Nikon’s long-awaited mirrorless camera system has arrived. Today Nikon announced the new J1 and V1 mirrorless cameras and four new Nikon “1 System” lenses. The two cameras have nearly identical specs: a 10.1 megapixel CX-format (13.2mmx8.8mm) CMOS sensor with 2.7x crop factor, a 3-inch LCD screen, 10fps shooting, 1080/30p HD video recording, 1200fps slow-motion recording at 320×120, simultaneous video/still capture, 73-point hybrid autofocus, and 12-bit RAW files.
Nikon J1: Colorful and Compact
The Nikon J1 offers a compact camera-style body and is geared towards people who want a “carry everywhere” camera. It comes in a variety of colors (white, pink, red, silver, black), has a built-in popup flash, and will arrive on October 20th with a 10-30mm (27-81mm equivalent) lens for $650.
Nikon V1: For Serious Shooters
The Nikon V1 is a camera geared towards photo enthusiasts, and is supposedly the world’s smallest and lightest camera with interchangeable lenses and an electronic viewfinder. It packs a 1.4M dot high-res electronic viewfinder, mechanical shutter, “multi-accessory port”, and sturdy magnesium alloy build. The V1 will also arrive on October 20th with the same 10-30mm lens for $900.
Lenses and F-mount Adapter
The Nikon 1 System will initially launch with 4 new lenses. In addition to the 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, there will be a 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 (81-297mm equiv) for $250, 10mm f/2.8 (27mm equiv) for $250, and a 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 (27-270mm equiv) power zoom lens for $750.
A FT-1 F-mount adaptor will also be released to allow Nikon fans to use their existing collection of SLR lenses.
The Nikon 1 System will launch with a number of accessories, including an ME-1 stereo microphone for $180, an ML-L3 wireless remote for $20, and a GP-N100 GPS accessory for $150.
Whether or not the Nikon 1 camera system will succeed may depend on how much quality the company can squeeze out of its 2.7x crop factor sensor. Though it’s larger than the 5.7x Pentax Q sensor and most compact camera sensors, it’s significantly smaller than the ones in popular mirrorless cameras in the market (e.g. Sony’s NEX and Micro Four Thirds).
Ordinary consumers are moving more towards mobile phones for everyday photos, and the ones that desire quality can get more than enough of it from a camera like the new $430 Canon S100. It’s people who are more serious about photography that may consider adopting a new camera system with interchangeable lenses, and those are the people who prefer larger sensor sizes.
Still, the Nikon brand is a powerful one, and the fact that existing F-mount lenses will soon be compatible with the Nikon 1 system is a huge plus. Also, the sensor size choice definitely makes sense: it allows Nikon to jump into the EVIL market without cannibalizing its popular and massively profitable DSLR lines.