The second generation of the Nikon 1 brings a higher-resolution screen and a new creative mode. Mat Gallagher finds out what the changes mean for the J2. Read the Nikon 1 J2 review...
The Nikon 1 J2 uses the same sensor and processor as the previous models. The sensor is the same physical size as that used in the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100, yet rather than a 20.2-million-pixel resolution the J2 has just 10.1 million pixels. This produces a 32.78×21.95cm image at 300ppi, or an A3 print at 220dpi. Focal magnification is 2.7x on a standard 35mm sensor, which means some fairly small focal lengths are needed to provide standard fields of view.
The Expeed 3 processor is also used in the D4 professional DSLR and the new D800, and claims to be able to process up to 600 million pixels per second. This allows the 10.1-million-pixel J2 to shoot at 60 frames per second. The sensor also contains a number of pixels that are used for phase-detection autofocus. This works in collaboration with the contrast-detection system to help speed up the focusing time.
Metering is also taken from the imaging sensor and offers a choice of matrix, centreweighted and spot options. Exposure compensation is offered with a conservative ±3EV range, and while there are no bracketing options for either exposure or white balance, there is D-Lighting control and Smart Photo Selector mode.
The shooting-mode dial now contains five options, which in addition to an auto and movie mode include Motion Snapshot, Smart Photo Selector and Creative mode. When taking a shot in Motion Snapshot, the camera also takes a preceding 2sec video clip saved in slow motion as an MOV and accompanied by a choice of music. The movie file is in 1080p HD, while the still image is a 16:9, 3840×2160-pixel JPEG (roughly 8 million pixels). This mode still allows you to still control metering and ISO, and choose an exposure mode from auto, manual, program, shutter or aperture priority. The Smart Photo Selector uses the camera’s high-speed shooting abilities to take 20 shots in a fraction of a second. From these, the camera analyses and picks the best five for you to choose from.
While the Creative mode is the new addition, all the functions were present on the J1 but hidden in other menu options. This mode provides standard shooting with PASM exposure options, along with a choice of seven scene modes. Images can be saved as JPEGs and/or in 12-bit NEF raw format in all but the Motion Snapshot mode. The addition of the Creative mode is a step forward for creative users, and once set to the preferred exposure mode it will use this the next time Creative mode is chosen – even if the battery is removed from the camera.
The J2, like the J1, features only an electronic shutter, so very fast shutter speeds of up to 1/16,000sec are possible. This also enables the camera to shoot at up to 60fps. When in its fastest burst mode, the camera will take a maximum of 12 images in either JPEG, raw or raw+JPEG. When the burst rate is reduced to the standard continuous setting (5fps), the camera will shoot up to 19 JPEG or 28 raw+JPEG images.
One advantage the J2 has over the V1 is the inclusion of a built-in flash. This pop-up unit extends, periscope-like, high above the camera and has a guide number of 5m @ ISO 100. However, the flash only syncs at speeds below 1/60sec so it isn’t suited for fill-in use in bright conditions.
The J2 is available as a single-lens kit with the 10-30mm (27-81mm equivalent), or a twin-lens kit that also includes the 30-110mm (81mm-297mm equivalent).