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Review: Nikon's J1 and V1 cameras and 1 Nikkor lenses - Continued
s Q. How are the lenses?

The lenses I've used most are the VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 and 10mm f/2.8. Based on getting out and shooting with these three, and looking carefully at the pictures they've produced - but not shooting resolution charts or anything like that - I'd say that Nikon has stuffed a ton of optical quality into their tiny lens barrels.

For their size and particularly their cost, these lenses absolutely overdeliver in sharpness (you'll need to shoot NEFs and convert the files in something other than Nikon's software to fully see it though) and freedom from optical abnormalities. The 30-110mm seems especially good.

Lineup: The VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 and 10mm f/2.8 (on the J1). Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

So, the glass inside these three lenses is quite good. As are the stepping motors that drive the internal focus mechanisms. The two zooms in particular focus as smoothly as any of Nikon's pro AF-S lenses, and are eerily quiet in operation too. In a noiseless room, with the camera about a foot away, the 10mm's focusing action is audible, but barely, while the 10-30mm is just about silent. The 30-110mm is somewhere between the two.

Overall, the 10mm, 10-30mm and 30-110mm focus smoothly and unobtrusively. Combine that with the fact the body makes almost no sound at all when taking a picture - unless you have the faux shutter click sound turned on or the V1's mechanical shutter is active - and you have a camera that can be almost completely noiseless in operation. This means that the people you're taking a picture of won't hear any operational sounds from the camera, nor will people you're standing near. The J1/V1 and lens together are just that quiet.

(The VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 power zoom is meant to be the quietest of all four 1 Nikkor lenses, and it may well be, but my only time with it was in a crowded room so I can't comment on this or any other aspect of the lens really. Other than to say it's obviously geared towards customers who want to use the J1/V1 for video and that it's considerably larger than the other three lenses.)

As is typical of Nikon's consumer grade gear, build quality is good. The zoom mechanisms in the 10-30mm and 30-110mm zooms lack the tight feel of a more-expensive Nikon SLR lens, and there is some play in the lens barrels of both when they're fully extended. Neither characteristic seems to affect their operation or optical clarity, though.

The one fixed focal length and two manual zoom 1 Nikkor lenses are small. No, make that miniature.

If you're comparing either Nikon 1 camera, with 10mm f/2.8 attached, to various Micro Four Thirds or APS-C mirrorless models with their equivalent wide angle, the J1 and V1 will be among the smallest overall, give or take a few millimetres, but the size difference probably won't be meaningful if the comparison is to Olympus PEN, several models from Panasonic or Sony NEX. Any of these bodies with a flat profile lens on the front is about as compact as any other to tote around for wide angle street photography and the like.

Go beyond the pancake lens, though, and the Nikon J1/V1's (small) size advantage kicks in, in a big way. Especially at the telephoto end. If you put Nikon's 30-110mm (35mm frame equivalent: 81-297mm) against one of the other mirrorless makers' lenses with comparable reach, the Nikon lens is a lot smaller. In most instances, the length, diameter and weight difference is substantial.

Look at the comparison below. It's comprised of the following camera and lens combinations:
  • Nikon D7000 + AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G
  • Nikon V1 + VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 (please excuse the lens/body colour mismatch!)
  • Panasonic DMC-G3 + 45-200mm f/4-5.6 G
The first three photos show each lens at its shortest, while the next three shows each lens extended to the 300mm (35mm frame equivalent) position (which means 200mm for the D7000, 110mm for the V1 and 150mm for the DMC-G3).

Size
D7000
G3
V1
D7000 @300mm
G3 @300mm
V1 @300mm
The combined size of the camera and lens together drops significantly from the D7000 to the DMC-G3, and then again to the V1. What the photos don't show - and can't show, since it's entirely subjective - is which of the three pairings is portable enough to qualify to be taken along most everywhere. For me, only the V1 and the 30-110mm passes the test.

Prior to Nikon's entry into the segment, this had been the Achille's Heel of mirrorless. Yes, the camera bodies are smaller, and some are really small considering the size of sensor they contain, but the telephoto zooms, though not as big as a comparable digital SLR telephoto lenses, still have just enough bulkiness to counteract the benefit of the small body.

