The Nikon 1 J2 is the second generation of Nikon's interchangeable-lens compact camera system, and while it generally carries a specsheet similar to that of its predecessor, the Nikon 1 J1, the J2 offers intriguing new features that put special effects and more sophisticated but intuitive controls in the hands of snapshooters in a surprisingly small and light camera.
The Nikon 1 system is based on a new 10MP, 13.2x8.5mm CMOS sensor and CX-mount lenses, an entirely new mount that is optimized for the Nikon 1's high-speed focusing and image-capture abilities.
The big news on the Nikon 1 J2 is the Creative mode, accessed via a distinctive new icon on the camera's mode dial. Creative Mode lets users choose from among 8 options:
Night landscape, where the camera chooses a higher ISO; it goes up to 3200 and offers the same noise reduction as on the J1.
Backlighting: In normal shooting mode, the camera adjusts for backlighting to expose for the shadows; when combining Backlighting with HDR, both shadow and highlight detail is preserved.
Easy panorama mode (in both vertical and horizontal mode): Using on-screen guides, the user moves the camera to take in a wide view.The J2 detects hand motion and automatically adjusts for horizontal or vertical format panorama.
Soft: Designed for flattering portraits and evocative scenes, Soft mode applies haze to the entire frame.
Miniature effect: Focus is sharp in the center of the screen, falling off into blur along the sides and edges.
Selective color: Choose a specific color to retain in the image while the rest of the scene is recorded in black and white.
P/A/S/M exposure modes: For photographers who desire more traditional exposure control, the Nikon 1 J2 offers Programmed Auto, Shutter-priority Auto, Aperture-priority auto, and Manual exposure modes.
The 3-inch LCD monitor has been upgraded to 921k dot resolution, and Nikon says it is easy to view even outdoors.
Features that are carried over from the Nikon 1 J1 include the hybrid Focal Plane Phase Detection and Contrast-Detection autofocus, ideal respectively for moving sujbects and low-light environments. At 10fps (with continuous autofocus) the Nikon 1 J1 is a category burst rate leader. Without continuous AF it can shoot as fast as 60fps.
The Nikon 1 J2 also offers Smart Photo Selector. As soon as the shutter release is pressed halfway down, it starts recording up to 20 images right before and right after the shutter release is fully pressed. Then the camera compares the 20 shots and chooses 1 best shot and 4 reserve images and deletes the rest. So, out of frame figures, blinking and blurred shots are automatically excized before you see anything in preview mode.
You can also use the Nikon 1 J2's Picture Control to adjust the tonality and overall quality of your images. Choices are: Vivid, Neutral, Monochrome, Standard, Portrait, and Landscape .
The Nikon 1 J2's subject-tracking AF memorizes the color and shape of a subject, and tracks it automatically to keep focus even as it is moving at high speed. Combine this with the advanced hybrid AF system Ai which was found to be one of the fastest of any digital cameras tested by the Adorama Learning Center on the J1 and V1 and your chances of catching active subjects and sports are quite good.
The Nikon 1 J2 also retains Motion Snapshot, which combines still images with a 2.5-second slow-motion movie. Press the shutter and the camera records a still image and 1 second of video but playback is in slow-mo. Nikon includes a software package to help you stitch together several Motion Snapshots into a single longer montage that you can share online. my Picturetown is Nikon's image sharing service, which lets you share images and Motion Snapshots via social networks and email from your computer or mobile device.
Drawing on the same technology behind Motion Snapshot, the Nikon 1 J2 will simultaneously record movies and stills without dropping any frames. It can record full 1920x1080/60i or 1920x1080 30p HD movies for up to 20 minutes, or 720p movies up to 29 minutes, while simultaneously capturing 16:9 aspect ratio still images at 3840x2160 pixels. Slow motion at VGA and sub-VGA resolution can be captured at 400fps and 1200 fps, respectively.
The Nikon 1 J2 joins a growing ecosystem of Nikon 1 series interchangeable-lens digital cameras, lenses, and accessories. The new 1 Nikkor 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (available in Black or White) offers a 35mm equivalent angle of view ofa 30-74mm lens, which retracts into a super compact lens when not in use.
The current lens lineup includes:
1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6
1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/5.6
1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8
1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-Zoom
Nikon 1 owners can also use their Nikon DSLR lenses via the Nikon Mount Adapter FT1, and can take the Nikon 1 J1 or Nikon 1 J2, equipped with the 10-30mm lens, underwater via the Nikon WP-N1 waterproof case. The case is rated to depths of 131 feet.