Nikon 1 J1 Evaluate (video)
So, Nikon finally has a mirrorless digital camera, after what was quite possibly essentially the most dramatic launch occasion the company has ever conducted. Certain, competing models from Panasonic, Olympus and Sony have already reached the second, or even third generation earlier than Nikon lifted the veil on its J1, however did last month’s lengthy-awaited announcement deliver us the ILC to rule all ILCs? Effectively, no, not at all. Nikon isn’t focusing on pros or even superior amateur shooters with its newest addition to the interchangeable lens camera family. As an alternative, the corporate is advertising its J1 to soccer moms (and dads), vogue-conscious young folks, and informal shooters who want a number of the versatility of a DSLR, however are keen to sacrifice glorious picture high quality for a more compact design. But what about the rest of us? Will Nikon one day reward our endurance with a real class competitor? Perhaps, but that is undoubtedly not what we have now here. Nikon built the $650 J1 “from the ground up” — a reference to its 10.1 megapixel, CX-dimension sensor with a 2.7x crop issue, along with a handful of quirky options that we most likely won’t use, however that a few of you (or perhaps your members of the family) may love. Soar previous the break to see what we actually appreciated in regards to the digital camera, and what left us moderately unimpressed. The J1 is cute. Like, fluffy white kitten cute. It brightens your day simply by hanging round and being fun to play with, but you most likely will not be impressed when it comes time to seize some severe photographs (like making an attempt to get that tiny kitty to snatch up a household of mice). The rounded edges, well-disguised parts and total clear end make it clear that Nikon designers put numerous care into this digital camera’s bodily look. It’s just as a lot a fashion accessory as it’s a relatively capable imaging device, and, depending on which color you choose, it’s likely to make fairly a statement. There is no flip-up LCD, as there may be on Sony’s NEX collection, so you may be spending lots of time holding the digicam at eye level. Happily, the 460k-dot, three-inch LCD has a good viewing angle, which can are available in useful if capturing from under or above is an absolute should. The display occupies most of the two-tone plastic J1’s rear, and is complemented by a healthy selection of dedicated controls. A mode dial enables you to change between Movement Snapshot, Sensible Picture Selector, film and nonetheless image modes (the latter of which allows exposure mode selections just like the default Scene Auto Selector, programmed auto, shutter- and aperture-precedence, along with the ever-so-critical manual). You will find a playback zoom rocker above the main dial, which also doubles as the shutter velocity control in manual mode. To the left is a perform button, which serves a wide range of purposes relying on your mode — exactly what it controls is outlined with a textual content overlay once you swap to a special mode. Additional down is a show button, playback button, a five-position wheel with devoted self-timer, flash, publicity compensation and auto publicity/focus lock controls, along with an Okay selector in the middle. There are menu and trash can buttons at the underside, and a bodily flash slider, which releases the tiny (and reasonably bizarre looking) flash arm. On the colored prime panel, a energy button, a shutter release and a movie document button sit all to the correct of the retractable flash. The video record button solely works when the mode dial is about to video, so that you cannot merely press it to start recording in any mode. Some customers could discover the document button’s positioning to be a bit awkward — it’s at the top right nook, the place you’d usually discover a power button or shutter launch. Up front there is a lens launch button, which helps you to swap out the included 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 package lens for any of three other suitable 1-collection optics, including a 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 ($250), 10mm f/2.8 “pancake” lens ($250), or a 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6, which could be our lens of alternative if it price, say, a third of its $750 MSRP. Oh, and don’t be fooled by these focal lengths — Nikon opted to avoid together with the CX sensor’s 2.7x multiplication issue, making that final lens comparable to a different manufacturer’s 27-270mm, for example. The digicam itself is constructed nearly entirely of plastic, however it nonetheless feels fairly sturdy. You probably won’t wish to drop it on the street or perhaps a soccer discipline, as you may have managed to do with one among Nikon’s professional-stage DSLRs, however we don’t see it falling apart or even chipping with heavy use. We tossed the camera in the principle compartment of a messenger bag (with the tiny lens cap hooked up, of course), and did not discover any markings. The J1 is small and mild enough to put on comfortably around your neck, but we opted to keep it out of sight more often than not, if only to keep away from the bright white finish attracting awkward stares. We actually weren’t blown away by the J1’s efficiency. That $650 price tag could suggest glorious, at all times constant capturing, but that just wasn’t the