John Arnold

Free photography video tutorials using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.


Why I'm not that excited about the Nikon 1 cameras

September 24th, 2011

Episode 28 of 100 episodes

Nikon announced a brand new range of cameras a few days ago - Nikon 1. There are 2 initial models, the V1, which is the higher end model aimed at more serious photographers, and the J1 aimed at a more consumer audience. Both cameras are mirrorless and have interchangeable lenses plus some unique new features that will no doubt turn a few heads. For starters they have a "motion snapshot" mode which starts recording a slow motion video when you first touch the shutter button. It'll then shoot 1 second of video during which time your still will also be captured. You can then combine the video and still into what Nikon calls a motion snapshot. The other innovative shooting mode is Smart Photo Selector. When you press the shutter the camera takes 20 full resolution shots and then automatically selects the 5 best images. It shows you the one it thinks is best. If you don't agree you can choose from the others. Both cameras also have an amazing 60 fps continuous shooting speed and of course both cameras shoot full 1080p HD video at 60 or 30 fps. There will be a new range of Nikon 1 lenses to fit these cameras but an adapter is available allowing you to fit standard Nikon lenses as well. So far so good right? Right - I love innovative ideas and I'm delighted to see Nikon coming up with some creative new features. but I can't help feeling these cameras aren't aimed at me. For starters there's the 10 megapixel resolution which is a good bit lower than I'm accustomed to. Even camera phones are getting close to the 10 megapixel mark (the new iPhone will likely have 8 megapixels). Also the on-camera buttons and controls have been pared down to something similar to a point and shoot. No scroll wheels under your fingers here. Not even any dials for selecting aperture priority, shutter priority or manual mode - even on the big brother V1 model. Then there's those new shooting modes. Do I really want to fill my memory cards with motion snapshot video? Do I want to go through the process of picking the best shot out of 5 when I take a picture? Now I think of it those seem like they'd be more useful on a consumer focussed camera.But then they also seem to be lacking consumer features. Neither model has a touch screen so there won't be any touch to focus or expose and neither model has a fold-out screen either. The V1 is also lacking a pop-up flash though an optional hotshoe flash is available at extra cost. They're both also very expensive compared to consumer cameras and then there's the extra expense of interchangeable lenses. They're also both lacking a built-in GPS, which is becoming an increasingly important feature. So if this camera isn't aimed at pros and it's not got the features of a consumer camera then who is it for?Ironically it might be the video guys that find this first crop of Nikon 1 cameras most appealing. The V1 has a mic input and both cameras can use the 10-100 PD-Zoom lens with variable speed zoom. There's an optional add-on That 1080p video with great quality Nikkor lenses might be very appealing indeed.