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So, Nikon lastly has a mirrorless digital camera, after what was quite presumably probably the most dramatic launch event the company has ever carried out. Positive, competing models from Panasonic, Olympus and Sony have already reached the second, or even third era before Nikon lifted the veil on its J1, however did final month's long-awaited announcement deliver us the ILC to rule all ILCs? Nicely, no, not at all. Nikon isn't concentrating on professionals and even superior amateur shooters with its newest addition to the interchangeable lens camera household. Instead, the company is advertising and marketing its J1 to soccer mothers (and dads), trend-conscious younger folk, and casual shooters who want a few of the versatility of a DSLR, but are willing to sacrifice glorious picture quality for a more compact design. But what about the remainder of us? Will Nikon at some point reward our persistence with a true class competitor? Maybe, however that is undoubtedly not what we have right here. Nikon constructed the $650 J1 "from the bottom up" -- a reference to its 10.1 megapixel, CX-dimension sensor with a 2.7x crop factor, together with a handful of quirky features that we probably won't use, however that a few of you (or maybe your relations) may love. Leap past the break to see what we really liked in regards to the camera, and what left us fairly unimpressed. The J1 is cute. Like, fluffy white kitten cute. It brightens your day simply by hanging around and being enjoyable to play with, but you most likely won't be impressed when it comes time to seize some critical photographs (like making an attempt to get that tiny kitty to snatch up a family of mice). The rounded edges, nicely-disguised elements and general clear finish make it clear that Nikon designers put a lot of care into this camera's bodily look. It's just as a lot a trend accessory as it is a relatively capable imaging system, and, relying on which colour you select, it's more likely to make quite an announcement. There isn't any flip-up LCD, as there's on Sony's NEX series, so you'll be spending plenty of time holding the digital camera at eye level. Thankfully, the 460k-dot, three-inch LCD has an honest viewing angle, which will are available in handy if shooting from beneath or above is an absolute must. The display occupies most of the two-tone plastic J1's rear, and is complemented by a healthy choice of dedicated controls. A mode dial permits you to change between Movement Snapshot, Smart Photo Selector, film and nonetheless picture modes (the latter of which permits exposure mode selections just like the default Scene Auto Selector, programmed auto, shutter- and aperture-priority, together with the ever-so-important manual). You'll discover a playback zoom rocker above the main dial, which also doubles as the shutter speed control in manual mode. To the left is a perform button, which serves a variety of purposes relying on your mode -- exactly what it controls is outlined with a text overlay when you change to a different mode. Further down is a show button, playback button, a 5-place wheel with devoted self-timer, flash, exposure compensation and auto publicity/focus lock controls, along with an Okay selector in the middle. There are menu and trash can buttons at the underside, and a physical flash slider, which releases the tiny (and fairly bizarre looking) flash arm. On the coloured top panel, a energy button, a shutter launch and a movie file button sit all to the fitting of the retractable flash. The video report button only works when the mode dial is set to video, so you cannot merely press it to start out recording in any mode. Some users may discover the file button's positioning to be a bit awkward -- it's at the highest right corner, where you'd normally find a energy button or shutter launch. Up entrance there is a lens release button, which lets you swap out the included 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for any of three different suitable 1-collection optics, including a 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 ($250), 10mm f/2.8 "pancake" lens ($250), or a 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6, which can be our lens of alternative if it price, say, a 3rd of its $750 MSRP. Oh, and don't be fooled by those focal lengths -- Nikon opted to avoid including the CX sensor's 2.7x multiplication factor, making that final lens comparable to a different manufacturer's 27-270mm, for instance. The digital camera itself is constructed nearly totally of plastic, but it nonetheless feels quite sturdy. You most likely will not want to drop it on the street or even a football subject, as you'll have managed to do with one in every of Nikon's pro-level DSLRs, however we do not see it falling apart or even chipping with heavy use. We tossed the digicam in the primary compartment of a messenger bag (with the tiny lens cap attached, in fact), and didn't notice any markings. The J1 is small and light sufficient to wear comfortably round your neck, however we opted to keep it out of sight as a rule, if solely to avoid the vibrant white finish attracting awkward stares. We actually weren't blown away by the J1's performance. That $650 value tag may indicate excellent, at all times constant taking pictures, but that just wasn't the case. Instead, we found a camera that did fairly nicely when capturing beneath a