case. As a substitute, we found a digital camera that did fairly well when taking pictures underneath a brilliant sun, but usually had bother selecting the right white balance, exposing and focusing in dim light. Nikon designed this digicam for less advanced photographers — those making the leap from point-and-shoots to ILCs — so we left many of the settings untouched throughout our check interval (after disabling the annoying and unnecessary beep), contemplating many future J1 owners will probably keep on with minor adjustments, staying away from issues like guide white steadiness and publicity compensation. We had been, nonetheless, impressed with the J1’s skill to seize sharp, clean and vibrant video — a few of the time. We shot evening scenes, a difficult pyrotechnics/fireworks display, and in vivid sunlight. Sadly, as you’ll see within the clip beneath, some conditions presented a challenge for the digicam when it came to focusing and publicity, not to mention the bizarre flickering that we occasionally experienced, regardless of shutter speed (we reached out to Nikon regarding this difficulty and are awaiting comment). Update: The flickering problem that we experienced was because of our failure to adjust the flicker reduction settings after arriving in Japan. Click right here for extra element, and an up to date pattern video. Surprisingly, the digicam affords full manual control whereas taking pictures video, letting you alter the aperture, shutter velocity — even the ISO sensitivity — before capturing each HD and gradual motion videos. Guide management will be difficult when capturing video if you pan between scenes with varying brightness in a single clip, however aperture precedence is an choice as nicely, and the J1 can compensate by adjusting ISO on this mode. The digital camera can even seize high-res stills whereas capturing video. However you’re restricted to 15 stills per video clip (you can reset the counter however stopping and resuming your recording), and the pictures you snap in video mode will be captured in 16:9 format. There’s also a pair of front-mounted mics for stereo audio capture. Maybe our favourite J1 feature is its silent taking pictures. Because the digicam lacks a mechanical shutter (unlike its V1 sibling), you can snap photos undetected, just as you’re capable of do with a point and shoot. This certainly is available in handy for photographers who desire a little bit of discretion with a purpose to keep away from attracting the eye of their topics. From our expertise, again, you’re going to need to go for a more traditional body color — our sample’s white finish made the digicam stand out much more than an audible shutter ever could. The electronic shutter additionally permits the digital camera to capture a picture precisely at the same second that you simply press the shutter release. The mechanical shutter in conventional ILCs ends in a slight, however noticeable delay, that the J1 has managed to get rid of. It’s actually safe to conclude that the J1 pictures well. That is to say, it made a mighty fine subject when posing before the lens of our NEX-C3. But we’re more involved with what happens when these cameras change roles. Sadly, most of the photos we shot appeared like they got here from a Nikon level-and-shoot — even perhaps a dear superzoom — not a mid-range interchangeable lens camera. The digital camera provides a native ISO vary of 100-3200 with a “Hi 1” ISO 6400 possibility. Unfortunately, noise was seen not only at ISO 3200, however even creeped in at 100 as effectively. That said, it is necessary to put the digicam into perspective. The person base Nikon is going after right here with its J1 could not have any qualms with picture high quality — pics won’t appear like they came from a excessive-end DSLR, but J1 owners will generally be capable to shoot the images they’re aiming to capture, albeit at a barely lesser quality than some competing models. We were generally unimpressed with the J1’s performance, however it is robust to argue that designers did not put significant thought into Nikon’s new ILCs. There are 4 foremost capturing modes, all controlled utilizing a devoted dial on the rear. You’ll possible spend nearly all of your time capturing in the acquainted still picture mode, marked by a inexperienced camera icon. From there you can choose between five exposure modes, together with Scene Auto Selector, programmed auto, shutter-precedence, aperture-priority and manual. There’s a Raw possibility when capturing in still photograph mode as well. Nothing too fancy. Once you flip that essential mode dial, nevertheless, issues get pretty attention-grabbing. There is a wavy icon representing Movement Snapshot mode. This function helps you to seize one-second silent clips to pair with each image, along with an audio theme (Beauty, Waves, Relaxation and Tenderness). Then it presents the video with a 16:9 nonetheless, captured concurrently. If you go to view your photograph, that video clip performs in sluggish movement (one second turns into two), together with the audio theme you chose before you hit the shutter release. Stills and vids seem collectively when played back on the digital camera, however are captured as two separate information (one .MOV and one .JPG) with the identical title — so they’re simple to seek out when searching your SD card from a computer. Subsequent up is Good Photo