DxOMark test results for Nikon 1 J2 mirrorless camera are out

DxOMark released test results for the Nikon 1 J2 mirrorless camera:

Unsurprisingly, the Nikon 1 J2 doesn’t show significant progress over the Nikon 1 J1, given that they share the same sensor — one that doesn’t seem to have changed at all between the two generations.

 Strengths of the Nikon 1 J2:

  • Color depth.
  • Good dynamic range at its lowest ISO.

Weaknesses of the Nikon 1 J2:

  • No improvement in image quality compared to its predecessor.
  • Low-light performance is penalized by the sensor size.

This is how the Nikon 1 J2 compares to the Sony RX100 (both with 1" sensor) and Canon G1x (1.5" sensor):

And one more comparison - Nikon 1 J2 vs. Olympus OM-D E-M5 vs. Pentax Q:

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  • Fred

    Hmm, another Nikon review by DXO less than a month after the camera is released.
    Previously it was said that the rapid Nikon camera DXO reviews were due to popularity of the camera – so much for that argument.
    So the old addage “He who pays the piper …” is still valid one presumes?

    • Pablo Ricasso

      Well, they must not have paid them very much…

    • BadTongue

      Paid? No, I don’t think so.

      IMHO Nikon, Canon, Sony and DXO are all a bunch of thieves with the same agreement on the time they release new products, reward each others with test results and make a false competition so that we poor consumers can buy!

      We have not much choice, unless we go to $$$ Leica, Zeiss or Hasselblad 🙁

      I love them!

      • Fishnose

        Oh wow, you managed to dig a CONSPIRACY out of this. Good work, you’ll get the “They’re All Out To Screw Us” Gold Medal next year.
        Unless they get onto us and up the price of gold too much, that is.

    • Brian Ramsey

      The J2 was announced J August 9 so that’s been over 2 months ago.

  • M

    Never realized how similar the designs of the J1/2 and RX100 are!

    • Alleluia

      You didn’t know? They are all made equal from a remote secret factory in China, then shipped with different labels, but the cr@p inside is the same.

    • Jabs

      @M – Nikon’s Nikon 1 cameras have influenced many competing brands. Look at the new Samsung camera too. Plus now, many cameras are coming in lots of colors in body and lenses. Nikon started a trend then!

    • St.
  • Pat

    How come no one calls the EVIL any more?

    • Rex

      EVIL = Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens.
      V1 and OM-D are the only ones classified as EVIL cameras in this group.

    • Jabs

      @Pat – E.V.I.L – sounded, well – wicked – lol, so they changed to ILC’s or Interchangeable Lens Compacts – sounds more ‘politically correct’ – lol

  • Plug

    It seems that the greatest effect of a small sensor is on low light performance. In colour depth and dynamic range the Sony is right up there showing what can be done with a one inch sensor. It really is a laudable camera. I hope the V2 closes the gap but it will unlikely close it completely. All of these cameras perform very vell in good light.

    • Ronan

      The OM-D proved to all that a small sensor can be just as good, if not better, than larger sensors.

      • Jabs

        @Ronan – A lot of people sing the merits of the OMD, but from reading all over and from test results, posted images plus DXO Mark – it is NOT that good – and expensive too.
        AF is awful under certain conditions and it is a quirky camera not worth buying to me. Get a D3200 for maybe one third the price and be done with it = my opinion.

        Of course I have not used it but its 12bit output puts it just above the V1 which also has 12bit output. I think that many people nowadays are so enamored with small bodied cameras, that they ‘invent’ superlatives for lousy or inferior cameras and then complain about better cameras that are much, much better. Maybe people need to upgrade their eyesight, image expectations and monitors too – lol

        Small and incapable must be the norm now for many!

        Alas – we might now be at the point in digital that even a P&S, if you know what you are doing, can take excellent small photos and thus, that’s causing people to forget , what excellence really embodies. The OMD is groundbreaking for a Micro 4/3rds body, BUT the whole genre of those cameras are not that great to me, but then people love little cute things – lol

        Maybe Nikon raised the bar too high with the D4, D800, D800E, D600 and the D3200 so now I can’t wait to see what the V2 does.

