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Nikon 1 - J1 V1 Hands on Preview Full

As most of you know Nikon came out with a whole new camera system called the Nikon 1. There are two cameras the J1 which is the less expensive model and the V1 which is the more feature packed more expensive model.

I got my chance to play with these new cameras for and hour the day they were announced while I was up in NYC. In the video you will see the new cameras, hear from the guys at Nikon, watch a 5 min portrait with the camera and than finish it off with my thoughts about who this camera is for.

Lets start off by saying this is in no way a pro camera nor is it being marketed as a pro camera. This camera is geared towards the people who really do not want to think to much about how to capture great images. This camera will do the hard lifting for you in FULL Auto. Yup, I said full auto, you have to remember that someone picking up this camera only cares about getting great pictures and video without knowing to much else. They want to see what they are shooting, point and click and capture the video or still.

This camera is packed with so many interesting new shooting modes. You can capture full 1080 video with full time autofocus and even take a still image without a pause in the video. Though there is not a dedicated dial for manual settings you can indeed fully control your shutter speed, f stops, focus points and ISO without any issue. I think in the future they may want to add the P S A M option to the more expensive V1.

This camera is fast, the auto focus is insane with 73 focus points in a hybrid focusing system. Its also fast in how it processes, it has a dual core expeed 3 processor which allows this camera to process information at a rate beyond anything else Nikon has put out.

Since the camera has been announced people have been taking shots at it for its price and for the fact that its not a new DSLR. But let me put something into perspective for you. Some of the amazing technology in this camera may one day find its way into your next pro camera. This J1 and V1 could be the testing ground for something revolutionary. Is this camera expensive, yes it is, but there is a market for something small, fast and full of amazing features.

Another thing to keep in mind is that specs really don’t mean much to an amateur. Sure they want to know what megapixel the camera is or how fast it shoots but they wont care what the crop factor is. Speaking of the crop factor it is 2.7x. That means to figure out the 35mm equivalent you multiply all lenses by 2.7x. The new Nikon 10mm 2.8 lens is like using a 27mm lens on your 35mm camera.

I asked about why such a small sensor as we know that larger sensors tend to mean better low light capability as well as better all around images. They said it came down to building an entirely new camera and finding the right size to fit the design and price points they wanted to hit. I cant argue with what they have done, sure there are other systems out there with larger sensors but Nikon clearly had an idea what direction they wanted to take in the market.

Let’s look at which model is for who. The J1 is the junior model as I have dubbed it. This is for the person who does not want a dinky point and shoot but also does not want to carry around or learn how to use a DSLR. This is also for someone who is not afraid to spend a little extra money for the features of this camera. I really can see people carrying this around with one or two extra lenses tucked away in a very small bag. For a family on the move, going to theme parks, shooting their kids playing sports this may be a good fit.

The V1 is something that I would personally want to carry around if I had extra money to toss at it. It is built stronger has a better screen and a hot shore for different accessories. There is also an electronic viewfinder which will come in handy for shooting stills and video just like you would with your digital SLR. Speaking of video there is a mic input which would allow you to hook up an external microphone to conduct interviews or capture audio from your scene. That feature is something that could come in handy if I were to want a small camera to capture interview with. I could see attaching the camera to a small tripod or gorilla pod and capturing my video and audio that way.

The V1 is more of a camera that a pro would take around for the fun of it. For the fun of trying to create and capture amazing images with what ever camera is in their hands. Thats what I like about different cameras like this. There are new features that push you to be more creative and see the world in a different way. No matter what I am shooting with I want to figure out how it works and how to get the best images possible. I don’t care that the sensor is the size it is, I am sure they did that for one reason or another. Again its not meant to compete with your DSLR but create a new model for a new market.

To wrap this up this is an ambitious undertaking by Nikon. To come out with a completely new system unlike anything else that is currently on the market. But I can’t stop thinking about how some features in this new system may end up being something that finds its way into the pro cameras. The auto focus system is just insane in this camera, its fast not only for stills and video but its mighty accurate. To see that work its way into our pro DSLRs would be just amazing. Yes this camera is as expensive as an entry level DSLR but there is a market there and only time will tell if it will be successful.

Allen’s Camera will be your place to get one of these bad boys as soon as they are released. Please call 215.547.2841 to reserve yours.

Nikon 1 J1 Full Res Sample

This sample video was taken with the 10mm 2.8 lens shooting at 1080i 60FPS.

The video looks to be very sharp, the auto focus is very very good and there is no clicking sound picked up by the microphone. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this camera.

This is a sample of the J1 shooting at 10FPS in RAW + Full Res JPEG