Nikon 1 J5 Hands-on Review

I must admit that the introduction of the Nikon 1 J5 has excited me far more than did the launch of the J4 or V3 models.

Was it the camera’s capability to shoot 4K video?

Nope – let’s get that off the table right up front. At 15 fps the J5’s 4K video is more about marketing than being a practical feature. As expected, the J5’s 4K video does not capture smooth motion at such a slow frame rate. Even for static scenes if there is motion in the background such as small undulations on the surface of a lake the video looks choppy.

The fact that the J5 can take 4K video at all is a good sign for the future of the Nikon 1 system…let’s hope for expanded capability in this regard in the not too distant future.

The big thing that has got me excited about the Nikon 1 J5 is the new 20.8 MP BSI sensor. One of the biggest knocks against the Nikon 1 format has always been the small sensor size, and more specifically its somewhat underwhelming dynamic range and colour depth performance.

As can be expected small sensors also suffer from noise far more readily than do larger sensors which has been a concern of many photographers. The low light performance has not been greatly improved with the J5, but this isn’t much of a concern to me. I regularly shoot my Nikon 1 V2’s at ISO-3200 without any hesitation as I know that the right noise reduction software can clean up the files very well and I have no concern about shooting the J5 at this ISO level.

After spending some time with the Nikon 1 J5 and shooting several thousand images with it I can say without hesitation that I am quite pleased with the performance of the new 20.8 MP BSI CX sensor. There is a very noticeable improvement over the Aptina sensor used in my Nikon 1 V2’s. As I go through this hands-on review of the Nikon 1 J5 I’ll provide links to some of the earlier articles that I posted on the J5.

J5 review image 1

The first thing that is readily apparent when holding the Nikon 1 J5 is its small size and weight. At 8.3 ounces (231 grams) and measuring 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 inches (98.3 x 59.7 x 31.5 mm) the camera is very portable. While I’m not a huge fan of the 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 PD zoom lens because it will not accept any filters, it is quite small creating a ‘take anywhere’ camera. My wife really liked the simplicity of use of the the 10-30 mm PD lens and prefers it over the non-PD version. The 10-30 mm PD zoom is a decent enough kit lens and whether you end up liking it or not will be a personal choice.

J5 review image 2

For people looking for a small, capable, interchangeable lens camera for travel the Nikon 1 J5 could be a great solution. Adding the Nikon 1 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR zoom lens and the 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 VR zoom lens creates an easy-to-transport system with an equivalent field of view of 18 mm to 297 mm.

If a photographer was willing to give up some wide angle capability adding just the Nikon 1 30-110 mm lens provides an equivalent field-of-view capability of 27 mm to 297 mm at just over 1 pound (491 g) of total weight for the J5 camera body and the 2 zoom lenses.

J5 review image 3

The Nikon 1 J5 features a tilt rear screen which can be viewed from underneath the camera which would be very useful for shooting up high over the heads of people in crowd situations.

J5 review image 4

For the selfie crowd or for those folks who record themselves on video the screen can be positioned with a frontal view.

J5 review image 5

Unfortunately Nikon continued with its use of micro-SD cards which are inserted next to the battery. This position does help to reduce the chance of losing the card. I suppose the Smartphone crowd is accustomed to using micro-SD cards, whereas the majority of photographers would prefer if the J5 used a standard SD card.

The lack of battery commonality continues with the J5 which is another sticking point with many folks who preferred the original approach Nikon used with the V1.

J5 review image 6

External controls do not match those available on most DSLRs but they are reasonable for most casual photographers. There is a PSAM dial on the top of the body and separate buttons for shutter release and movie recording , as well as a shutter speed control dial. There is a programmable function button on the front of the body. I set this for ISO control which came in very handy.

J5 review image 6

The back panel has controls for exposure compensation, aperture, WIFI, frame rate, flash, and an image review to name a few. I used the camera primarily in manual mode with auto-ISO. While not providing all of the  external controls found on most DSLRs I found that I didn’t have to go into the menu very often with the J5. I imagine many J5 owners will use auto WB and find that the amount of external controls will be sufficient for most of their needs.

