Higher resolution and a flip-up display come to the Nikon 1 line

The newest addition to the Nikon 1 line, the J5, brings a 20.8-megapixel sensor and a selfie-friendly LCD, among other things.

Lori Grunin

Lori Grunin

Senior Editor / Reviews

I've been writing about and reviewing consumer technology since before the turn of the century. I'm also a photographer and cat herder, frequently at the same time.

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Nikon adds its annual Nikon 1 J series camera to the lineup with the J5, one of the most traditionally designed models we've seen since Nikon first rolled out the series. (Though Nikon says the J4 will remain in the lineup, Amazon at last lists it as discontinued by the manufacturer.)

Nikon 1 J5 gets a new look (pictures)

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Although Nikon has yet to announce availability, the standard kit with the 10-30mm power zoom lens will run $500, and I've seen it available for preorder for AU$750. That converts to about £337. (I'll update with UK pricing once it's available.)

With the J5, the flip-up selfie display comes to the Nikon 1 series. Nikon

What's new

  • Design. From the two-tone with leatherette aesthetic to the more common control layout, this looks the least like its more clean-featured, square-buttoned siblings. Nikon joins the crowd with a new flip-up LCD display for selfies and groupies, but it doesn't sacrifice the ability to tilt.
  • Sensor. While it still uses the 1-inch CX-format, the camera incorporates a 20.8-megapixel sensor -- the highest-resolution yet in the Nikon 1 series.
  • Features. The image processor jumps to Expeed 5A from 4A, which brings with it some new features. Most notable, it will do 4K movies at 15 frames per second; Nikon promises it "doesn't look cartoonish." Like the V3, it can now do higher-resolution slow-motion video playback, 3 seconds of 720/120p along with the older faster-frame-rate choices at lower resolutions. There's also electronic image stabilization and the ability to use Active D-Lighting with movies as well. It also gets interval recording and time-lapse (300 images at 5-, 10- or 30-second intervals that plays as a 10-second video in-camera). A new sports scene mode automatically switches on continuous autofocus, turns off face-priority and quick review and increases the shutter speed. It will also group bursts during playback. There are some new special effects that bring it into parity with every other camera, and the inclusion of NFC for initiating Wi-Fi connections.

My take

Unfortunately, the battery life gets worse and worse. The J5 is down to 250 shots, although you could probably spin it as better than the 2-year-old J3's with its sadder 210 shots, or tied with the not-available-in-the-US Canon EOS M3 . Otherwise, the perks of the J series are that they're so inexpensive compared to competitors and offer speedy continuous-shooting, as long as you're willing to accept the 1-inch sensor, smallest of the interchangeable-lens models save Pentax's tiny Q models .

Comparative specs

Fujifilm X-A2 Nikon 1 J4 Nikon 1 J5 Olympus PEN E-PL7
Sensor effective resolution 16.3MP CMOS 8.4MP CMOS 20.8MP CMOS 16.1MP Live MOS
Sensor size 23.6 x 15.6mm 13.2 x 8.8mm 13.2 x 8.8mm 17.3mm x 13mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.5x 2.7x 2.7x 2.0x
OLPF No No No Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/
ISO 200 - ISO 6400/
ISO 25600 (exp)
ISO 160 - ISO 6400/
ISO 12800 (exp)
ISO 160 - ISO 12800 ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600
Burst shooting None with continuous AF/AE
(5.6fps with fixed AF/AE)

(60fps with fixed AF)

(60fps with fixed AF)
unlimited JPEG/20 raw
(8fps with fixed focus and exposure)
(mag/ effective mag)
None None None None
Hot shoe Yes No No Yes
Autofocus 49-area
Contrast AF
105-point phase detection
171-area contrast AF
105-point phase detection
171-area contrast AF
Contrast AF
Shutter speed 30 - 1/4000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync 30 - 1/16,000 sec; bulb;
1/60 sec x-sync
electronic shutter
30 - 1/16,000 sec; bulb;
1/60 sec x-sync
electronic shutter
60-1/4,000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync
Metering 256 zones n/a n/a 324 area
Metering sensitivity n/a n/a n/a -2 - 20 EV
Best video H.264 MPEG-4
Quicktime MOV
H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV
H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p; 720/120p; UHD/15p
H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p @ 24Mbps
Audio Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video n/a Yes Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip 14 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes 22 minutes
Clean HDMI out n/a n/a n/a n/a
IS Optical Optical Optical Sensor shift
LCD 3-inch/7.5 cm
920,000 dots
3-inch/7.5 cm
Fixed touchscreen
1.04 million dots
3-inch/7.5 cm
tiling touchscreen
1.04 million dots
Flip-down touch screen
1.04m dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x microSD 1 x microSD 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi
Flash Yes Yes Yes Bundled optional
Wireless flash Yes No No Yes
Battery life (CIPA rating) 410 shots 300 shots 250 shots 350 shots
Size (WHD) 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6 in
116.9 x 66.5 x 404 mm
3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in
99.5 x 60 x 28.5 mm
3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in
98.3 x 59.7 x 31.5 mm
4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in
114.9 x 67 x 38.4 mm
Body operating weight 12.3 oz (est.)
350 g (est.)
8.4 oz
238 g
8.4 oz (est.)
238 g (est.)
12.9 oz
364 g
Primary kit $550
£450 (est.)
AU$600 (est.)
(with 16-50mm lens)
AU$650 (est.)
(with 10-30 PD lens)
(with 10-30 PD lens)
(with 14-42mm PZ lens)
Release date February 2015 May 2014 TBA September 2014