Nikon 1 J2 Overview
by Mike Tomkins
Posted: August 09, 2012
Eleven months ago, Nikon finally took the plunge and launched its first compact system cameras, simultaneously debuting the first two Nikon 1-series camera models. Both featured the brand-new Nikon 1-mount, plus a CX-format image sensor with an effective resolution of 10.1 megapixels, and on-chip phase detection autofocus. The Nikon J2 follows in the footsteps of one of those cameras--the Nikon J1--and carries over both lens mount and image sensor unchanged.
So what's new? There are four or five key differences. Perhaps most significantly for the market, the Nikon J2 comes in at a pricetag of US$550 with 10-30mm kit lens, fully $100 cheaper than its predecessor. Another key difference is the Nikon J2's upgraded LCD panel. At around 307,000 dots (921,000 pixels), the new display now has double the resolution of that on the J1.
There's also a new body and Mode dial that--although it has only minor styling tweaks, and differs little in form factor and size--is now crafted from metal. The J1 had a plastic body and Mode dial, reserving a metal body for its more expensive sibling, the V1. The new metal body of the J2 is also offered in two additional color variants. There's a deeper red that replaces the previous red used in the J1, and a new orange color. Additionally, the updated red and existing pink color schemes are to be paired with a newly-textured grip.
The Mode dial itself also has one extra option. Sadly, the PASM exposure modes you'd expect to find on an interchangeable-lens cameras still don't merit their own positions on the Mode dial, but Nikon does note that they can be more easily accessed than before, through the new Creative mode. The same mode also provides access to shooting modes including Panorama, Selective Color, Miniature, Soft, Night Landscape, Backlighting and Night Portrait. We'd still prefer to see PASM modes on the dial itself, though.
In other respects, the Nikon 1 J2 is quite similar to its predecessor. As we've noted, the 10.1-megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor is retained, as is the dual-core EXPEED 3 image processing engine. That allows 10 frames-per-second burst shooting with autofocus, or up to 60 frames per second with focus locked from the first frame. The on-chip Advanced Hybrid Autofocus (AF) system still offers up a generous selection of 73 autofocus points. The J2 also still offers 1080p video, the Smart Photo Selector function that rattles off a burst of photos and then helps you choose the best, plus the frankly bizarre Motion Snapshot Mode. This last creates a brief slow-motion clip in high definition, and follows the clip with a still frame from the action, all automatically set to a built-in music selection.
The Nikon 1 J2 goes on sale from September 2012, priced at US$550 in a kit with 10-30mm lens. Body colors include White, Black, Silver, Pink, Red, and Orange. At the current time, it doesn't appear that there will be dual-lens kits, as there were with the J1.
Although the kit lens is unchanged, Nikon has unveiled a new 1 NIKKOR 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens alongside the J2. This won't be offered as kit, and will work with all 1-series cameras. It has a shorter 30-74mm equivalent focal length range, but the payoff is that it is 11mm shorter, 26% smaller, and 28% (32 grams) lighter. It still has a maximum aperture that varies from f/3.5 to f/5.6 across the zoom range, but now has only one Aspheric element (two less than previously), and adds one extra-low dispersion element. Available from late September 2012, the Nikkor 11-27.5mm lens will cost US$190, and will be sold in black or white versions.
Also new is the WP-N1 underwater case, compatible with both the Nikon J1 and J2. It's waterproof up to 40 meters (approx. 131 feet), and provides for all controls to be used with the camera in the case, but has a pricetag to match--US$$750. Availability for the housing is from September 2012.