Therein lies the reason why I've had trouble getting excited about mirrorless cameras for weekend shooting. As you read on the first page of this article, I want the option of zooming in to 200mm (35mm frame equivalent) at least, and preferably 300mm or longer, and the size of the mirrorless camera lenses that can do that have been too big until now, or at least big enough to require a small camera bag to bring one or two along.

At that point, I've said to myself, I might as well just use a small digital SLR such as the D7000, which I like and am familiar with, and lenses that I already own, rather than investing in an alternate set of gear that doesn't meet my portability criteria.

The overall speediness of the J1/V1 is cool. But it's the smallness of the lenses, and particularly the 30-110mm, that really set the Nikon 1 system apart from its Micro Four Thirds and APS-C mirrorless competitors. If you've been puzzled why Nikon went with a smaller sensor than most other mirrorless makers, now you know: it was to enable the creation of much smaller interchangeable lenses.

Other things to note:
  • The smallest aperture on the three 1 Nikkor zooms is f/16, and f/11 for the 10mm fixed lens.

  • The vibration reduction (VR) mechanism in the 30-110mm is great. I've made shake-free pictures at 1/8s, with the lens at 110mm. Not every frame, mind you, but out of a burst of five pictures, two or three will show no signs of blur. The VR may be just as effective in the other 1 Nikkor zooms, but I've only really pushed it with the 30-110mm.

  • Both the 10-30mm and the 30-110mm collapse to a shorter locked position for transport. Unlocking either lens will automatically power on the camera, if it's off.

  • Mount Adapter FT1 will bring the catalog of FX and DX Nikkor lenses to the J1/V1. Prior to trying the camera, I'd have guessed there wouldn't be a time I'd consider putting a full-sized Nikon lens on the front. My thinking? As soon as I need bigger glass, I'm probably also better off going with a bigger camera too.

    After a few weeks of first the J1, and more recently the V1, I still feel that way overall, with one exception: the J1 (and V1 with mechanical shutter off) is so quiet that it could be just the right tool to capture pictures when silence is essential. During a golfer's backswing, for example, or at a church service or in court. A lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8, once the 2.7x crop factor is applied, takes on the field of view of a 190-540mm f/2.8 on a full-frame camera, which could be super useful for golf. For court, an 85mm f/1.4 gets the pull of a 230mm lens, but still at a low-light-friendly f/1.4.

    Because of the camera's stealthy nature, I can now think of a handful of on-the-job uses for it plus the FT1 and a few pro Nikkor lenses, even though my primary interest in the J1/V1 is for off-duty photography.

  • The FT1 isn't a replacement for additional 1 Nikkor lens models though. I really like the existing manual zooms and the fixed wide angle, but the system needs to rapidly grow to include a couple of faster-aperture options at both the wide and telephoto ends of the range. The 35mm-frame equivalent of a 24mm f/2.0 would be great, as would something like the equivalent of a 135mm f/2.0 (or anything else in the 85-135mm portrait range for that matter). Faster than f/2.0 would be even better, as long as lens size doesn't bloat to achieve it.

    During the launch of the Nikon 1 system in September, and more recently at PhotoPlus Expo, Nikon USA has been showing off a collection of 1 Nikkor lens prototypes. Though few details are given and each lens is unfinished, the prototypes include a wide angle zoom, a wide angle-to-telephoto travel lens, a macro, a supertelephoto zoom plus a "fast, prime lens" that's described as being "for portraits."

    Nikon R&D: Masahiro Suzuki. Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)
    In a September chat with Masahiro Suzuki, General Manager of Research and Development for Nikon's camera division, he said that additional lenses were to be released "in the near future," though he offered no specifics on timing or which focal lengths would join the Nikon 1 system first.

    The message, however, is clear: Nikon is aware of the need to build out its lens line quickly if Nikon 1 is going to establish itself as a true system.

  • The relatively short focal lengths and relative slow maximum apertures of the currently-available 1 Nikkor lenses means that heavily-blurred backgrounds are going to be in short supply. As you'll notice in some of the photos sprinkled throughout this article, there is subject-background separation in the telephoto frames, but the backgrounds are less blurred than if the same picture were shot with a faster and/or longer lens on a larger sensor camera.

    The degree of blur lands somewhere between the too-much depth of field look that telephoto point-and-shoot pictures tend to have and the pleasing out of focus backgrounds that are achievable in the realm of digital SLRs.
Q. How's the flash?

