Nikon 1 J5 + 10-30mm PD

It’s pretty small com­pared to its big­ger cousins, but per­haps it’s also a lit­tle small-minded for a se­ri­ous sys­tem cam­era

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Compact Syst em Cam­era £300, $495

Even with its 10-30mm kit lens fit­ted, the trav­el­friendly J5 is slim­mer than any of the D-SLR bod­ies on their own. It’s very light too, at just 265g for the body, plus 85g for the lens. And it’s not just the phys­i­cal size that’s small. Like other Nikon 1 se­ries cam­eras, the J5 has a CX-for­mat im­age sen­sor that’s much smaller than a DX (APS-C) sen­sor. As such, it has a 2.7x crop fac­tor rather than 1.5x crop fac­tor. Han­dling is very good for such a small body and, un­like on some pre­vi­ous 1 se­ries de­signs, there’s a smat­ter­ing of di­als and but­tons for direct ac­cess to shoot­ing set­tings. The elec­tronic shut­ter en­ables su­per­fast 1/16000 sec ex­po­sures, and the max­i­mum drive rate is even more im­pres­sive, at 60 frames per sec­ond. How­ever, the buf­fer can only hold 20 shots, so you’re lim­ited to top-speed shoot­ing for just a third of a sec­ond, and the shot-to-shot speed in Sin­gle drive mode is shock­ingly slow (see ‘Need to know’, left).


De­spite its small size, the 20.8-megapixel im­age sen­sor cap­tures good lev­els of fine de­tail. Even so, it’s not quite a match for the D-SLRs on test. Aut­o­fo­cus is ag­ile, and typ­i­cal 1 se­ries trick modes like Best Mo­ment Cap­ture and Mo­tion Snap­shot are avail­able. As a sys­tem cam­era, how­ever, lim­i­ta­tions in­clude the lack of a hot­shoe for adding a flash­gun; the fact there’s no pro­vi­sion for an op­tional viewfinder; and the lens choice, which is lim­ited. For ex­am­ple, there are no Nikon 1 macro or fish­eye lenses.

Land­scape shots are cer­tainly vivid, but can be slightly on the cool side

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