I’m really struggling to understand what Nikon was thinking when they came up with this new system. Micro 4/3 kills it based on every, and I mean every dimension.
Tiny 2.7x crop sensor. Smaller than the 2x m4/3 sensor or 1.5x Sony NEX sensor.
The Nikon 1 is no smaller than the m4/3 cameras from Panny and Oly. The lens is no smaller. In fact it looks bigger. Logically, the reason to come out with a smaller sensor is to enable you to make a smaller body and lenses. I get it. It’s a reasonable tradeoff. But why make a smaller 2.7 crop sensor if you’re not going to make the body and lenses any smaller?
As you can see, it’s actually a bit bigger than the smallest m4/3 cameras. (image from ePhotozone)
M4/3 beats every other system hands down. A bunch of zooms (including pancake zooms), 14mm, 17mm, 20mm pancake primes, f1.4 normal prime, fast wide primes, fisheye, fast telephoto primes, macro lenses, and on and on. It will be years, and I mean years, before Nikon has a comparable lens lineup. My guess is that 5 years from now, Nikon’s lineup will not equal what m4/3 has available today.
Nikon has lens-based IS. Which means that, should they ever come out with prime lenses (which almost never have built in IS), you’ve got no IS. IS, by the way, is one of the more important camera innovations of the past decade or so.
None. ’nuff said.
So let’s summarize here. The Nikon 1 system is
- more expensive than micro 4/3
- has a smaller 2.7 crop sensor = lower image quality
- has a body/lens combo that has no size advantage over micro 4/3
- has no lenses other than really slow kit lenses (f3.8-f5.6)
- has no in-body image stabilization or hot shoe
To what group does this camera appeal to? Clearly it’s designed for casual shooters upgrading from a point-n-shoot. But even in this category the cameras from Panny and Oly make more sense – just as small or smaller and cheaper.
Oh, but the Nikon 1 comes in PINK, so there you go………
The case for micro 4/3
The more I think about it, the more I think that micro 4/3 is clearly the system to build on for serious photographers looking for a compact interchangeable-lens system. It hits that Goldilocks sweet-spot of making all the correct compromises.
- Sony NEX: the 1.5 crop sensor is too big, therefore the lenses are huge. Too big for a compact system.
- Leica X1 / Fuji X100: Nice cameras, but no interchangeable lenses. Oh, and the X100 is vaporware…
- Pentax Q: are you kidding me?
Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re a good photographer you’ll make great images with a Nikon 1. Just like you’ll make great images with an iPhone. But why you would go out of your way to get into this system I have no idea.
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