Reviewed: Nikon 1 J5

Pictures are worth a thousand words, unless you have a poor camera, in which case it’s probably going to be worth a few dozen four-letter ones. Nikon, which is by now a household name in digital imaging, has come up with the J5, a compact mirrorless affair that brings some of the best of their technology, to make a camera that will give dedicated DSLRs a run for their money.

Design: 4/5

The J5 is a handsome device. The huge kit lens, a 10-30 mm deal, dominates the front of the cam, and retro styling is evident throughout, with leather grain, and brushed metal accents all over. The shape of the body allows for a lot of purchase, even for larger hands, and a handy little textured patch gives your right thumb a place to rest while taking photos. The shutter and mode dial are both easy to reach, and can be manipulated very easily, so you don’t have to fret about changing shooting modes on the fly. A viewfinder is suspiciously absent, though in its place is a large, beautiful 3-inch screen that can be rotated up to 180 degrees to face the same direction as the camera. It’s small enough to casually drop in a bag, and has enough heft so it feels like the serious device that it is.

Hardware: 4/5

The J5 has a 1-inch sensor at its heart, which has a crop factor of 2.7x. The body accepts CX-mount lenses, though it will accept F-mount lenses via an after-market adapter. The sensor is a 20.8 MP deal, paired with the Expeed 5A image processing engine, improving speed, adds 4k recording, and improved image quality. It lacks a hotshoe, but does have an internal pop-up flash for low-light shooting, should the need arise. It supports Wi-Fi direct, and NFC for using your phone as a viewfinder, painlessly. The screen supports touch, so determining focus points, interacting with menus, and all the other advantages to touch are supported.

User Experience: 4/5

I am by no means a professional photographer, but I have been known to dabble, with varying degrees of success. In my hands, the J5 felt solid, and inspired a degree of confidence. It felt like the serious camera it is, and while my own abilities weren’t always enough to flex all the device’s muscles, i really did appreciate the ease of use the J5 brought to the table. Taking the camera with us on our road trip presented many opportunities to snap photos. The J5 wakes quickly, usually outpacing my mobile phone, and the ability to use a full-featured camera to take shots wasn’t lost on me, particularly when the subject would have been lost because of the limited functionality of my phone.

Functions on the J5 are all within easy reach. I don’t generally ask for my cameras to do a lot, but everything I needed was within a few button presses. Its auto-focus was also wonderfully fast, locking on before I knew what was going on.

In the hands of our photographers at the office, the J5 was a precise instrument. Of the cameras we had at hand, it provided superb sharpness, and amazingly accurate color reproduction, even on its tiny screen. Moving the photos to a laptop only confirmed their initial thoughts. They also appreciated the performance of the camera even at the higher ISO settings needed to capture some of the shots as evening fell. Being mirrorless, the camera can also capture photos at a respectable
20 fps, perfect for capturing the exact moment things happen. All in all, they said, it was a camera all of them would happily own.

Value: 4/5

At about PHP 25,000. The Nikon J5 is not prohibitively expensive. Able to hold its own against its peers, and even give DSLRs a run for their money, it’s a camera that will be appreciated by both beginners, and even professionals alike.

What’s Hot:

  • Premium feel and design
  • Superb image quality
  • Ease of use

What’s Not:

  • No hotshoe
  • No viewfinder

Bottomline:

A capable compact mirrorless for new users and veterans alike.

Specifications:

  • Effective Pixels (Megapixels): 20.8 million
  • Storage Media: microSD (micro Secure Digital),
  • microSDHC, microSDXC memory cards
  • Top Continuous Shooting Speed:at full resolution 20 frames per second
  • ISO Sensitivity: 160 – 12800
  • Video: HD: 1920 x 1080/60p,1920 x 1080/30p, 1280 x 720/60p, 1280 x 720/30p, 1280 x 720/120 fps, 800 x 296/400 fps, 400 x 144/1200 fps, 4K movies: 3840 x 2160/15p (14.99 fps)
  • Audio file format: ACC
  • Movie file format: MOV
  • Monitor Size: 3.0 in. diagonal
  • Monitor Type: Tilting TFT-LCD with brightness adjustment
  • Battery / Batteries: EN-EL24 Lithium-ion Battery
  • Approx. Dimensions: 98.3 x 59.7 x 31.5 mm
  • Approx. Weight: 231 g

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE May 2016 Issue.

Words by Ren Alcantara

 

 

 

 

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