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Nikon announces the 1 system: Mirrorless cameras debut next month

V1The rumors were true and Nikon will indeed be launching a mirrorless camera system. Named the Nikon 1 system, two models will be introduced in the US starting October 20. Both cameras will feature Nikon’s new CX image sensor and mount. Surprisingly, Nikon will opt for a smaller CMOS sensor than many competitor Micro Four Thirds lineups sport, and it will measure in at 1/1.7-inches. The result: More pocket-friendly cameras than rival series like the Olympus’ PEN cameras or the Sony NEX models.

Both cameras will feature a new advanced hybrid AF system with 73 focus points and use phase detection to eliminate AF lag and should hold up well in low light. The cameras also obviously allow for manual shooting but include pre-set modes as well. Motion Snapshot for action stills and Smart Photo Selector works as the cameras’ “best of” feature. Neither camera features a hotshoe. And before you curse Nikon, the manufacturer will release an F-mount adapter so you can swap your Nikon DSLR lenses in.

From all appearances, the J1 will be the entry-level unit of the two. It will come with a built-in flash and be offered in a larger variety of colors (white, pink, red, silver, and black). The J1 will sport a 10.1-megapixel High-Speed AF CMOS sensor, which Nikon says will stand up in any lighting situation. It also features a native ISO range of 100-3200. It will cost $649.99.

The camera is outfitted with Nikon’s new EXPEED 3 image processor, which Nikon is noting for its incredibly quick AF system and low noise. The V1 is the higher-end of the two, and includes a High Res electronic viewfinder, mic jack, high endurance mechanical shutter, and multi-accessory port for add-ons (flash, GPS). The V1 will be available in white and black and retail for $899.95.

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Like the J1, it packs a 10.1-megapixel image sensor and superior AF system thanks to the EXPEED 3 image processor. Both cameras include HD 1080/60i video recording and max shooting speeds of 10fps at full resolution.

With minimalist designs that won’t intimidate beginners and price points that undercut competitors –- not to mention a name like Nikon behind these cameras –- we expect the J1 and V1 to be incredibly successful. Consumers have already proved their affinity for the MFT model, but steep prices and the inconvenience that comes with anything larger than a point-and-shoot can be barriers. This new system, though still costly, may have found something of a good middle ground. Your move, Canon.

[Press release here]

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