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  1. #1
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    I got a Nikon J1 kit in the mail this week. It included the camera, 10-30mm and 30-110mm zoom lenses, and the 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens. I've been playing with it for a couple of days now and have some initial impressions and some photos to share.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_a201639.jpg  
    Photo-John

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  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Rose - ISO 800

    This is one of the first batch of photos I took with the J1. It's handheld at ISO 800 with the 10-30mm kit lens. My opinion? It looks excellent - especially when you consider the smaller CX format sensor. Nikon has done a great job of controlling noise with the small sensor.

    So far I've only shot JPEGs and haven't gone any higher than ISO 800. But all thing considered, this photo is a very nice start and has me feeling good about the camera.

    The second photo here was shot at the same time, also at ISO 800. It's got a lot more detail to look at so it's a good sample to compare to the rose image. And again, I'm impressed with the image quality.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First Nikon 1 System Photos!-dsc_0222.jpg   First Nikon 1 System Photos!-dsc_0209.jpg  
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Nikon J1 - Low ISO And Detail Sample Photos

    Here are a few low ISO J1 sample photos. Parker Kitty was taken at ISO 200 and the rest were taken at ISO 100. At ISO 100 you can see noise-reduction in the sky if you look for it and the small details - trees on the mountains - aren't super sharp. But once again, overall I'm impressed. I would be totally happy using this camera for landscape photos on the trail and Parker's fur and eyes look really good.

    Today I'm going to take the J1 out to test the auto focus. Nikon's new hybrid phase detect / contrast detect auto focus system could be what really makes their new mirrorless system special. I'll be shooting cyclocross racing with continuous auto focus - both stills and video. That will pretty much tell us how good the auto focus is. I shoot a lot of cyclocross with my Canon EOS 7D with continuous auto focus so I've got a really good feel for what's good and what isn't. I should be able to post a few of those photos here later today or tonight

    I will also upload larger versions of all of these photos to my member gallery: Photo-John Gallery photos from the PhotographyREVIEW.com Gallery
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_dsc0286.jpg   First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_dsc0287.jpg   First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_dsc0306.jpg   First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_dsc0316.jpg  
    Photo-John

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  4. #4
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Nice colours, particularly the rose and the cat.
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  5. #5
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais View Post
    Nice colours, particularly the rose and the cat.
    What do you think about the image quality, color aside?
    Photo-John

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    The resolution and detail looks pretty good (at this res). Harsh bokeh though. Were these raws or jpegs? Is the raw converter on ACR yet?
    - Charlie

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  7. #7
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    What do you think about the image quality, color aside?
    I think it looks beautiful. Good enough to go on a calendar. Users are going to be delighted if it's all like that.

    However if I have to criticise something:
    - the mountain scene doesn't look as sharp as the others
    - you've completely lost detail in the window left of the cat's head. It doesn't look unnatural. It would be interesting to find out if you could get back some detail and calm it down by shooting RAW and doing highlight recovery. On my D300 I could get some back, but on the S95 with it's tiny sensor I would hardly be able to do anything
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
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  8. #8
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais View Post
    However if I have to criticise something:
    - the mountain scene doesn't look as sharp as the others
    - you've completely lost detail in the window left of the cat's head. It doesn't look unnatural. It would be interesting to find out if you could get back some detail and calm it down by shooting RAW and doing highlight recovery. On my D300 I could get some back, but on the S95 with it's tiny sensor I would hardly be able to do anything
    I agree that the mountain landscape lacks detail. I think that's going to be the biggest drawback with this camera - low ISO landscapes that require lots of detail. That said, I don't think the landscape looks bad. I just wish the trees had a little more definition. I feel the same way about Micro Four Thirds but it's better than this.

    The background in the cat photo doesn't bother me. I think I lightened it up a bit in Lightroom and it was shot JPEG. I don't think I even tried to hold the detail in the background. It's possible that shooting RAW would make a difference. But I think the best thing is to call this one a matter of processing and personal taste. It's hard to say unless I actually shoot it RAW and try to hold that detail.

