CES 2013: Nikon launches two new digital compact mirrorless 1″ cameras, the Nikon 1 J3 and S1. These 14 and 10 megapixel cameras provide simple, user-friendly point-and-shoot functions while featuring ultra-fast burst modes and advanced video functions.
Aiming to expand its range of mirrorless cameras, Nikon revealed the new J3 that will be replacing the J2 and introduced a new line of Nikon 1 entry level cameras with the S1. Responsiveness definitely takes center stage as Nikon announces record speeds on these cameras. Strong competition will nonetheless be expected as brands such as Fujifilm brought focus speed down to 0.05 s, on the X100S for example. Nikon has made the J3 and S1 the fastest Interchangeable Lens Cameras yet on the market with exceptional responsiveness and high frame rates.
Although both cameras are very similar, the S1 is significantly simpler and even more compact than the J3. And while the J3 relies on speed and the new 14 megapixel CMOS 1″ sensor, the S1 settles for the previous 10 megapixel 1″ sensor. Both cameras are compatible with the optional external Wi-Fi transmitter, the Nikon WU-1b. Also, both devices are powered by the EXPEED 3A processor that can drive them into a 15fps burst mode with continuous autofocus. Note, however, that at this speed, continuous shooting is limited to 22 images on the J3 and 15 on the S1. If you disable continuous autofocus, you can reach 60fps over a fraction of a second since this rate is limited to 20 and 15 views respectively on the J3 and S1. Furthermore, both mirrorless cameras feature a 73-point contrast detection autofocus system and a 135 focus-point phase detection system, a fast and effective approach indeed, that has since inspired competitors.
The cameras also feature a “Smart Photo Selector” mode that captures a series of pictures, then recommends the five best photos, based on smart analysis. The “Slow View” mode makes it easier to capture fast-moving subjects.
At the heart of both cameras is a 1″ sensor, the same as the esteemed Sony RX100 enthusiast camera. This sensor makes for a 2.7 x focal length multiplier. ISO sensitivity on the J3, with its 14MP sensor, most likely the same as the the Nikon 1 V2, ranges from 160 to 6400 ISO, while the S1 is fitted with the 10MP sensor found on the first Nikon 1 series cameras. Both cameras feature 60p Full HD video and allow for photo capture while filming, a most pleasant asset. Video can be recorded using PSAM mode controls, for more creative film-makers. Slow motion video enthusiasts will enjoy the high speed recording capabilities, at 400fps (640 x 480 pixels) and 1200fps (320 x 120 pixels). In Slow Motion mode, real time recording is limited to 5 seconds.
Wi-Fi is optional
Nikon seems to have missed the boat in terms of Wi-Fi compatibility. Consumers will need the the optional Nikon WU-1b external transmitter for the S1 and J3 to connect to an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet: a drawback for sharing pictures and videos with family and friends via social networks, on the go.
Nikon 1 S1
The Nikon 1 S1 10 megapixel 1″ sensor, also with pop-up flash. While the J3 features a 921,000 dot LCD rear display, the S1 settles for a 3″ 460 000 dot display resolution.
Nikon 1 S1 and J3, pricing and availability
The Nikon 1 J3 kit will be released at a 599 euros suggested retail price, with a 10-30mm VR stabilized lens. It will be available in white, black and red. As for the Nikon 1 S1, it will be available for 479 euros with the 11-27.5 mm lens. Both mirrorless cameras will roll out into stores on February 7th 2013. The WP-N2 Waterproof housing for the Nikon 1 S1 and J3 will also be available for 849 euros, for underwater photography enthusiasts to use down to 40 meters underwater. An additional grip, the GR-N2100 will also be added to the array of Nikon 1 accessories in 2013.
During the CES, along with the release of these two cameras, Nikon also unveils two new lenses to expand the rather poor line of Nikon 1 lenses:
- The 1 Nikkor 6.7-13mm wide-angle zoom lens (18-35mm)
- The versatile 1 Nikkor VR 10x, 10-100mm lens (stabilized 27-270mm)