Nikon 1 J3 Review

Review posted 08/26/2013

Quick Take
  • Auto shooting mode is accurate and easy, providing excellent quality and color
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record - in most shooting modes
  • Full-size stills can be captured while recording full 1080p video with no interruption
  • Excellent video quality
  • Extremely fast Hybrid AF system
  • Locking lenses stay ready secure during travel
  • Nice, Bright 3.0-inch LCD makes shooting and viewing images a pleasure
  • Awesome shooting performance
  • Good Battery Life
  • Competitively priced
  • HDMI output
  • Some noticeable noise in all images
  • Program mode images did not compare to Auto mode
  • Very weak pop-up flash
  • No hotshoe for external flash
  • No input for external audio
Bottom Line
The Nikon 1 J3 is a very fast and compact ILC, making it easy to carry and always ready to capture an image. While its performance outshines its image quality, it is definitely worth a look for $600. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
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.

For the most part, however, potential buyers will be getting very similar, high-performance, interchangeable lens system cameras that happen to hold the (Dec 2012) world records for shortest release times (at 80 milliseconds) and fastest high-speed continuous shooting (at 15 frames-per-second WITH continuous Autofocus). You also get an EXPEED 3A image processor, 3.0-inch LCD displays, integrated pop-up flash, Advanced Hybrid Autofocus system (with a 73-point AF array), and Full HD 1080p video recording.

The Nikon 1 J3 also features a number of user-friendly as well as advance shooting modes. Auto Mode is designed to let the camera pic the best exposure, focus, and white balance settings in any shooting conditions. Creative Mode is where you will find full manual exposure controls (P/S/A/M for stills) as well as a number of stylized effects filters. Advanced Movie brings in full manual exposure (P/S/A/M for video) as well as the ability to shoot slow motion video, or capture a still image at the same time as recording Full HD 1080p video. Enhanced Motion Snapshot uses electronic Vibration Reduction (eVR) to capture a quick slowmotion sequence following a "defining still image." And lastly, Best Moment Capture Mode offers up two ways to get the best images from a busy situation: 1) Slow View slows 1.33 seconds of live action material down to 6.66 seconds of video, which loops over and over. You can then select the exact moment you want. 2) Smart Photo Selector is more automated, but takes up to 15 shots with the single press of the shutter button, and then the camera selects the five best photos to keep based on exposure, focus, and facial recognition.

Finallly, if sharing your photos instantly via Wi-Fi is an important feature, the Nikon 1 J3 works well with the optional WU-1b wireless transmitter so that you can download Nikon's Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility App for your iOS or Android smart phone.

Nikon 1 J3 Features
  • 14.2 CX-format CMOS image sensor
  • EXPEED 3A image processor
  • 3.0-inch LCD display
  • Integrated Flash
  • Advanced Hybrid AF (Autofocus) System
  • 73-point AF Array
  • 80-millisecond Release Time
  • 15 frames-per-second continuous shooting with continuous AF
  • ISO 160-6400
  • Full 1080p HD Video Recording
  • Auto Mode
  • Creative Mode
    • Full Manual Exposure Controls for Stills (P/S/A/M)
    • Selective Color
    • Miniature
    • Soft
    • Night Landscape
    • Backlighting
    • Night Portrait
  • Advanced Movie
    • Shoot Full HD Video & Stills at the same time
    • Full Manual Exposure Controls for Video (P/S/A/M)
    • Slow Motion Movies at 400 or 1200 fps
  • Motion Snapshot
  • Best Moment Capture
    • Slow View
    • Smart Photo Selector
  • In-Camera electronic Vibration Reduction (eVR)
  • Optional WU-1b Wireless Mobiel Adapter to use Nikon's Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility App

Available in white, black, silver, burgundy, and beige, the Nikon 1 J3 is comes in the following kit configurations:
  • MSRP of $599.95 with the 1 NIKKOR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens
  • MSRP ot $849.95 for the two-lens kit with the 1 NIKKOR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and 1 NIKKOR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR lenses
  • MSRP of $1049.95 for the all-in-one bundle featuring the 1 NIKKOR 10-100mm f/4.0-5.6 VR lens

What's in the box?:

  • Nikon 1 J3 camera body
  • Lens or Lenses, depending on kit purchased
  • EN-EL20 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
  • MH-27 Battery Charger
  • UC-E15 USB Cable
  • BF-N1000 Body Cap
  • AN-N1000 Strap
  • ViewNX 2
  • Short Movie Creator CD
  • User's Manual
  • Reference Manual CD

Additional Product Views


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