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Nikon 1 J4 Review

The Nikon 1 J4 offers high speed continuous shooting, interchangeable lenses, and a compact metal body. Find out how it performs in our review.

| Nikon 1 J4 in Mirrorless Cameras


Nikon 1 J4 Review: Nikon 1 J4 Silver (2)
The Nikon 1 J4 is a stylish compact system camera from Nikon, and features a stylised metal body, an 18.4 megapixel 1inch CX sensor, as well as high speed focusing and continuous shooting. The J4 also features built in Wi-Fi, making it easy to send and share your photos.

Nikon 1 J4 Features

Nikon 1 J4 Review: Nikon 1 J4 Silver (1)

The camera is part of the Nikon 1 Series, and uses the Nikon 1 lens mount, of which there are a number of Nikon 1 lenses available, from a 6.7mm (18mm equivalent) wide angle, to a 300mm (810mm equivalent) telephoto zoom lens. The J4 is available as a kit with the compact NIKKOR 10-30mm VR collapsible lens.

The camera shares the same 18.4 megapixel CX 1inch CMOS sensor as the "bigger brother" Nikon 1 V3, as well as the high speed 105 phase detection points AF system that allows 20fps continuous shooting with AF, and up to 60fps continuous shooting at full resolution with fixed AF.

A 3inch touchscreen on the back can be used to set the focus area, take photos as well as change camera settings. Built in Wi-Fi connectivity lets you connect the camera to a smartphone to transfer images, as well as control the camera remotely.

The camera has a creative palette function that lets you change the filter effect by sliding your finger around an on-screen ring. Best moment capture has been updated to include active selection where you can take up to 20 shots in one second and save as many photos as you like.

FullHD video recording allows full resolution photos to be taken while recording, and the camera has a number of high speed video modes, including 120fps at 720p, as well as 400fps and 1200fps at reduced resolutions.

Nikon 1 J4 Review: Nikon 1 J4 Silver (4)

Key Features

  • 18.4 megapixel CX 1inch CMOS sensor (13.2mm x 8.8mm)
  • Nikon 1 series lens mount
  • RAW + JPEG shooting, manual controls
  • 3inch, 1037k dot touchscreen
  • Take full-resolution photos while recording video
  • 1080p, fullHD video, electronic VR, 120fps at 720p
  • ISO160-ISO12800
  • Wi-Fi connectivity, with remote shooting
  • 20fps continuous shooting with continuous AF, 60fps fixed AF
  • 105 phase detection AF points, contrast detect AF
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Aluminium body available in white, black, silver and orange

Nikon 1 J4 Handling

Nikon 1 J4 Review: Nikon 1 J4 Silver (5)

The camera is very compact for a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, and has a solid feeling aluminium body, with brushed silver on this colour variation, which makes it look rather stylish, as well as making it feel well built. There is very little to grip on to due to the smooth finish on the front, and there is a small bar on the back for your thumb to hold on to. Therefore, we'd recommend using the provided neck strap or a wrist strap to make sure you don't drop it. Alternatively you could look at adding one of the Flipbac rubber grips.

A mode dial on the top lets you quickly change modes, although the symbols on there can appear a little bit cryptic in comparison to the more traditional mode dials found on other cameras. The modes available are the following:

  • Motion snapshot - This takes a photo, and a slow motion video - (1 second long) and then when played back on the camera it plays the video then shows the photo with a choice of music.
  • Best moment capture - Takes a sequence of shots, with the option of active selection, slow view, or smart photo selector.
  • Auto Photo mode features live control that lets you alter active d-lighting, background softening, motion control, and brightness.
  • Creative shooting mode - lets you choose from P, S, A, M, Creative palette, HDR, Easy panorama, Soft, Miniature effect, Selective colour, Cross process, and Toy camera.
  • Advanced Video mode is where you find all of the video options.

The Nikon 1 J4 features an electronic shutter, that allows it to be more compact than if it were to feature a mechanical shutter. This also means that it can shoot silently.

To focus you can choose from auto-area, single point and subject tracking focus, as well as touch the screen to set the focus position. You can set the focus point across a wide area of the screen, and the screen quality is very good with a high resolution and good colour production. You can set single-point AF from any of the 171 focus areas; the center 105 areas support phase-detection AF. Auto-area AF: 41 focus areas, with subject tracking focus at 20fps.

Nikon 1 J4 Review: Nikon 1 J4 Silver (6)
Menus – Pressing the F (function) button will bring up an on-screen control panel making it easy to change settings using the touch-screen, and to access more advanced settings pressing the menu button will bring you to another set of options. The menus can be scrolled through and set using the touch-screen or the buttons on the rear of the camera.

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, which is average for a compact mirrorless class of camera, and if you plan on shooting more we would recommend a spare battery.

Nikon 1 J4 Review: Nikon 1 J4 Silver (7)
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.8secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.3secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.4secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
10/20/30/60fps (20 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 10/20/30/60fps (20 shots)

Focus and shutter response are both extremely quick! You have the option to shoot at 10, 20, 30 or 60fps - it's also possible to shoot at 20fps with AF-tracking active. Flash is not available in any of the continuous shooting modes.

