I was one of the early adopters of the Nikon 1 system way back in 2011 I think? My first impressions/review is still up and gets hits every now and then. Nikon discontinued the unpopular system for many reasons, but I still kept using mine, because there’s this malleability about these (if not all) Nikon RAW files. That’s one of the biggest reasons I’ve been shooting digital Nikon as my A cameras since the early 2000’s. There’s just something about the files when you open it up in the native Nikon software. Even when I first got the J1 with the kit lens, there was just a sharpness and color to the files that rivaled their top DX cameras at the time. Keep in mind the sensor from this camera is merely 1″, much smaller than FF making it about “D” tier if you are ranking them like Street Fighter characters. However, as recent fighting game tournaments have shown, even worthless moves have their place, and you can win with any character–it really is up to the player/photographer/artist.
I added the 10mm 2.8 because, well my kit lens the 10-30mm crapped out twice. While I rave about the sensor data and raw files, the build quality of these consumer J1’s and kit lenses is pretty bad. The kit lens has the tearing ribbon problem that plagues almost every one of those lenses, and my J1 also has a broken battery latch. For something that cost over $700(?) 9 years ago, you’d think they would have built it a little better. Oh well, the road of technology is paved with worthless things that we once took great expense to get (SCSI cables, Syquest and Zip Drives, DVD burners, etc…).
This combo nicely fits into my bag as a 3rd or 4th option, and is probably my best food camera in decent lighting. You really have to keep the ISO low as possible and never accept the jpegs that come out of these cameras. In my opinion the J1 .nef’s are on par with a D300 RAW file. Pretty cool for a camera that no one wants anymore, and can be had for about $50-60 on KEH sometimes. 10mm is a 28mm equivalent on this camera, which basically turns it into a nice cell phone FOV. The J1 also has a real popup flash which is quite handy in backlit situations at the beach. The flash sync is only 1/60 max, but works in dawn and dusk situations.
Anyways, here are a series of random pictures over the last few
months years. I try my best to use every camera in my arsenal and have great fun figuring out what situations they would be best at. If only Nikon had kept this going and branded it a “Coolpix Pro” from the get go…
After going back through my many many images to add to this post, I would have to say this might be one of my favorite camera and lens combos. A sleeper one at that. Expensive back in the day, unwanted now by the masses compared to the Ricoh GR’s and X100’s of this decade, but man does the raw file really sing in post. There aren’t many bargains out there in the photography world, but a cheap Nikon J1 and 10mm 2.8 is a very viable fun setup to add to one’s main kit.