You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
K E Hoffman
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You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
10 months ago

My daughter had been using a Konica-Minolta 5D.  It was too big and no live view.

She is 10 yrs. old.

So this Holiday some deals on a Nikon J1 came up. It lists for $600 on their site.

It's a Nikon (I shoot Sony but have lots of respect for Nikon )

Interchangeable lenses.. $190!!! What's not to like!

OMG!

This thing is a User Interface disaster!  One reason I got her the camera was I am teaching a class at her school on Photography.  It is geared towards P&S cameras which is what most of the 5th and 6th graders have.

So we don't talk about RAW shutter speeds and apertures.. We talk about choosing interesting shots.. lighting and using scene modes.

This J1 has NONE!!!  It goes from Brainless Auto (which isn't very good.) To standard DLSR Modes like ASPM...

No place for the learner to take some simple control of the camera..

Problem is she named it "Cammy"   I tried to explain my concerns.. but its named. IT isn't going back.

The capability of the camera is great.. Good Optics and Sensor (that is what looked at before buying)  It never occurred to me that a camera at this level would not have scene modes or some creative features she could play with.

Dad will have to fill in the gaps when the other kids are shooting in a scene mode..

My first Nikon in over a decade and I have to say.. they blew it...  This is not a friendly camera...

and it costs too much [except on Black Monday Blow out.. ] for a brainless P&S.

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

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echorower
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

Your post is the disaster! It does have automatic scene modes as noted in the user guide. I could say more but it's not worth the effort.

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NexMan
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

Are you referring to the lack of art filters etc?

There are scene modes, but it's chosen by the camera which kinda makes sense to me as if you are using scene modes in the first place (instead of P,A,S,M), isn't it implied you're expecting the camera to make everything easy for you so you can just point & shoot?

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samfan
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

Geez. One Google search would tell you everything you need to know. In fact you don't even need to leave DPReview. There's a search bar right here, on the top. All it needs is to type 1 letter and 1 number: j1 and 2 clicks to get to the review.

Also, doesn't it make more sense to teach photography by teaching to select the proper aperture and shutter rather then the difference between portrait and landscape modes?

Hey if you don't like the J1, send it my way... I'll take care of that disaster.

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nakeyboy
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

Good! Start them off properly! Auto or PASM =] I'm kidding...

Looking at it, it does seem odd that the J1 only had Auto and PASM rather than other scene modes. the J2, J3, S1 and AW1 have selectable scene modes. I haven't checked the V series...

Given you're doing a P&S course, why not pick a P&S to start off with? As a camera orientated family, We've contemplated giving the Coolpix S31 to our daughter, but decided against it given her age (8 months.. she's too busy Teething and om-noming on my AW1) and the AW1 will be sufficiently robust for her when she does start taking photos.

Look on the bright side: Daddy-Daughter special time learning PASM =]

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K E Hoffman
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to echorower, 10 months ago

echorower wrote:

Your post is the disaster! It does have automatic scene modes as noted in the user guide. I could say more but it's not worth the effort.

If you read the post vs attacking you would see that Scene modes the camera chooses do nothing. Why even "have them" just say AUTO MODE.

If the user can't choose a scene.. or override them why even expose them to the UI?  So the user can see it chose the wrong one?  but you can't do something to change it or to show how "smart the camera is?"

Why not give the users the option that almost every other camera with "scene modes" does and let you choose what you want.

Say you are shooting sports and it keeps choosing portrait... How would the user change that? OR maybe you want to shoot sports in portrait mode to get a different effect like motion blur.

They can't

So now they have to go from;

I know its choosing wrong... or choosing what I don't want

To OK That would be F3.2 at 1/100 etc etc.

NO INBETWEEN of CONTROL.

The Sony A77 does that a bit.. there are a few scene modes that only get used in AUTO buy the camera.. but you still have access to the basic set.   I don't use them so it was an oddity.. but What it means is that an advanced DSLR is easer for an aware user to use than a Nikon J1...

Heck 5 years ago Sony put in some very friendly menus in their entry level DSLRs .. the techies complained.. but this camera would really benefit from some USER FRIENDLY UI.. It sort of feels like they just cut features.. to get it out the door.

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

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K E Hoffman
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to NexMan, 10 months ago

NexMan wrote:

Are you referring to the lack of art filters etc?

