Nikon 1 J1 Review

4.0
October 18, 2011 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

During the review, the Nikon 1 J1 captured images of very high quality, especially if you consider the size of its sensor. Noise is kept to a minimum, and only becomes disturbing at ISO 3200 in very low light. Colours are perhaps somewhat muted for a consumer camera but you can easily add a little punch by switching to the Vivid picture control. The Nikon 1 Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR lenses both performed admirably (stay tuned for our detailed lens reviews), with good sharpness throughout the frame and negligible purple fringing. The close-up performance of the 10-30mm lens is surprisingly good. The night shot came out well even with long-exposure noise reduction switched off, and the Vibration Reduction feature of the lenses worked very well.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon 1 J1 is ISO 100. The highest setting is ISO 3200, with ISO 6400 available as a "boosted" value. The 100% crops below show what the quality is like at each setting.

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

The out-of-camera JPEGs are quite sharp but still benefit from a little sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The JPEG quality settings available on the Nikon J1 include Basic, Normal and Fine. The camera can also save photos in Nikon’s proprietary raw file format, NEF.

Fine (5.68Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (2.87Mb) (100% Crop)

   

Basic (1.43Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon 1 Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 lens does not suffer from strong chromatic aberrations - the examples here show the worst-case scenario you are likely to encounter in real-world images.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

There is currently no macro lens available for the Nikon 1 system, but the Nikon 1 Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 lens offers a very good close-up performance for a kit zoom. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash memory card. We have also included a 100% crop to show you what the quality is like.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon 1 J1 are Auto, Auto with Red-eye reduction, Slow Sync, Slow Sync with red-eye reduction, Rear-curtain Sync and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m. Some vignetting and barrel distortion is apparent at the 27mm wide-angle setting.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (27mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (27mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (81mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (81mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto or the Auto with red-eye reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Nikon J1 has a minimum shutter speed of 30 seconds, with a Bulb setting also available for really long exposures. The shot below was captured at a shutter speed of 6 seconds, aperture of f/8 at ISO 100. We have provided a 100% crop to show you what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon 1 J1 does not offer body-integral image stabilisation, but the kit lens bundled with the camera features Vibration Reduction, Nikon’s proprietary lens-based optical stabilisation system. This allows you to take sharp hand-held photos at slower shutter speeds than with lenses that lack this function. You can see that this feature really works and could mean the difference between a ruined shot and a sharp capture. Note that even though VR is lens-based, you need to activate it via the camera's menu as the lenses do not feature a VR switch. The available VR modes are Normal, Active and Off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)
1/2 sec / 27mm
     
1/3 sec / 81mm
     

Active D-Lighting

Active D-lighting is Nikon’s dynamic range optimisation tool that attempts to squeeze  the full dynamic range of the sensor into JPEGs. On the Nikon 1 J1, the strength of the effect cannot be modified by the user. The only available settings are on and off.

Off

On

Picture Controls

Nikon’s Picture Controls, similarly to Canon’s Picture Styles, are preset combinations of different contrast and saturation settings. The available Picture Controls are Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape. The following series demonstrates the differences across these settings.

Standard

Neutral

   

Vivid

Monochrome

   

Portrait

Landscape

Slow-motion Video

The Nikon 1 J1 and V1 can capture videos at a frame rate of 400fps which, when played back at 30fps, become slow-motion movies. This example demonstrates what this feature is capable of.

Motion Snapshot Mode

The Nikon 1 J1 and V1 have a special shooting mode called Motion Snapshot. In this mode, the camera records a brief high-definition movie - whose buffering starts at a half-press of the shutter release, so it includes events that had happened before the button was fully depressed - and also takes a still photograph. The movie and the still image are saved in separate files but the camera can combine them into a single slow-motion clip with background music. Here we can only show you the video and the picture as separate files.

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hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact system camera, hdmi, nikon, mirrorless, csc, RAW, 10fps, 1080i, 10 megapixel, 60fps, stereo sound, NEF, nikon j1, nikon j1 review, 1 J1 Review, Nikon 1 J1 Review

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