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Nikon 1 J5 sensor review: Performance breakthrough

By Paul Carroll - Tuesday July 07 2015

Sensor Review
Introduction | Measurements: Nikon 1 J5 ranks alongside Sony RX100 models | Comparison 1: Nikon 1 J5 vs Nikon 1 J4 vs Nikon 1 V3: Considerable improvement | Comparison 2: Nikon 1 J5 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 vs Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III: Competitive performance | Conclusion
Nikon 1 J5 sensor review: Performance breakthrough

The Nikon 1 J5 is the latest iteration of the 1-series mirrorless J-range models aimed at what the maker calls “everyday” users. Read on to find out how well the sensor in this new model performs.

Specification and features 

As the latest iteration of Nikon’s J-series mirrorless cameras using a one-inch type BSI CMOS sensor, the Nikon 1 J5 has a much more traditional design than its predecessor. As well as the addition of Program, Manual, Aperture-Priority and Shutter-Priority modes to the main mode dial, the J5 features a secondary command dial on the top plate in addition to the control ring on the back.

The 20.8-Mpix sensor is new to this series (the J4 adopted a 18.38-Mpix model), and it has on-chip phase detection AF with 148 sensor points. In combination with the new image processor (Expeed 5A), the J5 can shoot bursts of up to 20 fps with continuous AF, and 60 fps without.

The processor is also needed for the 4K (UHD) movie clip option, though unfortunately it’s offered at just 15fps — a little slow for most uses. However, HD movies are a strong point, with clips recorded at up to 1080/60p or 120fps at 720p (both useful for slow-motion on a slower timeline). The J5 has a three-inch tilting touch-screen LCD and has a useful Wi-Fi with NFC option.

Like its predecessor, the J5 remains one of the smaller models, measuring just 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.2" (98.3 x 59.7 x 31.5 mm), and weighs 9.35 oz (265 g) with card and battery. It’s available now with the 1 Nikkor 10-30mm VR zoom at around $499.

Key specifications 

  • 20.8-Mpix CX-format BSI CMOS sensor
  • Expeed 5A image processor
  • Three-inch, 1,037k-dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • UHD 2160/15p movies and Full HD 1080/60p
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC
  • Hybrid AF with 105 phase-detection points
  • Bursts up to 60 fps, 20 fps with AF-C
  • Sensitivity to ISO 12800
  • Time lapse

Measurements: Nikon 1 J5 ranks alongside Sony RX100 models

Comparison 1: Nikon 1 J5 vs Nikon 1 J4 vs Nikon 1 V3: Considerable improvement

Comparison 2: Nikon 1 J5 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 vs Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III: Competitive performance

Conclusion