        OK – flame me all you want, but being a long time slide shooter, I see many defects that many seem to overlook in their rush to smaller ‘cute’ bodies, so maybe I am spoiled – lol

        • Ronan

          It IS that good. Don’t hate it because you don’t have one, or because past M43 camera’s weren’t that good.

          Test results? I looked at them, and they agree with the positive reviews.

          So its not as good as a D800 or D4…. Seriously? Completely different cameras and price range.

          It beats anything in its price range, it beats most of the more expensive cameras.

          • Jabs

            @Ronan – I have over 25 years experience in shooting Nikon Pro bodies with fast motor drives including a D700 and thus I can easily evaluate a camera without even using it.
            Here is what’s wrong with the OMD and why I would not buy it (an excerpt from DpReview)

            — Olympus claims that the E-M5 offers the fastest autofocus in the world when paired with the 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens (at least for for single focus acquisition), and we have little reason to doubt that. The focus is near-instant in good light and only drops off in very low light. Being based on contrast detection (that directly assesses the sharpness of the image), there’s little reason for concern about accuracy – a principle borne-out by the hundreds of correctly-focused images we’ve taken.

            However, despite Olympus’ claims about improvements in continuous autofocus and subject tracking capability, we found the system too slow and unpredictable to develop much enthusiasm about. If you’re careful about making sure the camera has locked onto a subject, you can expect to get a couple of sharp shots out of a burst but the results are patchy and, for the kinds of ‘grab the moment’ shooting you’d want it to work for, the results simply aren’t reliable enough. The EM-5 is far from unusual in this respect (Continuous AF isn’t a strength of contrast-detection AF), but for such an expensive model, and one for which Olympus is pushing the continuous AF capabilities, it’s a disappointing result.

            Tracking is a particular disappointment. If you specify an AF point, the camera will usually ‘lock-on’ to the correct subject but it gets very easily distracted. No matter how distinct the subject might appear (being the only red item in the frame, for instance), the camera will often decide it’s much more interested in the background after a couple of frames. This, combined with the continuous AF’s hunting, means you simply can’t rely the system to get your shots in focus.

            Unhelpfully, the camera doesn’t indicate that Continuous Autofocus is not available in high-speed (9 fps) mode, and during shooting, you may never realize. With continuous tracking AF activated the focus tracking target will still move around the viewfinder as you capture your high-speed images, but the clue lies in the hundreds of out-of-focus shots that you’ll end up with – the camera might behave like it’s trying to track the subject, but focus is actually fixed at the first frame of the burst. To get tracking AF you have to shoot in Continuous L mode.

            My comments now:
            This is what Nikon solved with the Nikon 1 System and the Micro 4/3rds have not gotten yet even at the level of a Nikon J1. I don’t sit in a studio and shoot still life, hence useless to me. Expeed 3 and now Expeed 3A has solved these issues largely !!!

  • Dreamer

    Waiting for a test award on a full frame V3.
    Nikon, forget about the D4, D800 (and its problems), go toys!


    Lil crappy cameras, for those who don’t expect much out of life and photography. They are bricks, in fact…better lighting and results if you used a brick. lol Bricks only cost a couple of dollars and not 600 plus for nothing.

    • Bricks


      Yes, bricks work better, however, they cost more for shipping!

    • Rock Neckwell

      I buy all of my bricks at Walmart. They are perfect and exactly the same as the bricks I buy at B&H and Adorama. Here is a picture of my favorite brick. I used the following Photoshop corrections:

      Saturation +100

      The above table of Photoshop corrections is Copyright © 2012 Rock Neckwell, All Rights Reserved.

      • Bricks

        Are you sure you didn’t use Auto Level + Auto Contrast?
        Nice pic, anyway, a little too green… D4?

