Nikon 1 System J1 Review

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Nikon 1 System J1 Conclusion

One more time – if image quality is your number one criterion for judging a camera, you’d best look elsewhere. Not to say the Nikon 1 image quality is bad – it’s not. Most of the other compact system cameras are better, though. Action is the number one priority for the Nikon 1 system. If you want a compact, interchangeable lens camera with revolutionary (that’s right – revolutionary) auto focus performance and speed, then the Nikon J1 and V1 are your only real choices. I was blown away by the action photography and video performance of the Nikon J1. It rivals, and even exceeds the auto focus and burst capabilities of Nikon’s $5000 D3s professional digital SLR. And for action video, the J1 – or better yet – the Nikon V1 paired with the 10-100mm Nikkor power zoom lens can’t be beat. I expect to see that kit showing up in the backpacks of lots of professional action sports videographers in the next year.

I heartily recommend the J1 to families who want to take pictures and videos of their active kids and pets. I also recommend it to action sports photographers who want a small, capable camera they can throw in their hydration pack when they don’t want to carry the full DSLR rig. I’ve already been recommending the Nikon J1 and V1 to mountain biker friends who ask about a camera to carry on their bike. Right now there’s nothing that can compete for a compact, high-performance action sports camera kit.

Nikon J1 - front with 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens

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All photos copyright John Shafer and/or

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Nigel Cummings says:

    I bought a V1 kit on a whim, fully expecting to use it only as a ‘snapshot’ camera as I thought the 10MPixel sensor would be a touch limiting- I am a Pro using D300s and D7000 DSLR bodies- but a thought occurred to me, its not that long ago that I was using D200 DSLRS for my ‘Pro’ work, so, would it be possible to get similar levels of quality from the V1 when used in a ‘Pro’ situation? The answer is yes, I carried a V1 along with me on several assignments as a ‘back up’ camer and quickly found I was appreciating its speed and more significantly compactness and lack of weight for capturing quality images. On the down side the current flash option for the V1 is a little weak (Nikon please note)- but the 1 series cameras are in my opinion, not to be discounted as ‘prosumer’ or ‘advanced amateur’s’ cameras – they really can deliver!
    Flippantly I guess, I tried a number of lenses on the V1 body via the F-Mount adapter option, from my collection of Nikon lenses. Whilst it looked a bit odd, the 18-200mm VR11 allowed me to grab some ‘tack sharp’ images whilst providing me with a colossal 48-540mm (equivalent) zoom range. My 60mm f2.8 Micro lens turned into a fast, ultra sharp 162mm optic too, whilst my 85mm f1.4 became a 230mm f1.4 which has proved to be a dream lens for stage and low light telephotography! Great Work Nikon! I’m looking forward to the next generation of your ‘Series 1 offerings’!

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for the great comments, Nigel! There are a lot of naysayers with the new Nikon mirrorless system, but as you can see in my review, I was very impressed with it. Please write a review for your V1 in our user reviews section! I think your review would be our first for the V1 and if it’s a good one I may make it a Featured User Review. I’d also love to see some pictures of your big Nikkors on the V1. Post some photos in our Nikon forum! Here’s a link to the Nikon V1 user review page:

    Thanks again for posting a comment and thanks in advance for your V1 review! :-)

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