Switching to Nikon J1 - maybe

Started Nov 30, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Switching to Nikon J1 - maybe
Nov 30, 2011

I admit I was one of those people who scoffed at the Nikon 1 series cameras when they were announced. Small sensor, toy-like appearance, strange and limited controls, too expensive. I've been fairly happy with my NX10, but I've been missing so many shots of my 1-year-old daughter that I decided to try something that might fit my needs better.

To my surprise, I've now bought a Nikon J1 after a test run in the store and first impressions are excellent.

Here's what I still prefer about the NX10:

  • better dynamic range

  • occasionally prefer shallow depth of field

  • nice handling and controls

  • 30mm lens is one of the best I've used

  • higher resolution provides more leeway for cropping

Here's what I prefer about the J1:

  • images are sharper with zoom lenses which I prefer to use

  • high-ISO noise is actually (and surprisingly) BETTER despite the smaller sensor. There isn't much less noise, but it's less blotchy and looks more like traditional film noise.

  • auto-focus is phenomenal in all but very dim light

  • 10 fps shooting with accurate autofocus for every shot

  • RAW files are small and don't slow the camera down

  • the body and lens combo is really compact

  • image stabilization is amazing, much better than Samsung's lenses

  • usually prefer larger depth of field for the shooting I do (moving kids, macro, landscapes), and there's just enough background blur control when I really want it

  • 30-110 lens (roughly equivalent to 50-200 Samsung) is much smaller

  • video mode is just superb. I'm using 720p 60fps and it is sharp, smooth, good in low-light, and has the best auto-focus I have seen in a compact camera. It actually lets me film my daughter moving around without focus hunting

I always thought I really needed a camera with lots of traditional controls and a large sensor, but I love the shots I'm getting with the J1 and it's been a pleasure to use most of the time. I've been shocked at how good the RAW image quality is despite the smaller sensor, and the overall speed of operation is unparalleled.

To be honest, if I was photographing more static scenes or portraits, I'd keep using the NX10, but the J1 lets me capture family snapshots and video like no other camera I've ever used, along with the odd day of close-ups, landscapes, and street shooting.

I really thought the Nikon 1 was a bit of a dud when first announced. It's not going to be for everyone, but for a lot of semi-serious family photographers out there, it may just be the best camera on the market.

Nikon 1 J1 Samsung NX10
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