This is the only area of real weakness in the Nikon 1 system, and a surprising one given Nikon's well-earned reputation for having the most full-featured and easy to use digital SLR flash, both on the camera and off. The problem is how few of Nikon's best flash features have worked their way into the J1 and V1. There's ease of use but not too much more. Let's look at each camera's flash situation separately.

J1 Its pop-up flash is strictly of the point-and-shoot variety, in power, size and versatility. You get TTL with +1.0 to -3.0 flash exposure compensation in 1/3 stop increments, plus options such as slow sync and rear curtain sync, and a top sync speed of 1/60. The flash characteristic that distinguishes the J1 from point-and-shoots is comparatively fast recycling. At full power, the J1's flash is ready to shoot again in 1.3 seconds.

V1 The V1 has no built-in flash and instead relies on the Speedlight SB-N5, a tiny external flash unit (you could easily stack eight or nine of them inside the soft case that comes with the Speedlight SB-900). Its capabilities are discussed in more detail on the first page. Here, I'll say that it sets itself apart from the J1's flash by being more powerful, having both TTL and manual power options as well as a tilting and swiveling bounce head. Also, the LED lamp on its front can light up in the camera's Smart Photo Selector and Motion Snapshot modes.

The SB-N5 is just bright enough to properly illuminate a not-too-distant subject, even when the light is bounced off a low ceiling or nearby wall. When bouncing, the V1 will need to be at ISO 400 or higher usually, and the working aperture will need to be not much smaller than f/4-5.6.

That about covers what Nikon 1 flash can do. The list of what's missing includes:
  • No flash sync above x-sync. The J1's maximum shutter speed is 1/60, while the V1 tops out at either 1/60 or 1/250, depending on whether the electronic or mechanical shutter is controlling the exposure time. There's no FP Sync, nor is there a way to trick the camera into allowing a higher sync speed (though it's always possible that an enterprising nerd could reverse engineer a way in the future, after figuring out the V1's proprietary multi accessory port connector).

  • When using their respective flashes, both cameras are single shot only, and must be refocused between shots (unless set to manual focus). There is no way to shoot continuously, even at a slower frame rate or for a couple of quick frames.

  • There's no support for Nikon's wireless CLS remote flash.

  • The V1 lacks a hot shoe, PC sync socket or other port through which an external flash could be connected.
In autofocus, responsiveness, image quality and more, the V1 trounces the Coolpix P7100. But in turn, the P7100 schools the V1 in the area of flash. Nikon's most advanced point-and-shoot has a hot shoe, allows for ultra-high sync speeds and supports one-zone wireless CLS triggering of a remote Speedlight.

Nikon obviously made the decision that broad flash capabilities were not going to be of interest to the typical J1 customer, and that's probably a correct assumption. The V1 is targeted at the photo enthusiast, though, and that's exactly the shooter that has been stoking the fires of the Strobist movement in recent years. So the paucity of fun flash functionality in the higher-end Nikon 1 camera is surprising.

Q. Can I use off-camera flash at all with the J1 or the V1?

Yes, but not in the seamless manner you might be accustomed to with your digital SLR. Because of the limitations spelled out in the previous section, an optical slave is required to trigger any kind of external flash unit.

The photo below was lit by a Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 in a PLM Soft Silver 64 umbrella. To force the monolight to fire, an SB-N5 on the V1 was used to trip its slave receiver. The SB-N5's head was turned towards the big flash and set to 1/32 power, to ensure that the only light illuminating Fergus and his Halloween costume was from the Einstein. This is old school flash triggering, but it works, and it allowed for the front sidewalk portrait to be completed quickly in chilly weather. Chilly, that is, if your only warmth is coming from a vampire cape.

Spooky Son: Nikon 1 V1 + VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm, ISO 100, 1s, f/6.3. Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

The procedure for triggering an off-camera flash is different with each Nikon 1 model.

J1 The J1 has a built-in, automatic TTL-only flash that sets its brightness from a pre-flash burst. The challenge is to get the off-camera flash to NOT go off at the same time as the J1's pre-flash and instead to wait just a moment longer, when the camera is actually taking the picture. There are third-party flash units that are designed to do this, and they should work as well with the J1 as any other camera.

