Nikon launches its first mirrorless cameras: the Nikon J1 and Nikon V1

Wednesday September 21 2011

Nikon launches its first mirrorless cameras: the Nikon J1 and Nikon V1

The long awaited and rumored mirrorless Nikon camera was finally announced today. And it’s not just one but a pair of new mirrorless compact “1 System” cameras that are coming to compete with the Sony NEX 7, the Pentax Q, the Olymps PEN EP3 or even the Fujifilm FinePix X10. These 2 first models in this new Nikon 1 series are the Nikon J1 and Nikon V1.

The complete review and test of the Nikon 1 cameras are now available.

Both J1 and V1 feature very similar specifications including: the same CX-size (13.2mm x 8.8mm) 10.1 MPixels CMOS sensors with 2.7x crop factor, 10 fps continuous shooting speed up to 60 fps with AF locked, an ISO range from 100 to 3200 (6400 Hi-1), the Nikon EXPEED 3 image processor and a hybrid autofocus that Nikon claims to be the world’s fastest. Combined with a fast electronic shutter, these cameras should offer nice shooting capabilities for sport photos in daylight. And, if you’re more into macro photography, the J1 and V1 could also be of interest with a closest focus distance of only 1cm and an extended depth of field thanks to its small sensor.

Both cameras can record full HD (1080/30p) videos and 1200fps slow-motion captures in low resolution. In terms of usability, the J1 and V1 offer a 3-inch LCD, HDMI and USB connectivity.

As for the differences, the J1 gets a built-in flash where the V1 was given a "multi-accessory port" which supports an external flash. The V1 also shows its willingness to please the enthusiast photographers and video with its high-resolution electronic viewfinder and its mechanical shutter, a stereo microphone input and a magnesium alloy chassis.

If we look at the lenses, Nikon introduced a brand new range, using a completely new mount called the “1”. The first lenses launched with the J1 and V1 offer a wide range of focal points starting with the standard 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (27-81mm 35mm equivalent). Nikon also proposes 2 zoom lenses with the 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens (81-297mm equivalent) and the 1 NIKKOR VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 (27-270mm equivalent), which range looks better suited for capturing videos. Nikon also offers a prime 1 NIKKOR 10mm f/2.8 (27mm equivalent). If you already own legacy Nikkor lenses, Nikon should launch a FT-1 F-mount adaptor at a later stage.

So, Nikon finally jumped into the mirrorless camera market with these J1 and V1 models. And, as we could expect, they did it with a quite innovative approach: they made all the design tradeoffs to create a new reference in term of size for a camera with interchangeable lenses. Nikon reached such a small form-factor thanks to the new CX-size (13.2mm x 8.8mm) sensor. Of course, it only offers 10.1 MPixels resolution compared to the 24 MPixels APS-C sensor of one of its competitor, the Sony NEX 7. But, if this sensor performs well, the Nikon J1 and the Nikon V1 could definitely be the new must-have cameras if you want a really small camera with most of the advantages of a dSLR. We should have this answer very soon, as we should be able to test it very soon.

To know more about the Nikon 1 cameras, feel free to read the complete review.