My journey into Photography, Horology, and Audiophilia
First post: November 24, 2011
It has been too long since I owned a point and shoot camera. While enjoying my SLR and DSLRs, Amidst rumours of Nikon joining the mirror-less bandwagon, I've had the opportunity to borrow and experience other brands, such as the Sony NEX-5, the Olympus E-PL2, a Nikon Coolpix, and Kodak compact.
My goal is to have something I can handily carry, not necessarily pocketable, in leiu of my D7000 + whatever lens combo. Add to the fact that I don't have a wide lens, it makes the argument towards a compact viable.
Finally, the 1 System was announced and became scarcily available in some countries. Here in the Philippines, they unobtanioum just a few weeks ago. Shasinski in Malaysia don't have them in stock either. However, a recent trip to Singapore allowed me to purchase my first ever mirror-less camera.
I was actually torn between the V1, as the first choice, and the J1. After much self deliberation, I decided for the J1 due to the following reasons:
The aluminum body of the J1 has solid feel and gives me confidence about its build and construction. I chose the black color because it appeals to me most. The finish is very good and only time will tell how it will survive my acidic sweat, wherein even my D7000's finish has peeled off (perhaps disintegrated, is more apt) already.
The J1 is just about the same dimensions of my HTC Mozart, but thicker. Being small and lacking grip was a concern at first. However, after I handled it and took my first photo, I was confident enough. I find myself holding it just like my mobilephone with my thumb supporting the bottom instead of resting on the rubber plate beside the Mode dial.
With the plethora of controls from wheels, knobs, buttons and switches of my DSLR, I find it refreshing that I only need to deal with a few things on the J1. These include-
My golly, the menu system is even simpler than my Nokia E-72, and never mind the Android on my Acer Ferrari mobile phones.
Here's a summary of the two-level menu options (Mode dial in Still):
DPOF print order
|Reset shooting options
Custom Picture Control
Long exposure NR
High ISO noise reduction
Interval timer shooting
Built-in AF assist
|Reset setup options
Format memory card
Slot empty release lock
Auto power off
Remote on duration
Assign AE/AF-L button
Shutter button AE lock
HDMI device control
Reset file numbering
Time zone and date
Auto image rotation
Other than the above, the J1 presents a minimalist approach. There is no Panorama, Pre-set scenes, or film emulation modes (as found in the Fuji X100) provided. But it did not distract me from enjoying photography.
While the Nikon DSLR family use what is popularly known as Multi-CAMxxxx modules, I could not find a "name" for the AF module on the 1 System.
Nevertheless, the 1 System AF module offers the most AF points at 73, which you can select individually when the camera is in single-point AF mode!
If you have used other Nikon cameras, the J1 AF will be familiar to you. The AF Focus modes are:
The Manual Focus (MF) is interesting as the 1 NIKKOR lenses does not have a focus ring, and manual focus is done via a few steps, as outlined below-
The preceeding steps are perhaps the most difficult part in operating the J1. If that bothers you a lot, just use any of the other three modes.
I am truly impressed by the performance of the AF even in poorly-lit conditions. As an avid sports photographer, I was dying to see how the J1 would perform. I was delightfully surprised. Here is a photo I took from Ninoy Aquino Stadium where the NCAA Season 87 volleyball is being held.
Here are my thoughts about using the Nikon 1 System J1 for sports photography.
There are three settings I can select that includes Single-frame, Continuous, and Electronic (Hi). The Continuous allows up to 5 fps in single AF or manual focus, Manual focus or Shutter priority mode when shutter speed is at least 1/250 s. When in Electronic (Hi) mode, I can select between 10, 30 and 60 fps.
Quick access to select any of these modes are provided via the Feature button [F].
For a small sensor mirror-less camera, it is interesting to find out how well it handles scenes at high ISO.
These were taken in JPG Fine, Large size format, hand-held. No post processing applied, no crop, just straight out of the camera.
Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size version.
|Low-light Santa||Night shot windows|
|ISO 100 NR OFF|
|ISO 400 NR OFF|
|ISO 1600 NR OFF|
|ISO 3200 NR OFF|
Just like my subjective preference with my previous Nikon cameras, I have the noise reduction off for Long exposure NR, High ISO noise reduction settings.
Just like other Nikon cameras, the D-Lighting can be applied in shooting mode which is referred to as Active D-Lighting.
My preference is to apply D-Lighting after the photo has been taken, either in-camera or using Capture NX2.
All in all, the three previous features, I suspect will affect the dynamic range of the captured images. This is the primary reason why I don't want so much processing done on the camera. I'll just deal with those later using Nikon Capture NX2.
The Nikon J1 offers five (5) built-in Picture Control settings- Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, and Portraint. In addition, you can have nine (9) custom Picture Control settings that you can Save to/Load from the card.
The white balance options on the J1 are limited to the following:
There is no option for specifying temperature, but I was not detracted because finally, I have a camera that does it intelligently. I used AUTO to take these photos from Manila Auto Saloon 2011 at SMX Convention Center.