Nikon 1 J1 unboxed

We've eagerly unwrapped Nikon's controversial system camera to see whether it's really worth fighting about

Nikon announced the Nikon 1 J1 and V1, its pairing of mirrorless/compact system cameras/interchangeable lens compacts/micro-SLRs/whatever else you want to call them, just weeks ago – and yet we've already got a J1 ready to unbox.

We had a hands-on play with both cameras at the launch event, but has our opinion changed after some time to reflect on Nikon's unexpected choices?

The war of words is still raging over Nikon's decision to err on the side of compact, both with the sensor size and body styling, but we can report that the J1 feels more premium than it looks. It may give the impression of being a compact camera body with a lens mount, but it's solid and beautifully finished. Although the funky pop-up flash is rather too plasticky.

Our kit came with the 10-30mm (27-81mm equivalent) and 30-110mm (81-297mm equivalent) lenses, both of which maintain modest proportions thanks to their collapsibility. The 30-110mm is actually very impressive from that point of view, and its reversible lens hood is also a space saver.

The minimalist compact-like approach does mean, though, that it's not immediately obvious how to, for instance, change shooting modes. And the icons for the new Smart Photo and Motion Snapshot settings aren't the clearest.

A quick play with those new modes confirmed that, well, they work. Smart Photo Selector is as clever as promised, with a single shutter press resulting in a selection of 5 sequential shots without the lag of a true burst mode. We're less convinced by the Motion Snapshot, which records a short video played out to plinky-plonky piano music.

Still, we'll be putting the Nikon J1 properly through its paces over the coming weeks, as well as getting our hands on the posher Nikon V1, so look out for our full reviews.

The J1 kit will cost from £550 (with 10-30mm lens) and the V1 from £830 when they go on sale later this month.

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