    • Rdpi

      i heard a lot of good words about potatoes.

      potatoes rulez in dynamic frying range

      • Plug

        Yeah, good chips.

    • dupeyou

      The only brick, is the one in your head.

      • Native person

        Be quiet, foreigner. Remember your subject of expertise is sticks, not bricks. Don’t pretend to be what you’re not.

  • weird that J1’s overall score is higher than J2’s =.=

    • soap

      You’re seeing the unpublished margin of error.

    • Vision

      don’t forget the color, black J1 is more PRO 🙁

  • What’s really interesting is how poorly the Canon G1-X fares (its lens is f2.8–5.8). This means the CX system with a fast lens would outperform the G1-X even in low light (pretty depressing given the sensor size) and the RX-100 outperforms it across the board. I guess that’s why Canon is offering $400 rebates on them.

  • Hendog

    I used to think these cameras might be ok, but alas, the masses are proven right. They are total garbage. Such a wasted opportunity. Ugly, plasticky, bulky, electronicky, teenie tiny-sensory. It’s been said a million times before, but surely Nikon can muster up some old school charm and produce a professional’s sidekick rangefinder style solid little nugget of leatherette and metal camera. It would be DX or even FX, low mp, amazing ISO, loads of manual controls…. mmm make em for the love of it.

    • Why do you, trolls, cry about DX or FX cameras while you already have zillions of these from Nikon, Pentax, Sony Canon etc.?

      Be honest, 1,5 crop mirrorless cameras from Sony (NEX) are same size as Nikon D40…D3100 because same lens size for DX crop. And no magic and no technologies can`t do smaller lenses for 1,5 crop with reasonable quality.

      So DX camera WITH ZOOM LENS never fits somebody’s pocket, while CX with zoom do.

      • Booyah

        He isn’t trolling. Most people think the Nikon mirrorless stuff is crap. The defenders always get off on the AF and FPS numbers, but who cares when the sensor is so small, especially compared to the competition.

        • zzzzzzzz

          Then why is it such a massive best seller? How does that equate with “most people”? Can I advise you not to buy it, but do get the facts correct. Arguing from obviously false premises is boring and a sign of lack of intelligence. Yawn.

          • Michel

            Best seller article rarely equates to quality. Look at things like basic “drinks and foods” You see a well known brand of sugary cola drink that is huge best seller, yet it is very unhealthy and contributes enormously to chronic dehydration and thirst leading to obesity, and a equally well known hamburger chain product loaded with sugars and additives also contributing to obesity and heart disease amongst other things. Are these products good quality? Hardly. Are they popular? I will let you answer that one.

            The “little cameras” Nikon make, the J1 and J2 are good quality, perhaps a little overpriced, but in terms of quality of images they are streets ahead of what we used to get some years ago. Its just as consumers we have gotten spoiled by rapid technological advances. I found an old SD card packet I bought around 10 years ago, for a 1gb card. It cost then, $250. Probably around $500 or more in todays money. The Canon S70 I bought for use with that card I paid just under $1000 for. That camera is just as outdated as the card. Both still work but no one in the first world would really use them nowadays (I saw the same camera for sale new in a Chiangmai shop for under $200)

            Its nice to have a pocket sized camera (for small pockets) that does have a larger sensor than the usual compacts available, but I am certainly not a fan of cameras one has to hold at arms length to take pictures with, and nor do I like electronic viewfinders very much, still seems like a point and shoot item to me.

            These cameras will suit quite a large group of people very well, and even if I will never have one as i am very happy with my bulky DSLR, I am happy for those who like to use such a camera.

            Personally I would rather see a large sensor camera with the option of a dedicated very sharp lens and a bright line viewfinder as was found on some of the good quality 35mm cameras in the 1960’s. I think one day we might see something like that where we have 50+mpx sensors and a very sharp pancake lens on a little pocketable camera for killer images. Maybe something with great menus and buttons and dials, and perhaps even interchangeable sensors for different conditions, in the same way film was used.

