on March 8, 2013
I have had my S1 for just 2 days. I also purchased the Sony NEX-F3 and I'm leaning towards keeping the Nikon 1 S1. Both are taking great images and are both easy to use and navigate through the menus. I am using prime lenses on both (f/1.8). I need to also play around with the kit lenses some. I love the nikon feature of taking a video of my two little ones and being able to also take still photos. One of the features that most appealed to me and it works great! With big moments like their first steps, you can have a video and stills. Genius! The s1 is my favorite so far bc of that feature, as well as it being smaller and lighter. I was able to put it in my north face fleece jacket pocket this morning. Both cameras have been able to keep up with my kids moving so quickly as well, in low light the images aren't AS sharp as my dslr (nikon d5000) may be, but they are not blurry like my point and shoot type camera or my iphone 4s and with more practice, I'm sure they will improve or with using the flash. I'm actually considering selling my dslr now. This is the perfect camera for us because it keeps up with our kids' speed, has the simultaneous video and stills, and is small enough to fit in my diaper bag or carry around while taking pics of my 2 year old and 6 month old. Much more convenient than my big Nikon d5000. I researched for weeks and read so many negative reviews online from professional photog websites and blogs, so I kept second guessing my desire for the nikon 1, but I should have just ordered it weeks ago. I can't review the service on here bc I ended up ordering from an online photog store, but amazon always does a great job for us. I will update later, but wanted to review since I couldn't find many reviews when I was shopping. And just a side note, I'm not a professional photog, just a mom wanting great pics of her kids. I have taken a short course on taking pics in manual so I do know a tiny bit, but the nikon s1 would be easy for a beginner bc of the menus having descriptions of what aperture mode or shutter priority is. It's so easy!
on May 14, 2014
It is a great little interchangeable lens camera at discounted price ($200-$300 depending on kit)!
In fact, it is one of two smallest and lightest cameras with 1" sensor (Samsung Mini is the other one).
11-27.5 mm kit lens is very sharp and well made while being light and compact. Nikon provides extended warranty for 5 years for this lens and it is the only movable part of camera and lens combo. S1 has an electronic shutter and a dust shield over the sensor.
Yes, there are not too many direct controls but auto mode is excellent and manual controls are availed through menu. There is even HDR option in backlighting mode. Camera is fast and and do not select slow shutter speeds as earlier Nikon 1 cameras. That means blur free&sharp photos when there is movement in a frame.
I use it mostly in auto and HDR/backlighting modes and I am very happy with pictures quality. I love shooting from moving vehicles and this camera with 11-27.5 mm lens is a perfect combination for this versus 10-30 mm lens. It is just a little faster at 11mm (30 mm equivalent) and more compact and that makes all the difference!
During my latest road trip I took close to 3,000 pictures out of moving at high speed car and only about 10 of them were not in focus! Of course, I used a continuos shooting drive and many photos were discarded because I did not like composition or something else in the frame, but they were sharp, well exposed photos delivered to me by S1 camera so I can choose which are the keepers and I did not have to worry about technical image quality - it was superb!
I will update this review as use Nikon 1 S1 more with observations and photos. I am also planning to check how it works with wireless adapter.
As of now, my initial impressions are that it is inexpensive, fast focusing, very compact camera with amazing lens warranty - 5 years, no shots limit (easily 100K a year or more!). Also, it does not attract too much of attention and can be completely silent.
on October 29, 2013
Seeing as how it costs much less than the enthusiast models like the Canon s120 or Panasonic LX7 and so on...I believe it makes pictures just as good or better than those cameras. The benefit this has over enthusiast models is the larger sensor (same as the RX100 but half the price) and the ability to buy lenses that will increase photo quality.
Good shot to shot time (could be better)
Nice effects in camera
Nice placement of video button
Very effective auto mode
Good color renditions even in mixed light
15 fps is really great with kids
Backlighting mode is a great HDR tool that captures more tonality than my SLR
Quick access to shooting modes, drive, flash, and exposure compensation
Good Battery Life
No Panorama Mode!
