Nikon 1 J2 vs J1 – Differences Comparison

August 9, 2012

Nikon J1 and J2 cameras

Nikon updates its Nikon 1 system with the Nikon 1 J2. This is a more advanced camera for the basic Nikon J1 that Nikon introduces in September 21, 2011. The new camera enjoys a higher resolution screen, metallic body and new features like the Creative Mode. In this article I will be comparing the Nikon J1 vs J2  to see an understand the differences between those two cameras.  The J2 should be the better camera of the two of course, but you might want to read all the article, so you can make a better buying decision.  The J2 should be about $60 more expensive than the J1 (make sue you check out the latest prices). The question is of course, which one you should pick. Let’s take a closer look at the J1 vs. J2.



Nikon introduce the Nikon 1 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens camera system in September 2011. Since then Nikon as able to sell quite well and grabbing two positions in the Top selling MILC in Japan (July 2012). So the J2 comes after a great success for the J1 and Nikon 1 system in general. It seems the affordable J1 model was selling much better due to its lower price tag.  Nikon wants to continue building upon this success in 2012/2013 and the J2 is the camera that should continue putting Nikon in a good positioning in the MILC market.

The J2 joins the Nikon 1 system and doesn’t replace the J1 (quote: ” MELVILLE, N.Y. (August 9, 2012) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the expansion of the popular Nikon 1 Advanced Camera with Interchangeable Lens System with the addition of the Nikon 1 J2 camera and..“). So  the J2 actually sits above the J1 but below the V1.

Building another Jx model upon the popularity of the J1 is a great move. Furthermore, Nikon also introduced at new 1 Nikkor 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I will write a more intensive coverage on this lens in future articles. In this article I will focus on comparing the J1 vs J2 only. Let’s continue..


Nikon 1 J2

The Nikon 1 J2 is not here to make any revolution. It’s an entry-level MILC, that gets some nice updates over the J1. When looking at the basic specs, the Nikon J2 at the same 1-inch CX sensor size (13.2 x 8.8mm) with 10.1MP (effective) resolution and also same EXPEED 3 image processor. At the back of the camera you can see the gorgeous 3-inch 921K-dots LCD display, but not an articulating one, petty. The J1 has a 460K-dots display, which is not bad either. The thing is that 920K-dots resolution LCDs are now becoming a standard. People expect even the most basic MILC to have a 920K-dots LCD.

Nikon 1 J2, orange

Nikon J2 (orange)


Nikon J2 MILC in Red

Nikon J2 MILC in Red (without a lens)

The Nikon J2 can also capture 1080ip/60, 1080p30, 720p60 HD videos, same as the J1. It also offers  Slow-motion 640×240/400 fps and 320×120/1200 fps video recording. Motion snapshot is also available, serves the same functionality as the J1.

Another update was made to the body, now it’s a metallic body, rather than plastic like on the J1. Certainly fives a nice feel to it and adds to the durability of the camera. That’s a pretty nice feature that I personally really like.

Nikon J2 also features what is called a “Creative Mode”, With just a few clicks you can turn any photo to a work of art (kind of). This will give you a nice way to edit your photos in many ways, so you won’t need to know how to use Photoshop to impress your friends on Facebook.

You also enjoy the same fast and accurate AF performance (73 point AF array) that we learn to enjoy with the J1. You can shoot at 10 fps in full resolution and with continuous AF, or go up to 60 fps with locked AF.



Some people criticized  Nikon for going with a smaller sensor (1-inch), rather then choosing a Micro Four Thirds or APS-C size like sensor. Other people fell in love with those lenses and have think that the J1 is the perfect family camera, a camera that offers great image quality and good value overall. It seems that the problem is not with the Nikon 1 J1 or the V1, it’s the fact that Nikon hasn’t yet introduced a pro-level MILC. The expectations from Nikon are very high.

If take the enthusiast photographer perspective, he or she wants to know for sure that they have a room for upgrade. They want to know that if they buy an entry-level model, they will have a more advanced model (pro-model) to upgrade to. Look at what Olympus has done with the OM-D E-M5. The E-M5 is a flagship MILC model with pro features. Nikon must have at least one pro model to start with. People hope that it will be announced prior to Photokina 2012, but we still have time. Nikon might introduced the pro model in Photokina 2012, to get everybody’s attention. Who knows, by the time you read this article, a Pro 1 Nikon camera was probably announced already.

