A 14.2-million-pixel sensor without an anti-aliasing filter is promising to those who want good-quality images, so can the compact and powerful Nikon 1 J3 deliver? Read the Nikon 1 J3 review...
Nikon 1 J3 review – Noise, resolution and sensitivity
These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the Nikon 10-30mm lens set to 18mm (50mm effective) and f/5.6. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution at the specified sensitivity setting.
We would expect an imaging sensor that does not have an anti-aliasing filter, such as that found in the Nikon 1 J3, to punch above its weight when it comes to resolved detail. In fact, the camera resolves the level of detail that we would expect from a 14.2-million-pixel camera, reaching the 24 marker on our resolution charts. This is a marked improvement from the 10-million-pixel J2, but against the higher-resolution competition of today this level of performance is, at best, average. There is actually an impression of detail further along from the 24 marker, but moiré patterning interrupts a clear impression of all nine lines separately.
What is impressive, though, is that detail is still resolved up to the 24 marker even at ISO 3200. However, images are not ‘clean’, as the presence of luminance noise in unprocessed 12-bit raw files can be seen at every ISO setting, which steadily becomes more obvious higher up the ISO range. Chroma (colour) noise can be found in unprocessed raw files at any ISO setting, being more obvious in shadow detail and often in the form of purple patches.
As a default, a rather aggressive degree of noise reduction is applied to JPEG files. This may smooth out luminance noise, but it also means that detail becomes less crisp. Overall, the feel and depth of images prove to be a little flat, being more akin to those from a compact camera than from a DSLR.
All the comments in this section of the review are made about images taken with the 10-30mm lens and viewed at 100%. Images can, of course, be produced on a smaller scale – which there is scope to do given the improved resolution – and detail appears sharper and cleaner. Therefore, it is possible to achieve good-quality images.