Those would be fun for her.. but not a real loss in my book.. I has Monochrome which I use in the class so we are covered.

There are scene modes, but it's chosen by the camera which kinda makes sense to me as if you are using scene modes in the first place (instead of P,A,S,M), isn't it implied you're expecting the camera to make everything easy for you so you can just point & shoot?

It doesn't make sense.. If you want to start to try different things.  Like try motion with a slower shutter scene mode.. which is a creative exercise I do in my class.

Its CAMERA is master OR you better know what you are doing.. not much in between.

Anyone ever do a hack firmware for these?

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

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K E Hoffman
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to samfan, 10 months ago

samfan wrote:

Geez. One Google search would tell you everything you need to know. In fact you don't even need to leave DPReview. There's a search bar right here, on the top. All it needs is to type 1 letter and 1 number: j1 and 2 clicks to get to the review.

Also, doesn't it make more sense to teach photography by teaching to select the proper aperture and shutter rather then the difference between portrait and landscape modes?

Its an art class.. the idea is to teach them to move past snapshots.. new angles etc.

Also when you have 12 different point and shoots with 12 different menu systems.. and 10-11 yr olds Finding manual / semi manual settings is not easy.. even on the J12.. without a manual how would I help a kid find the shutter speed change control (the magnification toggle? really?)

Many of the cameras only have scene modes.

Hey if you don't like the J1, send it my way... I'll take care of that disaster.

Again.. she named it.. if I were sending it anywhere it would go back to the store.

Problem is the guts of the camera.. are really nice Nikon Quality.. too bad the user interface is so poor... Highschool programming project quality.. menus and oddly mapped buttons.

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

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Sparky Whiskers
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

While I admit that I come from old school film cameras. The one thing that frustrates me with the  Nikon one system is the features that you claim don't exist. I am not against those features. They are just not for me. I find them to be the only features that I actually have to read the manual for and cant believe that somebody would actually use them when they would be appropriate. Not to mention when I accidently turn the knob and cant figure out what happened to my camera. I have to say right here that I love the Nikon 1 System. Contrary to many on this forum. I am not a purist I still use auto modes more then I care to admit. But you should be teaching pure manual modes. specially in the digital age.

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samfan
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

Okay, we all know about N1's quirks but you really need to only blame yourself for not coming here prior to purchasing.

I'll never understand why people just blindly buy something because the brand is the same that they've been using ages ago. Happens quite often with Nikon. "Hey I bought this Nikon D40/D3000/D5200 and it doesn't focus my lenses!" "Hey I bought this Nikon J1 and it doesn't have scene modes!". It's silly.

Regardless, the best you can do is embrace the strengths of the camera and teach your daughter something more valuable than just crappy scene modes. Moving past snapshots? Aperture priority is the best thing for that. Your mistake might just as well be the best thing that happened to her in this area. I'd rather teach kids how to select exposure than instagram filters.

Also, how about...  You know, composition, photographic vision and stuff.

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samfan
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

Also, let's not forget what you can do with those high-speed modes - 60 fps photos and 400/1200 fps video.

Just spin a coin on the table and let her shoot.

Let the kid run wild.

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K E Hoffman
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to samfan, 10 months ago

samfan wrote:

Okay, we all know about N1's quirks but you really need to only blame yourself for not coming here prior to purchasing.

I'll never understand why people just blindly buy something because the brand is the same that they've been using ages ago. Happens quite often with Nikon. "Hey I bought this Nikon D40/D3000/D5200 and it doesn't focus my lenses!" "Hey I bought this Nikon J1 and it doesn't have scene modes!". It's silly.

Regardless, the best you can do is embrace the strengths of the camera and teach your daughter something more valuable than just crappy scene modes. Moving past snapshots? Aperture priority is the best thing for that. Your mistake might just as well be the best thing that happened to her in this area. I'd rather teach kids how to select exposure than instagram filters.

Can't disagree with your post.. I was shopping in quick mode and assumed some basics on a camera of this range. based on the cameras it has to compete with.

It was Black Friday.. (I have lost deals on things in the past doing my normal research pattern witch can take hours..)

So I checked out the DPR image quality that which is great for this size of camera.

I looked at a quick list of features.. saw "Scene Modes"

Didn't take the time to dig on and find out more like scene modes you can't actually use...

