Nikon V1 vs J3 & S1

In the J3 & S1‘s favour:

  1. Significantly more pixels (J3 only: 14.2 vs 10.1 million).
  2. Higher sensitivity (6400 in the standard range vs as a manual-use, “extended” range).
  3. Smaller (50%).
  4. Lighter (~33%).
  5. Much higher FPS [in standard mode] (15 vs 5).
  6. Underwater white balance preset.

In the V1‘s favour:

  1. Much better battery life (350 vs 220).
  2. Much cheaper ($250 vs $500/$600).
  3. Built-in [electronic] viewfinder.
  4. Much better LCD (vs S1; J3 has same LCD as the V1).
  5. Nikon 1 hotshoe (for optional flash units, GPS adapter and other accessories).
  6. RAW+JPEG (vs S1; J3 has same support as the V1).
  7. Familiar battery (same as D7000/D600/D800, vs S1/J3’s battery which is custom).

Other notes of interest:

  1. Nikon’s official specs for all three cameras list the audio format as “ACC”.  Whoops.  They mean AAC.

These new additions are odd, to me.  No flash.  At all.  That’s just weird.  Compact cameras live and die on the quality of their night photos, and it’s hard to see where else Nikon is going with the Nikon 1 line than at the compact high-end.  It was hard enough to stomach that the V1 didn’t come with a built-in flash – something Nikon fixed with the V2.

Edit: Somehow I missed that both the S1 and J3 have built-in flashes (despite reading several reviews and the product pages on Nikon’s own web pages).  Very weird.  My point still stands though; I find these new additions a little weird since they have no good distinction from the existing Nikon 1 offerings.

The S1 is clearly intended to be the budget camera, but the V1 beats it in most ways – it’s much cheaper, and is better in most ways – the only notable exceptions being size & weight.

The J3 is in a way odder again.  It’s very much like the V2, which was itself a slightly awkward upgrade over the V1.  The sacrifices they’ve made, though, are severe – much worse battery life, much more expensive, no viewfinder at all, no flash… in a vacuum the J3 is still a nice camera, but very expensive, and any savvy shopper is going to compare it to not just similar models but also other manufacturer’s offerings.  It feels homeless all round.

On the upside, though, it does show Nikon at least thinks they’re committed to the Nikon 1 line-up, and they did release some new lenses alongside these new bodies, so the Nikon 1 ecosystem in general is stronger for it.

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