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My review of the Nikon J1 is now online at my new mirrorless site:
Santosh Saligram's profile photoLyman Taylor's profile photoS. Go's profile photoThom Hogan's profile photo
Thanks for the review, Thom, and waiting for the V1 review.

One thing that's bugging me: is that a Nikon sensor, an Aptina sensor or a little bit of both? Do we even know which?
I am also interested in the performance with the F mount adapter (FT1). Apparently they are not yet available. Several stores claim that they are "available in December", but I have not seen any yet.
+Lior Kravitz It's a Nikon-designed sensor manufactured by Aptina. I suspect that there may be Aptina sensels used at the very base of the design, but the phase detect and electronics at the photosite seem to be Nikon's.
+Sami Maisniemi The FT1's appearance appears to have been delayed. I'll bet we get a firmware update when it appears. I do know the goal was to have no degradation in performance with AF-S/VR lenses. I suspect that there's more tuning that needed to go on than originally thought. The Nikon 1 doesn't have any direct parts overlap with the DSLRs that I can see, so timings in the electronics are likely slightly different. (As Lee Felsenstein once told me: if you look at digital timings close enough, you see analog.)
One of the key elements of the 1 system is the availability of a built-in viewfinder in the V1 version. Coming from SLR/DSLR, looking at the screen to frame an image is uncomfortable (especially in sunny conditions or in the snow) and does not allow for a steady hold. Other brands usually offer the viewfinder as an option that increases the bulk of the camera and seems somewhat fragile. Just for the missing viewfinder, I did not consider the J1 and bought the V1 as a present for my wife, hoping to use it from time to time, especially when the adapter will be available... And thanks to the AF system, my wife's kids pictures are now rarely blurry... The camera has its faults but generally, it performs pretty well in a small and portable package.
+Sami Maisniemi I have the V1 and recently got a Kipon N1-NF adapter. Absolutely no electronic connections, so it's just a tube with bayonet mounts. If you want to shoot completely manually, I suspect this will be cheaper than the Nikon FT1, and it's available now. I use my Kipon adapter with some very old AI and AI-S lenses.
+Thom Hogan I'm curious on the AE lock function. The V1 has a setting to do this through the shutter button. Is that disabled on the J1? Just to add a bit, I would like AF lock to be simpler on the V1, but it's really cumbersome. Agree with you that many J1 users will stick to the settings out of the box, though I don't necessarily think that is completely terrible. Looking forward to your V1 review.
One of these days, a camera company will take the daring step of involving photographers in the design of a mirrorless camera. Until then, we can only dream of the possibilities…
Thanks for posting such detailed review. I have Panasonic m4/3 with two lenses, for 2 years now. I'm holding out upgrading or buying more lens as I am sitting on the fence on whether to commit to the m4/3 or switch to Nikon 1.

I am disappointed with the camera interface on the Nikon 1 and with some of the compromises Nikon chooses. Knowing Nikon stubbornness, it will probably take years for them to make any changes. So I am leaning to stay with the m4/3 system now, but eagerly waiting for your review of the V1 (which the only one I was considering anyway :D).
+Thom Hogan Did you try the auto scene mode? On the V1 (which I returned) I found it selected way different settings than the PASM modes - usually by using slower shutter speeds which often resulted in motion blur.
Thanks for the review. I am now also waiting for the V1 review, even though I am much less interested than I would be if there was a better and faster small prime.
It is amazing how good the small sensors have become at high ISOs and a pity when these capabilities are not matched by a fast lens.
So what do you call a V1 replacement? V2? Nikon 2 systems?
Its a pity the AF-S adapter isn't available yet. I'm really interested in how it would handle, and the possibilities it opens.

Despite the handling flaws, I'm seriously considering the J1 (coupled with the 10mm pancake) as a take anywhere camera.

