A curiosity is Nikon 1 J2

Joined
Jul 31, 2013
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335
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UK
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Ovidiu
My mom's birthday is coming up next month and I thought she might like a decent camera to make pictures of her artisanal creations as well as make some pictures and videos of my niece when she visits Romania once per year. I didn't want to be something expensive because she is not using it all that often, but it's still better than her cheap phone, didn't want it to be too big (hopefully that will motivate her to take it with her more often), or to be to a point and shoot with tiny sensor.
My first thought was a Samsung NX1000 camera because people don't see to care much for them so they are dirt cheap and besides Panasonic, only Samsung can make a decent and easy to use UI. But hen I remembered Nikon use to make some pretty tiny cameras with decent size sensor ... and voila: I found a Nikon 1 J2 (body) for 25 £ ... and a 1 Nikkor 10-30mm f 3.5-5.6 VR Power Zoom for 5 £ (which I found to be defective, what a shocker :p ... I will need to have it fixed).

Last night and this morning decided to take the little bugger with me and do some snaps to see how it handles and behaves, camera-wise and IQ-wise, and I find myself pleasantly surprised: it's not half bad for an 8-year-old 10 MP 2.7x crop factor sensor. All of these images are NEF files with some exposure adjustments, no changes to the color or sharpening or noise reduction.
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The image is out of focus but for some reason, I love the look of this image ... it looks like it was shot with a color film on an average nifty fifty.

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I was trying to focus on the 2nd lampost and hoped to get the flower pot withing the DOF but the camera decided to focus on the security camera under the 1st lamp post !?! Camera was set to all AF points Auto.

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I wasn't sure I got this image in focus on the back screen of the camera ... for some reason, most images look soft and out of focus so it's not reliable to judge focus accuracy or even IQ.

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At max ISO (3200) the image quality is not particularly spectacular but the colors look well and accurately rendered, saturation is surprisingly good, chroma noise is quite well under control, luminance noise seems more intense but doesn't seem to lower sharpness all that much.

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The highlight recovery is ok-ish, better then what phone would give and not as good as Micro Four Thirds.

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Colors for a landscape look good, the grass detail is quite good, highlights got a decent color and detail for the clouds. The focus was intended at infinity but the camera seems to have focused on the grass in the lower part of the image.

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Another image that surprised me on how well it looks overall, good colors, sharpens on the sign (the AF lock) is good and the sky kept most of its aspect well.

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For a camera that was supposed to have incredible AF performance it sure didn't like to focus on the central part of the image. The focus seems to have been on the green bags on the right side instead of the butcher.

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Very beautiful colors on the meat, the white balance was spot on, sharpness is quite good, a delightful image overall.

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At minimum focus distance, the AF is still unreliable in Auto mode, had to change to central point only after this image.

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At the minimum distance, the lens seems to exhibit chromatic aberrations of the blue tint. Sharpness seems to be lower at a closer distance, the highlights detail look well ... again.

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Some of the images have a color film aspect to them, soft and beautiful highlights, rendition of blue skies. The lens does exhibit quite visible chromatic aberrations in high contrast situations.

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The details and sharpness on the wall are quite nice, the highlights are well controlled, the grass seems to be more of a mush of green which was disappointing.


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The lens seems to exhibit a quite significant pincushion distortion, I have never seen such intense distortion in this way.


The image quality is still a lot better than most phones out there, especially when using the (more powerful comparatively) built-in flash ... for something that is smaller than the palm of my hand. I will have a bit more time to test out the JPEG output as well since that will be the main usage of the camera. Nikon had some interesting ideas and designs here ... too bad it was killed.
 

stratokaster

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Pavel
Nikon 1 V1 is my favourite camera ever. Small, very fast, extremely well made, great EVF, the battery lasts forever, AF and exposure are always spot on. What’s not to like?
 
Joined
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Messages
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UK
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Ovidiu
Nikon 1 V1 is my favourite camera ever. Small, very fast, extremely well made, great EVF, the battery lasts forever, AF and exposure are always spot on. What’s not to like?
While there is a basic amount of lenses for the system ... still more than Canon M mount hahahahhahah ... there's isn't more specialized options and with the mount discontinued there will be no more lenses or cameras as well.