    The thing that's bothered me the most so far is the bokeh in the purple flower image. It is pretty funky. That was shot with the 10-30mm kit lens. So if we want nice backgrounds, Nikon is going to have to offer up some lenses with better optics.

    I've got a whole bunch of action photos shot with continuous auto focus to process now. I think the auto focus and video are going to be what sets this camera apart. My first impressions of the auto focus - excellent! The only other way to get this kind of performance - 10 FPS and working continuous AF - are to buy the D3s. That's setting a pretty high mark. Stay tuned for the action photos...
    Photo-John

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  9. #9
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Nikon 1 Continuous Auto Focus

    Most people are talking about the Nikon 1 cameras' image quality. I think that's missing the point of this camera, though - especially after shooting a cyclocross race with it yesterday. I think what sets the Nikon J1 and V1 apart is the auto focus, speed and video. The image quality is good, but not as good as Micro Four Thirds or APS-C cameras. But based on my first tests yesterday, the action performance of the J1 and V1 walks all over the other compact system cameras. Add the 10 FPS burst with continuous auto focus and you have to step up to $5000 pro digital SLRs to match the action performance. No kidding. Below are three photos from the first continuous auto focus sequence I shot. The focus is excellent - and this is a very demanding high-speed situation. This was the start of a race near the end of a long straightaway and the subject I kept the focus point on was rock solid focused until he got really close.

    To get a closer look, check my member gallery. I'll upload higher-res versions there for the pixel peepers. I've got a whole bunch more from yesterday as well but I won't have time to post them until later. I realize one sample sequence isn't a conclusive test.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_dsc0348.jpg   First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_dsc0349.jpg   First Nikon 1 System Photos!-_dsc0350.jpg  
    Photo-John

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  10. #10
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    I can see why you're happy - the performance to do sports photography at a fraction of the cost, size and weight of what we've been using up till now. I would still go for the one with the viewfinder though - I was out in bright sunlight today with a camera that has only the LCD screen (S95) and most of the time I couldn't see exactly what I was shooting.

    It seems to be able to handle quite contrasty light as well. This is bright sunlight under a sky that is almost clear, yet the image has come out with open shadows and hardly any highlight burn-out.
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  11. #11
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    RAW Conversions

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol View Post
    The resolution and detail looks pretty good (at this res). Harsh bokeh though. Were these raws or jpegs? Is the raw converter on ACR yet?
    No RAW Nikon 1 RAW conversion for ACR or Lightroom yet. Nikon was supposed to include software in the box but it got left out. I'll try to get software from them so I can start shooting RAW and get my studio tests done. I always shoot those RAW.
    Photo-John

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  12. #12
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    John,

    For the continuous AF are you selecting the AF spot or letting the camera pick it up automatically ?

    Thanks

  13. #13
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by armando_m View Post
    John,

    For the continuous AF are you selecting the AF spot or letting the camera pick it up automatically ?
    Good question. I select the focus point and then track the subject myself. I will test the tracking auto focus but I'm old school and don't really trust it. I am using the J1 just as I would use my digital SLR.
    Photo-John

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  14. #14
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    Good question. I select the focus point and then track the subject myself. I will test the tracking auto focus but I'm old school and don't really trust it. I am using the J1 just as I would use my digital SLR.
    yeah, it will be interesting to see the results, but I do not expect it to be magic, when I have used the dynamic AF on the D300 I'm always dissapointed, it will pick the first thing it can focus on and that spot is usually the one that is NOT moving

  15. #15
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    I got to see one yesterday, it looks like a fisher price toy, especially the flash. The camera has absolutely no size benefit over the GF3 or EPM1, but hey, at least for a very first time in the Compact System Camera category, there is a camera without PSAM modes.