Ya I credited Nikon with building a Bridge Camera system that had a feature set common to P&S and DSLRs in the similar range.. Won't be doing that again..

And yes.. since she likes it beause it is white and it has a name and Dad got it for her.. and I know the actual core is Nikon level.. I will work with her.. to get past the things in class her camera can't do as easily. In the long run she can do more.. once I teach her.. but its not a friendly UI.. at all.

When I teach this class I have kids come in with Casio, Samsung, Kodak. Nikon, Canon.. etc. And I have to figure it out on the fly to help them do the exercise.. IF the J1 camera walked in without a manual.. I would be stuck given the short time I have to jump from camera to camera And many of them have no manual modes one can get to easily if at all.

Don't dis the scene modes as crappy. Heck a dozen cameras with dozen different sensor sizes etc.

Portrait gives them a narrower Depth of field then we talk about getting better portraits by talking with the subject.. making them laugh vs "say Cheese" Sports mode.. turn it on.. go see if you can freeze your friends jumping.. for stop action..

OK now lets put the camera in landscape mode.. and follow the runner while shooting and see if we can blur the legs and back ground by not freezing motion.. etc. Having 12 kids with different camera its easier to start with modes vs the Aperature / Shutter speed / ISO relationship.. that bores them .. scene modes get them shooting and they start to play with the camera and try new things...

We are talking 5th graders of varying levels.. I don't get to grab the faster learners only.. I get some kids who are just getting buy and I want them to get something out of the class.

And its only 8 total  sessions.. in the semester for a volunteer elective

But my Lumia 928 has a better camera interface. and my A77 is more user friendly to someone wanting to move just a bit out of Total Auto but not into full Photographer mode. I have since read some reviews and agree.. Nikon missed a chance here..

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

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Sparky Whiskers
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to samfan, 10 months ago

I agree! That is one of the features that I wish I was more kid like. I admit that one of the reasons that I don't use the high speed modes is the lack of quality. But they are sure a lot of fun!

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K E Hoffman
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to samfan, 10 months ago

samfan wrote:

Also, let's not forget what you can do with those high-speed modes - 60 fps photos and 400/1200 fps video.

Just spin a coin on the table and let her shoot.

Let the kid run wild.

We will do that on our own.. that will be fun.. we don't do video in the class...

I did some slow motion tonight of her jumping she did like that..  Will try the coin spinning thing during the day when we have good light for highspeed.

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samfan
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

K E Hoffman wrote:

Portrait gives them a narrower Depth of field then we talk about getting better portraits by talking with the subject.. making them laugh vs "say Cheese" Sports mode.. turn it on.. go see if you can freeze your friends jumping.. for stop action..

One reason why I don't like scene modes is that they're unreliable and undocumented. If you assume the camera manufacturers make reasonable decisions and make sports modes with fast shutter speed and portrait modes with open apertures, you'd be wrong. More often than not, all portrait mode does is to blur the image a little to make the skin appear smoother and cameras are often not shy of selecting 1/15s shutter @ 200mm focal in 'sports' mode. Just... all crap. Of course, many p&s these days only have the simplest cheapest shutters and no apertures at all, so the control is limited regardless.

Of course, in your situation there isn't a good solution. Well apart from making portraits with a long focal length (really, portrait mode be damned) but you know that.

BTW think the J1 is hard to figure out? Try some Fuji P&S EXR cameras. The worst mess ever. A table of relationships between various 'modes' spread across 3 pages.

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K E Hoffman
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to samfan, 10 months ago

samfan wrote:

K E Hoffman wrote:

Portrait gives them a narrower Depth of field then we talk about getting better portraits by talking with the subject.. making them laugh vs "say Cheese" Sports mode.. turn it on.. go see if you can freeze your friends jumping.. for stop action..

One reason why I don't like scene modes is that they're unreliable and undocumented. If you assume the camera manufacturers make reasonable decisions and make sports modes with fast shutter speed and portrait modes with open apertures, you'd be wrong. More often than not, all portrait mode does is to blur the image a little to make the skin appear smoother and cameras are often not shy of selecting 1/15s shutter @ 200mm focal in 'sports' mode. Just... all crap. Of course, many p&s these days only have the simplest cheapest shutters and no apertures at all, so the control is limited regardless.

