On Wednesday September 21, 2011 at the stroke of midnight New York Time, Nikon fulfilled their promise made months ago for an ILC (interchangeable lens camera). However, the promise was fulfilled with not one, but two new "Advanced" ILCs. The Nikon J1 and V1 cameras (new Nikon 1 series):
|Nikon J1 with CX sensor and "1" Nikkor 30–110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR Lens|
|Nikon V1 with CX sensor and "1" Nikkor 10–30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR Lens|
The Nikon J1 and V1 have a new 10-megapixel CMOS sensor size called CX, which measures 13.2mm x 8.8mm. This new sensor is smaller than the DX and FX sensor sizes found in Nikon's DSLR camera line, but significantly larger than the COOLPIX point-and-shoot cameras. Here is a size comparison of the various sensor sizes. (Graphic created by Nikonians.org Chief Editor Tom Boné):
|CX CMOS sensor: 13.2 x 8.8 mm in size and new Nikon 1 lens mount|
Supports Nikkor F-Mount Lenses
Nikon is providing an adapter called the FT1 Mount Adapter that allows you to use your favorite F-mount Nikkor lenses on the new cameras. Evidently, the adapter allows using both newer and older F-Mount lenses on the new J1 and V1 cameras. Here is Nikon's words on the matter: "When the F-mount adapter is mounted on a camera, F-mount interchangeable NIKKOR lenses, manufactured by Nikon for more than half a century, can be used with the Nikon1 J1 and V1."
Basic Camera Information
The list price of the cameras will be as follows:
There will be a dual-lens kit available at additional cost. Shipping date estimated as October 2011.
The camera has a new EXPEED 3 image-processing engine for increased performance and speed.
The autofocus is based on a hybrid system using both focal plane phase detection and contrast detection AF. According to Nikon's research the cameras have the "world's fastest autofocusing" among ILC cameras, as of September 21, 2011. That's a bold statement! When the camera detects movement it uses phase-detection AF for faster focusing and subject tracking. For non-moving and low-light subjects the camera uses the slower but highly accurate contrast-detect AF.
The camera has a 10 frames per second image shooting rate when using subject tracking. Amazingly, when not using subject tracking, the camera increases its continuous high-speed frame rate to 60 frames per second. This is not describing movie mode, this is still image shooting. Clearly, the camera has an electronic shutter to achieve amazing still image frame rates of 60 fps. There are some limitations, though, in the maximum number of images shot at the same time. The V1 allows up to 30 images in the camera's buffer per image shooting burst, while the J1 is limited to 12 images per burst. Use fast memory cards with these two cameras! They'll need to flush those camera buffers to the memory card as soon as possible with such fast frame rates.
The number of AF points in the phase-detection autofocus system is even higher than in the pro and semi-pro DX and FX cameras, with 73 AF points in the ILC cameras compared to 51 AF points in the DSLRs. In the contrast-detection AF system the camera uses 135-area contrast AF.
Standard shooting speeds for the cameras are 5 fps (60 fps with electronic shutter and fixed AF).
Similar to the DSLR line, the ILCs will support all three light metering modes, as follows:
The camera has a built-in dust reduction system. For new ILC users the cameras offer an Auto Scene Selector mode, which automatically optimizes camera settings for the subject. This is designed for those unsure of how to adjust camera settings themselves. The cameras also have a menu system with reduced complexity.
Standard ISO sensitivity will run from 100 to 3200 ISO, with a Hi 1 setting equivalent to 6400 ISO.
The cameras have four shooting modes, as follows:
The camera takes a single image with each press of the shutter-release button.
With each press of the shutter-release button, the camera records a single still image and about 1 second of high-res movie footage from before and after the shutter-release button was pressed. (Huh?) This will allow action shooters to capture the peak of the action by capturing frames over a one-second interval. I know it sounds a little weird to say that the camera records frames before the shutter-release button is pressed since that would seem to require some measure of time traveling capability. However, Nikon states this in their literature, and I quote: "In Motion Snapshot mode, simply pressing the shutter-release button records a still image and about a second of high-resolution movie footage beginning before and ending after the time the shutter-release button was pressed." Actually, how it works is this: the camera starts recording frames when the shutter-release button is pressed part way down for AF operation. The camera does AF then records frames in a queue—dumping excess images from the front of the queue—until the shutter-release button is pressed. Then, it trims the series of images to a one-second interval surrounding the shutter-release event. Movies shot in this mode are played back in slow motion at 0.4x of normal playback speed. There are four recording themes connected to this shooting mode: Beauty, Waves, Relaxation, and Tenderness. Total movie/still image display can last up to 10 seconds if the shutter-release button is held down that long. When playing back movies the camera shows about 2.5 seconds of video, displays the still frame, then plays the remainder of the short movie—about 7.5 seconds maximum. Each 10-second movie/still set is recorded to the memory card as a package.
Smart Photo Selector
Similar to Motion Snapshot, the camera records frames as soon as you press the shutter-release half way down, after AF. When you press the shutter-release button, the camera examines the images currently in the camera buffer and selects five of the best images surrounding the shutter-release. It then writes these five images to the memory card. This is the equivalent of shooting a five-frame burst. If you do not agree with the camera on which are the best five shots, you can select your favorites from the candidate images and delete the rest.
The movie mode supports 1920 x 1080/60i High-Definition video. That is 1080i HD. The camera comes with special "Short Movie Creator" software allowing you to assemble creative movie segments up to 30 minutes in length. This includes the styles and background music.
The J1 series of cameras come in five colors. The lenses can be purchased with colors matching the camera body. Here are the colors:
|Nikon J1 series cameras in five various colors|
|Nikon V1 series cameras in two colors|
The J1 camera has a 3.0-inch TFT LCD monitor on back with about 460K-dot resolution. The V1 series has a similar 3.0-inch TFT LCD monitor, except the resolution is doubled at 921K-dots. The monitors use an air-gapless structure with a protective glass covering. They have increased visibility outdoors, allowing image and movie display in brighter light.
Internal Electronic Viewfinder for V1 Only
The J1 camera uses the rear monitor for all image and movie taking and viewing. The V1 allows you to use the rear monitor or a built in viewfinder containing a 1440K-dot EVF. The viewfinder is high definition and bright, with 100% frame coverage through the lens. It has a unique color filtering system that guards against rainbow artifacts seen on other lesser ILC/EVIL cameras when a subject is moving. This is Nikon, after all! I guess this viewfinder moves the V1 squarely into the EVIL (electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens) camera category.
RAW and JPEG Modes
The cameras support both RAW (NEF) and JPEG shooting, with Active D-Lighting when needed to protect highlight and shadow detail in the JPEG images...
Four New CX Nikon 1 Lenses
Released with the two ILC cameras are several new "1 Nikkor" lenses and a new Speedlight SB-N5. The cameras are part of a system or family, as shown in our next picture:
|The Nikon 1 Series Family of ILC cameras, lenses, and Speedlight|
|Nikon SB-N5 Speedlight flash unit and GP-N100 GPS unit|
The SB-N5 Speedlight has the following specifications:
Nikon PDF Brochure: