Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nikon causes internet tantrum with Mirrorless ‘1′ System

NikonOneNikon has announced their first interchangeable lens, mirrorless camera system today.  The company is calling it the Nikon 1 System.  At launch it will feature two cameras, the J1 and the V1, and four lenses.  The biggest difference between the two is that the V1 has an electronic viewfinder, where as the J1 does not.  Both will feature 10mp sensors which are larger than the sensors in compact cameras, but considerably smaller than Nikon's DSLR sensors or the sensors in other mirrorless cameras made by Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, or Samsumg.

I find these intriguing cameras, but I appear to be fairly alone on this.  At least, that's the impression I get looking through the overwhelmingly negative comments at DPReview and other photography web sites.  The sensor is too small!  Image quality is going to suffer!  It doesn't compete with other mirrorless cameras!  Mostly, what these complaints boil down to is, "Nikon hasn't made the camera I wanted them to make".  What they have made, instead, is a camera that's targeted at users of compact cameras, instead of the enthusiasts who read photography blogs.  This may be a poor strategy by Nikon, but it doesn't mean the cameras are junk.

Lost in the uproar is the fact that these have pretty decent image quality-- check out the sample photos on Nikon's web site-- the autofocus is supposed to be wickedly fast, and the video features are much more robust than most of us probably need.

On the downside: the price is much too high (at $649 and $899), and the lens lineup (thus far) leaves a lot to be desired.  There's room for improvement, to be sure, but this is an interesting product and I look forward to seeing what Nikon does with it in the future.

Further reading:

* For detailed specifications, check out Nikon's Web Site.
* Thom Hogan has a similar reaction to mine, and he's always worth reading when it comes to Nikon equipment.
* Of course, Amazon already has these available for pre-order.

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