    As disappointed as I was on paper about this camera, seeing it made it all the worse. I can't believe Its continuous AF is redeeming enough. NO PSAM mode? What kind of crap is that, for $650!? It makes me sad, that in spite of its numerous obvious flaws and insane price, some people may actually buy this silly, inferior product, JUST because it says Nikon!? Who in their right mind would pick this over an EPM1 or GF3 or NEX 3, when all 3 are not only superior, they are cheaper.
    Last edited by Anbesol; 10-26-2011 at 09:01 AM.
    - Charlie

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  16. #16
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Scratch that, looks like I jumped the gun. It does have manual modes, they are just buried in the menu. The modes on the main dial indicated otherwise to me, strange interface, I'll have to try it out again.
    - Charlie

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  17. #17
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol View Post
    Scratch that, looks like I jumped the gun. It does have manual modes, they are just buried in the menu. The modes on the main dial indicated otherwise to me, strange interface, I'll have to try it out again.
    I also had a very hard time figuring out the manual modes and exposure control. The interface is less than intuitive.

    I disagree that the other systems are better, though. They are better if image quality is your top priority. If you want a great trail camera that can really handle action well, the Nikon 1 is the best game in town.

    If you haven't noticed it yet, here's a link to the hands-on preview article I posted on Monday: Nikon J1 Hands-On Preview – Action! | Camera News & Reviews
    Photo-John

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  18. #18
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    This looks pretty cool! I agree on the bokeh and the DOF looks really deep (probably because of sensor size) which could be a blessing or a curse.
    What excites me more than any one of these types of cameras is that all the big players are getting into the game. This kind of interest and competition is going to be good for consumers in the end. I'll probably wait a generation or two to get myself a MILC/EVIL.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Its almost redundant, as well as being a misnomer, to talk about the Nikon's AF being the "best". Because I think to a lot of people, like myself, the AF of the Oly/Pan/Sony are already good, and the improvement or difference with the kit lens is hair splitting. Moreover, what difference there is, the AF improvement gained from getting a faster aperture, fixed lens is certainly greater than any AF difference between the J1 and its competition. Be it tracking or single AF, the Oly with the 45mm f/1.8 will still be better with AF than the Nikon and its 30-100, or anything Nikon can do at the same equivalent focus distance. I also doubt anything could compare to Oly's 12mm f/2. As of now, it doesn't look like the kind of system Nikon wants to commit any high performance fixed angle lens to. They have the typical pancake, kit, telephoto kit, and superzoom. Considering the set of 4 lens released, it looks like Nikon is only interested in producing generic, cheap entry level consumer grade optics for the Nikon 1. Clearly they are acutely targeted to the market segment of people stepping up from point and shoots, and not pro's or DSLR users who want a smaller side-shooter.

    *edit - the J1 is also no smaller than the E-PM1 or the GF3.
    Last edited by Anbesol; 10-28-2011 at 11:25 AM.
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  20. #20
    Liz
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol View Post
    Its almost redundant, as well as being a misnomer, to talk about the Nikon's AF being the "best". Because I think to a lot of people, like myself, the AF of the Oly/Pan/Sony are already good, and the improvement or difference with the kit lens is hair splitting. Moreover, what difference there is, the AF improvement gained from getting a faster aperture, fixed lens is certainly greater than any AF difference between the J1 and its competition. Be it tracking or single AF, the Oly with the 45mm f/1.8 will still be better with AF than the Nikon and its 30-100, or anything Nikon can do at the same equivalent focus distance. I also doubt anything could compare to Oly's 12mm f/2. As of now, it doesn't look like the kind of system Nikon wants to commit any high performance fixed angle lens to. They have the typical pancake, kit, telephoto kit, and superzoom. Considering the set of 4 lens released, it looks like Nikon is only interested in producing generic, cheap entry level consumer grade optics for the Nikon 1. Clearly they are acutely targeted to the market segment of people stepping up from point and shoots, and not pro's or DSLR users who want a smaller side-shooter.

    *edit - the J1 is also no smaller than the E-PM1 or the GF3.
    This makes a lot of sense....