Nikon 1 J4 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon 1 J4 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have good colour and exposure is reliable. Photos using the flash show very little red-eye, and skin tones are good. Dynamic range is good, with the camera featuring a D-Lighting option to improve dynamic range, and there is also a HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode available in the creative shooting mode. 

Nikon 1 J4 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Purple fringing and chromatic aberration is well controlled, with a little visible in areas of high-contrast near the edges and corners of the frame. Built-in distortion correction takes care of any barrel and pincushion distortion, as well as vignetting. The 10-30mm PD-Zoom kit lens gives impressive macro results, letting you focus very close to your subject when using the full zoom. Images have reasonable levels of detail, however become quite soft when using the full optical zoom of the lens, and are softer in the corners. Therefore, we'd recommend using a prime lens for better results.

Nikon 1 J4 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO160 to ISO400, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO800 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO6400 and ISO12800 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. There are also additional noise reduction options at ISO6400 and ISO12800 that give images with less noise, although detail is quite soft.

Nikon 1 J4 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with a warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a more accurate result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast.

Nikon 1 J4 Review: Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160
Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160

Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good, and well stitched together, although the resolution is low.

Nikon 1 J4 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The camera has a number of ways to shoot with a creative effect or filter, with a new Creative Palette mode which adjusts the brightness, saturation, and white balance as you slide your finger around the ring on the touchscreen, or rotate the scroll wheel on the back. There are also a number of the more usual effects, such as miniature, selective colour, cross process, soft, and toy camera.

Video - The J4 records full HD video at 60fps with stereo sound, high speed video at 120fps at 720p, or ultra high speed video at 400fps (at 720x288 resolution), and 1200fps (at 416x144 resolution). Full HD video quality is good with clear video.

Value For Money

The Nikon 1 J4 is available for £499 with a kit lens which makes it good value for money, particularly considering the high speed shooting performance it offers. Some entry-level mirrorless compact system cameras to consider as alternatives can be found below, and we've included some that also offer high speed continuous shooting:

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2, 8fps, £319 with lens
Olympus OM-D E-M10, 8fps, £679 with lens
Panasonic Lumix GF6, 4.2fps, £299 with lens
Panasonic Lumix GM1, 5fps, £549 with lens
Sony Alpha A6000, 11fps with AF, £649 with lens
Pentax Q7, 5fps, £350 with lens
Samsung NX Mini, 6fps, £379 with 9mm lens

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon 1 J4 Verdict

The Nikon 1 J4 (along with the Nikon 1 V3, and S2) is one of the fastest shooting cameras available currently, if not the fastest, offering 20fps continuous shooting with auto-focus, as well as 60fps continuous shooting with fixed focus. This makes it ideal for a wide variety of shooting situations, such as sports or other action shots, but also makes it an ideal choice for anyone who simply wants to make sure they capture every moment. It is ideal for anyone with kids that move quickly as the camera can focus extremely quickly. Video quality is good, and this will be of benefit to those who want to record high quality videos.

The camera comes with a compact kit lens that is good to get your started, with a number of additional lenses available, although to get the best image quality from the camera, a prime lens is recommended. The camera has a good looking touch screen and build quality is good, although some may find that there is little to hold on to. The Nikon 1 J4 is available for £499 with 10-30mm PD zoom lens and while this is a little more expensive than some of the other options available, none of the competition offers as quick performance as this camera. 

Nikon 1 J4 Pros

Great 3inch touch-screen
Compact stylish metal body
2 year warranty
High speed continuous shooting
20fps continuous shooting with AF tracking
High speed video modes
Good image quality and colour
10-30mm lens gives very good macro shots
Very fast focus and shutter response
Silent shutter

Nikon 1 J4 Cons

Little grip
10-30mm PD lens soft (particularly telephoto end)
Prime lenses needed for best results


Nikon 1 J4 Review:

The Nikon 1 J4 makes an excellent choice for anyone looking for a compact high speed camera.

Nikon 1 J4 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels18.4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5232
Pixels (H)3488
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1inch
Sensor Size (width)13.2mm
Sensor Size (height)8.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1037k dot
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
    Exposure Control
    Shutter speeds shortest1/16000sec
    Shutter speeds longest30sec
    Bulb modeYes
    Exp modes
    • Program
    • Aperture-Priority
    • Shutter-Priority
    • Manual
    • Scene modes
    • Program Variable
    • Centre-weighted - Average
    • Multi Pattern
    • Spot
    ISO sensitivity160 - 12800
    White balance
    • Auto
    • Manual
    • Outdoors/Daylight
    • Cloudy
    • Incandescent
    • Fluorescent
    • Shade
    • Flash
    Exposure Comp+/-3
    Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
    MagnificationNo Data
    Shooting Options
    Continuous shooting60fps
    Movie modeYes
    Video Resolution
    • 1920x1080 FullHD
    • 1280x720 HD 720p
    Video FPS60p, 30p
    Stereo SoundYes
    Optical Zoom with VideoYes
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    USBUSB 2
    Card Type
    • Micro SD
    • Micro SDHC
    File Type
    • RAW
    • JPG
    • RAW + JPG
    Power Source
    Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion EN-EL22 battery
    Battery Life (CIPA rating)300shots
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsNo Data

    View Full Product Details


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