Test Review: Nikon 1 J5

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June 16, 2015 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in Gear & Reviews, Review by  •  0 Comments

The Nikon 1 J5

The Nikon 1 J5

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.

The standard test box shot is a little underexposed. Just like all test shots, it was taken in P mode with ISO 100/160 setting. In this shot, the white balance is nearly perfect. The grey colour of the background is reproduced very neutrally; it shows only a very minor shift into the yellow and green direction.

The standard test box shot is a little underexposed. Just like all test shots, it was taken in P mode with ISO 100/160 setting. In this shot, the white balance is nearly perfect. The grey colour of the background is reproduced very neutrally; it shows only a very minor shift into the yellow and green direction.

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.

The automatic white-balance system of the Nikon 1 J5 caused a slight shift of the white background with a more yellowish character. The reproduction of the skin tones is very good.

The automatic white-balance system of the Nikon 1 J5 caused a slight shift of the white background with a more yellowish character. The reproduction of the skin tones is very good.

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).

The camera offers standard exposure modes, scene modes, and special-effect settings on its large mode dial on the top. The additional record button on the right is encircled by a set-up dial for changing exposure settings or other parameters very comfortably.

The camera offers standard exposure modes, scene modes, and special-effect settings on its large mode dial on the top. The additional record button on the right is encircled by a set-up dial for changing exposure settings or other parameters very comfortably.

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 LCD of the Nikon 1 J5 can be flipped up- and downward. It can be moved into an upright position for shooting “selfies.”

The LCD of the Nikon 1 J5 can be flipped up- and downward. It can be moved into an upright position for shooting “selfies.”

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 Nikon 1 J5 offers a USB interface for data transfer and an HDMI port for image and video presentation on a TV screen. In addition it has a Wi-Fi module, which allows for image transfer to a tablet PC and for using a smart phone as remote control for the camera.

The Nikon 1 J5 offers a USB interface for data transfer and an HDMI port for image and video presentation on a TV screen. In addition it has a Wi-Fi module, which allows for image transfer to a tablet PC and for using a smart phone as remote control for the camera.

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.

Pros
+ 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

Cons
– no viewfinder (electronic or optical)
– no GPS system
– 4K video mode with only 15 frames per second

Nearly the whole back of the small camera is covered by the 3-inch LCD screen, which offers a resolution of 1037000 RGB dots. The Nikon uses a combination of control fields and dials for menu navigation and parameter set-up.

Nearly the whole back of the small camera is covered by the 3-inch LCD screen, which offers a resolution of 1037000 RGB dots. The Nikon uses a combination of control fields and dials for menu navigation and parameter set-up.


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
Resolution sensor 20.8
Colour depth (in bits) 36
Size of sensor (in inches) 0/0.00
Size of sensor (in mm) 13.2 x 8.8
LENSES:
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
TAKING PICTURES:
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
Self-timer yes
Exposure Settings:
Aperture pre-setting, shutter-speed pre-setting, manual-exposure settings,
automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography
Exposure programs 8
White balance:
Auto yes
White-balance settings 6
Individual white balance yes
ISO:
ISO min 160
ISO max 12800
ISO steps 20
Manual ISO control yes
FLASH:
Integrated flash yes
Flash mode:
On, off, automatic-flash, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear curtain sync
External Flash:
X-Sync no
Accessory shoe no
FILE FORMATS:
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
VIDEO:
Video available?: yes
Max. Width 1920
Max. Height 1080
Picture frequency 60
POWER SOURCE:
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
Power connector no
Power supply unit no
STORAGE SYSTEM:
Supported memory cards microSD card, microSDHC card, microSDXC card
PC-CONNECTION:
PC connection USB 2.0, HDMI, WLAN
TV out PAL/NTSC HDMI
DIMENSIONS:
Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm) 98 x 59 x 31
Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g) 265
ACCESSORIES:
Docking station no
Printed manual yes
Manual on CD yes
Bag no
Remote control no

 

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