Nikon hits the mark in the mirrorless category

shot at a Battle of the Bands, shared @

What is it? Read on……

Nikon has introduced a completely new system geared for a specific market: the 1 Series.
First of all, let’s make an analogy : You probably know people that bought an excellent piece of tech gear that has every possible option, and it would be so much better if they knew how to take advantage of it all. But they don’t. And that’s ok.
Honestly, we talk to people all the time about what camera to buy and it really gets down to what you need it for.

So, the main requests from the general public are:
• No lag shutter. The push and wait of so many compact cameras make people crazy. They are tired of missing the shots with the kids sports team, or the first steps, or the candle blowing on the birthday cake.
• Shooting HD video in one camera, so when it’s needed, no reason to pull a separate camcorder out.
• How about a little less red-eye with the flash?
• DSLR’s look cool, but lugging it around, even with just a kit lens, is bulky. And may be a little intimidating,
• Sometimes too many options cause you to make the simplest exposure choice: auto.

Nikon heard, listened, and came back with the Nikon 1 series
After shooting with this camera for about a month, we declare this a big win for Nikon.

Nikon knows their market, and designed this camera for the photographer who wanted to keep things simple in a small package, but had enough options under the hood when you felt the need to customize.

They kept the exposure wheel options simple. 4 choices: movie, stills, best shot, and motion snapshot.
Honestly, as we walked around LA with this camera, the comment from most folks, other than the cool white color, was the simplicity of the buttons.

You can slide into each one, and use the “F” button on top as one way to quickly make some additional choices.
In still mode, while it does choose the best exposure for you, We do recommend choosing your own shutter speed as in Continous or Electronic so you never miss a shot again. With an incredibly fast auto-focus, the Nikon shutter here virtually eliminates the complaint of missed shots.
Remember, it will blast off a ton of images, but the one you need will be in there.

In the best shot selector mode, the camera shoots 10, keeps 5, and then picks, what it considers the best. It’s based on blinks, movement, etc.
We didn’t always agree what the best shot was, and thankfully you can go into the camera playback, see what the choices are, and select a different best shot. Whew!
In the first use of that feature, we ended up downloading a ton of images that we didn’t want, so if you can edit in camera, you may save some time.

At the top of this page is an example one of the coolest features: Motion Snapshot. This unique photo, capturing a moment in time plus, can be shared on Facebook, twitter, et al, for a very different way of sharing.
While reviewing this camera, we used Nikon software for editing and the motion snapshot was able to be exported with music for download.
The camera has 4 choices of a sound track, which we feel will be expanded with time. Should be, at least.

With easy one button video record, (a nice, clear, red button)

you are in and out of record easily. No menus to dig through for great quality full HD @ 1080p.
When the kid is on the ball field, after you nailed the action in stills with the fast shutter, you’ll easily move into video.
We played with the slow motion and, while it was fun, felt you should set up specific ways to highlight the effect, like water droplets.
The limit of a 5 sec. extreme slo-mo clip made the option a nice, but specific use feature.

The pop up flash gave enough height to almost eliminate red-rye, although there was a side issue: in party shots, after dancing the night away, people tend to be a little bit…um…sweaty. The flash seems to hit that moisture and show it in all it’s glory. Maybe some diffusion is needed.

Overall we feel that this camera is a perfect family camera, with ease of use, small size, lens choices, and unique sharing capabilities.

And if you already are in the Nikon family, your lenses will be able to fit with an optional adapter

In the field of all of the mirrorless options, the Nikon J1 is a perfect solution for the general user market. You can still go in deeper for more controls.
It comes in a variety of colors, which also lets you know the market this is intended for.

For the more sophisticated photographer, we recommend going to the next level of the 1 System, the V1:

Have a look at this video we shot at the last PhotoPlus Expo, with Steve Heiner of Nikon, showing some of the features of both.

Want a little more info on the way this really works?

Check out one of our favorite things from Nikon, the Digitutor. This will give you a step by step walk though the operation of the camera as if you had just purchased one.

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