The Nikon 1 J2 is a stylish compact system camera featuring a 10-megapixel “CX” format sensor and the Nikon 1 lens mount. Boasting continuous shooting speeds of up to 60 frames per second at full resolution, Full HD video capture, an ultra-fast hybrid auto-focus system, Smart Photo Selector and a unique Motion Snapshot Mode, the portable Nikon J2 also offers more conventional shooting modes like Programmed Auto, Aperture and Shutter Priority, as well as Metered Manual and a new Creative Mode that provides a variety of photo effects and easier access to the camera’s key settings.
Also on board is a built-in pop-up flash with a guide number of 5, a 3 inch rear display with an increased resolution of 921k-dots, and an electronic shutter. The Nikon 1 J2 is available in white, black, silver, pink, red and orange and is priced at $549.95 / £499.99 with a 10-30mm zoom lens, or $799.95 / £649.99 in a double-lens kit with the 10-30mm and 30-110mm zoom lenses.
The Nikon 1 J2 is mostly made out of aluminium with magnesium alloy reinforced parts and is therefore heavier than you would think based on its size alone, weighing in at 237g for the body only. It also feels better made than the official product shots would have you believe. With an essentially grip-less design, the Nikon J2 is very much a two-handed affair that requires you to hold the camera's weight in the left hand, clutching the lens, and use your right hand for balance and operating the controls. This is actually a good thing as it forces you to pay attention to holding the camera properly, which in turn goes a long way towards avoiding shake-induced blur in your photos.
The camera's clean, minimalist front plate is dominated by the Nikon 1 lens mount. Instead of being a scaled-down version of the good old F mount, it's a completely new design that provides 100% electronic communication between the attached lens and the camera body, courtesy of a dozen contacts. Just like on the manufacturer's F-mount SLR cameras, there is a white dot for easy lens alignment, although it has moved from the 2 o'clock position (when viewed front on) to the top of the mount. The lenses themselves feature a short silver ridge on the lens barrel, which needs to be in alignment with said dot in order for you to be able to attach the lens to the camera. While this may require a bit of getting used to, it actually makes changing lenses quicker and easier.
There are two ways of powering on the Nikon 1 J2. You can either use the on/off button sitting next to the shutter release or, if you have a collapsible-barrel zoom lens attached, you can simply press the unlocking button on the lens barrel and turn the zoom ring to unlock the lens, an act that causes the camera to switch on automatically. This is an ingenious solution as you need to unlock the lens for shooting anyway. Start-up takes just over a second - nothing to write home about but still decent and entirely adequate.