The J1 is the cheaper mirrorless camera Nikon introduced last month, and it’s first foray into that market. Engadget posted their review but the summary below is probably a good thing to read if you are considering buying it:
If image quality is more important than looks, advanced photographers will probably want to search elsewhere. $650 is a lot to spend on any camera, and when you consider that Sony’s NEX-C3 is selling for the exact same price (and is available now), that has been, and still remains, our first choice. The C3 excels in nearly every area — pro-level control, color and exposure accuracy, and overall image quality — though the J1 does offer a few unique and clever features, including slow-motion shooting and Motion Snapshot, along with that silent shutter. So does that make this camera a close second? Sadly, not by a long shot. That title would go to the Olympus E-P3, which offers class-leading focus speeds and consistent performance. Nikon’s new ILC is more class competitive with, say, the novice-friendly Panasonic GF-3 or Pentax’s Q (though we haven’t yet had a chance to thoroughly test the latter).
Small sensors aren’t good. They require a higher pixel density for the same picture quality, or offer a lower picture quality compared to larger sensors. Here is now Nikon’s “System 1″ sensors stack up to the competition:
SLR sensor sizes:
full frame: 36 x 24mm
canon DSLR 1.6x crop: 22.3 x 14.9 mm
nikon DSLR 1.5x crop: 23.6 x 15.7 mm
mirrorless sensor sizes:
sony mirrorless 1.5 crop: 23.5 x 15.6 mm
four thirds 2x crop: 17.3 x 13 mm
nikon 1 2.7x crop (CX): 13.2mm x 8.8mm
point and shoot sensor sizes:
canon s100: 7.49 x 5.52 mm
panny lx5: 7.89 x 5.81 mm
canon hs100: 6.17 x 4.55 mm
While larger than point-and-shoot sensors, it is the smallest, by far, of the mirrorless sensor sizes. Disappointing.
It’s important to note that Sony’s mirrorless system uses sensors as large as the common DSLR sensors (1.5x crop factor). That’s great – however Sony’s prices are high enough that it competes directly to full DSLRs.
The sweet spot is Olympus’ upcoming E-PM1 (aka the PEN mini). At $500 which includes a lens and an external flash, it’s a great deal. It also is the smallest and cheapest mirrorless camera.
Update: I found the new CX sensor size documented on wikipedia:
Nikon introduced their mirrorless camera system today at midnight. The J1 and V1 are 10MP, 2.7x crop factor cameras using a new interchangable lens system. Honestly, even as a Nikon shooter, the specs leave me very disappointed. First, the price, is far higher than most mirrorless systems from Sony, Panasonic and Olympus – especially given Olympus’ new E-PM1 that is $500 incl. lens. Moreover, the sensor is very disappointing – the very high crop factor (meaning a very small sensor) won’t impress anyone, especially Sony who uses a full APS-C sized sensor in their flagship mirrorless camera. The sensor also has a max ISO of 3200, well below every single mirrorless offering out there. I do not expect strong sales of these cameras – it is a baby step intended to protect their DSLR investment, nothing more.
When the Nikon D90 hit the streets two years ago, it was the first digital SLR with video capabilities. Chase Jarvis did a series of videos with it to show off this new function. Now, the D90 replacement is here, and it’s called the D7000. Chase is back too, with a review on his blog and new videos showing off it’s features.
With the strong Canadian dollar, it’s very tempting to buy camera equipment from the USA. However, there’s a big disadvantage when it comes to Nikon by doing so. Nikon does not honor warranties from equipment bought outside Canada. You would have to get it serviced in the USA. A summary of the different warranty programs is on this site.
Gizmodo just published a buying guide for DSLR’s. They recommended four different cameras in four different price points. They were brand-agnostic, picking the best camera regardless of whether you were in the Nikon Camp or Canon Camp (sorry Olympus and Sony).
I agree with all their picks, the Nikon D3000, Canon T1i, Nikon D90 and Canon 7D do beat out their peers in their respective price points.
Both Nikon and Canon introduced new top-of-the-line SLR’s this week:
Nikon D3s – the “s” model of the D3 indicates not a new model, but more of an update to the original D3. The D3s keeps the 12MP resolution but the new sensor is capable of much cleaner high ISO ranges. A 720p/24f movie mode is added, similar to the D90 and D300s. Many other new features are listed on dpreview.
Canon 1D Mark IV – yesterday the Mark IV was announced. It features a new 16MP sensor capable of much of the same new ISO range as the D3s. Also new is a 45-point autofocus system. The Mark IV continues the 1D line’s commitment to 1.3x crop factor.
Both cameras offer the best low-light, high-ISO, fast shooting bodies that money can buy. A full comparison of both is available on dpreview’s side-by-side compare tool. However with $5000 price tags and 1200g body weights, I’m not rushing out to buy either of them.