Nikon 1 S1 review: A new product line for the Nikon Hybrid system

By Paul Carroll - Wednesday February 20 2013

Sensor Review
Introduction | Nikon 1 S1 sensor performance | Nikon 1 S1 versus competition | Conclusion

The Nikon 1 S1 does have a few things going for it most notably the rapid 15fps burst shooting, advanced hybrid autofocus system and, for Nikkor glass owners, compatibility with F mount lenses. The 1-inch CX sensor also means the native 1 Nikkor lenses should be more compact than many Hybrid systems which is great if you want to travel light.   

In the DxOMark Scores however the Nikon 1 Series does not hit the usual heights for Nikon cameras and the S1’s Image Quality is disappointing. With no Image Quality improvement over existing 10-megapixel Nikon 1 Series Hybrids the extra $100 the S1 costs is only buying extra features.

The S1’s image quality isn’t better than their 14Mp J3 or V2 offerings either. Yes it wins marginally in the Portrait Score because of its greater ISO latitude but the difference isn’t significant. What’s more if low light performance is important a larger Micro Four Thirds or APS-C sensor wins every time and further analysis of the S1 competition like the Nikon 1 S1 vs. Olympus EPL5 vs. Canon EOS M and Nikon 1 S1 vs. Sony NEX 6 vs. Pentax K01 makes interesting reading.

The Nikon 1 S1 therefore is a little expensive considering its Image Quality. If it’s the extra features you desire go for it but if you’re after good image quality on a Hybrid there are better options and if you simply want a tiny Nikon 1 camera to stick your Nikkor glass on and have a play then the older, cheaper V1 and J1 versions produce the same images.