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Nikon J4 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £499
inc VAT

Certainly different, but the Nikon J4's charms are an acquired taste


Sensor resolution: 18.2 megapixels, Sensor size: 1in (13.2×8.8mm), Focal length multiplier: 2.7x, Viewfinder: none, LCD screen: 3in (1,037,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 27-81mm, 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/9.4-15.1, Lens mount: Nikon 1, Weight: 310g, Size (HxWxD): 61x100x57mm


Image quality

The sensor may be smaller than in other CSCs, but the J4 punched above its weight in our image quality tests. Fine details looked smudged in high-ISO shots, but ISO 6400 shots looked perfectly respectable at typical viewing sizes. It wasn’t a match for the Panasonic GM1 at fast ISO speeds, though. The new kit lens performed well at wide angle focal length, but focus deteriorated towards the edges of frames at longer focal lengths. We also found the automatic exposure to be slightly hit and miss. Overall, we can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by the J4’s image quality, but against some stiff competition it’s not one of the front runners.

^ 1/500s, f/4.5, ISO 160, 27mm – There’s lots of dense detail in this wide-angle shot, and only a small falloff of focus towards the edges 

^ 1/800s, f/5, ISO 160, 50mm – Focus isn’t so hot towards the edges of this shot at the middle of the zoom range

^ 1/200s, f/4, ISO 160, 28mm – This high-contrast scene has been over-exposed, with clipped highlights on the path.

^ 1/100s, f/5.6, ISO 320, 81mm – And this one is under-exposed. We would have hoped that face detection would have helped the camera ignore the backlight.

^ 1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 800, 81mm – Shooting in a shady spot at the long end of the zoom has pushed the ISO speed up to 800, but there’s little sign of noise and plenty of detail.

^ 1/50s, f/5, ISO 2200, 64mm – Even at ISO 2200, details look smooth and crisp – an excellent result.

^ 1/60s, f/5.3, ISO 1600, 72mm – Skin textures are a tougher test. There’s not much evidence of noise at ISO 1600 but details look slightly out of focus. We suspect this is down to noise reduction rather than a focusing error.


The J4 has an intriguing mixture of strengths and weaknesses. It’s one of the smallest, most stylish CSCs around, but the Panasonic GM1 is just as small and takes better photos and videos. The J4 is incredibly fast in continuous mode but slow in normal use – we prefer the GM1’s solid performance in both areas, and also its more conventional controls. Meanwhile, if you don’t need interchangeable lenses, the Sony RX100 II and RX100 III are even slimmer, and trump the J4 for image quality with their wide-aperture lenses.

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Sensor resolution18.2 megapixels
Sensor size1in (13.2×8.8mm)
Focal length multiplier2.7x
Optical stabilisationlens based
Viewfinder magnification (35m-equivalent), coveragen/a
LCD screen3in (1,037,000 dots)
Orientation sensoryes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (NEF)
Maximum photo resolution5,232×3,488
Photo aspect ratios3:2
Video compression formatQuicktime (AVC) at up to 24Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 30/60fps, 720p at 30/60fps
Slow motion video modes720p at 120fps (1/4x), 768×288 at 400fps (1/13x), 1200fps at 416×44 (1/40x)
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)20m 0s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/16,000s
ISO speed range200 to 12800
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 7 presets with fine tuning, manual
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, HDR, panorama
Kit lens
Kit lens model name1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)27-81mm
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/3.5-5.6
35mm-equivalent aperturef/9.4-15.1
Manual focusyes
Closest macro focus (wide)20cm
Closest macro focus (tele)20cm
Lens mountNikon 1
Card slotMicroSDXC
Memory suppliednone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI
Body materialAluminium
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Size (HxWxD)61x100x57mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price including VAT£499
Part codeVVA211K001

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