|In the past year Nikon’s first compact system camera, the Nikon J1, has become in Europe the most popular camera of its kind. In particular, the speed of the camera and the easy applicable creative shooting features of the Nikon 1 series attributed to its success. It’s successor, the Nikon J2 is available in the Netherlands since September 2012 in six colors (silver, black, white, pink, red and orange) and also with a brushed metal texture finish. When you purchase a lens in combination with the Nikon J2, the lens is available in the color of the camera. The Nikon 1 series offers several high quality interchangeable lenses. The retail price of the Nikon J2 + Nikon 10-30 VR kit is € 539, – and the kit with the NIKKOR 11-27.5mm is € 519. Since January 2013 there is a Nikon J3 for sale, and that is relatively soon after the introduction of the Nikon J2. Thus it might become possible to find a Nikon J2 at an even lower price.
|The main competitors of the Nikon J2 are micro-43 cameras from Olympus and Panasonic or Samsung NX and Sony NEX cameras with an APS-C sensor and possibly the Pentax Q. The CX sensor in the Nikon 1 series is 13.2mm x 8.8mm. That is more than 4 times larger than the sensors in compact cameras. A larger sensor generally gives a better image quality. And the image quality of the Nikon 1 series actually is better compared to compact cameras.
On the other hand, the sensor of a Nikon 1 camera is smaller than the sensor in a micro-43 camera, such as an Olympus Pen or the Panasonic GF5. Still, the previously tested Nikon 1 cameras were not bad at all in comparison with expensive cameras with interchangeable lenses in terms of color reproduction, white balance, dynamic range of jpg files, sharpness and signal to noise ratio.
Nikon 1 system
|The Nikon 1 system develops rapidly. Nikon not only introduces rapidly new interchangeable lenses, but also the range of Nikon 1 camera bodies is extensive. Within the Nikon 1 series there are the Nikon V2, the Nikon S1 and the Nikon J3 as potential competitors of the Nikon J2. The design of the camera body of the Nikon J2 is, like the J1, Spartan: simple, angular and solid. If you want more buttons at your disposal, with the same compact size, you should choose the Nikon V2.
Nikon 1 is a complete system, including camera accessories like the Waterproof Case WP-N1. It enables you to use Nikon 1 cameras underwater. The shiny white WP-N1 keeps the camera dry to a depth of 40 meters. There is also an adapter for F mount lenses, so you can attach your Nikon 1 camera to a NIKKOR SLR lens. In combination with the AF-S and AF-I NIKKOR lenses you can use the Nikon 1 autofocus system. However, in most cases, the lens and the adapter adapter will be much greater than the Nikon camera 1, which will make such a combination less convenient to use than the regular Nikon 1 lenses.
|The Nikon J2 and the Nikon 11-27.5mm lens offer 2.5x zoom at a focal range that is suitable for many situations. The lens is so compact that the camera and lens can be kept in a jacket or trouser pocket. Speed and ease of use were important during the design of this camera: To turn the camera on, you turn the zoom ring on the lens. Switching the camera off is just as quick and easy: you rotate the ring in the opposite direction.
Nikon J2 vs Nikon J1
Nikon J2 versus Panasonic GF3, Olympus EP-3, Sony NEX-5N
Viewfinder, display and menu
|The Nikon J2 has the same 7.5-inch, high-resolution LCD monitor with 921,000 dots, a wide viewing angle and protective glass as the Nikon V1. The screen on the back of the camera is not rotated or tilted. The screen brightness is roughly equivalent to the brightness of the screens on cameras from the competition.
The camera menu is very clear and the camera operation went quickly. A menu with three tabs is pleasant but manageable and allows you to operate the camera quickly mastered it. Each tab is kept fairly limited number of choices, so you can quickly find the options you are looking for. The number of buttons on the camera is limited, what ease further benefit if you have a compact camera was used. The absence of the “PASM button” is compensated by the new F button (Function), which you only from Creative Fashion, direct access to the P, S, A, M modes
|We have the Nikon J2 tested in combination with the Nikon 11-27.5mm zoom lens, which is so narrow that the camera always with you may have in your pocket. Besides the practical test of the Nikon J2, we have the Nikon J2 also a series of measurements subject. The measurements were performed using Imatest and are included in the figures in the conclusion of this test.
The Smart Photo Selector helps create optimal images with high resolution. How many times have you missed the decisive moment because you just a fraction of a second too early or too late were printing? The Nikon 1 J2 does the thinking for you. Press the shutter button and the camera captures 20 images of high resolution and high speed and automatically selects the five best shots based on facial expression, composition and focus. Then the camera will display the best photo on the LCD screen in high resolution. Are you not satisfied with the recording, the camera other images for you to choose from. You no longer need to settle for a bad picture.
|Personally, I prefer to post images on my PC for editing, but around me I see that more and more photographers who are already on their camera image editing. With the new position of the Nikon Creative J2 can not only various filters and recording settings, which you can easily customize. Then it’s fun to experiment with creative features and immediately on the display to see what the result is. Here you see example yourself can choose a color, not in black and white converted. I found it difficult to use the filter or Soft Thumbnail achieve a convincing effect. practical, the Night Portrait mode, which three pictures from the background and a picture of the foreground (with flash) are combined into a single photo and the Backlighting / HDR mode for images with excessive backlight. The latter two capture modes we came into practice against a moving subject blurring the background, because multiple shots combined.
