Nikon 1 J3 Review

4.0
February 22, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

During the review, the Nikon 1 J3 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 lens performed admirably 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 lens worked very well.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon 1 J3 is ISO 100 and the highest setting is ISO 6400. The 100% crops below show what the quality is like at each setting for JPEG and RAW formats.

JPEG RAW

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 160 (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 J3 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)

RAW (1.43Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

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

Chromatic Aberrations 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 J3 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 J3 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 20 seconds at ISO 160.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon 1 J3 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 J3, 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

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, hdmi, compact system camera, nikon, mirrorless, 14 megapixel, csc, RAW, 1080i, 60fps, stereo sound, NEF, 15fps, nikon j3, nikon j3 review, 1 J3 Review, Nikon 1 J3 Review

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