Nikon J5 Review
|Full model name:||Nikon J5|
|Sensor size:||1 inch
(13.2mm x 8.8mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / LCD|
|Native ISO:||160 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||160 - 12,800|
|Shutter:||1/16000 - 30 seconds|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
3.9 x 2.4 x 1.2 in.
(98 x 60 x 32 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Nikon J5 specifications|
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The Nikon J5 brings the Nikon J-series cameras in line with its competition and greatly improves upon the J4. Using a 20.8-megapixel BSI CMOS CX-format sensor, the J5 takes sharp images with good dynamic range, especially at lower ISO speeds. At higher ISOs, the J5 also performs well, but is heavy-handed with its in-camera noise reduction. Utilizing a fast 171-point autofocus system and capable of shooting at up to 60fps, the J5 is an agile compact camera. With a tilting touchscreen and user-friendly controls, the J5 is a compact camera that is sure to please new and veteran photographers alike.Pros
Photographer-friendly controls; Impressive dynamic range for its class; Very fast hybrid autofocus; Fast high-speed shooting capabilities; Tilting touchscreen display.Cons
No hot shoe or viewfinder; Aggressive noise reduction, even at base ISO; 4K video is limited to 15fps.Price and availability
Available since April 2015 in the US market, the Nikon J5 is sold in two bundle variants -- either with a 10-30mm kit lens for around $500 USD or with a 10-100mm kit lens for around $900 USD. The Nikon J5 is available in white, silver, and black.Imaging Resource rating
4.0 out of 5.0
Nikon J5 Review
In the spring of 2014, Nikon launched the J4 compact system camera. While the Nikon J4 had much to recommend it, especially in terms of size and performance, it also made some rather curious design choices, key among them a Mode dial that forewent the traditional program, priority and manual exposure modes even though the camera itself was quite capable of them.
Now, the company follows up with the Nikon J5, a camera that addresses some of its forerunner's shortcomings with a more photographer-friendly design. The Mode dial now sports a full complement of PASM exposure modes, while a new function button on the front deck and an additional control dial at the back right corner of the top deck mean you'll spend less time digging around in the menu system.
Inside, there's a brand-new CX-format (1"-type) CMOS image sensor with a slightly higher resolution of 20.8 megapixels. As well as providing just a touch greater potential for capturing finer details, this should also yield better sensitivity thanks to a backside-illuminated design.
It's paired with a newer-generation EXPEED 5A image processor, and while the already-swift performance of 20 frames per second with autofocus is unchanged, and the ISO sensitivity range of 160 to 12,800 equivalents is also carried over, noise levels are noticeably better at higher sensitivities.
On its rear deck, the Nikon J5 now boasts a tilting LCD touch-screen, which can be flipped up 180 degrees for better visibility from in front of the camera -- a must for selfie fans -- or downwards almost 90 degrees for framing over your head. There's also a variety of new software features such as a robust interval timer, skin softening function for attractive portraits, and a variety of new effects modes.
And the in-camera Wi-Fi connectivity introduced on the earlier camera has been supplemented with near-field communications technology for quick-and-easy pairing on Android devices. As in other recent Nikon models, the combination of Wi-Fi and NFC is being branded as Nikon Snapbridge, and will work with either Android or iOS devices.
There are still some features which will cause enthusiasts to look elsewhere, such as a low 1/60 second flash sync speed and the use of MicroSD flash cards that are smaller, easily lost and need an adapter to be used in most other cameras. A ~17% reduction in battery life over that of the earlier camera is also a bit of a concern. Still, all things considered the Nikon J5 looks to be a much more attractive option than the camera it will replace.
The Nikon J5 began shipping in the US in April 2015, and sells for about US$500 with a 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom lens. Additional kits bundle either the 10-30mm and a 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens for US$750, or a single 10-100mm f/4-5.6 lens for US$1,050. Body color options include black, two-tone silver and black, or two-tone silver and white.
Nikon J5 Field Test
A Worthy Contender in the Crowded Compact Camera Market
A Change in Direction
The Nikon J5 is a clear shift in focus for Nikon's J-series of CX-format cameras. Compared to the J4, the J5 has numerous features that make it more suited to photography enthusiasts without sacrificing the small size and ease of use that consumers expect from an affordable compact system camera. With a new, retro-inspired camera body, a tilting touchscreen, a new image processor, and a new 20.8-megapixel, backside-illuminated 1"-type sensor (referred to by Nikon as a CX format sensor), the J5 is an excellent option for many photographers.