Just waiting to see how it does with the FT-1 to take de plunge. Well, that and Thom's review of the V1... ;)
+Carsten Schultz Nikon has two fast primes coming (a normal and a telephoto). Be careful of selling a new system short on announce. People did that with the m4/3 system, the NEX, heck, even the Nikon DX DSLRs when they first appeared. Certainly the camera companies could do a better job at getting a full system lined up early, but they seem to be hedging their bets until they see who buys them.
+Ali Anirood I'm already on record in saying that the Nikon 1 name was a mistake. Nikon has dug a hole for themselves and it will be amusing to see how they get out. They could, for example, now call the Coolpix the Nikon 0, the DX DSLRs the Nikon 2, and the FX DSLRs the Nikon 3. Let's see, Nikon 3, D4. Yeah, that has a nice ring to it.
+Andre Pontes If you're interested in the VT1 adapter, I don't think you're a J1 user. You need to think V1. I'll try to cover why that is in my V1 review.
+Jeff Thompson True. Auto scene does indeed seem to pick slower shutter speeds than most serious shooters would pick. But overall, the camera tends to do that when Auto ISO is set in almost any exposure mode. Someone needs to revisit the internal program exposure tables.
+Thom Hogan , thank you, I had not been following the Nikon 1 closely and had forgotten about the other planned lenses. I correct my statement: I will be more interested in the V1 once there is a fast normal prime ;)
+Andreas Yankopolus Maybe. First, while I believe camera companies need to hear more directly from those using their products and consider that feedback more carefully, in product design listening just to customers is generally not the way to get the best product. Customers only know what you've given them, they don't have the imagination to take it very much further or explore completely new possibilities. This is exactly where Apple gets it right: they have strong designers who are forward-looking, aren't afraid to step completely away from what's been done in the past, and find the "better" product that can be done. They did that with computer operating systems, mp3 players, phones, tablets, laptops, databases, video editing (jury still out on the latest redesigns), and more. As I note in the J1 review, Nikon seemed to do a bit of that in the Nikon 1 design--they did indeed seem to take a fresh piece of paper and start over in so many ways. Where they failed is in not completely recognizing one aspect of photography: that sophisticated products need user control over decisions. You either make it all auto with no control, or, if you enable control, it needs to be more direct. They've got plenty of buttons; they've just misused them.

One thing that hasn't been seen by most of you is a series of video interviews Nikon briefly published at the Nikon 1 announcement (I can't find them directly linked any more). In designer after designer there was a common theme, I noted: when it came to the point where they talked about what they wanted a camera for, they almost all turned out to be J1-type users: not overly sophisticated, wanting the camera to do the heavy lifting for more snapshot type photography. It shows in the design.
+Thom Hogan I was considering the J1 for portability even if it meant giving up the viewfinder. If the V1 could use the regular Nikon flash line it would be a no-brainer.

Anyway, I have till May to decide. I'll be waiting for your review of the V1 and reports of use with the FT-1.

Thanks for the review.
Thanks Thom,
Based on your final words on the J1 I do look forward to what you have to say about the V1 (soon ??). I did see a tweet last night that the F mount adapter will be out in Japan next week (I thought it had been delayed) and I hope you can get your hands on one before too long. My interest in the Nikon 1 is simply to allow the sensor size work for me in shooting long with a 70-200mm. For my landscape work, I readily admit always to wanting more and more pixels and a more contemplative way of shooting (tech camera and digital back).
+Andre Pontes You could have pointed to my site ;~): (Yes, I realize RSS is broken at the moment. I'm looking into it.)
+Terry Banet As I note in that short article, I think the answer is now "FT1 is not as interesting as it could have been." Basically we're at a digiscoping (though with autofocus) level with it and an AF-S lens. You can acquire focus on the central area, but there is no tracking focus, at all.
I'm glad you mentioned the shutter sync speed. I was really hoping that Nikon, having the strongest DSLR flash system, would not have botched up the 1 flash system so badly. It seems they totally forgot about all of the flash mavens that sell so much of their gear (would it have killed them to show a copy to Joe McNally or Chase Jarvis?). Between, the 1/60 second x-sync speed, proprietary hotshoe, and lack of CLS compatibility, they've killed what I think would have given them an almost insurmountable leg up on the other mirrorless systems, which also treat flash as an afterthought.

