New Gear: Nikon J1 and V1 Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Nikon treads new ground with an ILC and a wholly new lens mount

Nikon 1 Main system

Nikon 1 Main system

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We spent a solid afternoon yesterday playing around with Nikon's new J1 ILC at a press event here in New York City. We also tried out three of the four available lenses for the new system including the 10mm pancake, the 10-30mm and the 30-110mm -- keep in mind of course that the crop factor on these lenses is 2.7x. Our time spent with this fashionable little ILC gave us a chance to test out its full ISO range, and see just how powerful its relatively small sensor really is. All of the images that follow are directly from the camera and are completely unprocessed. ISO 140 at 1/60 sec, f/11
Lens: 10mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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The fine pattern on the ceiling behind the balls illustrates some loss of detail when you get up to ISO 1600. It does get credit, though, for doing a pretty good job of figuring out the exposure in a very high-contrast setting with a lot of reflective elements around. ISO 1600 at 1/1000 sec, f/5.6 Lens: 10mm Click for Full-resDan Bracaglia
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Compared to the previous image, it seems that there's a pretty discernable difference between ISO 800 and ISO 1600, especially when viewed at full-resolution. ISO 800 at 1/640 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 10mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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ISO 3200 is technically the highest "native ISO" the J1 will go up to, however, there is a "High-1" option that is the equivalent of ISO 6400. This flower presents a fairly tricky color to reproduce, especially at such a high ISO. ISO 3200 at 1/160 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 10mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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Some of the pre-set ISO options include automatic ranges. At Nikon's suggestion, I shot around using the Auto 100-800 mode which keeps things from getting too noisy regardless of shooting conditions. ISO 800 at 1/125 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 10mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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A self-portrait of the pink J1 taken in the reflection of a spherical, reflective decoration. The AF system didn't seem to have any trouble getting focus in what could likely be considered a tough situation. ISO 1600 at 1/640 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 10mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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Stepping up to ISO 3200, you can see the loss of image detail. ISO 3200 at 1/6400 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 110mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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Despite being lit with a high-end set of hot lights, the light in the room was a bit of a tricky mix. The skin tone rendered by the J1 is pretty accurate for having used the auto white balance setting. That's the most important aspect of the image anyway. ISO 800 at 1/400 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 10mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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The noise is, as to be expected, more noticeable in the shadow areas, so the 6400 ISO images look better when shot brighter.
ISO 6400 at 1/500 sec, f/5.6 Lens: 10mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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The 1/10000 sec shutter speed isn't a typo. The little J1 is capable of shutter speeds up to 1/16000 of a second, which is nice if you're shooting in bright sun and want to use a wide aperture or you're just trying to freeze some action under a lot of light. The speed of the electronic shutter helps make up for the lack of a mechanical one. ISO 3200 at 1/10000 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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6400 is beyond the native ISO setting for the J1, which stops at 3200. Predictably, the details are muddled and noise abounds. It's a setting you'd likely only want to use in extenuating circumstances, which is the norm for expanded settings like this one. ISO 6400 at 100% (shot as a "fine Jpg").Dan Bracaglia
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This is the J1's highest native resolution. Again, there's a fair bit of noise and artifacting. ISO 3200 at 100% (shot as a "fine Jpg").
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Once you get into the lower ISOs, things start to look much better. This is the same shot at ISO 200. ISO 200 at 100% (shot as a "fine Jpg").
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This is ISO 100 and things are looking better still. If you want a run through of all the ISO settings, you can click through the images that follow this one. There's one shot of the same scene from each setting. The full-res is available for each if you want to do your own comparisons. ISO 100 at 100% (shot as a "fine Jpg").
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No, this was not shot through a glass window. All of the images shot for our ISO comparison were shot from a 21st floor balcony, with the camera leaning on the flat railing. ISO 6400 (High-1) at 1/6000 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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ISO 3200 at 1/13000 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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ISO 1600 at 1/16400 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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ISO 800 at 1/3200 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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ISO 400 at 1/1600 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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ISO 200 at 1/800 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia
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ISO 100 at 1/400 sec, f/5.6
Lens: 30mm Click for Full-res
Dan Bracaglia