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Nikon 1 J1 and 1 V1 debut new lens-swapping system

The Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 J1 are the first cameras to deploy the new Nikon 1 lens-swapping system.

Richard Trenholm
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Richard Trenholm
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Nikon has waded into the lens-swapping game with the new Nikon 1 system. Two new cameras, the Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 J1, throw out the traditional camera rulebook for a new system of interchangeable lenses.

Nikon 1 is the name of the new lens format, and the J1 and V1 are the first in the range. They're compact cameras that do away with the moving mirror found in a traditional dSLR, giving you the ability to swap lenses like a dSLR but in a much smaller body.

The cameras pack a 1-inch CMOS sensor and a 3-inch screen. Features include the option to record photos before you press the shutter button, so the cameras will capture the action even if you click too late.

Video is 720p resolution, and you can snap a photo while filming. There's also an intriguing-sounding motion snapshot mode, which combines a slow-motion video and a still image to create a 'living photo'.

Lenses include a 10mm pancake lens, pictured above, and a giant VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens with silent powered zooming.

Nikon is far from the first to introduce its own mirrorless, lens-swapping system, but it is the biggest name in the camera world to do so. Panasonic and Olympus were first out of the gate with the current market leader, the Micro Four Thirds system. The Sony NEX, Samsung NX and Pentax Q systems followed, all of which follow the same mirrorless model. Only Ricoh thought out of the box with the modular -- and slightly bonkers -- GXR system.

Nikon's move is a clear indicator of a serious market for these compact lens-swapping snappers. Only Canon is holding out, but it's a pretty safe bet it has something in the pipeline.

The J1 starts at £550 with a 10-30mm kit lens. It's £600 with the pancake lens and £700 with two lenses -- or you can pay £750 for the twin-lens kit and a pink version of the camera. What a bargain!

The V1 starts at £830 for a single lens, £880 with the pancake lens and £980 for two lenses. Individual lenses start at £180.

Is Nikon 1 the system to tempt you in to bagging a mirrorless camera, or were you hoping for something a bit more innovative from Nikon? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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The Nikon 1 J1.
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The Nikon 1 V1 in white with pancake lens.
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The Nikon 1 V1.

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