vivid solar, but typically had trouble choosing the proper white stability, exposing and focusing in dim mild. Nikon designed this digicam for much less superior photographers -- those making the soar from level-and-shoots to ILCs -- so we left a lot of the settings untouched during our take a look at interval (after disabling the annoying and pointless beep), contemplating many future J1 homeowners will in all probability keep on with minor changes, staying away from things like manual white balance and publicity compensation. We were, nonetheless, impressed with the J1's capability to capture sharp, smooth and vibrant video -- among the time. We shot night time scenes, a difficult pyrotechnics/fireworks display, and in vivid sunlight. Sadly, as you'll see within the clip under, some circumstances introduced a challenge for the camera when it came to focusing and publicity, not to say the bizarre flickering that we often skilled, regardless of shutter pace (we reached out to Nikon relating to this concern and are awaiting remark). Update: The flickering subject that we experienced was on account of our failure to regulate the flicker reduction settings after arriving in Japan. Click here for extra detail, and an up to date pattern video. Surprisingly, the camera affords full manual control while taking pictures video, letting you modify the aperture, shutter velocity -- even the ISO sensitivity -- earlier than capturing each HD and gradual movement movies. Manual management may be tough when taking pictures video if you pan between scenes with varying brightness in a single clip, however aperture priority is an possibility as nicely, and the J1 can compensate by adjusting ISO in this mode. The digicam may also seize high-res stills whereas shooting video. However you are restricted to 15 stills per video clip (you can reset the counter however stopping and resuming your recording), and the pictures you snap in video mode might be captured in 16:9 format. There's additionally a pair of front-mounted mics for stereo audio capture. Perhaps our favorite J1 feature is its silent capturing. Because the digital camera lacks a mechanical shutter (unlike its V1 sibling), you may snap photographs undetected, just as you're in a position to do with a degree and shoot. This definitely is available in helpful for photographers who desire a little bit of discretion to be able to avoid attracting the eye of their subjects. From our expertise, once more, you're going to want to opt for a extra conventional body shade -- our pattern's white end made the digicam stand out much more than an audible shutter ever may. The digital shutter additionally allows the digicam to seize an image precisely at the same moment that you press the shutter release. The mechanical shutter in traditional ILCs ends in a slight, however noticeable delay, that the J1 has managed to get rid of. It's certainly safe to conclude that the J1 photographs effectively. That's to say, it made a mighty positive subject when posing earlier than the lens of our NEX-C3. However we're extra involved with what occurs when those cameras swap roles. Sadly, many of the images we shot looked like they came from a Nikon level-and-shoot -- even perhaps a dear superzoom -- not a mid-range interchangeable lens digital camera. The camera presents a local ISO vary of 100-3200 with a "Hello 1" ISO 6400 possibility. Sadly, noise was seen not only at ISO 3200, but even creeped in at 100 as nicely. That stated, it's necessary to put the digital camera into perspective. The person base Nikon goes after right here with its J1 may not have any qualms with image quality -- pics won't seem like they came from a high-end DSLR, however J1 owners will generally be capable of shoot the pictures they're aiming to seize, albeit at a barely lesser quality than some competing models. We were usually unimpressed with the J1's efficiency, however it is powerful to argue that designers did not put important thought into Nikon's new ILCs. There are 4 primary taking pictures modes, all controlled utilizing a devoted dial on the rear. You will possible spend the majority of your time shooting within the familiar nonetheless picture mode, marked by a green digicam icon. From there you may choose between 5 publicity modes, including Scene Auto Selector, programmed auto, shutter-precedence, aperture-priority and guide. There's a Uncooked possibility when taking pictures in still photo mode as effectively. Nothing too fancy. Once you flip that most important mode dial, however, things get pretty fascinating. There is a wavy icon representing Motion Snapshot mode. This feature lets you capture one-second silent clips to pair with each picture, along with an audio theme (Magnificence, Waves, Relaxation and Tenderness). Then it presents the video with a 16:9 nonetheless, captured simultaneously. Once you go to view your photo, that video clip plays in gradual movement (one second turns into two), together with the audio theme you chose earlier than you hit the shutter launch. Stills and vids appear together when performed again on the camera, but are captured as two separate recordsdata (one .MOV and one .JPG) with the same identify -- in order that they're simple to search out when shopping your SD card from a pc. Subsequent up is Sensible Photo Selector. As its name implies, this mode allows the camera to snap a handful of consecutive pictures of your topic, then