Would this be a good starter?

Started 6 months ago | Questions
Preston205
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Would this be a good starter?
6 months ago

So I live in Alabama surrounded by trees and on a lake. I would love to be able to take some pictures of animals, or lake or sunset or whatever might come up mainly will be nature photography with maybe some sports or people but mainly outdoors stuff. I have never really owned a DSLR or a high end camera so to speak although I have had a few Cameras and my mom has a D90 which I have used a few times but I don't have very much experience with high end cameras.

Anyway I was looking at picking up a Nikon 1 J1 Manufacture Refurbished with a 10-30mm lens for $159 and I have looked at several reviews and stuff on it. Would that be a good camera to start with? I like it cause its light, stylish, compact and I can also buy a 30-110 or a few other lenses later if I want to.

Post any opinions on the camera and/or alternatives below along with maybe some suggestions on accessories like do I need a lens hood to start out and/or a UV Protector etc.

Links to the Camera:

Nikon 1 J1 SLR White Digital Camera w/ 10-30mm VR Lens (Refurbished)

Nikon 1 J1

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Nikon 1 J1
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WryCuda
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Preston205, 6 months ago

Firstly, it's incorrectly described as "SLR" in the advertisement. The D90, for example is an SLR.

Seems to be OK at the price. This review is overall positive:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikonv1j1/19

I wouldn't spend too much on extra lenses, filters etc. Probably a camera to get some experience with before you move on to something better. Sounds like a good camera for a younger person who doesn't want to be weighed down with a big camera.

You could consider something like a refurbished D3100 for not much more than the J1. The present-day equivalent of the D90 is something like the D7100 at about $1400, just to give you a guide.

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Preston205
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to WryCuda, 6 months ago

WryCuda wrote:

Firstly, it's incorrectly described as "SLR" in the advertisement. The D90, for example is an SLR.

Seems to be OK at the price. This review is overall positive:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikonv1j1/19

I wouldn't spend too much on extra lenses, filters etc. Probably a camera to get some experience with before you move on to something better.

You could consider something like a refurbished D3100 for not much more than the J1. The present-day equivalent of the D90 is something like the D7100 at about $1400, just to give you a guide.

I realize that it is misrepresented as an SLR it is a Mirrorless Camera with no view finder and a live preview etc.

Although I would prefer to stick with mirrorless cameras due to the compactness as well as the design factor of the J1 as well as many of the other Mirrorless cameras.

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WryCuda
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Preston205, 6 months ago

Preston205 wrote:

Although I would prefer to stick with mirrorless cameras due to the compactness as well as the design factor of the J1 as well as many of the other Mirrorless cameras.

We have a couple of compact Nikon cameras in the family and they produce good results when conditions are good. A friend has a fairly up-market Nikon compact (manual controls etc.) and I'm usually happy with the results when I prepare slide shows for her.

Just as a matter of interest, I used my wife's Nikon compact for a quick test. First a wide shot (4.5mm, equiv. 25mm) and then at maximum zoom (45mm with 4x digital zoom, equiv. 950mm).

The TV tower is 4km away. Digital zoom is not recommended, but it does demonstrate how well image stabilisation works; hand held, about 5 out of 10 were OK.

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PenPix
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Preston205, 6 months ago

The J1 is very basic compared to other mirrorless cameras on the market now.  A lack of controls meant a lot of menu diving to change settings… this was one of the major complaints about it when it was released.

The price is good considering the IQ will be better than P&S cameras that are twice the price.  An alternative would be a NEX-3 or X-M1 if you want to make a long term commitment to a body/brand with higher IQ and APS-C sized sensors.

Regardless, the J1 would be a good backup or small carry-around if you buy another system later.

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juvx
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to PenPix, 6 months ago

I would recommend a sony, fuji, olympus or panasonic mirrorless camera. Nikon and Canon are a bit behind in the mirrorless sector (although they dominate the DSLR sector). All those other companies offer superior performance, IQ and features.

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WryCuda
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In reply to WryCuda, 6 months ago

This is taken with a good DSLR and cropped to give about the same size as the previous image.

Note that some features that were previously hard to see are now quite distinct (8x array of small antennae half-way up the tower).