Small and Capable Camera Body
The Nikon J5 is small and light, but it still feels sturdy and is easy to hold. With a retro-styled appearance and multiple finish options (black, silver, and white), the J5 looks fantastic. Unlike the J4, the J5 has a small front grip, which allowed me to get a good hold on the camera body. The camera body weighs only 12.3 ounces (350 grams), including the battery and the 10-30mm kit lens. In the pursuit of a small camera body, the J5 uses MicroSD cards rather than the large, more common SD memory cards.
Nikon J5 Technical Info
What's going on under the hood?
In place of its predecessor's 18.4-megapixel image sensor, the Nikon J5 opts instead for a slightly higher resolution 20.8-megapixel chip. As in the earlier camera, it's a 1"-type sensor, smaller than those used in all other mass-market mirrorless cameras with the exception of Ricoh's Pentax Q-series. (In Nikon parlance, cameras with a 1"-type sensor are referred to as "CX Format".)
The increase in resolution from the new CMOS chip is not as great as a glance at the two figures might suggest. With a maximum image size of 5,568 x 3,712 pixels, linear resolution would only increase around 6% over the J4's 5,232 x 3,488 pixel images. However, the new sensor is very worthwhile for another reason. It's now a backside-illuminated chip, a change that should increase sensitivity and reduce noise levels, all other things being equal.
Nikon J5 Walkaround
See what's changed since the J4
Although there are plentiful changes throughout its design, the Nikon J5 is near-indistinguishable from its predecessor in terms of weight and size. Body height and width are just ever so slightly reduced, while the depth has increased by a scant 0.1 inch (3mm), likely due to the new tilting LCD monitor and reprofiled grips.
Looking at the Nikon J5 from the front, the most obvious change is a new leatherette wrap around all but the topmost portion of the body. This is coupled with a new, gently-profiled handgrip, a worthwhile change that should make the J5 easier to hold than the J4, which had a smooth front deck with no grip whatsoever.
Nikon J5 Image Quality Comparison
New, improved 1-series goes head-to-head against its rivals
Below are crops from our "Still Life" studio target comparing Nikon J5 image quality with its predecessor the J4, as well as to the Canon G7X, Olympus E-PL5, Sony A5100 and Sony RX100 II. The J4, G7X and RX100 II all have 1"-type sensors, the E-PL5 has a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A5100 has an APS-C-sized sensor. All are in roughly the same price range.
NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera.
Nikon J5 Print Quality
See how big your prints can get as the ISO rises
The Nikon J5 is a big improvement all around for the Nikon 1-series, including a strong showing here in the print department. Base ISO and ISO 200 images show impressive detail and colors up to an impressively large print size. You're pushing the 20 megapixel sensor's resolving power a bit here, but from normal viewing distances for such a large print, the camera can certainly handle it. Moving up the ISO scale, the noise increases, as expected, but it mostly stays contained to the shadows and at ISO 1600, for example, the camera still manages a nice 13 x 19 inch print.
Nikon J5 Conclusion
The Nikon J5 takes a bold new step in the right direction
Correcting some disappointing design choices of the Nikon 1 J4, the updated Nikon 1 J5 camera features a more photographer-friendly layout, a brand-new CX-format 1"-type image sensor, and upgraded EXPEED 5A image processor. The end result of the wide variety of changes and improvements is a camera that performs well on its own, but is also well-suited to be a complementary compact camera for Nikon DSLR users.
Photographer-friendly design makes the J5 enjoyable to use.
Whereas the Nikon J4 featured a limited mode dial setup, the J5 puts an expanded, more traditional PASM dial right on the top deck of the camera. The J5 also has a front grip, a function button on the front of the camera, an additional control dial on the back, and a tilting LCD display. The design is just generally more photographer-friendly and a big improvement over the J4. The J5 is also more comfortable to hold and easy to use.
In the Box
In the US market, the Nikon J5 10-30mm kit retail box ships with the following items:
- Nikon 1 J5 camera body (black, silver or white)
- Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens (black or silver)
- BF-N1000 body cap
- Front and rear lens caps
- EN-EL24 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack
- MH-31 external battery charger
- AN-N1000 neck strap
- UC-E20 Micro USB cable
- User's manual
- Warranty card
- Extra EN-EL24 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack or two for extended outings
- Large capacity MicroSDHC / MicroSDXC memory card. Given the high resolution and large file sizes of the Nikon J5, 32GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity. If you plan to capture high-definition movie clips, shoot image bursts, or shoot in raw format, Nikon recommends you look for cards with markings indicating Class 6 or higher. (Smaller numbers are slower cards.)
- More lenses! ;-)
- Medium-sized camera bag (or a small one if you're only planning on using one or two lenses).
Buy the Nikon J5
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Kit with 10-30mm lens (Silver)
- Buy from Amazon for $496.95
- Buy from Adorama for $496.95
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