Last month we tested Nikon’s new ILCC, the V1. Whilst the V1 did produce good results, we were a little disappointed as far as the design and the higher price of the camera was concerned.
The J1 is the cheaper version of the V1. Unlike the V1, the J1 comes with a built-in flash. However, since there is no provision for a hot shoe, attaching an external flash gun or achieving wireless flash is not possible. Also, the J1 does not have an electronic viewfinder and you are limited to a 460,000 dots LCD for the purpose of viewing. Unlike the V1, the J1 has no mechanical shutter. In all other respects, the J1 is similar to the V1 camera.
Design and Build Quality
On its own, the J1 is prettier than its more expensive sibling, the V1. This is because there is no protrusion from the electronic viewfinder. The black finish of the body under review is of a very high standard and also visually appealing. The camera is built in China by Nikon. The body is smaller and slimmer than the V1 and weighs 277 gms with the battery.
All the features of the V1 described in SP’s December 2011 issue are valid for the J1. The J1, along with the V1, is Nikon’s fastest camera to-date and can shoot full high definition video at 30 frames per second and super slow motion video at 400 frames per second. The camera’s EXPEED processor can shoot at a speed of 10 frames per second with continuous autofocus. The maximum burst speed of the J1 is a staggering 60 frames per second at full resolution. Like the V1, the autofocus of the J1 is quick and accurate. This is due to the use of a hybrid autofocus system. Nikon’s compact retractable lenses couple up nicely with the J1, and both bodies as well as lenses are available in five colours.
The J1 does not have a viewfinder and therefore no dioptre control; there is no depth of field preview, no PC socket or cable release either.
A little slippery to hold because of its smooth finish. All the other points mentioned in our review of the V1 are valid here as well.
On our test bench, the results that we obtained from the J1 were broadly similar to those that we obtained from its more expensive sibling, the Nikon 1 V1. Both focussing and metering left very little room for complaint. Sharpness was good except for some softness at the edges at all focal lengths. The 10-30mm lens that we used for the test showed some barrel distortion upto 23mm with a wide open aperture. Some flare and chromatic aberration was also noticed in strong against-the-light shots. The good record of the J1 extends to noise control and at 100 percent screen size, noise was unacceptable only above ISO 1600. Overall, the J1 produced good results, superior to those obtained from compacts without being exceptional.
Value For Money
The pricing in the UK of the J1 along with the 10-30mm lens is around Stg.Pds.400 i.e. Rs.32,000. At this price, the J1 is a little expensive compared to the competition. An India price is still to be announced.
+ Fast autofocus
+ Great burst speed
+ Good finish
– No viewfinder
– Absence of fast lenses
– Exposure mode can be changed only through the menu
Design and Build Quality 16/20
Key Features 16.5/20
Noise Control 4/5
Value for Money 7/10
Grand Total 79/100
Nikon has clearly aimed the J1 at the compact camera user. Anyone using a compact camera will certainly get better results with the J1. The camera, however, can not compete with other high end ILCCs or budget D-SLRs.
H. S. Billimoria