Panorama photo mode
|The panaorama photo mode is a convenient feature to create a panoramic picture by simply rotating the camera, while keeping the shutter relaese button down. It works well, even with a wide angle lens. You will save much time with the subsequent stitching together of your images, although the in-camera panorama is relatively small compared with traditional stitched panorama images. But the panorama photos are large enough for the Internet or social media.
|Video does fall outside the scope of this Nikon J2 review, but the video specifications of this camera are equal to or better than that of many SLRs. Movies can be recorded in Full HD. While shooting a video, you can take a picture in full resolution. You do not have to stop filming! Additionally, you can create dramatic effects by shooting in extreme slow motion. And thanks to the fast phase detection autofocus system, you will effortlessly capture impressive action scenes.
How sharp is a Nikon J2?
|The Nikon J2 provides a good resolution for a 10 megapixel camera. Jpg files deliver (averaged over ISO 100 – 6400) a resolution of 1,500 LW/PH in the center of the image. The resolution ranges from 1800 LW/PH @ 100 ISO to 1300 LW/PH at 6400 ISO. If you use the Nikon J2 in a low ISO setting, you will not see in an A4 print wheter the image was shot with an SLR or a Nikon J2.
Dynamic range Nikon J2
|There are a few reasons why you could prefer a SLR over the Nikon J2. The dynamic range, i.e. the details that the camera can record in the shadows and in the highlights, is one of them. Especially at higher ISO settings. With Imatest we measured a total dynamic range of the sensor of 9.5 stops in RAW files. That’s about half a stop higher than the total dynamic range of the Nikon V1 and the Nikon J1. It is about 1 stop less than the dynamic range of SLR cameras with an APS-C sensor is larger and much higher than the dynamic range of a compact camera.
More important than the total dynamic range, is the usable dynamic range. The signal / noise ratio also determines what the dynamic range remains for a displayable picture. At 100 ISO, the usable dynamic range of a RAW file is about 3 stops lower than the overall dynamic range. But at higher ISO settings, the difference in quality with SLRs increasingly visible. If you want to specialize in concert photography, the limited usable dynamic range will be a good reason to move to an SLR.
Noise Nikon J2
|The Nikon J2 is less affected by noise than compact cameras, which benefits the sharpness impression. The signal to noise ratio of the Nikon J2 is slightly lower than the signal to noise ratio of the low-end micro-43 cameras, but in practice you can not easily distinguish whether an image is shot with a Nikon 1 or with a low-end micro-43 camera.
On a screen you’ll see the noise at the highest ISO settings, but in a print you probably will not. Here you see a 6400 ISO jpg image, which under favorable lighting conditions is made with the Nikon J2. Here you see an example of a 100% image crop of a 6400 ISO jpg image. Because this image was shot in daylight, the amount of noise is limited. If you’re shooting in the dark with the Nikon J2 using ISO 6400, the noise will be more pronounced.
Color accuracy Nikon J2
|The measurement results confirm the quality of the real life images. The Nikon J2 delivers, like the Nikon J1, in daylight images with a very good color rendition. Looking at the color accuracy, the Nikon 1 series qualitatively equals many SLR cameras. The color difference (Delta E 94) is small for both in Lightroom converted RAW files as a jpg file (neutral image style) directly from the camera. Take a look at the Nikon J2 sample images on the Nikon website.
The automatic white balance of the Nikon J2 does its job well in most cases. In artificial light there’s still a visible orange color cast: the color deviation of both the RAW and JPG files is on average 10 (Delta E94). This means that at this moment the Nikon J2 is one of the better cameras, in terms of color reproduction in tungsten light, which we have tested to date. Yet you see that the images shot in artificial light still have an orange tinge. Sometimes that is attractive (by candlelight), but most of the time you will correct the white balance afterwards.
Built in flash
|The Nikon J2 has a built-in flash. This could be an advantage over the Nikon V1. But its successor, the Nikon V2, also has a built-in flash. The flash of the Nikon J2 flips out for use as a periscope. It may look a bit weird, but this construction ensures that a longer lens doesn’t block the flash light.
|The AF of the Nikon J2 responds quickly. The hybrid autofocus AF chooses between two different principles, depending on the circumstances. With sufficient light, the Nikon J2 chooses phase detection autofocus and is very fast. The electronic shutter, which can record up to 60 frames per second, ensures that the camera is completely quiet. The speed of the AF is really a progress if you’re used to a compact camera. This camera is also, thanks to the fast AF, great for taking pictures and movies.
The Nikon 1 lenses don’t have a manual focus ring. Therefore you can not directly intervene the focus distance manually. You have to switch the camera to manual focus first.
If you are shooting a fast moving subject, it may easily happen that you push the shutter release button too late. A very convenient feature of the Nikon 1 cameras is the Smart Photo Selector. First you oush the shutter button halfway down. After you’ve released the shutter, the Nikon J2 camera offers you a choice between 20 images, including images that have been stored before you actually released the shutter button. Thanks to the Nikon J2, you will not miss a moment and the chance of a successful picture increases enormously for fast action images.
Conclusion Nikon J2 review
See our list of tested cameras to compare the performance of the Nikon J2 with other cameras.
The Nikon J2 seems in many respects similar to the Nikon J1. Our Nikon J2 review conclusion thus is very similar to our previous Nikon J1 review conclusion. The cameras of Nikon 1 series are ideal for photographers who want more than a compact camera, but find an SLR too large or too complex. The Nikon 1 series exudes quality and solidity. There is a well thought out system, which offers many possibilities. The color reproduction is very good, as is the resolution. The camera fits comfortably in the hand. With this camera you will certainly produce better pictures than with a compact camera. And the very fast autofocus, the completely silent shutter, a fastest 1/16.000 sec shutter speed and the Smart Photo Selector can even make many SLR owners jealous.