The entry-level J1 compact system camera has fewer features than its V1 sibling, but is around £270 cheaper. We find out whether the J1 is, pound for pound, the better camera

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Nikon 1 J1

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Nikon 1 J1 review


Price as reviewed:


Build and Handling

The J1 is a very good-looking camera, perhaps even more so than the V1, and is noticeably smaller. Its minimalist design and rounded corners feel modern and very much of the Apple Mac generation.

The build is solid and weighty for its size, despite aluminium alloy being used rather than magnesium alloy as in the V1. Although the buttons are not huge, the rear controls are well spaced for easy operation and the almost flush mounting of the top controls are very responsive, including a clear two-stage press on the shutter button.

I felt the design of the controls meant that my fingers fell naturally towards shooting modes and auto operation, with manual controls very much tucked away in the background. An F button provides burst speed, musical theme and slow motion video selection, but unfortunately cannot be customised for something more useful such as ISO, metering or white balance.

As in the V1, the rotating dial feels as though it should be the main control for aperture or shutter, but this only operates the aperture in full manual shooting, with the smaller zoom rocker providing the primary control.

The camera feels very comfortable and in proportion to its lenses, and even with the 30-110mm zoom fitted it still feels compact. The 10-30mm, being a collapsible zoom, makes the camera very pocket friendly, while the 10mm pancake is just a fraction smaller and has the benefit of a larger f/2.8 aperture.


  1. 1. Nikon 1 J1 review - Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and Handling
  4. 4. White Balance and Colour
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video
  10. 10. Our Verdict
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