Notes: I’ve always wanted a white camera. 🙂 There was this Robotech-esque looking Minolta back in the day, and currently Pentax makes an entry level SLR fit for a Stormtrooper.
Added yet another camera to the fleet, the new Nikon 1 J1. A lot of noise has been made about this camera, since it’s Nikon’s first foray into the market sector of small mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Everyone was expecting a larger sensor, and it’s missing this and that, but I think we are in the age of “good enough.” Cameras are meant to be used, and every tool out there has some strength over another.
There are plenty of resources out there that can inform consumers on sensor sizes and checklist features, but the reasons I personally wanted this camera are:
- It’s silent. Mirrorless doesn’t automatically mean a camera won’t have a loud mechanical shutter. This Nikon only has an electronic shutter. This can come in handy during wedding ceremonies, stage performances, and speakers at the podium. (The more expensive older brother the V1 has a selectable mechanical shutter of 1/250 sec for flash purposes) The Micro 4/3 cameras from Olympus and Panasonic are great cameras, but there’s no reason why they should ever make the “klacking” noise. The Sony NEX series also have a noticeable shutter.
- The autofocus is very quick. Seeing the continuous AF in the movie mode recalls a video camera. For situations and outings where this camera would be best suited (at the park with friends or kids) sometimes you don’t want to deal with the complexities of almost all cameras. Coming from a person that shoots manual focus on my “A” camera, even I get tired of it. I definitely see this on-sensor AF module making its way up to the larger pro bodies.
- You can take still images while shooting 1080 HD video, without interrupting the action (sadly the camera does register the button click in the audio). In 1080 60i, you can shoot up to 15 8+ megapixel images while the video is being recorded. With the other smaller resolutions, you get basically a screen grab.
- It has interchangeable lenses. Most will be small, one advantage of the 1″ sensor size. Some of the premium ones will have power drive switches, meaning you zoom via a rocker switch on the lens, instead of twisting by hand. This turns the Nikon 1’s into a different type of video camera. Via an adapter you can mount Nikon AF-S lenses, but at a 2.7x penalty/advantage. All of a sudden the 70-200mm f/2.8 becomes a 189-540mm with hopefully autofocus and VR–perfect for next year’s Dragon Boat race. The sensor would even be a good fit for C-Mount lenses, like my bargain 25mm f/1.4. This camera will shoot with no lens, but only in Manual exposure mode. Thus far I’ve had mixed results freelensing. It’s a bit different than the Olympus E-PL1 which will mount almost any lens and snap pictures in any mode.
- It shoots RAW+JPEG, at 10 fps and 10 megapixels. It also shoots 720 video at 60 fps, good for slow motion in post. In camera it has built in super slow motion, but only at web resolutions.
It is light, silent, and at first glance a great camera to hand off to a little person, to see how they view the world. Still lots more to come, and how this camera fits into my shooting style. I don’t really review cameras and lenses, I use them. I haven’t mentioned anything about image quality, because that’s more photographer and subject dependent rather than the actual imaging sensor itself. More real world images from the Nikon J1 coming soon.