In the crowded mirrorless camera market, Nikon has taken its rightful place. The Japanese did not want to follow the path of copying popular formats, and created their own mirrorless system from scratch. A relatively small 1-inch sensor is installed here, there are new NIKKOR 1 lenses and a bayonet mount called Nikon 1. The Nikon 1 J2 stands out from all its competitors with an incredibly powerful processor.
** Main competitors in the price segment ** - Olympus E-PL3, Olympus E-PM1, Sony NEX-5, Sony NEX-3.
The new EXPEED 3 processor and image sensor make the Nikon 1 line of cameras the fastest in the world. They use a hybrid autofocus system that can be switched between 135-point contrast AF and 73-point phase detection AF. The powerful processor allows you to shoot videos in Full HD resolution at a frame rate of 60 frames / second and take 60 photos in one second (at maximum resolution)! And just recently a new mirrorless camera of this line was announced, to which this review is devoted - J2.
Construction and design
A mirrorless camera should be compact, because for those who do not care about dimensions it is easier to buy a semi-professional SLR camera, the price will be comparable. That is why Nikon initially decided to build its lineup for reasons of compactness, not just shooting and working speed.
Nikon 1 J2 can be called one of the lightest and smallest system cameras, the small size emphasizes the minimalist design. There are no inserts or protrusions, the design is not disturbed in any way. J2 is straight end lines, solid color, flash hidden in the body and symmetrical rounding on the sides.
The body of the camera is a metal with a glossy finish, unlike its predecessor, which was made entirely of plastic. A very nice upgrade, isn't it? Due to this solution, the mass has slightly increased, but this is an adequate price for the greater reliability of the case.
In addition to the well-known Nikon J1 colors, orange and dark red were added to the new product, just the first version was tested. I would like to say that there are very few orange cameras on sale, so lovers of originality are strongly advised to look for them. Plus, orange isn't pink, so it's not just for women.
Dimensions Nikon 1 J2 - 106x61x29.8 mm (only "carcass", without a lens), weight is 280 grams. It is truly one of the smallest and most comfortable mirrorless cameras on the market. Thanks to the small lens mount, Nikon J2 lenses will also not look oversized (as is the case with large format APS-C mirrorless system cameras). Together with the camera, Nikon presented a new lens with a focal length in the range of 11-27.5 mm (compared to its predecessor, it turned out to be even more compact). Equivalently, the focal length will be 30-75 mm.
There are not so many functional elements of the monitored novelty. The mini-HDMI and mini-USB interfaces are hidden under the plastic flap, on top there is a speaker, a compartment for a flash, a power activation button with a status indicator, a button for fast video recording and a shutter release. Below is a compartment for a memory card and battery, as well as a thread for mounting a tripod.
But the on-screen panel is simply replete with controls. There is a large LCD-display (by the way, with a doubling resolution - 921 thousand points against 460 thousand in J1), a shortcut menu key, a flash lever, an operating mode selector, a multifunctional "rocker", a five-position joystick with a wheel around the perimeter and four functional keys.
Control system and graphical interface
At first it seems like the Nikon 1 J2's controls are mishandled, but in reality it just takes some getting used to. For example, you will probably find it strange that in the menu with scene modes, manual ones are taken out, so you won't be able to get to them quickly. However, think about how often you will use manual mode in a mirrorless camera of this class? You practically do not have to turn to it, the machine works equally well both in insufficient lighting conditions and in sunlight.
Nikon 1 J2 is capable of photographing even in the dark. Despite the rather small matrix, you will not notice a lack of light sensitivity. Of course, in very difficult conditions, it is recommended to turn on the manual mode and manually adjust the aperture, ISO, but in practice this is rarely required.
Many potential buyers will be pleased with the available creative modes, of which there are seven of them. These include: Miniature Effect, Anti-Aliasing Filter, Backlighting, Selective Color.
Hidden in Creative modes is the Panoramic Shooting mode, which prompts the user to create a horizontal wide-angle shot by simply moving the camera from left to right. After completing the process, the camera automatically glues the frames into a single image.
But back to the control system. The "F" button is located above the screen and is used to call various menus: in the "motion capture" mode, you are asked to select a soundtrack for the video; in the “video recording” mode, shooting of a regular or slow-motion video is selected; creative mode opens a menu with different scenes.
In manual mode, the exposure setting fits perfectly with the combination of the rocker button and the wheel, and to adjust the white balance and change the photosensitivity, you need to dive into the menu. But, as mentioned a little earlier, the automatic mode is well implemented in Nikon 1 J2, you will not need to perform such manipulations frequently.
The interface itself has a fairly simple design (minimum of graphic elements), it will delight the user with the quality of the translation, a logical navigation system and large fonts.
As stated at the beginning of this review, the Nikon 1 J2 is built around the new Nikon CX sensor and EXPEED 3 processor, which together make the Nikon 1 the fastest camera in the world. In addition to hybrid autofocus and photo shooting at 60 frames per second, I would like to note the quality of video recording. In this compact model, it is great and is on par with large flagship DSLRs and mirrorless systems. Format - Full HD 1080p 60i. In addition, the camera allows you to take pictures of the maximum resolution directly during video recording.
By the way, the active D-Lightning function is available - highlighting dark areas in especially contrasting conditions. She is familiar from Nikon's low-end DSLRs.
There are also unique features. The first is “Smart Photo Selection”. 20 frames are shot at maximum resolution, after which the camera selects the most worthy shot. The user is invited to view the five best shots from the camera's point of view (based on composition, focus and facial expressions) and change the selection according to their preferences. This mode is very useful for dynamic situations, children or animals.
The second function is Motion Snapshot. Combine a photo with a couple of seconds of slow motion video. There are 5 “Motion Snapshot” options available, differing in the music overlaid on the recorded scene. To view these images on a computer, you need special software that comes with the camera.
By the way, the high burst speed and video framing rate made it possible to implement one interesting feature: slow motion video shooting.The camera can record 5-second videos at 1200 frames / second at a resolution of 320x120 pixels and 400 frames / second at 640x240.
As mentioned earlier, a special mount has been developed for the Nikon 1, which has received the same name "1". The park of optics is large enough, there is a telephoto lens, a prime lens with a high aperture, and typical zoom lenses "NIKKOR VR 11-27.5 mm f / 3.5-5.6" and "1 VR 10-30 mm f / 3 , 5-5.6 ". According to the test results, the penultimate lens has a standard aperture ratio, a convenient focal length range and an affordable price.
There were no questions about the accuracy and speed of autofocus. It is very unusual to observe high detail and wide dynamic range in a relatively small matrix. As it turns out, the Nikon 1 J2 is a revolutionary model.
Nikon has relied on the fastest shooting and operating speeds, and a stylish and compact design. As you can see, the manufacturer guessed the wishes of potential buyers. The Nikon 1 system stands out from the competition with its excellent automatic mode (its use minimizes the need for manual manipulations) and really outstanding speed. For Nikon 1, the optics park is being systematically updated, the compact 11-27.5 mm zoom lens is bound to please the fact that it practically does not increase the dimensions of the device.
If we talk not about the system, but about the camera itself, then, first of all, I would like to note the stylish design, the high-quality metal body and the choice of unusual colors functions (such as motion capture and time-lapse movies) and creative scenes. In general, lovers of stylish and functional solutions should like this camera. The update of the firstborn turned out to be very successful.