Summary: Nikon’s 1 series of CSCs and its collection of CX-compatible lenses continues to grow, and is possibly shaping up to be a nice little system, but the J3 shows that it still has a long way to go. Considering its high price point the J3 really doesn’t have much to recommend it apart from its elegant good looks.
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
Summary: Conclusion I enjoyed using the Nikon 1 J3. I like its small size, light weight feel and its modern, sleek appearance. The camera's buttons and controls, while small, work well and I appreciated the dedicated movie button. I was not fond of the camera's fragile pop-up flash, which could be a problem if used frequently. Performance is a strong point, as the J3 is reliably quick in all respects. It has very good image quality, even in low light, and excellent movie ability.
Pros: Small size, attractive appearance, Reliably quick performer, Very good image and movie quality, Many interesting features as well as manual controls
Cons: Requires frequent access to the menu, Fair battery life, Fragile pop-up flash
Summary: Image quality of this mirrorless depends on what it is compared against. Its 2.7X crop-factor sensor puts it well ahead of of most fixed-lens cameras but also behind the majority of mirrorless ones, including its predecessor, the J2 Nikon 1 J2 which uses larger pixels in its 10 megapixels sensor. Still, the J3 produces clean images up to ISO 400 and usable results until ISO 6400 for small prints. Metering, color and white-balance are all quite good.
Pros: Ultra-fast autofocus until very low light, Excellent metering, Realistic image colors, Good white-balance, Usable up to ISO 6400 for small prints, Instant shutter-lag, Virtually no blackout, Fast shot-to-shot speed, Quick and responsive, Sharp and crisp LCD with fast refresh rate, Ultra quiet, Very solid build quality
Cons: Above average image noise for a mirrorless, General image softness, Limited dynamic range, Limited lens selection, Not, Very few direct controls, Short battery-life, ¾s video delay, AF and MF sounds get recorded during video, Wrong framing of video in image mode
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
Summary: Compared to its Nikon 1 J2 predecessor, the J3 is a much improved camera. In essence, the J3 is the V2 in a compact, viewfinder-less body, geared to the casual user. It can take a while to work your way around the camera, with manual control tucked away and some auto shooting modes that could do with a little more explanation. Where the J3 shines, though, is in its speedy operation, thanks to its powerful Expeed 3A processor.
Summary: Can Nikon's smallest CSC deliver the goods?
Pros: Good screen, Smart Photo Selector, Small size, The body redesign to make this the smallest and lightest CSC on the market (with a decent) sensor size makes it an attractive camera for carrying around on a day-to-day basis.
Cons: Small sensor, No viewfinder, Not a touchscreen, It's a huge shame that the camera performed badly in our labs tests.
Conclusion: The J3 may be slightly smaller, lighter and faster than its J2 predecessor but the change is all too slight, despite the exterior design rejig and menu overhaul. The camera definitely wins in the speed department and it takes decent pictures too. But the increase in resolution from 10- to 14-megapixels in this update hasn't pushed forward image quality as the 1-series still sits slightly behind current Micro Four Thirds cameras in this department.
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