determine the frame that is not solely sharpest, however that also offers one of the best composition. Because of the camera's silent electronic shutter, you won't have to deal with a rapid-hearth shutter sound both. This function is particularly useful for taking pictures in low light, or if you have a moving topic. Nonetheless, we most well-liked to use the extra acquainted handbook or aperture-precedence shooting modes, which presents the best stage of management for superior shooters. We have already provided an overview of the HD video seize options, which include 1080/30p, 1080/60i and 720/60p with H.264 compression. The J1 presents a few distinctive sluggish movement modes as nicely, although, including a bizarrely wide 8:3 (think 16:6, not 16:9) sluggish movement mode that snaps up to five seconds of 640 x 240-pixel video at 400 fps, played again at 29.Ninety seven fps. And if you do not thoughts tiny video clips, you possibly can bump that video capture speed all the way up to a whopping 1,200 fps at 320 x 120-pixel res. You possibly can shoot for up to 5 seconds in that mode as well, which will net you a whopping three minutes and 20 seconds of footage. It isn't fairly, however it gets the job completed. Nikon completely redesigned its person interface for its 1 cameras, making it intuitive enough for newbies to navigate without digging by a handbook. The menu is divided into choices for playback, seize, and system settings. You'll solely see choices relevant to the current capturing mode -- you can't modify still photograph resolution whereas in video mode, for example. Positive, it isn't superb for altering a handful of settings at once, since you will want to leap between modes, but it surely actually helps to maintain issues easy. As we mentioned earlier, there are a wide range of dedicated buttons, so you will actually only need to jump into the main menu to make top-degree changes. If you are a diehard Nikon fan who absolutely will not consider a camera from another manufacturer, then you might want to jump previous this part. Nonetheless, extra cheap customers will definitely wish to learn on. If the J1 had made it to market two or three years ago, we would have stated, palms-down, this is the digital camera that you must personal. Luckily, we now have a selection of wonderful options -- perhaps none as sleek because the J1, however we would not go so far as to name any of the competing fashions ugly. If image quality is more important than appears to be like, superior photographers will most likely want to go looking elsewhere. 650 is a lot to spend on any digicam, and when you consider that Sony's NEX-C3 is promoting for the exact same price (and is offered now), that has been, and still stays, our first choice. The C3 excels in nearly each area -- professional-degree management, color and exposure accuracy, and overall picture high quality -- although the J1 does provide just a few unique and intelligent options, together with slow-movement shooting and Motion Snapshot, together with that silent shutter. So does that make this digital camera a detailed second? Sadly, not by a protracted shot. That title would go to the Olympus E-P3, which presents class-main focus speeds and consistent efficiency. Nikon's new ILC is more class competitive with, say, the novice-pleasant Panasonic GF-3 or Pentax's Q (though we haven't but had an opportunity to thoroughly test the latter). We really wanted to like the Nikon J1 -- we've actually waited long sufficient for it. So can you blame us for building up some great expectations? Sadly, this isn't the digicam we were hoping for. From a spread of colorful physique options to the cutesy advertising and marketing video playing at in-store displays, it is clear that the company is aiming to make the mirrorless category extra mainstream, whereas maybe overlooking the desires and wishes of its loyal skilled and advanced newbie customer base. That mentioned, we can nonetheless see the J1 being a giant hit, and would even consider recommending it to a few choose friends and members of the family, if it weren't for that $650 price tag. This camera would be a more affordable choice at, say, $499 -- especially if Nikon opted to throw in two lenses -- however until that happens, it is troublesome to suggest the J1 as a high choose even for inexperienced persons. For now, we're simply going to have to simply accept that the Nikon ILC of our dreams has yet to arrive, as we hold on to our credit cards and keep on waiting. Replace: We previously experienced a mysterious flickering subject while recording video. Nikon instructed that we may not have modified the flicker discount settings before testing the digicam in Japan. While the United States makes use of 60Hz current, Japan and many different countries in Asia and Europe use 50Hz current, and an adjustment is commonly wanted to compensate for this difference, which is especially apparent with fluorescent lighting. We've added an updated video clip below, and apologize for the oversight. This situation was not factored into our assessment, however, so no additional modifications are needed. All merchandise recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial staff, impartial of our guardian firm. A few of our tales include affiliate hyperlinks. If you buy one thing through one of these links, we might earn an affiliate fee.

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