• Photo of the Alps in Chamonix, France

    A photo of the Alps in Chamonix, France taken with the Nikon 1J5 in standard scene mode f/3.5. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

If you’re looking for a compact and versatile camera for travel and day-to-day use, the mirrorless Nikon 1 J5 camera won’t disappoint.

With DSLR-level speeds, interchangeable lens capability and a 3-inch LCD touch screen that tilts 180 degrees (perfect for shooting at any angle), this camera packs a punch for its size. It comes with various preset shooting modes, and the functions are easy to use. Photographers can capture crisp stills in jpeg and raw format, and great video at 1080/60p, 720/120p and 4K/15p. 

I took the 1 J5 along with the 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM lens (which comes with Nikon’s one-lens kit option) as a second camera on a four-day trip to the French and Swiss Alps in late September. The camera and lens combination was lightweight and perfect for travelling around. After the trip, I used the camera to capture some landscape shots with the 1 NIKKOR, VR 10-100mm zoom lens (part of Nikon’s all-in-one kit option). The camera and both lenses performed very well in all light conditions, and the colours were spot on.

My son on his birthday in Brussels, Belgium eating ice-cream for the first time. This was shot using the standard scene mode, auto exposure mode and f/3.5 with the 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM lens. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Continuous shooting

One of my favourite features of the camera was the capacity to quickly snap continuous shots. I was shocked when I used this for the first time and looked down to realize I had actually taken 20 shots with one click of the shutter. The 1 J5’s image processing engine shoots 20 frames-per-second with continuous auto-focus, and 60 frames-per-second without, making it great for wildlife and sport photography. This is one of the best things about this camera, especially when you compare it to the other, much more expensive and heavier options that offer a similar feature.

Wi-Fi connectivity

Another great feature of the Nikon 1 J5 is its Wi-Fi connectivity, which made it easy to wirelessly transfer photos and video to my smartphone or tablet and share my photos with friends and family. I just had to download the free Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility app, and then I could access the images on my camera, and even control the camera, from my device.

An image at Les Diablerets, Switzerland, testing the zoom of the 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM lens (19.7-mm focal length). (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Retro look with modern features

The camera has a sleek, retro design, but is lightweight with all the bells and whistles of today’s photo technology. As a traveler and photographer, I like to travel light but still have the opportunity to take high quality images. This was a perfect camera to carry around for that purpose. I was also traveling with my large full-frame camera, but when it came to capturing those impromptu moments, this camera was always hanging around my neck ready to go. Though compact, the 1 J5 was still able to take tack-sharp images in jpeg and RAW format.

The Nikon 1 J5 combines retro styling with modern technology. (Photo: Nikon.ca)

1 NIKKOR, VR 10-100mm zoom lens

Back in Canada, I used the camera with the compact, all-in-one 1 NIKKOR, VR 10-100mm zoom lens. I took some landscape shots and it performed quite well in different light conditions. It comes with vibration reduction to help reduce blurred photos. The only thing that I didn’t like about this lens is that you have to zoom in and out electronically rather than using a manual zooming ring. However, I would still recommend it as a good versatile and sharp lens.

A photo at Beaver Pond in Ottawa with the 1 NIKKOR, VR 10-100mm zoom lens (10.0 mm- focal length). The settings I used were: auto exposure, standard scene mode and f/4.4. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Summary

If you want to travel light and still capture great images, the Nikon 1 J5 camera and both lenses are a great alternative to heavy and bulky equipment.