The Nikon vs. Canon battle rages on, this time in the mirrorless octagon. Announced today, the Nikon 1 J2 isn't a radical departure from Nikon's first mirrorless model, the Nikon 1 J1. Not surprisingly, the J2 announcement comes hot on the heels of Canon's first mirrorless model; it essentially maintains Nikon's one-generation mirrorless lead over its biggest rival.
The new Nikon J2 features the same 13.2-by-8.8mm, 10-megapixel CMOS sensor found on the J1, as well as the same speedy 73-point autofocus system that adjusts for each shot in the camera's 10-frames-per-second burst mode, and the same point-and-shoot-like body size. And like the J1, the new Nikon mirrorless model offers manual exposure controls, aperture- and shutter-priority modes, a pop-up flash, and 1080p video capture at 30 fps (or 1080i recording at 60 fps).
New to the mix are a few features that might make the J2 a more-attractive mirrorless option for casual shooters. The new camera will have a Creative Mode menu on its mode dial that adds point-and-shoot-style features to the camera, such as an exposure-bracketing Night Landscape mode, a Selective Color mode that lets you highlight one color in a black-and-white shot, a motion-controlled Easy Panorama mode, and a tilt-shift-simulating Miniature mode.
Another enhancement to the J2 is a 921K-dot 3-inch LCD screen. The J1 has a lower-resolution 460K-dot LCD; and given that neither camera offers a shoe for an eye-level electronic viewfinder, the J2's spec represents a significant upgrade. Another change compared to the J1: In addition to having a traditional power button, the J2 will boot up as soon as an attached lens is unlocked.
Perhaps the most significant change is in the price: The J2 will list at $250 less than the Canon EOS M. When it becomes available in September, the Nikon 1 J2 will sell for $550 as a kit with a stabilized 10-30mm lens--that's also $100 less than the cost of the Nikon 1 J1 with the same lens. Both cameras have a focal-length multiplier of 2.7X, which means that the kit lens will have a 27mm to 81mm field of view when mounted on the camera.
Along with the new camera, Nikon today announced a lens for its 1 series cameras and an underwater housing for its 1 series models. The new 11-27.5mm F3.5-5.6 lens (30mm to 74mm when mounted) is more compact than the standard kit lens, but it also offers a slightly shorter zoom range. It's priced at $190 and will be available in September. The WP-N1 underwater housing is rated as waterproof down to a whopping 130 feet, but at $750, it costs more than the 1 series cameras themselves.
In addition to making the mirrorless camera announcements, Nikon unveiled a new high-zoom compact camera. The AA-battery-powered Coolpix L610 camera has an optically stabilized 14X zoom lens (25mm to 350mm), a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, and 1080p video recording. It's smaller than previous models in Nikon's Coolpix L series line, but it's a bit bulkier than most current pocket-megazoom models. Due in September, it's priced at $250.