Nikon J1and Nikon V1

The J1 and VI models represent Nikons first foray into the compact system camera market and feature a new CX - format sensor

DESPITE protestations by Nikon that the company had no gaps to fill in its digital camera range, the new Nikon 1 series of compact system cameras was inevitable. What is more interesting is Nikons decision to use a 10.1 - million - pixel sensor measuring just 13.2x8.8mm in size. This is much smaller than an APS - C - sized sensor so the camera has a focal length factor of 2.7x 35mm. Therefore, the Nikkor 10mm pancake lens, for example, is the equivalent of a 27mm wideangle.

Although some DSLR users may find the small sensor and low pixel count off - putting, there are a number of other features that warrant giving the VI and Л another look.

For example, the image processor is said to be more powerful than the Nikon D3X and is capable of producing a 60fps burst rate at full 10.1 - million - pixel resolution. The sensitivity of both cameras is between IS0100 and 3200, with an extended ISO 6400 option, both shoot full 1920x1080 progressive HD video footage, as well as 12 - bit raw image capture. One defining feature of both cameras is the fact that they use on - sensor phase - detection AF, which should be faster than the contrast - detection AF used in most compact system cameras. This is also good news if you plan to use existing Nikkor AF - mount lenses via the Nikon FT - 1 adapter.

The VI is the more advanced, with a mechanical shutter that has a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000sec. It also has an electronic shutter that allows for shutter speeds of 1/16000sec to be possible. The Jl only has an electronic shutter. For enthusiast photographers, the VI features a 1.44m - dot LCD electronic viewfmder and a 921,000 - dot LCD screen, while the Л has a 460,00 - dot LCD display.

While some photographers may think that the sensor size and resolution could inhibit the VI and Jl compact system cameras, these models are meant to be pocketable system cameras rather than aimed at professional users. Making the sensor smaller means that lenses can also be smaller, creating a truly portable system. We tested the VI in АР 12 November, and look forward to seeing how the J1 performs in a future issue.

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