Digital Cameras Guide

Sneak Peek: Nikon 1 J4 Mirrorless Camera

Sneak Peek: Nikon 1 J4 Mirrorless Camera


Sneak Peek: Nikon 1 J4 and AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 VR

A Speedier Nikon 1 is On the Way

We were invited to an exclusive sneak peek of Nikon’s latest update to their Nikon 1 series - the J4 yesterday, and were quickly re-introduced to the concept of the Nikon 1 system. You see, Nikon wants you to think of the 1 series not as a line of "mirrorless cameras that behaved like DSLRs", but rather a new product segment completely; one that offers the ease of use of a compact, but with a feature set that makes key shooting situations easier and offers the option of interchangeable lenses.

The first thing to note is that the J4 is fast. It now shoots at 20 frames per second (fps) compared to 15 fps in the J3 with autofocus on every shot, and 60fps if the subject is stationary (autofocus only on the first shot). The autofocus system is also much improved as it boasts 105 phase and contrast-detect focus points surrounded by another 171 contrast-detect focus points (as opposed to 73 and 135 points respectively in the J3).

Powering all this is a new EXPEED 4A image-processing engine that allows it to support the huge amounts of data needed for features like Smart Photo Selector that processes a burst of shots to present the best outcome. 3DNR video noise reduction has also been included, and the reduced power consumption allows for better battery life, rated at 300 shots. A brand new 18.4MP CX-format CMOS sensor supports ISO sensitivity from 160 to 12,800 and Full HD 1080/60p video recording, while readout capabilities have been improved for faster auto-focusing.

Wi-Fi is built-in, so you can shoot and share images from your smartphone or tablet (the Nikon app is available for both iOS and Android for free), and the J4 features a new 'finger-friendly' user interface to go with its 3.0-inch, 1.03 million-dot capacitive touchscreen. Also worth noting, is that Nikon has gone with microSD cards as the storage of choice for the J4 - the reasoning being that this will make it easier to share images with smartphones and tablets.

Best Moment Capture is carried forward from the J3, but now includes an extra shooting mode - Active Selection to go along with Slow View and Smart Photo Selector. The new mode acts by taking a burst of 20 shots when you press down the shutter button, then letting you to choose which ones to save. This saves you from filling your memory card up unnecessarily as you only keep the best ones.

Also new for the J3, is the Auto Photo Capture function, which automatically takes photos for you while you’re recording video. The camera will take a shot at regular intervals (which you set) and retain up to 4 shots per minute, evaluating shots for focus, angle, composition and face detection by way of a rating system so that only the good shots are kept.

Three movie modes have also been brought over from the V3 - Fast Motion (which basically speeds up movies by shortening them to ¼ of their duration), 4-second Movie, which takes 4 seconds of video each time you press the shutter (i.e it stops recording after 4 seconds), and Jump Cut, which basically takes short clips at regular intervals, then combines them into one clip - which we feel is probably the most useful addition.

The J4 features a modern, minimalist look with its anodised/powder-coated aluminium body, and it will be launched in four colors - black, white, silver and orange, but only the black and white variants will be brought to Singapore. Neither price nor availability was announced, but we will be sure to update you once we get word.

Also announced, was a new AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 VR lens which is smaller than the previous 18-300mm lens unit, and features better VR capabilities as it now handles up to 4 stops. Image quality is supposed to be better than the previous model, and Nikon says it will be more affordable too, but as with the J4, pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.