44 thoughts on “Nikon 1 J5 Hands-on Review”

  1. Hi ! Writing un 2019… Just bought one J5. With 10-30mm kit lens image quality is just above average for me. But it’s fast, it can switch on and shoot in a big second. I love it.
    My main usage is night filming in good artificial lightning of horse riding. It’s excellent for this usage !!! No 4K obviously, but HD is smooth and crisp.
    I miss a stacking option for star trails or silky water.
    The J5 options are numerous, creative. It’s fine. Really.
    I love this camera. I would like it rugged and waterproof… Like AW1.
    Low light photography with cheaper kit lens is so so…
    And it is impossible to get a decent photography of the moon with that lens. I use my smartphones instead, one that bas focus peaking ans thé other that bas focus assist. Both taking good pictures of the moon, better than my Nikon camera… Sad…

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Nikon 1 J5. When it was introduced over 4 years ago the J5 was a pretty competent little camera. As your comment notes, much has changed since that time with new technologies being incorporated in smartphones, and in other cameras.


  2. Hi Thomas,
    Love your Nikon 1 images. I was considering a different camera system to replace my V1 kit but I saw sense and I’m buying a J5 and another 32mm (I sold my last one regrettably).

    Can I ask which extension tubes you use? I really like the idea of creating some macro images with this setup.


  3. Thanks for all the work you do in putting together these reviews. Much appreciated! When my P&S died recently, I went in search of a replacement and settled on the J5, due in part to your review (I’ve given up waiting for the DL 24-85. Too bad because it sounds promising). I’ve been using a V1 since the beginning primarily with the FT-1 and FX glass for birding and wildlife shots. While it does a respectable job when tripod mounted to a 300mm + TC14 for static wildlife subjects, I have never been happy with it enough to take along as a sole travel camera. As a result, I have an assortment of N1 glass (6.7-13mm for WA and 18.5mm for low light) that I rarely use. I’m looking forward to see how the J5 performs with these lenses and as a compact travel/event camera where the DSLR is not practical. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Tom,

      You’re most welcome! I’m glad that my reviews have been helpful for you. I think that you’ll find that the image quality with the J5 is much improved over previous Nikon 1 models. The 6.7-13 and 18.5 are both very nice lenses which will produce excellent results when paired up with a J5. If you are looking for an ‘all-in-one’ lens for travel it is hard to beat the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 non-PD zoom. I’m not sure if you have purchased your J5 with the 10-30 kit lens or the 10-100. If you’ve bought it with the 10-30 kit lens then the 10-100 non-PD may be too much duplication in terms of focal length range. You could add the 30-110mm which would give you a nice telephoto zoom, which also works extremely well with extension tubes if you like macro-type photographs.


  4. Thank you, Tom.

    Cracking in depth reviews which must take up so much of your time & patience. Respect is due.
    I’m off to buy a J5 this weekend.
    Several years ago I travelled with 2 SLR bodies, a huge tripod, mores lenses than fingers all tucked in a rucksack the size of a small garage. The pictures were gorgeous.
    During spare weekends I would shoot weddings. Everyone was happy except the fella lugging his studio around.
    I dumped the sack & bought the smallest (but carefully researched) compact I could find & used it for everything. Even shot a few weddings.
    I need something with more so I want to add to my Panasonic DMC – XS1 & my iPhone but don’t want to hire folk to carry it.
    The 1 inch sensor means we shan’t be doing much more than A4 but that’s cool. Thank you for your review.

  5. Tom,
    Thank you for the great reviews and youtubes videos on the Nikon system. Thanks to you I now a J5 owner with the 70-300mm CX lens for BIF and wildlife shooting and sold my Tamron +7100 combo (I might regret it someday due to the 1200mm FF equivalent in 1.3X mode).
    SO far, al is well I don’t miss the DSLR at all and the IQ on the J5+300mm combo is excellent.
    Please continue your great work.

