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  1. #1
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    Default What to buy? (Nikon 1 J1 + Suggestions?)

    Hello everyone,
    I've been looking to upgrade to a DSLR/hybrid. I currently own a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 which is point and shoot, valued at the moment at $99 used, up to $199 new. <-- What I would be upgrading from.
    I'm currently on a cruise, so buying a camera here would be tax/duty free, and I am considering the Nikon 1 J1 but I would like to know if it would be a good value, and am very open to suggestions for better cameras:

    Budget:
    ~$600, up to ~$750 if the camera is insanely good for the price.

    Size:
    Relatively small, mostly because I expect the bigger SLR's to cost a lot more than my budget.

    Features:
    Megapixels: At least 10 to 12.
    Optical zoom: As much as possible.
    Image quality: 10.
    Exposure modes: Yes.

    General Usage:
    Use: Mostly for use on cruise adventures, so both for close ups of family as well as for long-range scenic photos (hence the "as much as possible" for optical zoom.)
    Big prints: Sometimes, about 8x11's mostly.
    Indoor/low light vs. sports/action: A good amount of low light, not too much fast-motion photos, but I would prefer no blurriness for slight movements when I pull the trigger.

    Misc:
    No preference in branding.

    Models in mind: Nikon 1 J1, priced around $340 here on the ship which is the same as on Amazon, however, the ship is selling the 30-110mm VR1 NIKKOR lens for $240, while Amazon sells the $580 package for $496. If this package ends up being recommended at $496, I would try to get a pricematch here on the ship (to avoid shipping and tax.)

    Special features: Not necessary, but would definitely be a plus to have any, if not all (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)


    Also questions concerning the Nikon 1 J1:
    1. I noted that the J1 cannot mount an external flash, but has a built-in one...Is this flash up to par? Is it good enough for my intended usage?

    2. I'm rather new to some aspects of photography, but I've read that increasing the ISO also increases the graininess of the picture, so recommended levels are around 400... how high can I increase the ISO on the J1 (or on any recommended camera) before the image becomes grainy?

    3. We've all had those moments where you shoot a person with a window behind them, and the image comes out with the person completely dark or the window turns into a large bright light.. Is there a camera in my budget that is able to compensate for such lighting conditions? I remember a video from CorridorDigital (on Youtube) where they highlighted the fact that their RED Scarlet could shoot in such lighting conditions and be able to preserve the image in both the bright light and in the dark. Obviously I cannot afford a RED camera, but am wondering if there are cheaper alternatives.

    This is a little long, but thanks in advance to those that took the time to read, reply, and help me (hopefully) purchase a new camera in the near future.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What to buy? (Nikon 1 J1 + Suggestions?)

    Quote Originally Posted by iczyg View Post
    Models in mind: Nikon 1 J1, priced around $340 here on the ship which is the same as on Amazon, however, the ship is selling the 30-110mm VR1 NIKKOR lens for $240, while Amazon sells the $580 package for $496. If this package ends up being recommended at $496, I would try to get a pricematch here on the ship (to avoid shipping and tax.)
    I suggest you look at our review of the Nikon 1J1. Though it "only" received 3 1/2 stars, part of the reason was its price. At the price you're able to purchase it, the 1J1 is a much better buy. Nikon 1 J1 Review

    Keep in mind that the 30-110mm lens has a relatively narrow angle of view at the wide end. The 1J1's sensor, while much larger than your WX9, has a "crop factor" of 2.7 (compared to the size of a frame of 35mm film). This means that, to compare the lens range numbers to that of a point and shoot camera like your WX9, you have to multiply them by 2.7. So a 30-110mm lens would give you the equivalent lens range on your WX9 of 81-297mm - good for taking long distance telephoto shots but terrible if you're interested in wide angle shots.

    Also questions concerning the Nikon 1 J1:
    1. I noted that the J1 cannot mount an external flash, but has a built-in one...Is this flash up to par? Is it good enough for my intended usage?
    It's a decent pop-up flash - fine for most purposes.

    2. I'm rather new to some aspects of photography, but I've read that increasing the ISO also increases the graininess of the picture, so recommended levels are around 400... how high can I increase the ISO on the J1 (or on any recommended camera) before the image becomes grainy?
    As the review notes the 1j1 does quite well at higher ISO's. You shouldn't see any problem with graininess until you get to 3200 ISO.

