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Nikon N1 J5

Posts: 70

Nikon N1 J5

Post Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:33 am

Something went wrong with the shutter on my V3 and as it promised to take for ever to get it repaired (if worth it), and N1 V4 still well beyond horizon, I took an offer on a J5 to see how the newer bsi-CMOS sensor performed.

After a few moments of despair, mainly dispersed by some help on DPReview forum, I have really taken to it and hardly touched the V3 since it came back.

The biggest negative seemed to be the total lack of viewfinder and agreement with Thom Hogan's opinion that you just can't have largish lenses flapping about in front of you*. However, some guys on DPReview had got a workaround using an LCD loupe, a subject in itself, but I am lucky to have appropriate eyesight to use the cheapo without diopter adjustment, so problem solved for £9 rather than £220 for V range EVF and also solving tripod mount problem with 70-300 lens for nowt.

There is not a shadow of doubt that the newer sensor not only gives better colour performance, but also visibly improved resolution

So is it crazy or clever to deliver most of the performance of DX DSLR in a slip of a thing weighing only 230gr? The tangible loss is no remote and the battery is even more pathetic than the V range one and no user stored pre-sets. Less function buttons. No flashing highlight display in playback. On the plus side compared to the V range, the controls are greatly improved. The aperture control on the back instead of front, the video button harmlessly sited in the centre of the speed ring, better on-off switch and less randomly scattered buttons. The LCD now rotates the full 180 degrees, bringing back the facility of the twist body NIkons to be able to shoot the underside of flowers (or whatever).

I don't even own a mobile nor previously used any other touch-screens, but the touch screen control of the J5 is amazingly fast and intuitive....a message that a new era applies also to cameras and there is a fast-forward design route instead of the retro dials.

Using a loupe tacked to the LCD actually gives a magnified view of the subject. Does it matter whether it is precisely the DSLR view or not? Unless you are a perfectionist also using a tripod and checking the level, I think not, as most images in fact profit from using (in PP) correction of horizontal, parallels and distortion on wide angles, so it is sensible to include a margin. If you go in for the boxy loupes with diopter correction (costing £30-40) they are bulkier and slightly more difficult to remove. The magnetic one I have does tend to fall off rather too easily (for which there is a Velcro solution!), but does not have to be treated like jewellery.

I am not a great macro enthusiast and can't yet report on my V3 workaround using a Canon close-up ring works with the loupe on dragonflies. However the 70-300 lens works really well with a 16mm extension tube, bringing the minimum focus distance down to about 1M, so that you don't even need the full zoom for larger dragonflies or butterflies. The 30-110 lens gets you even closer with a 10mm tube. The tubes are fairly quick to whisk in and out, so when something settles you can try it at 300mm and if it really has settled go in as close as you like with the tube. Again at about £25/$30 a pair, cheap enough not to have treat as jewellery.

As Nikon, with their usual zero sensitivity to market, seem to have dumped the 1 range, it seems worth lapping up the last few items for sale - that is if you want somewhere near DSLR quality but carrying a third of the weight. The same sensor is being used in the bridge-style D range, but once you have chosen a limited f range, you can't change, much less whisk in an extension tube

* But, if planning to use DX or FX lenses via a converter, as Thom says, check that the particular lens is not disable by firmware. The 70-300 lens is so good, I can't see any reason apart form cost for negating the weight reduction by using massive lenses.

Posts: 70

Nikon N1 J5 Postscript

Post Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:29 pm

As Nikon have in fact dumped DL series before selling any, the Sony 1" (2.7 ratio) sensors are available. Sales of N1 J5 have held up and from rumours it seems more likely that the J series is more likely to be extended than the V series.

This means it may still be worth investing in 1 Nikkor mount lenses and looking at this camera.

I can also report that the 10 & 16mm extension tubes work well with the 30-110 lens, bringing quasi macro shooting to quite close subjects with consequent improved enlargement

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