Nikon 1 S2 Review

July 14, 2014 | 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.

The Nikon 1 S2 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, 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 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens performed admirably, with good sharpness throughout the frame and negligible purple fringing. The close-up performance of the 11-27.5mm optic is also pretty good, although there's no Vibration Reduction feature on this kit lens. The night shot came out well even with long-exposure noise reduction switched off.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon 1 S2 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 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

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)

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

File Quality

The JPEG quality settings available on the Nikon S2 include Normal and Fine. The camera can also save photos in Nikon’s proprietary raw file format, NEF.

Fine (5.94Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.84Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
   

RAW (13.7Mb) (100% Crop)

 
quality_raw.jpg  

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon 1 S2 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 30mm wide-angle setting.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (30mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (30mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (74mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (74mm)

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

Night

The Nikon S2 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 100.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.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 S2, the strength of the effect cannot be modified by the user. The only available settings are on and off.

Off

On

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.

Standard

Neutral

picture_control_01.jpg picture_control_02.jpg
   

Vivid

Monochrome

picture_control_03.jpg picture_control_04.jpg
   

Portrait

Landscape

picture_control_05.jpg picture_control_06.jpg

Creative Modes

The Nikon 1 S2 offers a number of creative shooting modes to help spice up your images.

HDR

Soft

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