This morning, Nikon announced the fifth iteration of its Nikon 1 J-series, the J5. Thankfully, this new camera isn’t simply a minor upgrade from previous models, and will come at a much more reasonable price.
The first point in the Nikon 1 J5’s favour is its new design, complete with a PSAM dial, secondary command dial, and more substantial grip that has been fitted with faux leather for an improved tactile experience. For those fond of the retro look, the camera has been made available not only in pure black and white but also in silver/black, giving it (whether intentionally or not) the appearance of an X series camera.
In keeping with the current selfie trend, the J5 has been given a tilting touch screen that will rotate 180 degrees. When flipped upward, it activates a selfie mode and face detection. By comparison, the J4 and all its predecessors had a fixed screen. This feature is useful when paired with the J5’s WiFi and NFC connectivity, as you’ll be able to upload selfies in an instant to the web.
The 1-inch sensor has also been upgraded in two ways. First, it now has 20.8 MP of resolution as opposed to 18.4 MP. (It is more than likely the same sensor used in the RX100 III.) Second, it is backside illuminated, which means that it should perform better in low light despite the increased resolution. Like the J-series cameras that came before it, it has a total of 171 contrast-detect and 105 phase-detect points, but manages to take speed and noise reduction to a new level with its brand new Expeed 5A processor. Like on the J4, 20 fps with continuous focus / 60 fps with single focus are possible and the ISO sensitivity goes from 160 to 12800.
A surprising addition is 4K video but unfortunately it can only be used at 15 fps. Full HD, on the other hand, is possible up to 60 fps.
There is little doubt that the Nikon 1 J5 is a formidable competitor for the likes of the RX100 series and the Lumix GM1 and GM5, and will certainly appeal to diehard Nikon DSLR shooters looking for a lighter solution. It isn’t quite as compact as the RX100 series but with the 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, it is certainly more affordable than the latest iterations at just under $500. It also has the added bonus of an interchangeable mount, though only a couple of the Nikon 1 lenses are as fast as the RX100 lenses or the Micro Four Thirds line-up. Those interested in a camera like this should also remember that the GM1 and GM1 have both a larger 4/3s sensor and a wider selection of lens to choose from.