  6. Hi

    do you have any experience with the 10-100mm zoom (non-PD) regarding image quality vs. the other zooms in the overlapping FL range?

    1. Hi ds,
      Yes…I wrote a hands-on review of the lens:
      I originally bought the 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom since my client business is almost all video work. I didn’t think that I would need the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 non-PD lens, but after spending a lot of time with it and writing my review I ended buying one and now use it extensively. It is a very flexible lens that provides a very practical focal length range. Another benefit is its comparatively short minimum focusing distance.

  7. Great review! Thank you.
    What denoise software are you using on the J5 files?
    They look amazing even at 6400ISO.

    Thank you

  8. Question:
    If shooting a J5 with the CX 6.7-13 lens (as a landscape, not action, camera), do you think it would be a good choice? It would seem so to me, but I have never tried the combo.
    I am still waiting to hear any word on the V4. Even NikonRumors is still silent on the subject. I can’t wait to try a V4 with my CX 70-300 lens.
    Thanks, WEJ

    1. Hi William,
      Yes, I think the J5 with the CX 6.7-13 is a very good combination for landscape. You likely wouldn’t miss the viewfinder quite as much as you would when shooting action shots. The J5 is also good to use for macro-type images using extension tubes since the rear screen is often used for those types of images. You’ll will notice quite a difference with the new 20.8MP BSI sensor: more dynamic range and colour depth.

  9. I`m not a user of Nikon 1 system but being into small interchangeable lens cameras I find Nikon 1 system interesting. Design wise I wondered why strange hump of EVF on V2 model, wasn`t made tillable Samsung N30 style, that would make sense especially for low angle shots and videos which I use to shoot with EVF at 45 angle. I do hope such a solution comes with V4. Looks like 70-300 is a game changer. Perhaps a slimmer one with internal zooming mechanism and weatherproof? A to video capabilities, I did wonder why Nikon didm`choose Aptina 1″ sensor with global shutter which they make too. That would be a valid selling point.
    Finally, I bygone Nikonos fan, I was disappointed with AW model which could be a smasher with tillable EVF and waterproof wide and super wide primes. I would like to know your thoughts about AW. Thanks for interesting writing on Nikon 1 system.

    1. Hello Stanislaw and thank you for your questions – I’ll do my best to answer them!

      1. Tiltable EVF. I’ve never shot with, or even held, a Samsung N30 so unfortunately I can’t comment on their choice of a tiltable EVF. I expect that the Nikon 1 V4 will feature a tiltable rear screen similar to the one found on the J5. This will make shooting video and stills at low and unusual angles much easier than with the V2. On some occasions I do shoot video hand-held and when I do I have the V2 up to my eye looking through the EVF. I can’t imagine myself wanting to look down into an angled EVF rather than using a tilting rear screen. I typically shoot video with my cameras tripod mounted and compose scenes using the rear screen.

      2. The Nikon 1 CX 70-300 is a terrific lens and my favourite of all the Nikon 1 glass I own. It certainly has caused a lot more people to consider the Nikon 1 product line. Nikon has filed a patent for an update on this lens which, according to the patent, will feature phase fresnel technology. This will likely result in the lens being quite a bit smaller than the current Nikon 1 CX 70-300. Whether the lens will also feature internal zooming and be weather sealed is anyone’s guess at this point. Unless weather sealing is added to the V4 I doubt that the updated 70-300 would be weather sealed. The Nikon AW1 should be due for an update within the next year. If an EVF is added to that camera (so Nikon could market it as a weatherproof nature camera) then I could see weather sealing being added to the updated CX 70-300. From a practical sense unless there is a weather sealed Nikon 1 body with an EVF I don’t see any compelling reason why Nikon would add weather sealing to an updated CX 70-300.

