Huzzah! A brace of new camera announcements! Nay – a whole new camera system announcement. Plus lenses. And accessories. Take your pick of the major digicam news sites for the details (dpreview is my favoured definitive source). Nikon has bestowed upon us the V1 and the J1.
My sentiment? Mild to medium disappointment, with growing flecks of annoyance. The cameras look like a cross between something from the Samsung NX series and the Pentax Q series, but with an elevated paint-by-numbers quotient. The launch lens choice is a bit of a joke—slow, chunky zooms (OK, there is one prime, but it’s too wide AND too slow as an only lens). I can’t think of a good reason to buy into this system over any of the other choices right now. Micro Four-Thirds offers more choice, better lenses. The Nex-7 has a better built-in finder. The Pentax Q is smaller and looks more fun. The Olympus XZ1 or Fuji X10 are better one-lens compacts.
I’m sure it will do fine (i.e. review OK and sell well), fitting into the one boom sector in the digicam spectrum right now, but it’s certainly no Micro Four-Thirds killer. And it’s quite annoying to think of all the R&D devoted to this system that could have been spent on more pro-targeted equipment. Oh well.
Nikon calls this system “ACIL” – “Advanced Camera [with] Interchangeable Lens”. Controversial. Of all the “IL” systems out there, I would argue this is the least “AC”.
As for the “F-lens-to-Nikon-1 adaptor”…On a 2.7x crop system? Yay, I’ll be able to pick up a cheap Nikon 13mm ƒ/5.6 (see Ken Rockwell’s piece here) and use that as a nice compact classy 35mm-equivalent.
Starting from scratch, with a large fanbase and proven technical and optical excellence, Nikon had a massive opportunity to create a real “photographer’s camera”—valuing ergonomics, build quality, optical performance and manual control. Instead they’ve come up with a real “management consultant’s camera”—ticks the boxes, panders to trends, attracts demographics and looks friendly.