Selector. As its identify implies, this mode permits the digicam to snap a handful of consecutive images of your subject, then establish the body that’s not solely sharpest, however that additionally gives the very best composition. Due to the camera’s silent digital shutter, you won’t need to deal with a rapid-fire shutter sound both. This function is particularly useful for capturing in low light, or when you’ve got a transferring topic. Nonetheless, we most popular to make use of the extra familiar guide or aperture-priority shooting modes, which gives the highest stage of management for advanced shooters. We’ve already supplied an outline of the HD video seize choices, which embody 1080/30p, 1080/60i and 720/60p with H.264 compression. The J1 gives a few unique gradual movement modes as nicely, though, including a bizarrely wide 8:Three (assume 16:6, not 16:9) slow motion mode that snaps up to 5 seconds of 640 x 240-pixel video at 400 fps, played back at 29.Ninety seven fps. And if you don’t thoughts tiny video clips, you can bump that video seize pace all the best way up to a whopping 1,200 fps at 320 x 120-pixel res. You may shoot for up to 5 seconds in that mode as effectively, which can web you a whopping three minutes and 20 seconds of footage. It isn’t pretty, however it gets the job accomplished. Nikon fully redesigned its person interface for its 1 cameras, making it intuitive sufficient for newbies to navigate without digging via a handbook. The menu is divided into choices for playback, seize, and system settings. You will only see options related to the current shooting mode — you cannot adjust still picture decision while in video mode, for instance. Positive, it is not preferrred for changing a handful of settings at once, since you may need to jump between modes, but it certainly helps to keep things easy. As we talked about earlier, there are quite a lot of devoted buttons, so you’ll really solely want to leap into the primary menu to make high-stage changes. If you’re a diehard Nikon fan who absolutely will not consider a camera from another producer, you then may want to leap previous this section. Nonetheless, more affordable customers will certainly wish to read on. If the J1 had made it to market two or three years in the past, we’d have mentioned, palms-down, that is the camera you should personal. Fortuitously, we now have a selection of fantastic options — maybe none as sleek as the J1, but we would not go as far as to name any of the competing fashions ugly. If picture high quality is extra necessary than looks, superior photographers will in all probability need to look elsewhere. 650 is so much to spend on any camera, and when you think about that Sony’s NEX-C3 is selling for the exact same price (and is out there now), that has been, and still stays, our first alternative. The C3 excels in nearly each area — pro-stage control, shade and publicity accuracy, and overall image quality — although the J1 does offer a few unique and intelligent features, including gradual-motion shooting and Movement Snapshot, along with that silent shutter. So does that make this digicam an in depth second? Sadly, not by a long shot. That title would go to the Olympus E-P3, which presents class-leading focus speeds and consistent performance. Nikon’s new ILC is more class aggressive with, say, the novice-pleasant Panasonic GF-three or Pentax’s Q (although we haven’t yet had a chance to completely check the latter). We actually needed to just like the Nikon J1 — we have certainly waited long enough for it. So can you blame us for building up some nice expectations? Sadly, this is not the digicam we have been hoping for. From a variety of colorful physique choices to the cutesy marketing video enjoying at in-retailer shows, it’s clear that the corporate is aiming to make the mirrorless category more mainstream, while maybe overlooking the desires and desires of its loyal professional and superior novice customer base. That mentioned, we will still see the J1 being a giant hit, and would even consider recommending it to a couple choose mates and relations, if it weren’t for that $650 worth tag. This camera would be a more affordable option at, say, $499 — especially if Nikon opted to throw in two lenses — but until that happens, it’s tough to counsel the J1 as a high decide even for novices. For now, we’re just going to have to simply accept that the Nikon ILC of our desires has but to arrive, as we hold on to our credit playing cards and carry on ready. Replace: We previously experienced a mysterious flickering concern whereas recording video. Nikon urged that we might not have changed the flicker reduction settings earlier than testing the digicam in Japan. Whereas the United States makes use of 60Hz current, Japan and many other international locations in Asia and Europe use 50Hz present, and an adjustment is commonly needed to compensate for this difference, which is especially obvious with fluorescent lighting. We have added an up to date video clip beneath, and apologize for the oversight. This challenge was not factored into our assessment, nonetheless, so no additional modifications are needed. All products really useful by Engadget are selected by our editorial workforce, unbiased of our mum or dad firm. Some of our tales embrace affiliate links. If you buy one thing by way of one of these links, we could earn an affiliate fee.