            Some day, you know, there will be a gigabit pixel sensor for FX

          • TROLL NOCWELL

            Prove it! Show us all where these bricks are best sellers..SHOW me the facts! Prove IT!!!!

            • zzzzzzzz

              It is well reported in the media here that Nikon 1 is the top seller in Europe for the first nine months of this year and that sales worldwide have been above projection. Your tone is childish and demonstrates a lack of intelligence, grow up.

        • yes who wants better IQ like DSLR never buy those CX camera.

      • I’ve been sceptical about CX until don’t trying this little thing (V1) indoors. Its quality and usefulness so charming. And CX really much smaller than m43 or NEX.

    • You already can buy D4.
      So why you abuse pocket-size affordable Nikon 1?
      “It would be DX or even FX”
      It will be same size and price.
      Why not just buy D3200?

    • RC

      The only reason I’m against these cameras is because they cost too much.

      But I’m guessing that if you actually look at the images they produce, they’re not that bad.

      • I hardly like any new designs. I have big fat hands and like to use big cameras with solid buttons. But in my hands V1 with 10-30 fits nice. Its AF and IQ on pair with average 2007′ entry level DSLR or even better.
        Before Nikon 1 we all used our pro equipment both on assighnment job and for family chronicle. Now it is possible feel light on vacation.

    • Max Kalkman

      Sooner or later Nikon will introduce some decent manual control. Stuff evolves and becomes easier to use. As long as this line grows, sooner or later it is going to produce some good things. I’d love to have a lightweight walk around camera and the fast aperture primes could be fun.

      I could see Nikon introducing some CX model that looks like an old school rangefinder or IS an old school rangefinder replica with live view for some anniversary edition or something, but why would Nikon produce such a niche packaging of any of their technologies that are currently doing well for themselves as they are?

  • David

    The J and V cameras are terrible, and Nikon should feel bad because they are bad.

    • zzzzzzz

      I’ll bet their bankers are happy. But then they are bad people by definition, eh?

  • T.I.M

    Just get a Fuji X100, the interface is TERRIBLE but the lens (35mm f/2) is fantastic !

    If Fuji modify that camera with no electronic view finder (useless and crapy), a better and simpler interface, the price could be down to $750 and and Fuji it will sell millions of it !

    Unfortunately the compacts market is made for idiots who want their camera to be like a smartphone.
    I have to keep the manual with me all the time or else I get lost in the menus.

    Again, built quality (metal), the exposure, the ISO, flash fill-in, and the lens are fantastic

    • St.

      how’s the AF speed?

      • T.I.M

        Autofocus is dead-on all the time ! (I use the center focus sensor and then re-compose the picture)

    • Michel

      That camera with a brightline viewfinder as found on good quality 35mm camera in the 60’s would be a real joy to use. for parallax corrections of close up things and also for interchangeable lens could use brightline marking inside of 35mm lines and LCD viewing, but for 35mm lens P&S the optical viewfinder alone would be great for family portraits and general action groups photos, just like in the “old days”

  • PeterO

    Uh, why did they come out with the J2? This must the “New and Improved” department from marketing that convinces people that it’s better because it’s new. The numbers obviously don’t bear this out. Ohhhh, it’s red. Silly me.

  • MB

    J1 was louse camera
    V1 is more lousy that J1.
    J2 is even more lousy that J1.
    So the point here is that Nikon 1 system is getting more lousy over time or I am missing something?

    • PeterO

      Yup, you’re missing that it’s red.

      • Pablo Ricasso

        My favorite bricks are red!

  • I thought the Nikon 1 and RX100 shared the same sensor but the scores are way too different

    • Jabs

      @Joao – The older Nikon 1 Series cameras had 10.1 megapixel resolution while this Sony has 20.2 megapixels. Both are 1 inch sensors and that is what makes them similar, but the Sony has twice the resolution.
      The new Nikon V2 has 14.2 megapixel resolution while the new J2 has 10.1 like the older V1 and J1 cameras.