    Just to add - I recently purchased the Panasonic 25mm/f1.4 - it is lightening fast on the E-P3. I mean - FAST......faster than any camera/lens combo I've owned.

    BTW, I'm talking about single AF.

    Liz

  21. #21
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol View Post
    Be it tracking or single AF, the Oly with the 45mm f/1.8 will still be better with AF than the Nikon and its 30-100, or anything Nikon can do at the same equivalent focus distance.
    That's absolutely not true. Most of you guys don't use auto focus the way I do. Continuous auto focus is something that no other compact system camera can do the way I need it to. Contrast detect auto focus just can't keep up with a fast moving subject. But the Nikon's hybrid auto focus system is excellent. I have to test it more on fast moving subjects but my impression right now is that it's comparable to the best DSLR cameras I've used. That doesn't make the Nikon 1 an overall better camera than the competition - unless you really want continuous auto focus. If image quality or lenses are your top criteria then the Sony, Olympus or Panasonic systems are the way to go. But if you want continuous AF for video or action sports, then the Nikon *is* the best compact system camera. It really is. You could not take the cyclocross pictures I took with the Sony, Olympus or Panasonic mirrorless cameras. It just wouldn't work.
    Photo-John

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  22. #22
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    That's absolutely not true. Most of you guys don't use auto focus the way I do. Continuous auto focus is something that no other compact system camera can do the way I need it to. Contrast detect auto focus just can't keep up with a fast moving subject. But the Nikon's hybrid auto focus system is excellent. I have to test it more on fast moving subjects ....
    Any chance that you would try shoot some bird in flight? You could start with the seagulls...they're bigger and slower

  23. #23
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by AgingEyes View Post
    Any chance that you would try shoot some bird in flight? You could start with the seagulls...they're bigger and slower
    That's a great idea. I suck at shooting birds and they're really hard. So if I can do a halfway decent job, the camera should probably get all the credit
    Photo-John

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  24. #24
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    So, do you mean to say that the AF tracking ability of an Oly with the 45mm 1.8 is still not as fast as Nikons tracking at f/5? I'd bet that the higher refresh rate afforded to CDAF with 8-16 times more light will produce better CDAF tracking than Nikons PDAF at f/4.5-5.6. I could be wrong, I'm only speculating, but I find it hard to believe otherwise. Have you used the Oly 45?
    - Charlie

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  25. #25
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: First Nikon 1 System Photos!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol View Post
    So, do you mean to say that the AF tracking ability of an Oly with the 45mm 1.8 is still not as fast as Nikons tracking at f/5? I'd bet that the higher refresh rate afforded to CDAF with 8-16 times more light will produce better CDAF tracking than Nikons PDAF at f/4.5-5.6. I could be wrong, I'm only speculating, but I find it hard to believe otherwise. Have you used the Oly 45?
    Yes - I mean that *no* other compact system camera can even come close to what I was able to do with the Nikon J1. You'd have to step up to a DSLR with phase detect auto focus to get comparable performance. I have no doubt that the small sensor and increased depth-of-field help. But focus is focus and I shoot continuous auto focus all the time so I know what's good and what isn't. I have tried a few times with the Olympus E-P3 and it's pretty much worthless with continuous auto focus for the stuff that I shoot. Pre-focusing is the only way to ensure a good photo with the Pen cameras. Add the high frame rate of the J1 into the equation and you'd need to step up to the Nikon D3s or Canon EOS-1D Mark IV for comparable performance. And those are $5000 camera bodies.

    It's really pretty nuts what Nikon has done with this camera. I'm not saying everyone should buy it or that it's the best compact system camera. Not at all. If image quality is your top priority then it's not the camera for you. But for anyone who wants a packable camera to shoot action video or stills, there's nothing that can match it right now.

    You asked about the Olys 45 - you mean the new 45mm Micro Four Thirds prime? I haven't tried it yet but I don't think it will make any difference. This is a matter of the way the different auto focus systems work. Nikon's "hybrid" system just plain kicks ass.
    Photo-John

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