      3. I agree that a global shutter would be much preferred by video shooters over a rolling shutter. I assume that Nikon did not choose the Aptina sensor with global shutter originally as they did not see marketing the Nikon 1 line primarily as a video camera, but rather as a small, interchangeable lens, stills camera. Further evidence of Nikon’s intention to focus on the stills capability of the camera is found with the rather slow continuous AF in Nikon 1 cameras when shooting video. The cameras are best used with very slow pan motions, or none at all. Continuous AF motion video capture towards, and away from, the camera is not that good. Folks using Nikon 1 cameras for video need to understand its limitations and shoot around them, to get the most of the cameras. Since the sale of Aptina and its new focus on commercial markets I suppose this is a moot point anyway as Nikon appears to have switched to a Sony sensor in the J5.

      4. The AW1 interests me quite a bit but I do not do any commercial work that requires underwater capability so I cannot justify buying this model and AW lenses from a business perspective. I very seldom do any commercial work outdoors so the lack of weather sealing on my V2’s is not currently an issue for me. And the odd time when I do face outdoor conditions using a rain sleeve suffices for my needs. I think we will see an updated AW model sometime in the next year. The Nikon 1 AW does have a wide angle prime option, the 10mm f.2.8 (efov 27mm). Nikon has filed a patent for two new AW zoom lenses: 7.2-13.6mm f/3.5-4.5 and 10-45mm f/4.5-5.6. These two lenses will add some additional functionality to the AW system. There has been no rumour surface of a super wide angle prime for the AW model so far. I have heard that a number of AW1 owners have had problems with the integrity of the camera’s waterproofing so we may not see an update on this model until Nikon better addresses this issue.


      1. I had 2 AW1 and they both flooded in shallow, calm water at the most inopportune moment. the 2nd was a warranty replacement and luckily my CC warranty covered the damage. The AW1 takes great shots (I have some form mexico on my flickr page ), but the seals seem really insufficient (when you close the battery door you apply such little pressure). I read somewhere that the zoom lenses mechanism can be a weak point for water entry eventually. I purchased an Olympus TG-4, and I felt the quality would not compare, not even close. I found a special with a Nikon 1 J4 and S2 ($170) with the WP-N3 water housing ($90 / 100) . It is bulkier, but works way better than the AW1. You van use the 10-30 VR. The seals seem good. you can also but some humidity / water absent packets at B&H that would help save the camera in the event of a leak.

        The AW1 is great as a kayaking, beach, rainstorm camera. But it is really poorly designed to prevent leaking. Years ago I had a cheap UW Pentax Optio that never leaked even in rough surf. Nikon AW1 leaked even if I inspected the seals and saw no debris. The Nikon WP enclosures are great, they have some multicoated glass. they do not sink like a brick like the AW1.

        I loved my AW1 photos, but I could not trust the camera.

        1. Hi Stefano,
          Unfortunately I’ve heard of other folks having trouble with water leaks with their AW1’s as well. I think Nikon has an interesting concept but it needs more work.

  10. Tom, one reason the Nikon 1 system is dismissed is the price/performance issue the system often has had. The J5 now is a revelation having by all indications what seems to be a Sony 1” BSI sensor that an RX100 line of cameras had *years* ago.

    Imagine then, a V3 or J4, with sub-par market color response and DR, – in particular the V3- priced to the point of semi pro APS-C Fuji/M4/3rds and other cameras. Comparing vs Canon (any camera) to say it matches APS is a bit of picking an exception and ignoring the market- Canon has definitively been lagging behind in their sensor tech they employ which is why Fuji/Sony/Pentax/Olympus/Panasonic also fare rather well against them.

    So yes, I think a system in the USA (V3) that is priced over $1,000 USD with the Aptina sensor it has lacking in the performance of the areas that the J5 shows what the competition does much better, is a problem, and why so many would dismiss the system.

    Not everyone’s photographic domain is the CX 70-300 niche.

    I really hope that Nikon thinks long and hard how they are going to position the V4. Would be nice to have something like a “mini A6000” with the built in EVF. Maybe even the new Sony stacked sensor.