  • GPL

    I am interested in what the V3 will bring. I like where the V2 is going. Still wondering what macro lenses they’ll bring out. I would like to use a V2 + Adapter + Sigma 150mm 2.8 macro + 1.4x APO TC. DoF would be very very nice to have. Maybe wouldn’t need to stack then…. but I need some CLS!

    • Jabs

      @GPL – then you need a V2.

      Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) – i-TTL flash control using image sensor available with optional SB-N5 flash unit or SB-N7 flash unit

      • F200

        Or you can get a P7700

        • Jabs

          @F200 – Yeah – lol

  • Disderio

    So much false obsolescence and lack of innovation. Really wouldn’t mind if canon and nikon were called out for once.

    • Jabs

      @Disderio – I see Nikon as currently the most technically astute camera manufacturer right now by a mile.
      Sony is showing off and doing wonderfully technically but flawed and marketing specific headline grabbing features and specs that don’t work well. Sony needs to give us 14bit output instead of 12bit output as that is one of the main reasons that Nikon beats them when they use the same or similar Sony produced sensor – look at http://www.sensorgen.info
      Canon is asleep to me except in their 1DX Pro body which Nikon blew out and they are trying to catch up now. D600 blew away Canon’s new lower price full frame in AF and megapixels plus Video.
      Olympus is red hot but alas they like Fuji, make great products (I have an older Fuji digital camera which I won’t sell) but with flawed or over complex WOW effects that don’t work right often. Great ideas but not engineered well = go learn Engineering plus real camera performance and drop the giddy beauty pageant of camera design.
      Fuji is also great but trying to run towards a past that it never had and thus evoking memories of other previously failed brands or concepts.
      Nikon’s 1 System is perhaps one of the most technically advanced camera platforms on the market even when you take the D4, D800, D800-E, D600 and D3200 into the equation. The image quality is not what I am describing but its speed at 15fps and AF on the sensor is awesome in bright light and just about everything in it points to a real future even better than the Micro 4/3rds inexperienced camera maker ‘conglomerates’.

      Now, tell me who is producing currently any better cameras with more innovations than Nikon across the board? Yes, you can call out Canon, as they seem to have lost the plot and I hope they regroup soon, as Nikon is clearly kicking their butt big time.
      Most of the negativity here is from people who are or seem jealous of Nikon’s technical prowess lately and its domination of the performance spectrum, so people come here and try to start crap or insinuate much.

      Nikon innovations just since 2011 to 2012:
      Expeed 3 and now 3A – digital multiple 16 bit digital channels and multiple processors with 14bit output currently and faster processing than anyone else out there in DSLR land.
      Clean HDMI output – enough said.
      High temp ‘paint’ and coatings on the Prism of the D4 to help dissipate heat.
      The D4 also has a ‘CX’ mode (2.7) in video that it does a remarkable fps speed overlooked by many too.
      The highest resolution FF sensor camera on the market (D800) and the D800-E breakthrough higher output from that filter technology.
      A Nikon V1 and J1 could shoot and focus faster than a D3s when they were introduced and the D3s is one of the fastest cameras on the planet.
      D3200 with a Nikon designed DX sensor of 24 megapixels that raised the bar so high for DX bodies and it is cheap too, that it eclipsed almost every DX body in performance even though its output is 12bit and not the normal 14 bit for Nikon.
      The new D600 that is blowing people away with its image quality – look at its files for a clue as to what state of the art performance is currently and then compare this to any other brand and they all seem like being behind like 2 years at least.

      I am sure that others can tell us more here while many just focus on the misses or hiccups that occurred after the Japan tsunami/earthquake and the Thailand flooding disaster plus new product rollouts, but Nikon has done remarkable well and is perhaps nipping at Canon’s heels in DSLR sales.

      Now, explain to me why Nikon should be called out for false obsolescence?

      • Disiderio

        Because fx technology in a compact is not impossible. They are drip feeding rehashed crap for as long as they can to maximise sales.