I've accomplished the same thing with the help of a pair of PocketWizards. By entering a delay of 150ms into a PocketWizard MultiMAX on the transmit side, it will wait - after receiving a signal from an old Kaiser slave that's gaffer taped to the built-in flash - before sending a trigger command to the receiver PocketWizard connected to the external flash. The 150ms value is just right, at least when the external flash is an Einstein 640.

Jury-Rigged: Off-camera flash triggering rig for the J1. Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

With things set up this way, the Paul C. Buff monolight fires as the exposure is happening, at shutter speeds up to the 1/60 maximum of the J1, with no black bands at the top or bottom of the frame that would suggest a mistiming. Other flashes might need a different delay value, but will otherwise work just as well.

Covering up the built-in flash with the slave means the camera never sees its own TTL pre-flash burst, but this doesn't seem to cause a problem. In an attempt to prevent the built-in flash from getting too warm, I opted to dial the flash exposure compensation to -3.0 within the J1's menus. It's hard to know whether this has any actual effect on the little flash's output when used this way, though I can say that it has not felt hot in use.

In 2011, this is a klunky way to fire an off-camera flash. It does get the job done, however, as you can see below. That said, if off-camera flash triggering is a priority for you, then the V1 is the better option of the two (as it is in numerous other ways as well).

Team Apple: Nikon 1 J1 + VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 14mm, ISO 100, 1/15, f/11. Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

V1 The V1 requires the Speedlight SB-N5, as mentioned, and makes it somewhat simpler than the J1 does to fire another flash. Also, the top sync speed, at 1/250 with the camera's mechanical shutter, is two full shutter speed steps higher than the J1's maximum.

A slave is still a part of the mix, but because the SB-N5's power can be set manually, thereby disabling its pre-flash, it isn't necessary to force a delay in the triggering of the external flash. This means the slave can be the one built into pretty much any studio unit, or one you plug into the flash's PC sync or other trigger socket, if it has one. Any of Nikon's Speedlights that are compatible with or incorporate an SU-4 mode can also be fired this way, including the SB-900.

The J1's PocketWizard + slave arrangement is still usable too with the V1 and SB-N5, minus the 150ms pause.

Q. How is the video mode?

Nikon has really sweated the J1/V1's video abilities. In fact, the camera has what is arguably the best video mode of any Nikon, thanks to not only a strong list of features but ones that are well-implemented too. Video specs include:
  • Video capture at 1080p/29.97fps or 1080i/59.94 fields/s at a bit rate of about 24Mbps, or 720p/59.94fps at about 16Mbps

  • Slow motion video capture at 640 x 240 pixels at 400fps as well as 320 x 120 pixels at 1200fps (clip length is limited to five seconds and the capture area is not the full width of the sensor but rather a cropped central portion)

  • Five exposure modes: Scene Auto Selector, Programmed Auto, Shutter-Priority Auto, Aperture-Priority Auto and Manual

  • Continuous tracking autofocus capability

  • Full control over metering, ISO, white balance, Picture Control, autofocus and more

  • Built-in stereo mics; audio levels can be set automatically or manually (three levels)

  • Still capture, while in video mode and recording video, with no interruption in the video (the resolution of the still frame is linked to the video setting but can be as high as 3840 x 2160 pixels)
To the list the V1 adds the option to connect an external stereo mic to the camera's 3.5mm mic jack and the ability to record video (1072 x 720 pixels at 60fps) while in stills mode (as opposed to capturing stills in video mode, which both the J1 and the V1 can do).

Move beyond the feature bullet points and what you find is an elegance with which certain things have been implemented. For example, to lock down the exposure on a particular shutter speed and aperture, you simply choose the Manual exposure mode and then use the settings toggle switch and the multi selector to dial in the values you like for each (1/60 is the slowest shutter speed allowed).

While video recording is underway, both shutter speed and aperture can still be changed, using the same direct-access controls. No other Nikon camera I know of, and certainly not the digital SLRs, makes it so effortless to change manual exposure settings in video mode, both before and during recording. Even Nikon's most video-centric digital SLR, the D5100, lacks the same straightforwardness.

V1/J1 autofocus in video mode is even more impressive, both because of the usefulness of the autofocus options but also how skillfully and quietly the camera moves focus (if desired) while recording.