No touchscreen, Wifi, Touch to focus, or GPS
Cannot operate flash while camera is in anything but single shot drive
Fiddly menu and menu diving if you are not happy with auto results
No vibration reduction and slow lens (but makes the lens more compact)
Backlighting mode is only appropriate for slow moving objects.
You get what you pay for. A lot of my cons are items that would increase the size/cost of the camera and I would not like it if it was any bigger or more expensive. I feel it fits a sweetspot as a family camera that can be serious if you are patient with the menus.
on March 26, 2015
I never thought I'd be writing this review. I used to have a Canon APS-C body with a few L lenses, but I abandoned that a few years ago due to the size (baby in tow). At that time, I discovered the micro 4/3 system, and was very happy with the results, especially with the reduced bulk. Late last year, I updated my micro 4/3 system with a new body and a few new lenses. I am very happy with the portability coupled with the image quality.
Why did I buy a Nikon 1 system camera? I was looking for a replacement for an old Canon point and shoot camera (SD800 IS). It had served us well, but with a young child in tow, we thought it would be nice to have something that could keep up with her. I found a refurbished Nikon 1 S1 kit for barely the price of a low end point and shoot. I jumped on it. Even if the 1" sensor didn't live up to the hype, it would be much better than the 1/2.3" and 1/1.7" sensors found in low end and high end point and shoot cameras.
Like most, I had panned the Nikon 1 system, without actually using it. Is it a system that professionals could move into? No, absolutely not. Not because of the lack of image quality and speed, but for the lack of professional lenses, and the lack of quick adjustment of manual controls. It's amazing how much of a bad reputation the Nikon 1 system has gotten, but has it earned it? In my opinion, no. It's much better than what you'd expect. It's obvious Nikon was aiming for casual and amateur photographers, and providing them an effective photography tool without forcing them into a physically large and more expensive DSLR (DX or FX).
- Shockingly fast focusing in good light (on part with the Olympus OM-D E-M1)
- Electronic shutter only (turn off the sounds, and you have completely quiet shooting)
- Body and lens are significantly smaller than even the micro 4/3 system (2.7x crop factor instead of 2x)
- Camera powers up when lens is unlocked and twisted
- Unobtrusive for it's capabilities (not too big, looks like a point and shoot)
- It comes in some funky colors (I dig the khaki, which is a dark green)
- Flash mechanism allows you to bounce (not too powerful of a flash, but the photos look much nicer when the flash is bounced)
- Decent lens selection (comes with the 11-27.5mm, which is a nice pancake zoom, just ordered a 30-110mm for telephoto)
- FT-1 adapter can be used to use AF-S lenses (although it might not be as discrete anymore)
- Crazy continuous capture (15 fps with AF, up to 60 fps without)
- Interesting shooting modes (some folks calls them gimmicky, but hey, they might serve a purpose to some others)
- Useful clicky wheel on the rear
- Multiple auto-ISO ranges (up to 800, 3200, 6400)
- Image quality is *almost* as good as micro 4/3, only pixel peeping will reveal the differences
- Dedicated video recording button
- Tiny rubber thumb grip is *very* useful in keeping the camera stable in hand
- Miniscule shutter lag (important for those looking to move up from a point and shoot)
- Due to the lack of popularity of the system, accessories can be purchased fairly cheap (cases, underwater kits, etc.)
- Lots of plastic (camera feels solid, but the glossy finish isn't the best. Will probably show scratches easily)
- Very few third party lenses (indicative of the low adoption rate of the system)
- When using playback mode with full details, there is no indicator as to when the click wheel is in zoom mode versus navigation mode (pretty minor issue, you get used to it)
- No mode physical mode dial (there is a virtual mode dial available with just a single button push, and I usually just set up the camera and leave it in P, so not a huge impact for me)
- AF illuminator is an obnoxious bright green LED (hey, at least it has one! It was just a bit startling at first, again, not a big minus)
- Low light AF is not great (switches from PDAF to CDAF in low light)
I'm not going to list subject isolation (narrow DOF) as a con. This is a result of the 1" sensor. The 1" sensor allows the lenses to be smaller, allows the whole system to be portable. Narrow DOF is one of the compromises. This system is not the tool for narrow DOF photography. There are other systems that excel in narrow DOF due to their larger sensors. It's one of the biggest complaints I hear about micro 4/3 and the Nikon 1. Not all photography is about narrow DOF. I think it's just plain silly to focus on only that aspect of the system.
