Nikon 1 J4 Review

July 11, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 18 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Nikon 1 J4 captured images of high quality, especially if you consider the relatively small size of its sensor and the increase from 14 to 18 megapixels. Noise is kept to a minimum, and only becomes disturbing at ISO 1600 in very low light, although the much noisier RAW files indicate just how much noise-reduction the J4 applies to the JPEGs. 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, and the close-up performance 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.


The base sensitivity of the Nikon 1 J4 is ISO 160 and the highest setting is ISO 12800. The 100% crops below show what the quality is like at each setting for JPEG and RAW formats.


ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

iso160.jpg iso160raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg


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)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The JPEG quality settings available on the Nikon J4 include Normal and Fine. The camera can also save photos in Nikon’s proprietary raw file format, NEF.

Fine (7.02Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (4.27Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

RAW (16.7Mb) (100% Crop)



The flash settings on the Nikon 1 J4 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)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


The Nikon J4 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 (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon 1 J4 does not offer body-integral image stabilisation, but the 10-30mm VR 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)
1/8 sec / 27mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
1/33 sec / 81mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

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 J4, the strength of the effect cannot be modified by the user. The only available settings are on and off.



dlighting_off.jpg dlighting_on.jpg

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.



picture_control_01.jpg picture_control_02.jpg



picture_control_03.jpg picture_control_04.jpg



picture_control_05.jpg picture_control_06.jpg

Creative Modes

The Nikon 1 J4 offers a number of creative shooting modes to help spice up your images.



creative_01.jpg creative_02.jpg

Miniature Effect

Selective Color

creative_03.jpg creative_04.jpg

Cross Process

Toy Camera Effect

creative_05.jpg creative_06.jpg