With a continuous shooting rate of up to 20 FPS with AF, the J4 is a definitely a speedy camera, and this starts from the fact that it has more autofocus areas than ever - 171 focus points for contrast-detect AF, and 105 focus points for phase-detect AF. Pair that with the 20 frames per second continuous shooting speed, and you have a great camera to take with you into the thick of the action. We tried this with a running dog and several passing cars, and having that extra few frames per second definitely increases your chances of getting a shot when your subject is continuously moving.
We never had any issues with focusing, even at low light. Instead, the issue we found was smudging of details at higher ISOs, which we feel it has to do with an overly aggressive take on noise reduction by the image processing engine. That’s a real pity, because the J4 has actually been designed without an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) sensor, which means you should actually see more detail in your images. (OLPFs help to reduce the effects of moire and false color in images by blocking out the high frequency image information, decreasing image sharpness slightly.) The other thing we did notice, was that the images tend to have a bit of a cyan cast, made more obvious when you compare it to images taken by the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 and the Samsung NX Mini like we do in the July issue of HWM.
Below are sample photographs shot with the Nikon 1 J4. The photos have not been post-processed and are copyright to SPH Magazines. They are provided for your reference only and we ask that you do not reproduce them elsewhere. Click for the full-resolution images.
Overall, the Nikon 1 J4 is a capable performer that offers you quality images (at ISO settings below 3200) in a compact package. It handles well, and the inclusion of a touchscreen has made it a lot easier to get through the menus so experienced users who want more control will feel right at home.
If you’re looking for pure speed, then the J4’s continuous burst rate of 20 frames per second (with autofocus) and 60 frames per second (autofocus only on the first shot) can’t be beat. Combine that with the Nikon FT-1 mount adapter (an additional S$339 purchase) for full access to the entire range of Nikon lenses, and you have an exceptional camera for sports at S$749 (with 10-30mm PD f/4.5-5.6 kit lens) .
However, if you find yourself shooting in low light situations a lot, and you’re starting without any Nikon lenses, you may want to consider the cheaper Samsung NX Mini (which has kits from S$549), or the smaller but pricier Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1, which retails for S$999 (with 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens).