magnification, as you’ll be standing in the same spot to take the shot. The same goes for a 85mm vs a 135mm, a 35mm vs a 50mm or a 14mm vs a 24mm. It’s all about the FOV, and thus the distance you need to get the magnification you want. It doesn’t matter what sensor-size and thus focal-length get you that FOV.

  101. Your 30D is a DSLR, your GF1 isn’t. The 12-45mm kit zoom for 43 also dwarfs the Pana m43 kit zoom, and is in fact larger than the Canon 18-55mm. Your GF1 kit zoom is about 6x6cm. As is the NEX kit zoom.

    Again, I’m not talking about the super-zoom. The super-zoom is a powerzoom with internal focus and zooming. That’s why it’s so large and heavy. I’m talking about the 80-300mm equivalent. The Nikon 80-300mm equivalent is as large as the Panasonic kit zoom, and much smaller than any m43 80-300mm equivalent

  102. And how many who have said that m43 is too small have now said that the 1 series isn’t. Just because some DSLR users feel that m43 is too small, doesn’t mean that everybody does. Thus, even though many DSLR users have lamented the 43 sensors size, there are many more that can accept the 1 series without being hypocrites, as they never said anything. To be honest, I’ve heard very few say that the sensor is too small, at least among experienced shooters. What they say is that the sensor performance is too low. And that’s a factor of technology as much as size.

  103. You since then edited the wording in your post. I am tired of your propaganda and time wasting bullshit. One more troll move from you and you’ll be banned.

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