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l_d_allan
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Preston205, 6 months ago

Preston205 wrote:
Anyway I was looking at picking up a Nikon 1 J1 Manufacture Refurbished with a 10-30mm lens for $159 and I have looked at several reviews and stuff on it. Would that be a good camera to start with?

Looks very tempting. I had a change to use a similar S1 for several days, and was more impressed than I expected to be.

Sams's Club seems to be closing the S1 out at a near fire-sale price for $250 to two lenses. (online only, not in-club, at least for me locally)

The bundle has the smaller 11-27mm, but without VR, which greatly diminished my interest. I was impressed with the 30-100mm with VR.

You might look for a J1 bundle with the 30-100mm VR ... a bundle should be a better bargain than eventually getting the 30-100m separately. Maybe you can find it used?

BTW, the price was $169 when I looked at your link.

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K E Hoffman
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Preston205, 6 months ago

It could be.  I bought one for my 10 year daughter because of the price.  It is very lacking on medium control here.

I started off very disappointed...

It has no user selectable scene modes you can't tell it to use portrait mode etc.. But I have been surprised at how well it makes good calls with she is using it.

She was taking indoor shots of small Xmas miniatures.  Close up it got nice blurred back ground etc.

There are ways to start moving to more user control .. but you have to work for it.

But at $156 bucks its not a bad start.  as At Christmas Nikon still had it listed for $599 new on their site.

In her photography class that I volunteer teach I can tell you that the best exposures I got were oddly the J1 and an IPod Mini and one more advance P&S that looks like a little DSLR.

All the other PS in the same price ranges as this J1 refurb .. were not doing well for the kids in comparison.

You might outgrow it but for $156 you can sell it, hand it down etc and move into a better system with more lens support etc like Sony on Mirrorless or Canon, Nikon, Sony on full sized DSLRs

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Don't Panic!.. these are just opinions... go take some pictures..

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Jimmy K.
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to K E Hoffman, 6 months ago

Hi, the comparison between S6300 P&S and Nikon J1 is quite a stretch.  P&S is probably 1/2.3" sensor format vs J1's 1" sensor format.  I am not aware of many who compare these 2 classes of cameras.

Preston205:

(Disclosure: Due to my work related association, I can be biased and I usually do not make any recommendation on Nikon 1.)

I will say this.  Compare the J1 for $160-$170 versus any available camera (P&S, super zooms, bridge, etc) in similar price ranges.  You can use J1 like P&S and don't buy any additional lens or accessory; consider it a throw away in few years when you upgrade.  It can be a great value, particular price for the image quality.  You do have to figure out what is more important for you: size, zoom, image quality, etc.

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D Cox
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to PenPix, 6 months ago

PenPix wrote:

The J1 is very basic compared to other mirrorless cameras on the market now. A lack of controls meant a lot of menu diving to change settings… this was one of the major complaints about it when it was released.

The price is good considering the IQ will be better than P&S cameras that are twice the price. An alternative would be a NEX-3 or X-M1 if you want to make a long term commitment to a body/brand with higher IQ and APS-C sized sensors.

The Sony A3000 is another one to consider. The NEX 3 has been replaced by the A5000, but any of the NEX 3 or 5 series would be a good buy in slightly used condition.

Regardless, the J1 would be a good backup or small carry-around if you buy another system later.

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MarkInSF
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Preston205, 6 months ago

So I live in Alabama surrounded by trees and on a lake. I would love to be able to take some pictures of animals, or lake or sunset or whatever might come up mainly will be nature photography with maybe some sports or people but mainly outdoors stuff. I have never really owned a DSLR or a high end camera so to speak although I have had a few Cameras and my mom has a D90 which I have used a few times but I don't have very much experience with high end cameras.

Anyway I was looking at picking up a Nikon 1 J1 Manufacture Refurbished with a 10-30mm lens for $159 and I have looked at several reviews and stuff on it. Would that be a good camera to start with? I like it cause its light, stylish, compact and I can also buy a 30-110 or a few other lenses later if I want to.

Post any opinions on the camera and/or alternatives below along with maybe some suggestions on accessories like do I need a lens hood to start out and/or a UV Protector etc.