Of course, in your situation there isn't a good solution. Well apart from making portraits with a long focal length (really, portrait mode be damned) but you know that.

BTW think the J1 is hard to figure out? Try some Fuji P&S EXR cameras. The worst mess ever. A table of relationships between various 'modes' spread across 3 pages.

I will keep that in mind on the Fuji

Good point in the Scene Modes.. not much the really cheap cameras can do.. with DOF anyway.

I got her firmware all updated and spent some time with it after she was asleep.

I think it will serve her well.. much better no scene modes than no manual controls out side of class I can spend the time to teach her.  Just dealing with resetting my expectations. (and assumptions)

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

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18diopters
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J1 did not disappoint this dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

K E Hoffman wrote:

Interchangeable lenses.. $190!!! What's not to like!

OMG!

This thing is a User Interface disaster!

This J1 has NONE!!! It goes from Brainless Auto (which isn't very good.) To standard DLSR Modes like ASPM...

This is not a friendly camera...

and it costs too much [except on Black Monday Blow out.. ] for a brainless P&S.

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

I recently bought the J1 for my 6 year old son. I was frustrated with all the motion blur images and overall poor quality images from his current P&S camera. I find the brainless auto in the J1 to be terrific and very kid friendly. I especially liked how the camera automatically senses portraits and immediately turns on face detection and object tracking. Not to mention the awesome AF, VR and fast continuous shooting. To me, this means clear images even in the hands of a hyper kid who completely disregards any proper picture taking technique.

I understand your issue with the lack of scene modes. However, I find that my son would inadvertently change the scenes in his Panasonic P&S and end up shooting the entire session on the wrong scene setting - the candlelight setting, for instance.

There are a few characteristics of the J1 that is not really kid friendly. For starters, it is a very heavy camera for a kid. Luckily it does come with a neck strap. Another, kid inconvenience is the fact that you have to turn the lens to engage the camera upon start-up. Also, the flash is not completely automatic - like in a p&S. You have to physically raise the flash - which I am certain he will forget to do.

Like you said, "$190!!! What's not to like!". When he is ready, I think my son will grow into a much better photographer with this camera and all its other functions. Much more than merely knowing how to change the scenes on a P&S camera. A class of camera that may not even exist in 5-10 years when he really gets serious.  I was never a great P&S shooter. But to me all those scene modes all seem to be relativity the same. Same look with everything in focus and no subject separation.  Except for long exposure and a few others of course.

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mlewan
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to K E Hoffman, 10 months ago

There must be something I'm missing. Your point is that the camera is a "user interface disaster" because it lacks one particular function?

And the function you are looking for is scene modes as in "portrait", "landscape", "child", "candlelight", "blossom", and so on?

And you are actually teaching people about these scene modes?

I thought each camera with scene modes had their own selection of modes and their own interpretation of what it means. I could imagine some manufacturer boasting high ISO for a "sunset" scene mode and another low shutter speed and a third pushing the ev value down to get the effects they consider pleasing.

But I'm no expert on scene modes. They always frightened me, as I never figured out what they actually do. I have owned a dozen of digital cameras in my life, and I never dared going close to any scene modes.

I realise they may be fun for children, but I'm surprised to learn that they may be actually useful for children.

As you seem very keen on scene modes, could you not just point out to your daughter that her excellent camera chooses scene mode for her automatically, when in automatic mode, and point to the portrait, landscape, night portrait or close up icons in the display as described in the manual, page 21?

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Nung
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to samfan, 10 months ago

I think you need to teach your little girl composition rather then scene mode or PSAM or whatever. You'd get great result if you can choose your subject right and compose the picture properly rather then messing around with just different scene mode.

If you have great composition, even a blurry picture would look better and have more feel to it than a sharp poorly composed picture.

Btw, your whining about the N1 is about 2 years late. There is nothing more that hasn't been said already. I tend to think, if you can learn and use the strength of this camera, it is one of the best around.

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mlewan
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Re: You can't return it once it is named... J1 Disapoints a Dad
In reply to Nung, 10 months ago

Nung wrote:

Btw, your whining about the N1 is about 2 years late. There is nothing more that hasn't been said already.

Personally, I had never seen anyone complain about the lack of scene modes (which actually are applied automatically) and claiming that that made it a "User Interface disaster". That's definitely a new one to me.

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