My first Nikon: At $199, I couldn’t resist

Lucky shot with a Nikon J1

Lucky shot with a Nikon J1


Watch out! Daddy’s got a new camera, again, and he needs to test it. The kids and even Lucky are scrambling because I’ve entered my new camera testing mode.

It’s been a couple of months since I got my last camera, the Fujifilm XF1, so it’s time for a new one, right? I still love the Fuji XF1, it is my daily carry around camera.

So, what did I get? The Nikon 1 J1, for rock bottom clearance price of $199, brand new. The J1 along with the V1 was Nikon’s big entry into the mirrorless market. Things didn’t go as well as Nikon liked. Originally released for an ambitious $650, over the last 2 years, the price steadily fell.

I was always intrigued by the Nikon 1 line but thought it was overpriced. Enthusiasts panned it because it has a smaller 1″ sensor. I wrote 2 years ago that Nikon has an uphill battle because it wasn’t getting support from the Alpha camera nerds. Unfortunately for Nikon, my fears came true.

But now I get to use an interesting camera, at a low price. How does it compare to the Olympus Pens? How does it compare to the premium point and shoots? Actually, more than still photos, I got this camera for its video capabilities. The Nikon 1 is one of the first systems to have a hybrid contrast and phase detect focusing system. This allows really fast focusing stills and smoothly focusing video.

Believe it or not, with all the cameras I own, I still don’t have one device that does great photos and video. While I don’t expect the J1 to have that ultimate image quality, it should work great for casual snaps and casual video.

I’ll let you know how it goes in a series of upcoming posts. Let the testing and the fun begin.

Update: Just when I thought the prices couldn’t get lower… B&H Photo has some two lens J1 kits for $249. I bought my one lens kit for $199. Incredible.


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12 thoughts on “My first Nikon: At $199, I couldn’t resist

  1. You know, I think there’s a 12-step program for people like us. “Hello. My name is Teepee12 and I’m an techo-junkie.”

    More seriously, this goes to my contention that anything that say it does everything well doesn’t. NOTHING does everything well, not cameras, phones, people or kitchen appliances. One or more areas will always pay for the others. Which is why I like dedicated devices šŸ™‚

    1. Yes. I probably need one. Though as vices go, it is probably less expensive than illicit drugs or even alcohol.

      I think having a good video camera and stills cameras is still possible, at least at a the casual level. I’m not talking about Hollywood style productions here. The J1 is promising in many ways, video wise.

  2. Bold move! The first posted example looks very good. Maybe it’s just a matter of being appropriate for this medium (web display), but there’s nothing obviously lacking in the performance of that little sensor. Following your lead in buying two-year-old closeout specials, I’m always interested in what the moving market has left in its wake.

  3. My first visit here – great blog – thanks! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks a new camera every few months is acceptable :-o, though I’ve really got to get off the gear collecting train and take more photos!

    I owned two Nikon V1 bodies up until recently, both bought for a song after Nikon brought out the V2. I’ve just sold one but will definitely keep one with 10-30 and 30-110 zooms for the long term. I’ve found them perfect for taking on mountainbike rides and family hikes – tough, fast to focus and easy to use with gloves on – plus the image quality is more than enough for most purposes. Its a slightly quirky camera but I’ve grown to love it. I’ll be interested to see what you think of it.

    Cheers,
    Don
    Cheltenham, UK.

    1. Don, welcome. I’m glad you found my blog. Thanks for leaving a comment.

      I’m having a blast and there so many great cameras and good deals to be had. I struggle to keep this blog more about photography and not about gear. I try to balance the two topics in some way, occasionally sprinkling in commentary about the industry and trends that I see.

  4. I really, really was tempted by the system as the price dropped. Instead I went with the P7700 since the IQ is near identical to the first gen 1 series, I have a nice functional zoom range and macro functionality in a pocketable package, and my Nikon accessories (flashes, remotes, etc) work with it.

      1. I also really appreciate the movable screen on the P7700 for odd angle composition. I think the 1 series could benefit from that addition.

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