Links to the Camera:

Nikon 1 J1 SLR White Digital Camera w/ 10-30mm VR Lens (Refurbished)

Nikon 1 J1

Yes, as a starter camera it isn't so bad, especially for outdoor use. Its ultimate image quality is a step behind most other mirrorless cameras, but better than most compacts and superzooms. For a mirrorless camera it has a smaller than typical sensor, which has an effect on dynamic range and low light/high ISO shooting. It also has very simple controls, fine if you mostly will use auto modes and not change settings much. If you see yourself as a serious photographer in the future something else might be better.

Now for the good. While mostly plastic on the outside, build quality and fit and finish are good. The lenses are mostly very good to excellent, built very well, collapsing down when not in use to quite small packages. Because of the smaller sensor these lenses don't have to be as big as MFT or APS-C based cameras. The stsndard kit zooms are the least impressive of the set, but they're not much worse than the competition. If you can afford one more lens make it the 30-110mm, a remarkably fine telezoom that will be very useful for backyard wildlife, if not a bird-in-flight shot. That lens is bundled in a lot of Nikon 1 kits for an extra $100, so I suspect they can be had cheap. The serious pleasure of all the Nikon 1 models is the blazingly fast autofocus in strong light (outdoors, generally). They can lock onto a subject and track its movements far better than most mirrorless models. Great fun. The J series is unusual in only having an electronic shutter, not a mechanical one. It works well and you usually won't see any difference in results. Video is also decent, and you can shoot in a silent mode that can be very handy at events. One negative is a poor flash synch speed, but that's not critical. In dimmer light the camera switches to a different af method and the af speed plummets. It's probably not much different than other mirrorless cameras, all of which suffer from poor low light af performance, but the rapid shift from fast to slow is a bit jarring. I have a V1, big brother to the J1, but they share a lot.

If you see yourself really wanting to learn the inner workings of a camera by setting all the properties, you need a camera with better controls. Panasonic has made some models that have come down to quite low prices over the years. The pleasant GX1 is very well made and has the basics well resolved. Not many fancy extras, but a solid camera. Even better are the G5 and its similar predecessor, the G3. They offer electronic viewfinders (behind state-of-the-art), a fully articulated rear screen, and a touch screen. They are a bit chunky. So is the much improved G6. All Panasonics use the Micro Four Thirds lens standard, so there ate lots of lens choices, though many are fairly expensive. I'd stay away from older Olympus models, as most used a 12mp Panasonic sensor that is out of date by now. The Panasonics I listed use a much improved 16mp sensor. Recent Oly models have used very good Sony sensors.

Hope this helps.

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Serickmetz
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Preston205, 6 months ago

Preston205 wrote:

So I live in Alabama surrounded by trees and on a lake. I would love to be able to take some pictures of animals, or lake or sunset or whatever might come up mainly will be nature photography with maybe some sports or people but mainly outdoors stuff. I have never really owned a DSLR or a high end camera so to speak although I have had a few Cameras and my mom has a D90 which I have used a few times but I don't have very much experience with high end cameras.

Anyway I was looking at picking up a Nikon 1 J1 Manufacture Refurbished with a 10-30mm lens for $159 and I have looked at several reviews and stuff on it. Would that be a good camera to start with? I like it cause its light, stylish, compact and I can also buy a 30-110 or a few other lenses later if I want to.

Post any opinions on the camera and/or alternatives below along with maybe some suggestions on accessories like do I need a lens hood to start out and/or a UV Protector etc.

Links to the Camera:

Nikon 1 J1 SLR White Digital Camera w/ 10-30mm VR Lens (Refurbished)

Nikon 1 J1

Sadly I feel this camera would leave you with a bad impression of photography for being a starter camera. You should venture into something better.

Don't buy crap unless you can afford to wipe it clean.

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WryCuda
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Re: Would this be a good starter?
In reply to Jimmy K., 6 months ago

Jimmy K. wrote:

Hi, the comparison between S6300 P&S and Nikon J1 is quite a stretch. P&S is probably 1/2.3" sensor format vs J1's 1" sensor format. I am not aware of many who compare these 2 classes of cameras.

Not really a comparison, just an indication of what you get for about the same money with a compact Nikon which might be an alternative choice.

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