    1. Hi Ricardo,

      Thanks very much for your thoughtful posting! I totally agree that Canon has been lagging the market when it comes to the performance of the sensors in their cameras. Somehow they have managed to maintain their lead in terms of global market share which does confuse me at times. I suppose that means that many camera buyers are not all that concerned about dynamic range and colour depth. I also agree that the V3 was woefully overpriced – that was one of the reasons that I never upgraded to one and I continued to use the Nikon 1 V2 (I have three of those bodies). Having the detachable EVF and grip just added unnecessary cost and I really hope that Nikon does away with them with the V4.

      I would also love to see the new Sony stacked sensor in a V4, but I could certainly live with the BSI sensor that is in the J5. It is a great improvement and still delivers fast and accurate focusing as well as 20fps in AF-C.

      While the CX 70-300 may be a bit of a ‘niche’ lens there are other Nikon 1 lenses that perform very well…the 6.7-13mm and 30-110mm are quite good zooms. The 10-100mm PD is a solid lens for video that I use regularly for my client work. And the three primes (10mm f/2.8, 18.5mm f/1.8, 32mm f/1.2) are all quite good for those folks that prefer to shoot with primes.

      On a personal basis I’ve shot with DX (D7000) and FX gear (D600, d800) in the past and have owned lots of Nikkor glass. I must confess that I would much rather shoot with my Nikon 1 gear. I love the depth-of-field, ease of use, and the small, lightweight nature of the system. I recently sold off all of my full frame gear and I haven’t missed it at all. Everyone has different needs of course and I’m certainly not suggesting that the Nikon 1 system would meet other people’s needs. For me the Nikon 1 system has put a ton of fun back into photography.


      1. Hi again Tom- just to clarify my CX70-300 niche comment – yes, there are other lenses that are good. I have a J4 and a J5, love the 18.5 mm and while I like the 32mm F1.2 I think Nikon should consider making a smaller 32mm F1.8 to keep portability up. Maybe F1.4 with that new Fresnel lens tech.

        The reason I pointed out the CX70-300 is because it gives a unique selling point to the camera vs competitors, the other lenses good or not for the most part don’t. As a quick example- look how small the Olympus F1.8 micro four thirds 25mm (50mm) equivalent is, compare to the F1.8 18.5mm Nikon.

        Look at the 32mm F1.2 which due to sensor differences (and image stabilization in Olympus bodies) can be compared to say the Olympus F1.8 45mm (though the 32mm has those nano crystals from the blue moon of Saturn). Keep in mind the asking price of the 32mm is 2.5-3x times the price too! The Olympus 45mm isn’t bad.

        So while those lenses are good where is the unique selling proposition? Size isn’t. Neither would be Bokeh. Price neither. So that’s what I meant by the comment – the cx 70-300 is unique the others vs competitors not so unique.

        If the Nikon 1 as a system wants to sell and woo people to buy it, it needs clear unique selling propositions. The AF speed is one of them but competitors have upped their AF speed too where many people may not care anymore about the difference that reminds, etc.

        I think for a V4 if Nikon wants it to succeed they need to go all out of the format. Put a standard flash socket already. Keep it small. Built in EVF (this is why I think a mini Sony A6000 design may work here). Give it 4K video @ 24, 25, 30 fps at least with a good bitrate.

        Make a small and nice F1.4 35mm equivalent lens. Make a telephoto Macro lens at F2.8.

        Don’t price that V4 over $700/$800 USD. Give it even a bigger buffer than with the V3 (say 4 seconds instead of 2 seconds of burst capture).

        Make more PDAF points and smaller squares- I find the AF can be fast but often inaccurate for many subjects. Make sure continuous AF shows green squares where the camera is focusing (like the A6000 when tracking) to give good user feedback of what’s going on during a sports/bird in flight capture.

        Make everything that a Nikon 1 camera is supposed to do real polished, really shine and don’t charge $1100 USD for it.

