Initial Thoughts
I am, and have always been intrigued by the mirrorless and interchangeable world.  Nikon has a fairly new system under the name of Nikon 1.  Back when it was released a few years ago, I took a look at the offering of lenses and I to be honest, wasn’t too impressed.  The smaller sensor didn’t bother me too much because this was the system I wanted the Sony RX100 to be.

The Drive
During the announcement of the Nikon 1 V3 I decided to revisit this smaller system.  I saw the 32mm f/1.2 lens and I think I almost fell in love with it.  However, I was still unsure of the Nikon 1 system.  The forums didn’t seem to have many positive comments about the Nikon 1, but that didn’t stop my curiosity.  I was determined to find out if I would like this mirrorless system enough to get the 32mm lens.

Went For The Purchase
I ended up purchasing the Nikon 1 J1 in red with the 10mm and 10-30mm kit.  Being that it was a little over $300.00, I thought it was a good deal.  It was pretty small and an attractive kit, but when I attached the 10mm to the body, it wasn’t as small as I thought.  The Lumix GF3 with the 14mm f/2.5 lens was about the same size of the Nikon J1 with its 10mm f/2.8 lens.  Right now there is no size advantage to both systems with similar lenses.

Being fairly close to resting on the borderline of disappointment, I  went ahead and took a few shots to try out the camera itself and I didn’t think it was all that bad.  I choose the J1 because of the price point and I didn’t want to invest in the Nikon V1.  The J1 was supposed to be smaller, and that’s what I wanted.  Plus I needed to see if Nikon’s strategy with the J1 to bring on point-and-shoot consumers would make sense in this camera model.  After fumbling through and trying to figure out the custom settings I found the camera to be annoying.  I knew that I wasn’t going to get any professional setup with the J1, but it didn’t hurt to hope.  At least it wasn’t lacking staple modes like Manual and ISO control within the menu system.

The Real Measure Of A System
So for me a critical measure of any camera system is the 50mm prime offering for the camera company.  Why do I believe this? Because the mystical idea that the 50mm is a staple for all photographers needs to be tested.  I think that since a camera company knows this, the 50mm at any price point should allow for trust to be instilled in the buyer, that this starter prime lens is the measure of a company’s ability to make amazing lenses.  If Nikon can’t make a 1 series 50mm(18.5mm) lens that is no less than amazing then I shouldn’t continue investing.  Needless to say I purchased the 18.5mm and was pleasantly surprised.  The lens was very light and capable.  I was happy that Nikon didn’t cut corners with a key  item in their lens line up.

Nikon Passed

  • The J1 design in red was really cool for me
  • ISO 200-400 was pretty clean
  • Basic options were available and not difficult to get to
  • The 18.5mm f/1.8 was a small gem that performed very well
  • All images taken were acceptable to me

What’s next?  Since I was satisfied with my own initial assessment of the Nikon 1 system from the J1 and the 18.5 I was ready to consider the purchase of the 32mm.  Within minutes I made the purchase and the lens arrived in a few days.



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