    3. We've all had those moments where you shoot a person with a window behind them, and the image comes out with the person completely dark or the window turns into a large bright light.. Is there a camera in my budget that is able to compensate for such lighting conditions? I remember a video from CorridorDigital (on Youtube) where they highlighted the fact that their RED Scarlet could shoot in such lighting conditions and be able to preserve the image in both the bright light and in the dark. Obviously I cannot afford a RED camera, but am wondering if there are cheaper alternatives.
    The 1J1 has Nikon's "D Lighting" feature, which evens out dynamic range. But it can only do so much. The results will be better than what you can obtain with your WX9 but you'll still have the problem in extreme circumstances, like when a person is standing before a widow with sunlight streaming in.

    The Nikon 1j1 is a fine camera though you should consider buying the 10-30mm lens, which is much more useful for most shooting conditions you're likely to encounter.
    My Gear:
    Panasonic FZ28
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    Canon A720IS (retired)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What to buy? (Nikon 1 J1 + Suggestions?)

    Relatively small, mostly because I expect the bigger SLR's to cost a lot more than my budget.
    Usually not the case. Also check your prices on Canon T2i (550D) and T3 (1100D) and Nikon D3200.

    Optical zoom: As much as possible.
    Get a SLR-like ultrazoom instead. They do well for folks who want nice shots straight out of the camera. Those who shun photo editors.

    prefer no blurriness for slight movements when I pull the trigger.
    For low light shoot with an external flash set in the camera's hotshoe. A few SLR-like ultrazooms have a hotshoe, most do not. Nikon 1 series has this, but will limit you to Nikon flash units specific to their 1 series models. DSLR excel at flash, lots and lots of flexibility. Micro4/3 kind of fall in between. They have a standard hotshoe, so work easily with any speedlight with manual control. The TTL protocol for Micro4/3 is Olympus, which can be a little limiting.

    Kelly Cook
    Olympus PL2, Canon EOS 50D, Fujifilm F45fd, various film dinosaurs

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    Default Re: What to buy? (Nikon 1 J1 + Suggestions?)

    Thanks for the responses. I found some time to read the review and "a means for users to take a lot of pictures spontaneously without having to resort to a large DSLR and set of lenses" describing the J1 does seem to describe me.

    I also looked at the 3 other recommended cameras and they do seem to be within my price range. What would be the recommended "necessary" accessories be for those cameras? (certain lens, etc.) Would these alternatives end up being over my budget?

    So my question is this: at the $496 price point, for camera and the 30-110mm, would it be a recommended buy? Or would it be better to look more into the 3 suggested DSLRs? Or perhaps to wait for a certain camera (some agreed-upon best camera) to fall into my budget?

    Also how about the 1 V1 vs the 1 J1? There doesn't seem to be that many differences? Which would be preferred? At what price?

    Thanks again for input.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What to buy? (Nikon 1 J1 + Suggestions?)

    I fail to see how the Nikon 1 series makes taking lots of pictures more spontaneously than a DSLR. Unless somehow carrying a little smaller camera bag is "more spontaneous"?

    The only accessories I would consider necessary are a memory card and a camera bag. Some folks also want a telephoto right away, but that is not a universal requirement.

    That J1 price matches what Amazon shows for body plus 10-30 and 30-100. A pretty good price. Amazon also shows Canon DSLR packages for the same price.

    The Nikon 1 series is fine for shooting in good light, including video. A DSLR will have an edge over those for low light, and for finessing large images with a photo editor. Really depends on how serious you are about where you will be taking your photography.

    The "V" models have the benefit of an electronic viewfinder. I like these for telephoto shooting, and video. Many folks (now trained on smart phones which lack a viewfinder) may not care about this feature.

    Kelly

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What to buy? (Nikon 1 J1 + Suggestions?)

    Compare the Nikon 1J1 side by side with one of the DSLR's. You'll see quite a large size and weight differential. If you're OK with the larger camera, go with the DSLR as it will give you a better picture (though the image quality of the 1J1 is quite good).
    My Gear:
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