Photo Life’s Guy Langevin did a test drive of the Nikon 1 J5, and we’ll share his take in the next post!
Nikon’s newest compact-system camera is the Nikon 1 J5. It’s the first model of the Nikon 1 series with 20 MP. Very compact, the camera has a large touchscreen as an electronic viewfinder, and it can record 4K video.
Comments on Image Quality
Colour: When reproducing the GretagMacbeth chart the automatic white-balance system of the Nikon 1 J5 caused a slight shift of neutral grey colours into the yellowish and greenish area. This effect positively relates the brightness. The brighter grey nuances are shifted more than darker areas. This effect is noticeable in the portrait shot, where the light grey background shows a small shift into the yellowish area.
The colour saturation of the test chart is nearly perfect. The Nikon reproduced it with 97.0 percent mean saturation, which is even a little low for the public taste of colour reproduction. The skin tone reproduction is perfect. Colour 1 and colour 2 in our result chart show only negligible shifts to their given values.
The differentiation of all colours is good. The coloured thread spools show a lot of details; only the red spool is reproduced with a slightly “muddy” look.
Sharpness: The camera performed excellently in our resolution tests. The ISO 12233 chart was reproduced with 3616 of 3713 lines per picture height. so the camera converted nearly the nominal sensor resolution in real image details. The image processor of the Nikon 1 J5 enhances sharpness. On hard contrast lines, you will notice some oversharpening effects like double contours or halos. These effects are also noticeable in our portrait shot. The sharpness of our model’s eyelashes is a little exaggerated.
Combined with its kit lens, the camera showed some chromatic-aberration effects on hard-contrast lines. The Siemens star in the upper left shows magenta and green coloured halos because this effect becomes visible in the corners of the image.
Noise: Even with the small sensor and its high pixel density (20 MP on “CX sensor”), the images of the Nikon 1 J5 are crisp and clear even when they were taken with higher ISO speed settings. Up to ISO 6400, the luminance noise level stays below 1.0 percent, which is remarkably low.
Colour noise becomes visible in images taken with ISO 800, but is still very discreet. In images taken with ISO 1600 and higher, the anti-noise filtering becomes visible due to smoothing effects on contrast lines for example, but these filtering effects are acceptable up to ISO 3200 to 6400. They beome a little bothersome in the highest speed setting of ISO 12800.
The dynamic range results are very good for a compact-system camera. The Nikon 1 J5 achieved a maximum of 11.5 f-stops at ISO mode and maintains a high level of about 10 to 11 f-stops up to ISO 800. At higher ISOs, the dynamic-range results drop drastically, but are still acceptable (8 or 9 f-stops).
Comments on Handling
The J5 is the newest model of Nikon’s 1 series. The mirrorless system camera is the first camera of this series that offers an image sensor with 20-MP resolution. (The first Nikon 1 cameras have 10 MP, and the latest product release was the Nikon 1 V3 with 18-MP resolution.) Compared to APS-C sensors with about 23.5 x 15.6 mm and Micro Four Thirds cameras with 17 x 13 mm, the new Nikon 1 J5 has a small sensor system with 13.2 x 8.8 mm (“Nikon CX format”). Therefore the crop factor of this camera is nearly 1:2.7, which means that the focal length of the kit lens, 1 Nikkor 10-30 mm 1:3.5-5.6 VR, is about 27 to 81 mm (35-mm film equivalent). The camera has a very slim and compact design, which makes it easy to carry and use like a simple compact camera.
The new Nikon 1 J5 has a swivel LCD. It can be tilted downward by nearly 90 degrees and upward by nearly 180 degrees, which means that the LCD can be seen from the front of the camera and can be used for “selfies.” The LCD is touch-sensitive and can be used to set up the focus area, for example. Setting up these parameters is very comfortable.
The camera has two set-up dials. The first is located on the top and encircles the second record button, which starts video recording. The right-hand thumb can reach this dial very easily. The dial can be used for image parameter set-up or for the magnifier function in review mode. The second set-up dial is located on the back and encircles the cursor field to the right of the LCD screen, also making it easy to set up image parameters.
The camera has a built-in flash system, but no accessory shoe for external flashes or for an additional electronic viewfinder. The built-in flash system is helpful when shooting portraits in backlit situations or when taking indoor photos. In these situations it can illuminate scenes in a range of 3 to 4 metres.
The camera also can record video sequences, taking Full HD videos with up to 60 frames per second. In addition the Nikon 1 J5 offers a 4K video mode. But in this mode it will take only 15 frames per second, which isn’t high enough for smooth video playback on a TV or computer screen.
The new Nikon 1 J5 has a hybrid focus system with 171 AF areas, including 105 phase-detection sensors directly on the sensor. Combined with the kit lens, the 1 J5’s AF performance was very good, but it still isn’t as fast as other CSCs by Sony, Panasonic and Olympus.
+ ultra compact system camera
+ high-speed shooting with extreme burst rates and shutter speed settings up to 1/16000 s
+ Wi-Fi and NFC system
– no viewfinder (electronic or optical)
– no GPS system
– 4K video mode with only 15 frames per second
This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.
|SPEC SHEET: Nikon 1 J5|
|BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:|
|Resolution||5568 x 3712|
|Colour depth (in bits)||36|
|Size of sensor (in inches)||0/0.00|
|Size of sensor (in mm)||13.2 x 8.8|
|Focal length (wide angle; 35-mm equivalent; in mm)||27|
|Focal length (tele; 35-mm equivalent; KB in mm)||81|
|Focal length (wide angle; real; in mm)||10.0|
|Focal length (tele; real; KB in mm)||30.0|
|Speed||3.5 – 5.9|
|Macro||20 – 100|
|Manual focus, controlled by function elements||no|
|Manual focus, controlled with lens ring||yes|
|Start-up time (in sec)||1.50|
|Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing||0.03|
|Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing||0.01|
|Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)||60.0|
|Max. burst during continuous shooting speed||20.0|
|Fastest shutter speed (in sec)||1/16000|
|Long time exposure/shutter speed (in sec)||30|
|Aperture pre-setting, shutter-speed pre-setting, manual-exposure settings,|
|automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography|
|Individual white balance||yes|
|Manual ISO control||yes|
|On, off, automatic-flash, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear curtain sync|
|Standard file formats||JPEG, RAW, DCF|
|JPEG compression grades||3|
|LCD AND PREVIEW:|
|Size in inch||3.0|
|Resolution of LCD in pixel||103700|
|Zoom-Mode during preview||yes|
|Index during preview||yes|
|Slideshow during preview||yes|
|Battery charger included||yes|
|Power supply unit||no|
|Supported memory cards||microSD card, microSDHC card, microSDXC card|
|PC connection||USB 2.0, HDMI, WLAN|
|TV out||PAL/NTSC HDMI|
|Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm)||98 x 59 x 31|
|Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g)||265|
|Manual on CD||yes|