Were we surprised with Nikon's announcement of their new Nikon 1 mirrorless cameras? Not exactly. Nonetheless, the Japanese company's first foray into the mirrorless interchangeable lens segment (or as Nikon wants to call theirs; the "advanced interchangeable lens camera system") is big news, especially given its strong portfolio of DSLRs and extensive library of NIKKOR lenses. Did one of the big 2 camera makers in the world disappoint or meet expectations? We let you decide.
The two new cameras, the V1 and the J1, are very similar; the V1 is more flexible in terms of customization. For starters, the two cameras come with Nikon's new CX-format 13.2mm x 8.8mm CMOS sensors (with a 2.7x crop factor), and the latest EXPEED 3 image processing engine. They are also equipped with a new hybrid autofocus system combining phase detection AF and contrast-detect capabilities; both Nikon 1 cameras have 73 focus points. They offer a speedy continuous shooting rate of 60fps, and 10fps with AF tracking.
Nikon is also launching four new 1 mount NIKKOR lenses; a VR 10-30MM F/3.5-5.6, a VR 30-110MM F/3.8-5.6, a 10MM F/2.8 pancake lens and 1VR 10-100M F/4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM. Remember that the 1 mount cameras have a 2.7x crop factor, so the 10mm pancake lens effectively becomes like a 27mm lens. To utilize your existing library of F-mount NIKKOR lenses, the new and separately-sold FT1 mount adapter will allow you to affix your F-mount lenses to the 1 cameras. As of now, 70 F-mount NIKKOR lenses have been tested to work properly with the new Nikon 1 cameras; Nikon promises that this list will be continually updated with information readily available on their official websites.
Both the J1 and V1 will be packaged with software that allows users to snap stills and record videos easily. The Motion Snapshot function is enabled by pressing the shutter-release button; the mode will allow users to record a still image and about a second of movie footage (movies recorded in this mode are played back in slow motion). The Smart Photo Selector mode allows users to save up to 20 images in the buffer memory each time the shutter-release button is pressed; the cameras will intelligently choose the single best shot based on movement and composition, as well as four other candidate images and save them to the memory card.
This video from Nikon highlights everything you need to know about the new Nikon 1 cameras.
Our initial experiences with the cameras were too short for us to come to any concrete conclusions, but briefly; we found that the GUI was easy to navigate but a tad tedious to use, going up and down long lists of options.
The small mode wheel on the back for both cameras lack the Manual, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority and Program Auto modes that are usually found on both enthusiast cameras and DSLRs. It's not that they're not there, instead you have to access them by going through the interface menu, which feels too many steps away. It's a rather confusing decision to make on an enthusiast camera, since there seems to be plenty of space left on the mode wheel to have M, A and S modes on them.
Once you are in M, A or S modes, the toggle switch you see on the top of the back plate then takes over shutter speed control, and the scroll wheel around the d-pad takes over aperture control.
Local prices have yet to be announced for both Nikon 1 cameras and related products but from what we have gathered online from various sources with overseas pricing (1, 2), we estimate that the the J1 and V1 to be going for:
|Nikon 1 J1 10-30mm Kit||€638 (est. S$1106)|
|Nikon 1 J1 10mm Kit||€696 (est. S$1207)|
|Nikon 1 J1 10-30mm & 30-110mm Twin Kit||€812 (est. S$1407)|
|Nikon 1 J1 10-30mm & 30-110mm Pink Special Kit||€870 (est. S$1508)|
|Nikon 1 V1 10-30mm Kit||€962 (est. S$1668)|
|Nikon 1 V1 10mm Kit||€1020 (est. S$1767)|
|Nikon 1 V1 10-30mm & 30-110mm Twin Kit||€1136 (est. S$1970)|
They're not coming cheap. Sales of the two Nikon 1 cameras are slated to commerce in late October. Both cameras will be introduced with the standard zoom lenses; other accessories will be introduced later.