        1. Hi Ricardo,

          Thanks very much for adding to the dialogue! I think we both agree that Nikon missed the mark quite a bit with some of the unusual design choices they made with the V3 in terms of detachable EVF and grip. I think these design choices also drove the cost of the V3 up to unrealistic levels as it is obviously more expensive to build three separate pieces than it would be to have everything integrated. A V4 priced at about $800US with an integrated EVF and grip would be a much more competitive offering. On a personal basis I only use my Nikon 1 primes when shooting video and would much rather use zoom lenses for still photography, so additional primes are of little interest to me. I would love to see the Nikon 1 9-30mm f/1.8-2.8 actually come to life…and not die as a lens for which Nikon has filed a patent. If I had this zoom I’d likely sell my three Nikon 1 primes. As far as 4K video on a V4 I would happily live with 30p as I would seldom, if ever, use 24p or 25p.

          A V4 will likely be introduced within the next 6 months or so…I’m looking forward to more discussions with you once we know more about it!


    2. I just got a Sony A6000, with the idea of using as a travel camera instead of the Nikon D7100 (or D610). I also got a Nikon 1 J4 on sale with the WP-N3 underwater housing. I have to say that, apart from the lack of a viewfinder, I enjoy shooting with the J4 way more than with the A6000. Better controls and menus. I like also the touch screen focus point / shutter.

      The Sony menus and options are byzantine and easy to accidentally change.

  11. Tom – a great review. I also have to thank you for getting me into the Nikon 1 system with your impressive macro and bird photos. I started with a J4 then recently my wife and I both got J5’s. I am very impressed with how capable the touch screen is for shooting and negotiating menus and how quickly it became second nature to use. I find myself tapping the back of my V2 now as well….

    1. Thanks for the positive words Ron – much appreciated! A lot of folks dismiss the Nikon 1 system out-of-hand because of sensor size. The new BSI sensor really helps to close the IQ gap with larger format sensor cameras like M4/3 and some cropped sensor DSLRs. The naysayers may very well still dismiss it…and the rest of us who have experienced the capability of the Nikon 1 system will continue to enjoy shooting with it!

  12. On my 32 inch monitor, just a few feet in front of me, the pictures look fantastic. The details visible on the bees and dragonfly are amazing. I could even see reflections from the eyes of the last two bird pictures on page 3.

    Now, let us all hope that Nikon makes a V4 that is designed properly. Note to Nikon: Use full-size cards.

    As others have said, thanks for the detailed review. Now for a question: Did you keep the J5, or return it?

    1. Hi William,
      Thanks for the positive words – I’m glad you enjoyed the review! The J5 was from the ‘review pool’ of gear that Nikon Canada makes available to various photography writers in Canada…so it was returned. I’m an old school guy as I mentioned to Dan…I only use cameras with viewfinders. Like you, I’m waiting for a Nikon 1 V4 with fingers crossed that Nikon will correct their unusual design choices they made with the V3.

  13. One more note about the 70-300mm – the only way I was able to use it on the J5 was by mounting my table tripod on it and using it as a handle. Otherwise I found it impossible to get a decent stability out of the setup.

    Best option to use the 70-300mm was with the V3 with EVF and the table tripod mounted handle.

    1. Hi Dan,
      I played around a bit with the CX 70-300 mounted on the J5 and I found the best technique for me was to adjust the tilt screen, then hold the camera at waist level. It was very weird at first but I did get somewhat used to it at Bird Kingdom.

      1. And this would allow the usage of the strap as a support point. I tried something like that, but it was rather difficult to point – the tripod solution could be pointed very easily. 🙂

        On the other hand – that would be extra $300 for the RRS table tripod + ballhead + plate…

        1. 🙂 I’m just an old style guy and I missed not having an EVF. I do a lot of hand-held shooting at slow shutter speeds and I really need to have that third anchor point to do decent hand-held work.

  14. Great review. Thank you for the time you put into this.

    I just returned from my Alaska trip where I used just the V3 and J5 – with 6.7-13mm, 32mm, 70-300mm.

    The 70-300mm works great for wildlife, both marine and land based. The 800mm equivalent is amazing and it allowed me to take shots that woul dhave been impossible with any other camera system.