You shouldn’t hate the J1 or J2 for what they are. They are great cameras and their success proven that people like the J1 very much. The J1 and J2 has their cons and pros, no doubt about that. The thing is that the market is very saturates not only with Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens cameras, but with Large-sensor compacts, like the Sony RX100. The Sony RX100 is an amazing camera, an a good alternative for a MILC in my opinion (depends on the features that you need). Large sensor compact cameras have large sensors, but they feature a fixed lens,  which limits the photographer with what can be achieved with those cameras. You won’t be able to enjoy fast prime lenses or an ultra-wide angle. You are stuck with the same lens. Some of you might not need more than what a specific large-sensor compact can offer, others will find it quite limiting.


Nikon J2 vs J1 Comparison – Differences

Size – The J1 and J2 have the same size (106 x 61 x 29.8) and weight almost the same (± 3 grams, without lens). If you are interested to know the difference between the J1 and V1, I recommend reading my Nikon V1 vs J1 comparison article.

Nikon 1 j1 vs j2 size comparison

J1 vs J2 Size Comparison (via

In the above comparison from camera size website, you can see that they both look the same. The back has some very minor changes to the will button and buttons, but that’s fairly cosmetic and slight positioning change. Of course the big difference is in the body construction. The J2 has metallic body. It’s a nice thing to have, but not something that will make your photos better though. I personally prefer having a metallic camera body over plastic, it’s just feels better when you hold it in your hands, feels more durable.
LCD – The Nikon J2 now features a 3-inch 921K-dots LCD, instead of 460K-dot like on the J1. I personally think that it’s not a big difference. Others might disagree. Of course it’s better to have a higher resolution if you want to check sharpness, focus, view videos and image with better quality on the camera. Again, it’s now something that will improve the image quality.  Having said that,  we need t o understand that the Nikon 1 J2 doens’t have an electronic viewfinder like the Nikon 1 V1. It means that you will be shooting videos and still while composing your shots and footage via the back LCD. So it means that you better have the best screen that you can get for the best possible experience and usability. So this is a very welcomes feature on the J2.

Creative Mode – The Nikon J2 features a new creative mode. This simply means that you can apply pre-defined image effects onto your photo, using the camera, without the need for Photo Editing Software and a computer. You can choose from Panorama, Miniature, Soft, Backlighting and Selective color processing modes. You choose a mode, and the camera will automatically update the camera’s settings to perfectly fit to that specific shooting condition that you want to capture in front of you.

Creative mode dial, Nikon J2

Creative mode on the back mode dial, Nikon J2

This “Creative mode” now appears as an additional icon on the back dial.  The J1 features only 4 modes, accept the “Creative mode” which is new on the J2.


Scene Modes – The Nikon 1 J2 features 8 selectable scene modes’ options, compared to only 4 on the J1.  The J2 features: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Selected Picture Control can be modified, User-Customizable Settings.  The J1 features: Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Close-up and Auto.

New Colors –  The Nikon J1 was available in four different colors, including Silver, Black, Red and White.  The J2 is available with two more colors, Pink and Orange too!

Power On/Off on Lens Retraction – The J2 will also have a nice feature, which allows the camera to be turned on and off depends on the lens retraction.  Simply extend the lens to turn the camera on, this is instead of turning on the camera and extending the lens. This will allow you to capture decisive moments without missing an important moment.



The price difference should be approx. $60 more for the J2 (MSRP $100). The Nikon J2 is added to the Nikon 1 system and sits between the J1 and the V1. The J2 has some nice features, including the metallic body, more scene modes,  the new creative mode, higher resolution LCD, the on/off lens feature and now available with two more colors, Pink and Orange, how cool. I personally think that the J2 worth the price difference, even if it’s for the high quality body and the higher-res LCD.

Some of you might think that it’s better to save that money and invest it in a second lens instead. Again, you will be the one to make the decision. I think that the J2 is a nice addition to the Nikon 1 Mirrorless System, but I still anxiously waiting for a pro Nikon 1 body. I hope that you find this article valuable and useful. If you did, please share it. Thanks.

Nikon J2 Price and Availability: The Nikon 1 J2 will be available in retail stores starting September 2012 for a suggested retail  price of $549.95 (with the 10-30mm lens as Kit)


Pre-Order the Nikon 1 J2 from B&H (with 10-30mm VR kit lens): Orange, Pink, Red, Silver, White, Black Now!

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