With it set to AF-C and capturing video, aiming the camera first at a near object and then recomposing on a distant object prompts it to smoothly - and usually without hunting or cycling the focus - change to the new distance. This is especially true with the 10-30mm and the 30-110mm (and is probably also true of the 10-100mm); the 10mm's autofocus action is very slightly jerky. Pressing the AE-L/AF-L position of the multi selector locks the focus while it's held down; release AE-L/AF-L again and autofocus resumes its silky shifting from one distance to another. I can't overstate the smoothness with which the zooms change focus distance, it's impressive.

Also, the video looks good, mainly for the same reason that the camera's stills do: the colour is natural and pleasing. The rolling shutter or jello effect that can plague CMOS sensors seems to be well controlled too. The J1/V1 has to be panned really aggressively to bring it on.

Despite shooting with the J1 for a few weeks, and now with the V1, it has only been in the last few days that I've given the video mode proper attention. It has been one pleasant discovery after another.

If you're seeking the shallowest depth of field possible and you need the very best quality in dim light, then the video mode of a full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or Nikon D3S is still a better choice. If you favour ease of use and well-implemented autofocus, both the J1 and the V1 eclipse any digital SLR I've come across. I hadn't really been looking for a better video camera to record family events, but I think I've found one nonetheless. In this regard the V1 has an edge over the J1, but only because it's possible to plug in an external mic.

Q. How well do the cameras handle?

The handling of the J1 is, I think, exactly as Nikon intended it to be. The company was aiming for the overall shape and feel of a basic point-and-shoot, with a dose of Apple-esque sleekness and simplicity that is invading consumer electronics design these days. For their target customer, I think Nikon has about nailed it with the J1.

Because the V1 is aimed at a different kind of shooter, it needs to be evaluated differently. It's also the body I'm most interested in. I'll say first that I love how the camera feels in the hand. Its magnesium alloy covers and solid, flex-free body communicate quality. The shutter button is in just the right spot, and while it doesn't have the spring action of a premium digital SLR, the V1's exceptional responsiveness makes this easy to overlook. The only notable design flub is the location of the strap lug nearest the shutter button. It's too far forward, and interferes with the gripping of the camera.

Other than the addition of the EVF and multi-accessory port, and a bit more bulk, the V1's layout is the same as that of the J1. This means that both bodies have no controls (other than the lens release button) on the front, few on the top and only a modest complement on the back. As the photos below show, it gives the J1 and V1 a different sensibility than the control-laden P7100.

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Contrasts: Views of the Coolpix P7100, J1 (in white) and V1 (in black). Click photos to enlarge (Photos courtesy Nikon and by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

This minimalist approach probably suits the J1 customer just fine, since they're going to let the camera go ahead and decide on things like ISO, white balance and AF modes almost all of the time. Having dedicated controls for such settings wouldn't do much to serve the J1 user.

The same isn't true of the photographer considering a V1, who is more likely to want to rapidly adjust key parameters. The camera does give quick access to exposure compensation, some autofocus settings, the self-timer, ML-L3 remote options, shutter type (electronic, manual or electronic at 10/30/60fps) as well as standard or slow motion video, and it also allows for quick switching between stills and video. But to change exposure mode, ISO, white balance, select VR options, file formats and more you have to navigate the menu system each time. Also, the mode dial includes two options, Smart Photo Selector and Motion Snapshot, that I'm almost never going to use, and I doubt that few other V1 shooters will either.

I don't need the V1's controls to be those of the P7100, which attempts to provide a quick route to almost everything. And I've come to appreciate the V1's uncluttered front and top surfaces. But by turning the mode dial into a still/video exposure mode chooser (and dumping Smart Photo Selector and Motion Snapshot from it in the process), as well as providing one programmable button that could jump right to the setting or a customizable menu of settings I change most, the camera's controls would be improved considerably. Nikon, please take note for the V2. Also, the mode dial shows the occasional tendency to move positions while the camera is being carried. To prevent this, a locking dial would be preferable.

Note: Shooters with bigger hands or who insist on a more substantial right-hand grip than the V1 offers natively might want to check out the GR-N1000.

Conclusion

At the beginning of the article, I set out a list of criteria that my ideal weekend carry-about should meet. It needs to autofocus accurately and shoot quickly, even when following a moving subject, plus it must be extremely portable, offer a broad focal length range, be capable of shooting RAW, have a reasonably powerful on-camera flash and produce photos with really good colour, ones that also look decent in low light.

