A Perfect Upgrade For Point-And-Shoot Photographers
Lightweight, compact & Easy to Use
Only 1 Metering Mode <br>Noisy Low-Light Images
The Bottom Line:
Perfect upgrade for Point and Shoot Photographers and a Great partner for any Pro-Amateur Photographer
A Perfect Upgrade for Point And Shoot Photographers
Got a chance to finally play around with the Nikon J1 on a field shoot last week ( Jan 2nd - 5th of 2012 ) and I must say, this is great little gem! Compact enough to pack a nice punch on images. We were shooting a landscape project so one of my field photographers brought his along partnered with his Nikon D7000 ( Also a powerful camera ).
At first glance you will love the sleekness and size of the J1. Beautiful white color with nicely placed metal buttons and black back. It was very light weight and packed full of features. Looks truly are deceiving because this camera was more then what we all expected.
The Auto Focus System incorporated into this camera is very good. Being a Nikon Shooter for over 10+ years now I have been a big fan of the 3D tracking system since it has been incorporated into the newer line of SLR's. The J1 tracking is great! We fiddled around with it by having a subject walk around and we followed them every step of the way. It stayed focus 80% of the time while the other 20% was just the camera man being unable to keep up with the subject. But if you can track like a sniper then the auto-focus will work wonders for you.
The CX-Sensor is Great. Since the craftsmanship of the camera sensors is different from your everyday APS-C Format ( SLR ) sensors, the lenses that these cameras use can take on the everyday tasks of any SLR Lens without the added weight. The one mounted on our J1 was the 10-30mm and its weight was nearly half the weight of my wide angle lens ( Nikkor 14-24mm ). Ofcourse, taking into consideration of the construction and caliber of my lens I compared it to my back up lens the Sigma 10-20mm Ultra wide Angle. Surprisingly there wasn't much of a weight different between the two but there was definitely a size difference. Where Only 1 lens could fit in my camera bag, I could fit 3 of these 10-30mm CX Lenses. So that alone is an added bonus!
The image quality of these cameras is actually very good! Surprised as we were, the JPEG SOOC (Straight Out of Camera) images were near 100% accurate in all aspects shadows/highlights/color saturation. We did however find that at low-light conditions the images began to get a tad bit noisier. However, as with any camera ( SLR or Point and Shoot ) images in low light taken at high ISO values will give you noise. So this was not a surprise.
The UI (User Interface) was very helpful. It definitely takes the load off you when shooting continuously on the go. It's ready to go when you are so no need to fiddle around with ISO ratings, aperture values, shutter speeds or stuff like that. If you shoot Point-and-shoots then this camera will bring your photography to a whole new level. If you're a pro-amateur, getting to those perks will be a hassle. You can't fully shoot this camera in Manual mode so your techniques will be hindered.
The only downfall of this camera from my experience is the inability to change exposure metering. It seems the set metering mode is Matrix. Matrix metering is automatically selecting the correct exposure values (Aperture & Shutter ) as it sees fit for the scene in frame. This can cause you some unwanted blown highlights or shadows to dark to brighten in Photoshop.
So if you're a Point and shoot photographer this camera will not only give you better images but also widen your horizons in your horizon for photography. Compact, fast and efficient. If you're an SLR Shooter this camera will be a great partner when you don't want to lug 20+ lbs of equipment to your friends birthday party!