Nikon 1 series reaches a new low price

January 7, 2013 6:00 PM PST / Updated: January 7, 2013 6:00 PM PST
Nikon USA

LAS VEGAS--Nikon shipped the Nikon 1 J2 interchangeable-lens camera only five months ago and already it's obsolete. Given the lukewarm reception for such a meh update, especially given the flurry of competing products this past fall, it's neither surprising nor distressing that it's being superseded. Here at CES 2013, the company announced two new models in the Nikon 1 series: the Nikon 1 J3 and the cheaper entry-level model, the S1.

Nikon 1 S1 Nikon USA

The J3 essentially has the same internals as the V2 in the body of the J2; the one physical difference is the mode dial has been moved to the top from the back. It gets all the same firmware-based features as the V2; it's capable of saving only one shot (rather than five) in its Smart Photo Selector mode; and it has an extended Motion Snapshot mode, increased to 4 seconds (10 seconds if you forgo the embedded JPEG) with the option to string multiple clips together in-camera. There's also a new and somewhat intriguing Best Moment Capture Mode, an alternative to burst shooting, which buffers the last 1.3 seconds of a shutter press so that you can play it back slowly and choose the desired frame to save.

Nikon USA

More interestingly, the S1 is the least expensive Nikon 1 yet. Based around the same lower-resolution sensor as the J2, it's smaller with fewer physical controls. It has no mode dial at all, instead incorporating a virtual dial. It also comes in a kit with the newer but smaller 11-27.5mm lens announced with the V2. Otherwise, it has the same features and capabilities.

Here's some comparison info:

  Nikon 1 J2 Nikon 1 J3 Nikon 1 S1 Nikon 1 V2 Sony Alpha NEX-F3
Sensor (effective resolution) 10MP CMOS 14.2MP CMOS 10.1MP CMOS 14.2MP CMOS 16.1mp Exmor HD CMOS
13.2mm x 8.8mm 13.2mm x 8.8mm 13.2mm x 8.8mm 13.2mm x 8.8mm 23.5mm x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x 1.5x
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded) ISO 160 - ISO 6400 ISO 100 - ISO 6400 ISO 160 - ISO 6400 ISO 200 - ISO 16000
Continuous shooting 5fps
n/a
(60fps with fixed AF and electronic shutter)
15fps
22 JPEG/n/a
(60fps or 30fps with fixed AF)
15fps
15 JPEG/n/a
(60fps or 30fps with fixed AF)
15fps
45 JPEG/n/a
2.5 fps
18 JPEG/6 raw
(5.5fps with fixed exposure)
Viewfinder None None None 0.47-inch TFT EVF
1.44 million dots
100% coverage
n/a
None
Autofocus 73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
25-point contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 1/3 - 1/16,000; bulb; 1/60 sec x-sync n/a n/a 1/3 - 1/16,000; bulb; 1/60 sec x-sync 30-1/4,000 sec; bulb; 1/160 flash sync
Metering n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,200-zone
Metering range n/a n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Image stabilization Optical Optical Optical 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 1080/60i/30p, 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p; 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV AVCHD
1080/60i @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24, 17Mbps; H.264 MPEG-4 1,440x1,080/ 30p @ 12Mbps
Audio Stereo n/a n/a Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input
LCD size 3-inch fixed 920,000 dots 3-inch fixed 920,000 dots 3-inch fixed 920,000 dots 3-inch fixed 920,000 dots 3-inch tilting
921,600 dots
Wireless file upload None Optional
(via WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter)
Optional
(via WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter)
Optional
(via WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter)
None
Battery life (CIPA rating) 230 shots n/a n/a n/a 470 shots
Dimensions (inches, WHD) 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.2 n/a n/a

n/a

4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6
Body operating weight (ounces) 9.7 (est) n/a n/a n/a 11.1
Mfr. price n/a n/a n/a $799.95 (body only) n/a
$549.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $599.99 (with 10-30mm lens) $499.95 (with 11-27.5mm lens) $899.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $599 (with 18-55mm lens)
n/a n/a n/a $1,149.95 (with 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses) n/a
Ship date September 2012 February 2013 February 2013 November 2012 June 2012
The 10-100mm lens Nikon USA

In addition to the two cameras, Nikon also debuted a couple of new lenses and some accessories for the series. The lenses are a $499.95 6.7-13mm f3.5-5.6 lens (100 degree angle of view; 18-35mm equivalent) and a $549.99 10-100mm f3.5-5.6 (27-270mm equivalent) retractable lens. Both have optical image stabilization.

While these are useful general-purpose zooms, unfortunately, we still don't see the fast prime -- even a mediocre pancake version -- that I was hoping for when the V2 was announced.

Finally, Nikon announced the $749.95 WPN-2 waterproof case for J3 and the S1; it's good to 130 feet and designed for the cameras equipped with the 10-30mm lens.

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Where to Buy

MSRP: $599.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Digital camera type Advanced Camera with Interchangeable Lenses
  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 14.2 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.