        Am I jealous? No – I have pro bodies and lenses which, should I wish to sell might reap me around 20 of these shitboxes.

        • Jabs

          @Disiderio – Sony just introduced a FF or full frame compact camera, now disproving your claim. I think that it is called the RX-100, but not sure, so look it up yourself.

          If you disagree with a Manufacturer and we all have some disagreements with them, then since we are not the Manufacturer but the end user – what is the point of your original claim or post?

          I tried to answer your point and now you tell me that there is no FF compact camera and thus what am I now to think? I don’t like to argue with people as it is pointless often but this discussion is strange. Maybe we should just use what we have and like plus since we cannot produce our own cameras, thus use what best exemplifies what model is closest to your goals of a ‘perfect or ideal’ camera.

          I am very technical, so I thought that you had some examples of your claims and thus I challenged you and no answer so far from you. Take care.

      • Excellent post

        Nice post, Disiderio. Agreed.

        Jabs doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She doesn’t even understand f-stops yet and then she spews all that crap.

  • whisky

    Unsurprisingly, the Nikon 1 J2 doesn’t show significant progress over the Nikon 1 J1

    what progress? according to the above DxOmark charts, the J2 has an inferior sensor to the earlier J1. Nikon needs to step up it’s game, and also redesign that franken-kludge they call the V2 if they hope to make the CX format work. JMO.

  • Jarc

    Such a poor score. That’s why I keep saying that Nikon should throw away their tiny sensor and reconsider a bigger sensor instead. IQ depends so much on the sensor size. It’s Physic 101. You cannot break the rule of thumb.

  • Gryphon

    I really don’t get why people are so keen to buy into the small sensor concept. There is no reason why a DX sensor cant be put in a smaller body with a smaller lens. Fuji and Leica have proved that. Has anyone seen how small a Leica 50mm f/2.5 is? Sony have a smaller body, but the lenses seem pretty big to me – not sure why. The Nikon 1 is a great concept but the sensor is just too small. Even the M4/3 seems pointless. I just dont get why photographers who have experianced a robust raw Dx file get excited about a smaller sensor.

  • Weak, but people will buy it because it is cute.

  • MK

    I bought the RX100 because I was impressed with it’s compact size and yet astonishing image quality. I really don’t see the merit of ILC’s. A tiny form factor body with partially huge lenses just doesn’t make any sense in my opinion.
    When I see the DxO score comparison between the Nikon 1 one inch sensor and the RX100 one inch sensor I am inclined to say that Sony really nailed it.
    Thought the RX100 also has it’s downsides. Shooting wide open in broad daylight is problematic due to the relatively slow highest shutter speed of 1/2000 and the lack of a built in ND filter. This causes a weird glow in some images that I consider ugly.
    Nikon on the other hand really nailed the AF. I am looking forward to see the hybrid AF tech in Nikons DSLR’s. Good times ahead for photo-enthusiasts.

  • Incessant Troll

    New Nikon J1 is wonderful imaging device!

    Built tough enough for kids—and now even better! It’s a real digital camera that’s tough enough to stand up to the ways kids play and the places they go. And now it has even more features, for better pictures in more situations! Requires 4 AAA batteries.


    Aesthetics designed by kids, for kids! 🙂

  • Alot of similarities.

    • Peeedah

      Please don’t do that. Spelling “a lot” as one word, I mean. It’s teh noob.

      • Grammar Nazi? or should I say are you teh grammar Nazi?

  • Disiderio

    I’m not saying that there is no ff compact. All saying is that the sensor in the J1 is uninspiring and not very indicative of what is capable of Nikon at this point in time. The know how is there. Why didn’t nikon release a dx or fx crop camera? Why introduce a new lens and flash Eco system? My understanding is that the small sensor is cheap to make and they can turnover sales from lenses and flashes. It’s mind boggling! Had Nikon released maybe a nex type mirrorless I would be keen! Slap on a prime and go for gold when I don’t want to carry my workhorse d3s or d700 around.

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