Nikon 1 Mirrorless Cameras

Nikon 1 cameras have special sensors inside - whether this matters depends entirely on what types of pictures you want to take.

Nikon V1 Top With 10-30mm Lens

When it comes to digital camera sensors, size does matter and bigger is better. Why?

Larger sensors capture images that appear smoother and sharper to the eye, especially when photos are taken in very dim available light.

Ever taken a picture with your cell phone at night or in a dark room? The tiny sensor inside simply cannot capture a crisp image in these conditions.

The reason that photos like this look blurry is due to image noise: this is speckling that occurs when a digital sensor tries to increase the brightness of a low-light scene.

Yes, your cell phone (and most cameras for that matter) will take fine pictures in full daylight. But image quality rapidly gets worse as soon as the light starts to fade.

Is a Nikon 1 Right For Me?

So what does all this sensor size business have to do with the Nikon mirrorless cameras?

Many Nikon digital SLRs have large sensors inside them called APS-C. The name is less important than the fact that an APS-C sensor is significantly larger than the ones in compact digital cameras and cell phones.

Other mirrorless camera makers do use APS-C sensors in their cameras, but Nikon has done something different: their sensors aren't as large as APS-C sensors but they're also not as small as compact sensors - they're right in between.

  • Takeaway #1 from this is that these sensors won't perform as well when the available light gets dim
  • Takeaway #2 is a lesser-known feature of larger sensors: they yield much blurrier backgrounds when you're close to your subject

So what does this mean when you're trying to take pictures with a Nikon 1 camera?

KEY POINT: Nikon 1 cameras are not ideal if you want to take lots of portraits, especially if you want to take portraits in dim natural light.

For all other uses, these cameras are quite capable, and they offer a variety of features that might appeal to you.

Cameras Released in 2012

Nikon J2

Nikon J2

The Nikon J2 provides some minor upgrades over the Nikon J1. The most notable difference is an improved LCD screen, which displays sharper, more colorful images. For the fashion-aware, the J2 body comes in a variety of colors that include silver, red, pink and orange - you'll never misplace your camera again.

Learn More About the Nikon J2

List Price: $550 USD With Lens  |  Check Price at

Cameras Released in 2011

Nikon V1

Nikon V1 Mirrorless Camera

The V1 is more for advanced photographers who are looking for a lighter alternative to their digital SLR. The addition of an accessory port and an electronic viewfinder are the main things that set it apart from the J1. If you want to use the V1 in a lot of low-light situations, be aware that it does not have a built-in flash and also that regular Nikon flashes (used on DSLRs) won't fit on top of this camera. If you want to use flash, you'll need the special Nikon 1 SB-N5 Speedlight.

Read the Nikon V1 Review

List Price: $500 USD With Lens  |  Check Price at  |  Rent from

Nikon J1

Nikon J1 Mirrorless Camera

The Nikon J1 is designed with compact camera users in mind. It's easy to use, without a lot of the more advanced features and settings desired by experienced photographers. The J1 does not have a viewfinder, which means all photos must be composed using the camera's rear LCD screen.

Learn More About the Nikon J1

List Price: $400 USD With Lens  |  Check Price at