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The real significance of the Nikon V1 and J1

The Nikon V1 and J1 cameras indicate where Nikon is heading with regards to digital video and mirror-less solutions. These cameras are harbingers of what is to come in the DSLR world. I think the most significant  technologies showcased by these cameras are:
  • Phase detect autofocus at the sensor image plane - this is the holy grail for focus tracking of moving subjects. Until this technology is perfected, I do not think DSLRs can be supplanted in the professional world. I am hoping that Nikon will soon introduce this capability in the DSLRs.
  • Combined video and still photography - the ability to take full resolution snaps during video means that the user can shoot video and take snaps at the same time.
  • Full resolution high speed sequence photography - it seems that with the technology Nikon now have, it may be possible to take 30 frames per second even at a resolution of 20 megapixels. It would interesting to see if the Nikon D4 ends up with this kind of capability.
I think Nikon has succeeded in putting in enough unique features in the V1/J1 range that many people who originally thought it wasn't worth investing in this range, might be tempted to do so. 

It seems to me that the J1 and V1 cameras are Nikon's attempt to learn from Apple. Both models focus on simplicity of design and aesthetic beauty. They seem to also reflect Apple's view that if the product is good enough, people will be happy to pay a premium. Nikon needs to ensure that like Apple, their products not only look good, but also outperform other cameras in the same category.


  • Thankfully there is no label in the front to say Full-HD or some such thing.
  • The clean uncluttered design that still manages to put the main shooting modes on the back dial. Compare this with the Sony NEX-5N and Panasonic GF-3 - I think Nikon has struck the right balance here.
  • I like the idea of a fixed viewfinder like that of a rangefinder or SLR - there is nothing like bringing a camera to your eye to take a picture. It was bold of Nikon to resist the urge to make the viewfinder swivel.
  • I wish the lenses were thinner and smaller - surely if the VR functionality was taken out, this would reduce the lens size?
  • I can see why Nikon went with a small sensor but I wish the sensor was bigger. It seems a deliberate strategy to avoid competing with DSLRs - but if that's the case, Nikon is making a mistake.