Excerpt: Nikon introduced two new 1-series models at CES 2013, the J3 and the S1. The main differences are these: the Nikon 1 J3 will retail in kit-form for about $100 more than the S1 because it features a larger 14.2 megapixel CX-format CMOS image sensor and a slightly longer range 10-30mm zoom lens, and the ability to capture more photos in Smart Photo Selector Mode. However, the J3 does have an older, menu-based navigation system and a slightly less dynamic 160-400 ISO range.
Conclusion: The speed and size make the 1 J3 a serious contender in the mirrorless category—it's truly a fun little camera with some pretty big performance. The battery life could see some improvement and some (though probably few) users will notice a few scene modes missing, but the speed and size is hard to come by.
Pros: 15 fps burst mode, Compact size, Fast RAW processing, Manual modes for both stills and video, High quality images
Cons: Smaller sensor compared to other mirrorless models (1"), Odd mode selection set-up
Conclusion: The ILC segment represents an interesting design challenge for camera manufacturers. They are a step-up from point-and-shoots, but a step-down of DSLR cameras – designing a camera to appeal to both types of users is a difficult task. With the Nikon 1 series, Nikon seems to have made a concerted effort to appeal more to the auto point-and-shoot user.
Pros: Light, compact stylish design, Great 3-inch 921k-Dot LCD, Fast autofocus
Cons: Average lens (10-30mm f/3.5-5.6), Lower quality images at higher ISO settings, Challenging ergonomics
Conclusion: The Nikon 1 J3 is flawed on several levels. It handles poorly, has limited features and takes deeply average photos. It’s rare for a camera to disappoint this much, but the Nikon 1 J3 is one to avoid.
Pros: Prompt AF system, Stylish design, Good build quality
Cons: Noise at high ISO settings, Poor image quality, Badly-designed controls, Way too expensive
Excerpt: The Nikon 1 J3 was launched in January 2013 alongside the S1 and is a compact mirrorless system with an extremely small body, fast continuous shooting and short release time lag. It is available with the 10-30mm lens in silver, red, white, black and beige for £485.
Pros: High speed shooting at 60fps, High resolution screen, Compact, stylish camera and lenses, Hybrid AF - Contrast and Phase Detection, Impressive image quality, Camera switches on when you unlock collapsible lenses, High speed video - 400/1200fps, Image resolution increased to 14.2 megapixels
Cons: Camera body doesn't have any rubber grip, 1200fps video quality isn't great, PSAM modes not easily selectable from mode dial, Shortish battery life
Excerpt: Whilst some may grumble that a compact system camera (CSC) with a smaller sensor than a digital SLR at an identical cost will never be a true match quality wise, Nikon’s two year old ‘1’ series, a reference to the one-inch chip at its heart, has already claimed top spot for UK CSC sales. Perhaps that’s why a J3 model has appeared less than six months after the J2. The appeal remains portability – the J3 is one of the smallest interchangeable lens cameras around.
Pros: Fun and approachable, fits in a jacket pocket even with kit zoom attached, lightweight metal build and almost futuristic styling bucks Nikon’s traditionalist trend, optional adapter allows for usage with 60+ Nikon lenses – only Canon’s pricier EOS M can come as close for that degree of versatility
Cons: Doesn’t offer a significant step on from previous iterations in terms of feature set, image quality falls short of rivals with larger sensors but not wildly differing price tags
Excerpt: The Nikon 1 J3 is mostly made out of aluminium with magnesium alloy reinforced parts and is therefore heavier than you would think based on its size alone, weighing in at 201g for the body only (36g lighter than its predecessor, the J2). It also feels better made than the official product shots would have you believe.
Summary: Nikon's J series comes of age in this revision, with a higher resolution sensor, more extensive menus and a redesigned chassis. The Nikon 1 J3 the best-looking lens-swapping compact you can buy, and one of the best performers, too.
Pros: Higher resolution sensor than predecessor, Good lens selection, Excellent image quality, Attractive design
Cons: Wind noise on movies, Flash performance in still life test, Expensive
Excerpt: The Nikon 1 J3 came as something of a surprise when it was announced little over four months after we first saw the J2 model. Clearly it's not only the camera's burst mode that's fast, it's also the whole series' apparent shelf life too.
Pros: Hybrid autofocus system is fast, small system size, fast burst mode with better buffer than before, new menu system an improvement compared to before
Cons: Sensor won't match up to larger equivalents, menu system still doesn't feel a total success, pricey (more so than predecessor), no hotshoe or possibility of a viewfinder, no ISO 100 option