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Body & Design: Nikon 1 J1

The J1's size and form-factor resemble its compact camera-inspired rivals like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and Olympus PEN E-PM1. The rounded contours along the J1's front facing edges speak to a sleek, stylish aesthetic that also serves to draw attention away from its relatively boxy rear plate. Leaving little doubt as to its intended audience, the J1 is available in no less than five body and lens colors. Neither of the Nikon 1 cameras offers touchscreen capability or an articulated LCD, two features that are becoming more common in the mirrorless market.

Compared to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and Olympus E-PM1

The J1, while including a large portion of the features seen its larger sibling, the V1, does away with an EVF, resulting in a body size that is comparable to its Micro Four Thirds competition. Below, we compare it to the entry-level mirrorless offerings from both Panasonic and Olympus.

The J1 eschews both the sleek curvature of the Panasonic GF3 as well as any sort of hand grip. The J1 has slightly smaller dimensions in both width and height. The compact size of the J1's kit lens makes for a significantly less bulky combination.
Front a front view, the J1 is almost imperceptibly wider than the E-PM1 but is noticeably shorter. Neither camera has a hand grip, opting instead for a more compact camera-like smooth front plate. While the J1 has a visibly thicker body, its collapsible kit lens gives it a smaller footprint than the E-PM1.

Body elements

The J1 has a pop-up flash positioned close to the edge of the camera that rises 35mm from the top of the lens. The flash is rated with a guide number of 5m at ISO 100.
An infrared receiver on the front of the camera is used in conjunction with the optional ML-L3 wireless remote.
The flash switch is located on the left side of the J1 above the screen.
Along the top of the camera plate sit the power switch, shutter release and movie record button. The latter is positioned flush with the camera body to minimize accidental operation.
At the bottom of the camera sits an integrated control dial and four dedicated buttons.
The camera's ports are housed behind a flexible plastic flap. The J1 offers an HDMI and USB connection.
The J1 ships with the EN-EL20 battery which carries a CIPA rating of approximately 230 still images.

The memory card slot sits beneath the battery, and accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC types.
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I own it
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I had it
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I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 5

I have 2 V1s — one bought in USA and one in Malaysia (last year in January and April 2014) and my wife and I used it mainly for travel and nature photography (actually my wife "hijacked" my V1+FT mount+70-300mm combo so I got another mainly using the FT+80-400mm). We were quite happy with its performance as we had to travel light and quickly shoot whatever that we liked until the beginning of this year — the LCD monitor completely went off both cameras. Repairing it would be expensive and I will continue to use it with the EVF until it too goes off. The plastic ring that holds the filter/cap has also cracked and needed some superglue. This is the main complain of most of my Nikon friends — unreliability of parts and expensive repair. Maybe it only happens in this country.


This is the most thorough in depth review of the Nikon 1 system . Wish I had seen it before I bought the V1...but it doesn't matter...I use my V1 for 2 purposes...for street photography I use the V1 with the 10mm 2.8 and I set the shutter to silent mode turn off the autofocus assist lamp...and I can be 2 feet from a subject and they are totally unaware that I am photographing is a very unobtrusive setup ...and I also like to shoot rugby...the v1 with the 30-110 on it is amazing in freezing the action...I bought this when the price really dropped...I feel very fortunate that I was able to get one...I have another mirrorless camera...the E-PM2...which I use to shoot indoor ice is another phenominal camera...I did have a nex 6 but sent it back...I just did not like the softness of the images...better lenses are coming which is what the nex system needs...but I am happy with the V1...and my Olympus Pen -mini2

1 upvote

what mode & settings do u shoot with ?

Solar Ben

I love the nose hair in the 50mm f1.8 sample pic.

Duncan Dimanche

Correction : it does not allow full shutter control in video... it is stopped at 100/1 so shooting in low light is a pain

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
Total comments: 5