A courageous CSC
THE LOW-DOWN: Nikon’s entry into the interchangeable lens compact section of the market comes with two models – the 1 V1 and 1 J1. The big difference between the two is a built-in electronic viewfinder on the V1 that is absent from the J1. The 10 megapixel sensor has a larger area than compacts but smaller than micro four thirds and APS. The focal length multiplication factor is 2.7, so the kit lens is 27–81mm film equivalent and the tele lens in the two lens kit is 81–297mm. Construction quality is superb, with a heavy metal body and well made lenses. There are very few external controls and there are relatively few user-selectable functions altogether. There is no flash.
LIKE: The image quality is excellent, particularly in RAW mode. The lenses are sharp with good resolution at all focal lengths. The extended depth of field — a function of the smaller sensor — will be a boon to most people and an irritant to those who want out-of-focus backgrounds.
DISLIKE: The price. Manual focus is an awful by-wire system. You have to go into the menus to change between P S A M or set ISO.
VERDICT: This is a bold entry into the CSC business by Nikon. Sir Humphrey might call it “courageous”. It is bulkier than the competition but has a smaller sensor. It is also relatively expensive. And its lack of external controls suggests that the intended customer is trading up from a compact, not supplementing a DSLR, which is the customer expectation at Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung. For a competent photographer the Nikon can be annoying but for the point-and-shoot user it will be reassuring.