How'd the J1 and V1 do? In almost all of these areas, both Nikon 1 models either hit a home run or at least make it to third base. Autofocus is superb for a small camera system like this, as is overall responsiveness (except in the couple of areas noted in the story). Neither camera punishes the photographer, like so many small cameras do, for choosing RAW; the V1 in particular can shoot NEFs for long 5fps stretches before the buffer fills, and in fact its overall handling of the RAW format is on par with a good digital SLR.

The lenses deliver more than I was hoping for, both in quality and in the flexibility that comes with an interchangeable design. And they do so without killing portability, since their small size mates them up perfectly with the equally small V1 and even smaller J1. For me, the only open lens question is how rapidly Nikon can fill out the 1 Nikkor lineup with faster, wider and longer lens options, ones that don't sacrifice the take-everywhere size of the rest of the Nikon 1 system.

Picture quality, and specifically the colour, is really good, as is the level of detail in the 10.04 million pixel files (as long as you shoot NEF and convert in software other than Nikon's). In these two image quality areas, you'll almost certainly need to spend more on a bigger sensor camera to surpass what the J1/V1 delivers.

Low light performance, while much better than an advanced point-and-shoot and probably in the territory of its primary Micro Four Thirds rivals, is no match for the high ISO skills of the D7000, let alone a low light demon like the D3S. If you are, as I am, spoiled by the low noise levels of digital SLRs like these, the J1/V1 will simply need to be shot at lower ISO sensitivities than what you've gotten used to lately. Countering that, however, is the fact they maintain decent image quality at much higher ISOs than a camera like the P7100. On balance, J1/V1 low light performance is acceptable, and if Nikon soon adds some wider aperture 1 Nikkor lenses that will help a lot.

That leaves only flash. The discussion is really about the V1, since with the J1 there isn't much to discuss: it's a point-and-shoot flash in a camera geared towards folks who won't want much more than that. The V1 is a different animal, and while Nikon has demonstrated ingenuity in coming up with the ultra-mini Speedlight SB-N5, the flash's limited output and the sheer lack of interesting or useful flash functionality in the V1 itself leads to the system's one notable shortcoming. Nikon 1 flash should be more and better than this, especially from a company that knows how to do flash well.

During September's unveiling of the J1 and V1 in New York, Nikon USA senior technical manager Steve Heiner billed the system as being "designed for the ultimate balance of speed, portability and image quality." Marketing pitches like this are invariably hyperbolic, but his words do capture the essence of what Nikon sought to achieve in developing Nikon 1: to build fast, small cameras and lenses that produces good-quality pictures.

In doing so, they've created a weekend carry-about camera system that is tailor-made for me as the official photographer of two growing boys. The system has a few warts, some of which could be tackled through firmware changes, others through new products in the future. On balance, though, Nikon has gotten more than enough right in the V1 especially, and in the initial crop of 1 Nikkor lenses, to get me to buy into mirrorless for the first time. And it's because of the mix of speed, portability and image quality that Heiner spoke about, a mix that has not existed before Nikon 1 came along.

If you spot me biking along the pathways of Calgary with Fergus and Grady, or pushing through the mall to the Lego Store, the camera you'll see dangling from my shoulder from here on in will be the Nikon 1 V1.

Lamp Light: Nikon 1 V1 + VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm, ISO 400, I/2, f/5.6. Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

The Nikon 1 J1 is shipping now in a kit with the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 for about US$650 in the U.S. The Nikon 1 V1 comes in a kit with the same lens for about US$900. Other kits are available.

The 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 and 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 are about US$250 each, while the 1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 power zoom is about US$750. The Speedlight SB-N5 and GPS Unit GP-N100 are both about US$150.

Mount Adapter FT1 is to ship next month. While the cost of this accessory in the U.S. has not been set, a scan of UK retailers turns up a price in that country of about 230. Update, November 8, 2011: new information suggests the release date of the FT1 may slip from next month to sometime in the first few months of 2012. Update, December 13, 2011: even newer information from Nikon suggests that the FT1 will likely be in stores in the U.S., and perhaps other countries too, before the end of December, as originally planned.

On the next page you'll find downloadable full-resolution photos taken with the J1, V1 and, for comparison purposes, the Coolpix P7100, D7000 and D3S.
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