Nikkor 6.7-13 f 3.5-5.6 VR (around 500£), your box standard ultra-wide-angle lens
Nikkor 10-30mm f 3.5-5.6 VR (around 40£), your box standard kit lens
Nikkor 10-30mm f 3.5-5.6 VR PD Zoom (around 100£), same as above but slimmer and more prone to mechanical failure
Nikkor 30-100mm f 3.8-5.6 VR (around 100£), your box standard telephoto zoom lens
Nikkor 70-300mm f 4.5-5.6 VR (around 900£ !!!), the crazy beast of the system with more range then you can shake a stick at and, somehow, it's smaller than Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f 4-6.3 :)
Nikkor 10-100mm f 4-5.6 VR (around 200£), your box standard all-around superzoom lens
Nikkor 10-100mm f 4.5-5.6 VR PD Zoom (around 300£), a very not box standard but big, heavy and video-centric superzoom beast
Nikkor 10mm f 2.8 (around 100£), your everyday 28(ish)mm pancake prime
Nikkor 18.5mm f 1.8 (around 150£), your average nifty fifty that all systems should have
Nikkor 32mmf 1.2 (around 500£), your favorite 85mm f 1.2 lens but in a tiny and compact form ... comparatively speaking.

The last cameras released by Nikon were the V3 in 2014, J5 in 2015 and the most interesting of them all, I think, is the waterproof (not weather-sealed but SUBMERSIBLE) Nikon 1 AW1 in 2013 which for a long time was the biggest sensor size camera that is submersible without expensive casing.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Messages
335
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UK
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Ovidiu
Update:

I have been testing the JPEG output of the camera one day before sending the lens for repair to Nikon Europe. And I have to say I am a lot more disappointed on the JPEG files then the NEF files. But first the files, straight out of the camera:

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It looks quite soft compared to NEF files. The VR doesn't seem to be as effective as Micro Four Thirds capabilities.

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This one looks a bit better, the highlight looks blown out even though the image seems to have prioritized for it (DR Optimizer was set to On).

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Sharpness seems to be low, highlights are quite blown and shadows dark. The green looks saturated enough but the rest of the colors are very muted (the sky was quite orange from the sunrise and it was not as bright as the image renders it).

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This lens seems to work best at a close distance to render a reasonable sharp and colorful image.

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Not sure the sharpness at the edge is the issue of VR or lens performance. The White Balance was completely off (too much red). Noise doesn't bother me as much as JPEG compression.

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White Balance renders warm light to red but the JEPG compression is so disappointing like something I would expect from smartphones and at odds with the sensor size/capabilities.

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The last couple of weeks the weather hasn't been very pleasant for making images, bland light, dark skies.

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Test the built-in flash and it works. the sharpness and the colors look a lot better, it's making me think the JPEG is highly dependent on direct and quantitive light.

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Another closeup, with very strange choice of White Balance, may be confused by the center purple flowers or high amount of chromatic aberrations, with strong purple highlights and colder greens.

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Sharpness at the center is decent but edges are soft. At least the red is rendered very natural and accurate.

I will try the JPEG output again when the lens returns from repair and get better weather and time of day.
 

Erich_H

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Feb 8, 2020
Messages
175
Nikon 1 V1 is my favourite camera ever. Small, very fast, extremely well made, great EVF, the battery lasts forever, AF and exposure are always spot on. What’s not to like?
In a word: Nikon.

That being said, I'd jump on it if I'd found one for £25!
A new body to buy adapters for... 🤪

Thanks/Erik
 

ac12

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Apr 24, 2018
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SF Bay Area, California, USA
Good deal.
Download the manual and STUDY the AF section.
AF can be fiddly on some cameras.
  • Example1, "Auto" is sometimes a BAD choice. Because you have NO control over what the camera will choose to focus on.
    "Auto" on my D70 would focus on anything between me and my subject. After a few messed up pics, I stopped using "Auto."
  • Example2, face recognition is useless for me unless the ONLY subjects in the frame are MY subjects. Because it would many times grab faces on the side and behind my subject and try to focus on them. ARGH.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Messages
335
Location
UK
Real Name
Ovidiu
Good deal.
Download the manual and STUDY the AF section.
AF can be fiddly on some cameras.
  • Example1, "Auto" is sometimes a BAD choice. Because you have NO control over what the camera will choose to focus on.
    "Auto" on my D70 would focus on anything between me and my subject. After a few messed up pics, I stopped using "Auto."
  • Example2, face recognition is useless for me unless the ONLY subjects in the frame are MY subjects. Because it would many times grab faces on the side and behind my subject and try to focus on them. ARGH.
Thank you for the reply, I will have a look at the manual. My evaluation of the AF was for the perspective of a complete and utter n00b (for my mom), I don't think I could manage to teach my mom anything more basic then shutter butter, movie record button, playback and delete. That's why I was testing the AF in Auto capabilities, to know what to expect. Her needs are pictures of family members, some landscapes and close-ups of objects (around 20 to 50 cm away). I will look for some way to tame this "leather rebel" :p

PS. After using this little bigger I have a huge GAS hit from wanting something ultra-compact at the ready all the time in my pocket even though I do carry my big Oly E-M1 with me most of the time. Possibly thinking about Panasonic GM1/5 since Olympus doesn't make compact camera of this size (E-PL9 is phat with two h :p )
 
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