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Nikon 1 J2 review
What is it?
An updated version of the original J1 system camera that comes complete with an overhauled feature-set.
The revised high-resolution LCD screen, a host of new shooting modes and some decidedly funky colour schemes.
There's no viewfinder and those who purchased the original J1 might feel a little hard done by with the J2's rather swift appearance.
The bottom line
The Nikon 1 J2 features some much-needed tweaks to improve both performance and usability. What's more, this new CSC is cheaper than the outgoing model too.
The Nikon 1 J1 was a tasty looking compact system camera that appeared at the tail-end of last year and was capable of producing some very nice shots alongside boasting a decently-built body. However, it was also decidedly expensive, especially when put up alongside rival models - the Sony NEX-CS springs to mind. So less than a year later Nikon has unveiled a successor to the 1 J1 in the shape of the 1 J2 and, on first impressions, it doesn't look like they've done much at all. Visibly, however, the CSC certainly grabs your attention with its range of metallic finishes, with red, pink and orange all available alongside rather more sober black, white or silver.
As a style statement, the Nikon 1 J2 therefore proves to be something of an attention-seeker, but there is other good news if you've already been captivated by its visual charms. Perhaps the best news is that it's cheaper than the outgoing model - although if you shelled out for the original this fact must be slightly galling. Nevertheless, newcomers to the compact Nikon will also find some impressive new features and functions that further boost the appeal of this CSC and it's a good all-round workhorse, featuring a 2.5x zoom (30-74mm equivalent) that's good for shooting portraits, landscapes and all points in-between.
See also: Fujifilm XF1 review
It's round the back that the most obvious improvement has been made, with a very crisp and clear 3-inch LCD screen boasting 921,000-dots that gives it twice what the earlier incarnation had. That's good news for those who lament the fact that the Nikon 1 J2 doesn't have a viewfinder either. Other highlights include the excellent selection of new shooting modes that have been lifted from the ever-popular CoolPix compact range and are used to great effect here. We also love the function that powers up the camera whenever the lens is extended and then powers off when you retract it.
Aside from that, it's pretty much business as usual with the 10-megapxiel CMOS sensor, ISO sensitivity range and shutter speed options all still capable of dealing with a whole variety of picture-taking scenarios. Battery life is good too, but it's perhaps the raft of Creative Modes that will get many new users captivated. Panorama, Selective Colour, Miniature, Soft Night Landscape, Backlighting and Night Portraits all deliver some suitably choice results when called upon. Performance is additionally boosted with a Creative Mode slot on the mode dial, enabling quick and instant access to more advanced P, S, A, M modes, meaning that more experienced users will really be able to squeeze the best from this compact. The latter aspect is particular handy as the original J1 proved rather unwieldy in this respect.
Some practical accessories released around the same time also add further reason to investigate the J2, with an 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that's roughly 30% smaller than the existing 10-30mm option available. There's also a waterproof case that can allow you to descend with the little Nikon down to a depth of 40-metres if the urge so takes you. What's more, at a fraction less than £500 with a 10-30mm lens supplied, you're getting much more camera for a smaller outlay than the original model.
Sensor: 13.2 mm x 8.8 mm CMOS sensor
LCD: 3-inch, 921,000-dots
ISO: Auto, ISO 100-3200
Video: Full HD, 1280 x 720 (30 fps)
Memory cards: SD/SDHC/SDXC
Weight: 280 g (Inc. batt & card)
Dimensions: 106.0 x 61.0 x 29.8mm
Price: £499.00 with 10-33mm lens
Reviewed: Nikon D7100
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