Nikon 1 J2

August 8, 2012 9:01 PM PDT / Updated: September 18, 2012 3:21 PM PDT
Nikon adds a bright orange model to the J series. Stephen Shankland/CNET

A year after its interchangeable-lens-camera debut, nothing much has changed in Nikonville. While its entry-level Nikon 1 J1 is a decent, pretty little camera, the company's follow-up model, the J2, doesn't really address many of the issues of its predecessor, though Nikon's wisely bringing it out at a lower price (and anticipates lowering the price of the J1).

Basically, the J2 adds a higher-resolution LCD and photo effects and scene modes that were oddly missing from the J1 (Panorama, Selective Color, Miniature, Soft, Night Landscape, Backlighting, and Night Portraits). You'll also be able to turn the camera when you expand the lens -- the CX lenses retract similarly to Olympus' 14-42mm kit lens -- a nice but small improvement.

Unfortunately, Nikon chose to add a grip only to the red and pink models rather than the vastly more popular white. There's no mention of improved battery life, support for shutter speeds faster than 1/60 sec with the flash, or better noise reduction in the JPEGs, my major complaints with the J1.

Here's the field:

  Nikon 1 J1 Nikon 1 J2 Olympus PEN E-PM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 Sony Alpha NEX-F3
Sensor (effective resolution) 10mp CMOS 10mp CMOS 12.3mp Live MOS 12.1mp Live MOS 16.1mp Exmor HD CMOS
13.2mm x 8.8mm 13.2mm x 8.8mm 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 23.5mm x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.7x 2.7x 2.0x 2.0x 1.5x
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded) ISO 200 - ISO 12800 ISO 100 - ISO 6400/ 12800 (expanded) ISO 200 - ISO 16000
Continuous shooting 5fps
n/a
(60fps with fixed AF and electronic shutter)
5fps
n/a
(60fps with fixed AF and electronic shutter)
4.1fps
n/a
(5.5fps without image stabilization)
4fps
unlimited JPEG/4 raw
2.5 fps
18 JPEG/6 raw
(5.5fps with fixed exposure)
Viewfinder None None None None None
Autofocus 73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
35-area contrast AF 23-area contrast AF 25-point contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a 0 - 18 EV 0 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 1/3 - 1/16,000; bulb; 1/60 sec x-sync 1/3 - 1/16,000; bulb; 1/60 sec x-sync 60-1/2,000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes 60-1/4,000 sec; 1/160 flash sync 30-1/4,000 sec; bulb; 1/160 flash sync
Metering n/a n/a 324 area 144 zone 1,200 zone
Metering range n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV 0 - 18 EV 0 - 20 EV
Flash Yes Yes Included optional Yes Yes
Image stabilization Optical Optical Sensor shift Optical Optical
Video 1080/60i/30p, 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV 1080/60i/30p, 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV AVCHD
1080/60i @ 20, 17Mbps; 720/60p @ 13Mbps/29 minutes
AVCHD or MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV
1080/60i @ 17Mbps
720/60p @17Mbps
AVCHD
1080/60i @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24, 17Mbps; H.264 MPEG-4 1,440x1,080/ 30p @ 12Mbps
Audio Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo; mic input
LCD size 3-inch fixed 460,000 dots 3-inch fixed 920,000 dots 3-inch fixed
460,000 dots
3-inch fixed touch screen
920,000 dots
3-inch tilting
921,600 dots
Wireless file upload None None Optional Bluetooth None None
Battery life (CIPA rating) 230 shots 230 shots 330 shots 330 shots 470 shots
Dimensions (inches, WHD) 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.2 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.2 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 4.2 x 2.6 x 1.5 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6
Body operating weight (ounces) 9.7 9.7 (est) 9.3 9.6 11.1
Mfr. price n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
$649.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $549.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $499.99 (with 14-42mm lens) $599 (with 14-42mm lens) $599 (with 18-55mm lens)
$899.95 (with 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses) n/a n/a $749 (with 14-42mm power zoom lens) n/a
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Ship date October 2011 September 2012 September 2011 June 2012 June 2012

Nikon

The other big problem with the Nikon 1 is the lack of lenses. There's a basic kit zoom (10-30mm, or 27-81mm equivalent), a telephoto zoom (30-110mm, or 81-297mm equivalent), and a fast-ish f2.8 10mm (27mm equivalent) pancake prime. Nikon covers the same territory, albeit in a more compact design, with the new $189.95 11-27.5mm f3.5-5.6 (30-74mm equivalent) lens announced with the J2. Because they're so slow, all of these lenses essentially relegate the Nikon 1 to competing with point-and-shoots, and the slow pace of rolling them out does nothing to enhance the attractions of the series. It's time for some fast lenses -- even f2.8 just doesn't cut it on such a small sensor. Alternatively, Nikon should try the same approach that Pentax took with the Q and come up with some cheap, Lomography-like lenses for variety. Hopefully, this isn't it for 2012.

Nikon has also released a new waterproof housing for the 1 J series, the WP-N1, which the company says can handle depths of up to about 131 feet. It's slated to ship in September for $749.95.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type High Speed AF CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 13.2 x 8.8mm
About The Author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.