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Nikon 1 J3 and Nikon 1 S1 First Look Preview
by Laura Hicks -  1/21/2013

The Nikon 1 J3 enters the arena as the bigger cousin to the Nikon 1 S1. It is also an upgraded model of the J2. The Nikon 1 J3 has a 14.2-megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor. The Nikon 1 S1, on the other hand, is new line to the Nikon 1 series. The Nikon 1 S1 offers a 10.1-megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor. Both cameras offer a wide ISO range, from 160 to 6400 in the J3 and 100 to 6400 in the S1. Both cameras have 3-inch LCD screens and a built-in flash. The Nikon 1 J3 and Nikon 1 S1 offer a Hybrid Autofocus (AF) system with a 73 point AF array. The cameras will be available in a multitude of colors.

The Nikon 1 series of camera are designed to be entry level cameras to the interchangeable lens sector and not geared toward the professional user. They are meant for someone who wants some creative control over their images and enjoys the ability to change their lenses.

The first 1 series camera I held in my hands was the Nikon 1 J3. It was lightweight and only slightly bigger than the S1. The first thing I do when I get a camera is look at the physical buttons and features. Then, I go straight for the menu. There are plenty of physical buttons on the J3 including the mode dial which allows users more direct access to the A,S,M, and P functions. Although the mode dial does not have A,S,M, and P on the dial, it does have the "creative mode" icon that allows you to access the manual functions from there. This is important to me and I appreciate the semi-direct access. On the back of the camera there are more buttons that allow you to preview, scroll through and delete the images when necessary. The J3 has a large LCD screen that looks great while taking and reviewing your images.

I was able to spend a few minutes shooting with the camera. Nikon had a demonstration area set up with 2 dancers. In auto mode I was able to capture some descent images, but the dancers were under great lighting. When I pulled the camera away from that area and shot into rest of the booth, the lighting became dim. The camera did not respond as well and I had more blurry images than I did crisp ones. One great option on both of these cameras is a feature called "slow view." In slow view, pressing of the shutter button halfway down once the lens is in focus will allow users to capture live action for about 1.33 seconds. After that, the images are display at five times slower than normal speed. The images are then looped continuously until you fully depress the shutter enabling you choose the image you want. This seems like a great option when photographing sports or other fast moving objects. The only thing I would like better than being able to pick one image from this series is to have the camera save all of these images so I can go back later and pick the best one. But, I guess that's what continuous mode is for. On that note, the J3 and the S1 have a continuous shooting mode of 15 frames per second. If that rate holds true in the real world, that's fantastic. Overall, the feel of the camera was smooth and simple. The color options are also fun.

The Nikon 1 S1 is definitely designed for someone that wants to pick up the camera and go, but likes the option of interchangeable lenses. The S1 is a sporty camera with no mode dial. It has fewer megapixels than the J3. Mode options are accessed through the graphic user interface (GUI) versus the dial mode on the J3. What I like better about the S1 is the thumb rest on the back of the camera next to the screen. It makes the camera easier to hold and less likely to slip from your hands. Other than that, most of the other features are the same.  Both cameras offer Auto Mode, Creative Mode, Advanced Movie, Motion Snapshot and Best Moment Capture. In addition, the Nikon 1 J3 and Nikon 1 S1 were created to work seamlessly with Nikon's optional WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter. The adapter allows users the ability to wirelessly transfer their images to a smart device and even trigger the shutter by way of their phone or tablet. The S1 also has a variety of color options including pink and khaki.

Nikon also announced the addition of two new 1 Nikkor lenses. The 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 is a wide angle lens that includes a vibration reduction system. Also new to the lens lineup is the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens, which also has vibration reduction. Nikon hopes the addition of these lenses will attract more buyers to the Nikon 1 series. With the expanded lineup of lenses, the 1 series of cameras will have a greater appeal.

The Nikon 1 J3camera with the 10-30mm lens will be available in February 2013 for the suggested retail price of $599.95 and will come in a variety of colors including White, Black, Silver, Burgundy and Beige. The Nikon 1 S1 camera with the 11-27.5mm lens will be available in February 2013 for the suggested retail price of $499.95 and will come in White, Black, Red, Pink and Khaki. The 1 NIKKOR VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 and 1 NIKKOR VR 10-100mm f/4-5.6, will have suggested retail prices of $499.95 and $549.95, respectively.