Considering how many pros have Nikon speedlights and how often amateurs get into trouble in back-lit situations, this is just crazy. My wife finds anything but the green mode far too complicated on our cameras and yet I can totally imagine her noticing how the J1 can't fill flash successfully when our LX3 can. This could almost be a binary issue for casual photographers; The Nikon 1 can't get a picture while their P&S can. Forget about the autofocus performance, wonderful sensor and minimal shutter lag, which they might not even notice; The 1 is getting shadows while their their old camera gets faces so the 1 must be bad! Or does some exposure mode compensate for this somehow? I don't have enough experience with P&S and beginner modes to know if that's even possible.

Also, can you imagine how the Strobist community would have just devoured a tiny camera with high sync speed and CLS? To that group, I'll bet almost all of the current flaws could be forgiven if they had just gotten these simple things right.

I'm hoping you delve into this more on your V1 review, as so many reviewers overlook all things flash and flash gurus don't seem to do in-depth reviews of camera bodies. This makes sense given that flash doesn't change much on the DSLR body iterations we are stuck with, but the 1 series could have potentially changed that and Nikon should know that they really dropped the ball.
+Ian Tseng The V1 is more appropriate for the flash maven, though we still don't have all the gear we'd want there. But I think overall, Nikon didn't think about their traditional customers much when they designed the Nikon 1's. Most of the design statements all seem centered on "finding the next Nikon customer." That's why I pointed out the Junior, Middle, Senior product notion that Nikon failed to execute on. Great, so Nikon attracts a new customer, one that previously only had a compact camera. Can Nikon now grow them into a DSLR customer? The cynical viewpoint would say "sure, because the Nikon 1 fails to deliver some of the things that the DSLRs do" (more pixels, fast/many lenses, excellent flash, user direct control, etc.). But if the Nikon 1 customer then realizes that they need new stuff (lens, flashes, remotes, etc.) AND has to learn a lot of new user interface stuff, they're not really locked into Nikon's systems, are they? Worse still, many of the questions/comments I'm getting are from the opposite direction: "if I'm a Nikon DSLR user and want a good competent carry-everywhere camera, is the Nikon 1 the answer?" Again, because there is so little carry-over, the answer isn't obviously a "yes". To me, this is a classic product management mistake. Nikon has three very disparate and non-connecting camera lines now (Coolpix, 1, DSLR). Worse still, performance and build quality and user experience are very different on those three, so it isn't "hey, my Coolpix was built really well and had a great user experience so I'll buy a Nikon 1 to get more performance." Instead, it's "my Coolpix broke, and I couldn't control everything I wanted to. I wonder what higher end camera I should buy?"

