Nikon 1 J1 review: Worth the wait?

While Nikon isn't last to the interchangeable-lens camera party, it's more than fashionably late. But its grand entrance wasn't quite grand enough.

Nikon took its time introducing its interchangeable-lens camera system, dubbed the Nikon 1 series, and though I don't agree with a lot of the choices the company made, it clearly put thought into the cameras before rushing out me-too versions of competitors' products. The entry-level model, the J1, firmly targets point-and-shoot upgraders with its feature set, but the implementation is a mixed bag and the price is a bit steep for that crowd.

Take for instance, the sensor, which is smaller and lower-resolution than all but the even-more-expensive Pentax Q. With a 2.7x focal-length magnification factor, that means the kit 10-30mm lens has the equivalent angle of view of 27-81mm. In practice, that will severely limit your options for real wide-angle shooting--even more than Micro Four Thirds does--as well as your ability to get even moderately shallow depth of field on typical portrait shots. That stuff may not matter to a person paying $400 for the camera, but it might to someone paying $600.

And I have to point out that as one of the companies pushing 16-megapixel sensors out to consumers, it takes guts for Nikon to try to sell them 10 megapixels in a higher-end camera.

Read the full review.

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