Released just a month after being announced at CES 2013 alongside a new lower-end sibling (the Nikon 1 S1), the new Nikon 1 J3 now takes its place as the midrange model in Nikon’s lineup of interchangeable lens compact cameras, with a list price of $599.95 (with a 10-30mm kit lens). The J3 is an update to the Nikon 1 J2, which came out only five months prior to the announcement of the J3 and S1 and had been the camera maker’s lower-end offering.
Though five months is a relatively short cycle time for updating an interchangeable lens digital camera, the J3’s predecessor was not a particularly impressive performer or popular camera, so it makes sense that Nikon would want to update it relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, not that much has changed in the new model to make it any more appealing. Externally, the J3 looks virtually identical to the J2 (which is still priced at $549.95 with the 10-30mm lens), with the exception of the mode dial, which has been moved to the top of the camera. Internally, however, the J3 now sports the same 14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor as the higher-end Nikon 1 V2 (just as the J2 includes the same sensor as the V2’s predecessor, the Nikon 1 V1).
Given that the V2 didn’t really knock our socks off when we tested it, it’s no surprise that the J3’s sensor isn’t really a stand-out in the category either.