The camera industry in Japan is getting a lot like the Auto industry in the US was in the late 20th century. Nikon is feeling a bit like brand-happy GM (Chevy, Buick, Pontiac, Saturn, Cadillac, GMC versus Coolpix, 1, DX, FX).
+Thom Hogan I wasn't aware of that, sorry. I had just stumbled on the links because someone had said something about the D4 and I went checking...
So I take it the V1 has more for the flash maven, then? I look for ward to your review.
Thanks Thom - I posted my comment before seeing the firmware update. What a shame on the specs! On the bright (OK not so bright but...) side of things my tripod ring for the Panny 100-300 arrived from Germany yesterday and the build quality is superb.
+Thom Hogan I'm quite sure companies do execute consumer focus study when dealing in new products, whether they are a departure to the norm or not. The problem with many companies is when they choose to carve out market segments for their products instead of looking at how their product would be received by all possible consumers. If Nikon focus on selling the Nikon 1 to P&S, many of us can save ourselves from months or even years of frustrations by looking for small system somewhere else.
+Thom Hogan +Andre Pontes Just downloaded the firmware update for the V1 and read through the FT1 adapter information. I have the Kipon N1-NF adapter, which has no electronics. Tried a 50mm f1,4 AI-S lens on it, and no vignetting. It appears that the square baffle in the FT1, perhaps to house the electronics and aperture lever, causes the obstruction with an f1,4 lens. The Kipon adapter is just a tube. Unless someone wanted to use AF-S lenses with autofocus and some restrictions, I don't see any reason to get an FT1 to use with manual focus (AI and AI-S) lenses.
Hehe, we shall see. Thankfully we won't have to wait for too long.
Petty matter and lousy implementation; sad and sorry indeed, the mirrorless ILC concept applied to smaller sensor ( smaller than APS-C ) is actually not that bad an idea. Yesterday I just got my hand on trying the J1 and Pentax Q. Well guess what, the Q with its real petite sensor , actually was not that bad. and the camera handling and control is IMHO better than the Nikon. That's one pocketable I am willing to lug along all day.
+Mech Franka T. Lieu Don't disagree with you, but why is it no mirrorless camera maker has managed to get both design and performance right in the same product? (Haven't got a NEX-7 yet so Sony fans don't rag on me just quite yet. ;~)
+Thom Hogan There is not a huge problem with using one. The simplest solution is numbers beginning with '1' . Next models either J10 and V10 or J11/V11 . With a two year progression, that is twenty years of names. On a one year progression it is ten. Even at end of ten years, can do a "start from scratch" redesign and pick a new letter of the alphabet as a prefix and start over. The D1/D2/D3 series can tolerate one digit because the refresh rate is so slow. These smaller cameras are likely going to be higher so single digits over long term is bad, but not necessarily flawed as a starting point.
+Walter Rowe +Mech Franka T. Lieu Please don't hijack threads. This thread is about the Nikon 1. If you want to ask me a question about something else, do it directly via email, please. You won't get a response on these things from me (other than one like this) in an unrelated thread, so don't try.
+Atu Saito Pricing is actually quite interesting to watch. The E-PM1 is cheaper in the US (typically US$449 to US$499) while the Nikon J1 is higher. Yet you are correct, in Japan the reverse seems to be true. (Of course, an E-PL1 is still available here for US$399 or less, which impacts what Olympus can get for the E-PM1.)
It wasn't my intention to hijack the thread. My apologies. I've deleted my comment.
Wow, Thom, what a review! You've certainly not minced words. Thanks to this, I now have a precise idea about how good the camera is.

About the flaws of the J1, some of them are so obvious that I wonder how Nikon lets them through again and again. 'Frustration' is certainly the appropriate word. I so wish Nikon would hire you as a product advisor during design or at least validation. I look forward to the V1 review. Thank you again.
Not a conspiracy, just the confirmation that the J1 isn't targeted at high end DSLR owners. That someone else identified that should be pleasing to them if targeting compact camera owners was the objective. I disagree with the article though. Given the the J1 is priced at the same price as the D3100 the primary objective can't be to minimize bleed off of DSLR focused buyers. The 3100 is a transition point out of the Compact Coolpix. So is the J1, without substantially switching form factors. There is a portion of the DSLR market that Nikon should be expecting to be dented by the J1 and V1. If they didn't want to raise the cannibalism level, they shouldn't be priced the same.
+Lyman Taylor I'm not sure I agree. Had the J1 had the same level of features and control as the D3100, then absolutely, the J1 would have started to steal substantial chunks of the D3100's sales, as it would then boil down to gaining 4mp more, slightly better DR, and an optical viewfinder in exchange for a much bigger, heavier body. That would be a tough sell against small and light with great video. But by crippling the J1 (user interface, features, accessories) it's easier for a salesperson to sell someone one way or the other. Personally, I think that's trying to slice the pie too thin.

But frankly, I don't know why Nikon would be worried at all about the J1 and V1 taking D3100 sales. The Nikon 1 models are so much simpler and cheaper to make, so at the same price point they generate far more profit. The V1 with the right user design (and a few more lenses) could have taken down the Canon Rebel. The D3100 is not doing that. My frustration with the Nikon 1 models is multiple: there's the frustration of having to adapt to use them effectively, and there's the frustration that Nikon came close to changing the entry DSLR dynamics completely in their favor but instead got cold feet.

As it turns out, the Thailand floods made all this partially a moot point. Nikon doesn't have the volume of D3100s they wanted to push for Christmas. Instead, they're pushing the Nikon 1. So, effectively, their crippled design (especially at those prices) is working against them. On the flip side, they can point to some very nice performance and perhaps their best video yet, all in a reasonably attractive and small package.
+Shep Go You'll want to resubscribe on the News/Views page. While right now that will summarize due to the structure, starting next month the daily stuff should appear in the feed (I'll put things into a monthly folder at the end of the month).
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