I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for a camera which not only has good image quality, but can also focus quickly and take a photo quickly. My parents picked one up as well, and they're impressed with the ease of use. The other incentive for me to pick up this system was for underwater shooting. The Nikon WP-N2 retails for $749, but can often be easily found for under $100. It's a bargain underwater kit for those who only shoot underwater occasionally.
on December 26, 2014
This camera is hard for me to give single score too, so I ended up with a 3stars. 4 or 5 is a must buy for me, this camera is borderline based on a few criteria.
IQ (image quality)
This is a 3 stars if I compared to other ILC (interchangable lens camera). I also have a Panasonic GM1 which is exactly the same size but has a bigger sensor; and cost 3-4x more. Something with the aptiva sensor isn't picking up the colors I am used to from Nikon. I shoot with the Nikon d750, which has more dynamic range and a higher color profile(more natural looking colors).
I got this for $150, I don't think you can do any better then that. That is a 5 stars here. For that price most P&S (point and shoot) cameras have a tiny 1/7" or 1/2.3" sensor. Sony rx100 series has a 1" sensor like this camera and cost $500-800. You are getting a bargain for IQ here, its that it doesn't compete with more expensive larger sensor camera.
Interface and functions.
I shoot dslr manually quite a bit so this camera is kind of hard to use. I doesn't have the iso button unless you go into the menu. Very limited options in the controls. This is designed to be a good camera for auto mode. You can turn off the camera by opening or closing the kit lens, this is actually very cool.
It has a top and base made of metal, but the front chassis is plastic. I played with the J4 and that is all metal. The grip on the kit lens is very nice and i like it.
So why am I keeping a 3 stars camera. Because of the size and price, but I got a waterproof case for $100 more. This camera will be my scub camera and for underwater stuff (which I don't do any but might now).
But the cheapo lens that comes with this package is not good. The 11-27.5 lens just doesn't do it. If you look at the DXOMark rating for this camera, the sensor is rated at 56, as opposed to the V1, 54, and the new J4, 53. So you have a camera here that focuses fast and takes great pics when paired with the 10mm or the 18.5mm or the 30-110. But why do they ship it with a cheapo lens? To make it cheap, I suppose. Get this camera used while there still are some out there, get a good set of lens, and you have a pretty good camera with the same sensor as the RX-100 Sony has.
Yes, it's got a lot of garbage fluffy settings you won't use, but set it right. DXOMark doesn't lie. It has a 56 rating. Not too far behind most Canon DSLRs. I have six pics in my house with this camera. It takes amazing macros with the 18.5 lens, and the 30-110 lens has captured incredible cross country pics. Sell back the 11-27 somehow, get the right lens, and you have a fine camera.
on November 6, 2013
Excellent Compact Camera that is very capable. I am owner of Nikon J1 and V1. I bought this because of the low price on a used one. It's smaller than J1 (same size as J3) and essentially all the features of J1. I like the pop up flash on this one better because it can be tilted to bounce the light manually. Still, the controls are not as good as a J1 in my opinion. I don't like the new graphic menu system and much prefer the older menu as I was able to navigate it more quickly. The new menu reminds of Sony Nex which I also thought confusing in how they organized it. Also, you can get a better deal on a older "new" or "like new" J1. I would personally get the older J1 for the better control than the S1. I would even prefer J2 with same control as the J1 with better display and added features like panorama and art filters. You are also able to turn the camera off by retracting the lens as a J2 like the S1. (I personally don't mind pushing the power button to turn the camera off. Extending the lens to turn on is more essential than retracting the lens to turn it off anyways.