    The dynamic range was fine – I was especially careful with the histogram and it very rarely showed clipped highlights/shadows. I took about 6k pictures, so that would be a good statistic sample.

    I did not check the pictures on my calibrated monitor (Windows 10 upgrade and the monitor calibration profile does not work – everything else works fine), so I cannot say anything about the colors, yet.

    The selfie mode is just great – J5 has that self timer and you can take the picture by touching the screen. I even borrowed a selfie stick from a friend and mounted the camera on it!

    One notable negative about the selfie mode – it takes only jpg pictures. If you want to take raw files, you can go in the menu and disable the selfie mode.

    1. Hi Dan,

      Sounds like you had a fantastic trip to Alaska! From what you have written it seems like your Nikon 1 gear did a good job for you. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the J5 and other Nikon gear!


  15. Hi Thomas,
    Enjoyed the review. I am surprised very much at my own experiences with the 1 Series as related to all the parameters that go into the decision to pick up one camera over another as I go out the door to an activity. It seems to me that even my 1J1 and 1V1 take better pictures than I am capable of as an artist. Oh sure there are times the limited dynamic range and low light capability of the sensor means I have the wrong tool with me, but most times it is simply a little more work to get an image than with my larger DSLR systems. But my desire for a smaller package to lug around is evident as I look at the number of pictures I take and find that the percentage with the one series is increasing. I look forward to getting my hands on one of the 1J5 bodies. Thank you for the thoughtful review.

    1. Hi Jay,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the review! I had the same experience with my larger gear as well. I was finding that I never used it at all except when doing client projects. And, even then I was finding I was using my V2’s more and more as they are so much easier to get in cramped industrial settings. I finally tumbled some numbers and decided it was silly for the business to keep a bunch of capital tied up in full frame gear so we recently sold all of it. Luckily it went quickly at prices fair to the buyer and to my business.

  16. Tom – great review. I am so encouraged by the change we are seeing with the J5. The new Sony sensor is really a HUGE step in the right direction.

    I am certainly one of those that say’s “Good enough for my needs” but I must admit I just took an indoor shot with the v3 of my wife’s work group. ISO 2800 had plenty of grain and even DXO had issues getting those face’s smoothed a bit. It appears the J5 would have really done a much better job.

    The clarity and crisp pics with the wonderful 70-300 of the bird and feathers is just amazing!

    I played with the J5 while visiting B&H in NYC on a recent trip there. I really thought I would walk out with one, but it was so worried about no EVF. Well it may be time to just get over that. With the touch screen, I really find myself using it more and more in shooting anyway, especially indoors.

    I have also found myself taking the grip and EVF off the v3 then mounting the 10-30 PD zoom and calling it good. Maybe I just ought to get the J5….


    1. Hi Mike,

      You would notice a big difference with dynamic range and colour depth with the BSI sensor in the J5 over the Aptina sensor in the V3. I’m not sure that there’s much difference with low light performance though. Shooting images of people in low light conditions seems to be where full frame cameras really shine. None of us really knows where the technology will go with BSI sensors.

      I’m with you in terms of an EVF…I really can’t imagine buying a camera without one. I do a lot of hand-held shots at slow shutter speeds and not having an EVF as my third anchor point really hurts my ability to shoot at slower shutter speeds. I estimate at least 2 stops, maybe 3…which for how I like to shoot is a huge issue for me.

      Let’s hope a V4 is on the horizon soon…with an integrated EVF and grip! That should also help reduce manufacturing costs as well as make the camera more appealing to more people.


  17. Hi Tom
    Thank you for the review which I have enjoyed a lot and thank you for the wonderful images.
    I fully agree on all your conclusions. It is really a great little camera, but I’ll be looking forward to the V4 as well as I occasionally miss the view finder. Other than that I treated myself with the Nikon 32 mm f/1.2 lens and this is really a magnificent combination with the J5.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the hands-on review Anders – and thanks very much for your positive comment! I think the new BSI sensor technology is a game changer for the Nikon 1 system.

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