Nikon has officially launched its Nikon 1 camera system. It was revealed during a gala in Australia and the official news came to us via email shortly after. We’ve reported on the rumors for a while, but the real thing has finally appeared in all its glory. Nikon 1 is a micro-camera that uses a 10.1 megapixel 13.2×8.88mm CMOS sensor and a Nikon 1 mount (yes, it’s new). It can capture 1080p movies AND photos at the same time, without any interruption whatsoever according to Nikon.Nikon has worked a lot on the camcorder aspect of the Nikon 1: it can shoot movies at 1200fps (320×120 pixels) which you can use for uber-slow motion effects. That speed also translate somewhat to the still photo world: the Nikon 1 can shoot photos at 10fps.
The camera family has several models. First, the Nikon J1, which is the more “affordable” model, starting at $650 with a kit lens. The Nikon V1 is the high-end version and costs $900, also with a kit lens. In absolute terms, those cameras are priced competitively, or at least it’s not shockingly expensive at first sight.
As you can guess, the J1 has been designed for the photography enthusiast that want to be able to capture the moment by using the camera like a very fancy point and shoot. That’s why Nikon has worked hard on the autofocus and low-light (ISO 100-6400) capabilities for both Nikon 1 cameras.
The V1 is a slightly different beast. It comes with flash shoe (for GPS as well) and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder that semi-pros and professionals like very much. By the way, the electronic viewfinder has an “eye-sensor” that detects if you’re looking into it. The cameras also have different sizes and weight: 113x76x43.5mm, 294g for the V1 and 106x61x29.8mm, 234g for the J1.
The V1 has a mechanical shutter in addition to the electronic one and a higher resolution display than the J1 (921k vs. 460k pixels). It also has a higher capacity battery which can take about 40% more shots before being depleted.
Let’s not forget about the 1 Nikkor lenses: So far, there are 4 lenses that use the new mount, and I love the fact that there is a pancake 10mm f2.8 that is affordable. Actually, the lens pricing is extremely competitive for that micro-camera market:
VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6
VR 10-110mm f/3.8-5.6 ($250)
VR 10mm f/2.8 ($250)
VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-Zoom ($750)
The Nikon 1 is very well designed and on paper it looks very interesting, although maybe not as “awesome” as some already describe it. The sheer resolution is not impressive, although to be honest, I stopped caring about megapixel a while back. Now, we need to see how good it is in the real world, and I expect the image quality to live up to the Nikon name. The arrival of Nikon in this space is a great thing because it will keep everyone on their toes, and it may even push prices down quicker.
Obviously, DSLR users will be quick to point out that one can get a nice DSLR for that price, however, the point of micro-cameras are their ratio between size and image quality. I have both, and in my view, they are really two different tools.