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Hands-on: Nikon's new swappable lens compact line

updated 09:22 pm EST, Thu January 10, 2013

Nikon lets us play with its new J3 and S1 cameras

Electronista had a chance to check out Nikon's recently introduced additions to the existing V2 in the mirrorless 1 System range at the CES show. The J3 and S1 are similar, but differ in some key technical specs. The J3 shares the same 14.2-megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor and Expeed 3A image processing engine as the costlier V2, and is therefore the midrange offering in the three-camera range.

The S1 makes do with a 10.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and the bodies are otherwise identical, though available colors differ slightly. They feel small in the hand, like other such cameras, with sharp edges found throughout. One pet peeve we noticed is that the sunken shutter button hardly registers when a photo is taken. It's simply too deep and there isn't a clear positive confirmation that a photo was taken. Both get mini-HDMI outputs and the lenses sport a button that needs to be pressed before it will zoom in or out.

Nikon has some new shooting modes as well that were introduced on the V2, including Best Moment Capture and Motion Snapshot Mode. The former slows down the action of the subject, often fast-moving, by a factor of five and for a duration of up to 1.33 seconds and will replay it until a user fully presses the shutter button to select the defining moment in that sequence. Motion Snapshot is similar but different in the sense that it allows users to save both a short, slow-motion movie clip and a single 'cover' image. There is also the option of a 10-second MOV file but at the cost of the still image.

The J3 will cost $600, or $300 less than the V2, while the S1 will be priced at $500. The former will be available in white, black, silver, burgundy and beige, with the latter getting white, black, red, pink, and khaki body colors.

The red J3 camera in our photos had the standalone and new 10-100mm f/4-5.6 lens attached to it, which will cost $550 when it arrives at an unspecified date. The other new lens is the ultra-wide angle Nikkor VR 6.7-13mm lens that offers a 100-degree angle. It will cost $500, though when it's due out isn't yet defined.

An underwater case good for down to 40 meters (about 131 feet), the WP-N2, will also arrive in February, though it will cost a whopping $750. It is only compatible with the kit 10-30mm lens.

It's likely the V2 will eventually be phased out in favor of the J3, though that remains to be seen.

By Electronista Staff
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