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Nikon 1 Cameras

Nikon 1 Cameras

The Nikon 1 line of mirrorless cameras combines the size of a compact digital camera with most of the features of a DSLR. It provides a user-friendly way to get into more advanced photography than a compact or a smartphone camera can manage.

Nikon 1

The Nikon 1 family occupies a unique niche among Nikon digital cameras. When launched in 2011, it was Nikon’s first venture into the growing market for mirrorless system cameras. Whereas DSLRs use a mirror and a prism to reflect light from the lens to the viewfinder, mirrorless cameras do away with these elements entirely, allowing for a much smaller body at the expense of losing the optical viewfinder. Interchangeable lens systems, PSAM controls and advanced compact sensors have allowed mirrorless system cameras to challenge the image quality and versatility provided by DSLRs despite looking and feeling more like a traditional compact digital camera. Nikon has produced a range of cameras under the Nikon 1 umbrella, from the entry-level first generation S1 to the advanced fourth generation J5.


Each Nikon 1 camera is built around a CX format sensor. The CX is a 1-inch sensor that measures 13.2 by 8.8 millimetres. This makes it less than a seventh of the size of a full frame sensor, and less than a third of the size of the APS-C sensor used in many of Nikon’s smaller DSLRs. The crop factor of a CX sensor is approximately 2.7, meaning that a full-frame 50mm lens attached to a Nikon 1 camera would have an effective focal length of around 135mm. Megapixel count varies throughout the Nikon 1 family. At the low end, the entry-level S1 and J1 shoot at 10.1 megapixels. The J5, on the other hand, manages an impressive 20.8 megapixels, more than many of Nikon’s DSLR cameras.


Accommodating interchangeable lenses is of limited use if there are no lenses to accommodate. Luckily, Nikon produces a full range of Nikon 1 camera lenses under the 1 Nikkor name. These range from compact primes such as the 18.5mm f/1.8 to the VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, claimed by Nikon on its release to be the lightest, smallest super telephoto lens in the world. Some 1 Nikkor lenses were made in multiple colours to match the Nikon 1 bodies. All 1 Nikkor lenses also feature stepping motor technology for ultra-quiet auto-focus operation, and all but one of the zoom lenses also comes with vibration reduction technology to reduce blurring and produce sharper pictures.