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Nikon Mirrorless J1 Digital Camera Review$649.99
The J1 offers only a few separate shooting modes, as the camera does not wow with a laundry list of special effects and modes. The mode dial on the J1 looks like it was a rushed exam during finals week, with only four modes present on a dial that could've fit twice that number. The four on the dial include still image, movie, "smart photo selector," and "motion snapshot."
The hybrid phase/contrast autofocus on the J1 and V1 is one of the hallmark features called out by Nikon when the camera was announced. The focus is very fast, able to lock onto a desired subject right away. We didn't notice much of a difference using the J1 compared to even the Olympus E-P3, though the J1 did perhaps hunt a little more in average lighting conditions. One area the J1 trounced the E-P3 was in low light, however, as the AF illuminator on the J1, while green and a bit distracting, was very effective in producing an accurately focused picture in low light.
While there isn't much in the way of peaking that we were able to tell, the J1 does provide a digital zoom to assist in manual focusing. This is good, because if the current crop of lenses is any indication, there won't be many lenses with a manual focus option. Of the three lenses we were provided, none offered manual focus by hand, requiring you to use the camera's zoom in/out lever to adjust focus manually. It's a functional solution, but the tactile control of manually adjusting focus with the lens is missed.
The J1 is more limited in its picture quality and size options than Nikon's DSLR lineup. There are three quality options (fine, normal, and basic), but just three resolution options. The big surprise is the lack of alternatives for aspect ratio. All photos are taken with a 3:2 aspect ratio.