As part of my field work for my upcoming review of the Nikon 1 J5 I went out today to take some flower images. While I usually hate using a camera without a viewfinder, the Nikon 1 J5 is actually very well suited for this type of subject matter. Composing images from the rear screen is a very comfortable way to frame flower images when shooting hand-held and using extension tubes.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
All of the images in this article were taken with the Nikon 1 J5 hand-held with the Nikon 1 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 lens and a Vello 16 mm extension tube.
Since Nikon 1 J5 profiles were not available for the software I use at the time of initially writing this article all of the original images used were out-of-camera jpegs with some very minor tweaking done to them. Many of the images are displayed as 100% captures while others have had some cropping done to them.
I have updated all of the images with versions produced using RAW files and my standard post processing workflow. As expected working with the RAW files was simply a joy.
I used the PRIME noise reduction function in OpticsPro 10 for all of the updated images in this article.
The Nikon 1 J5 has a brand new 20 MP BSI sensor. DxOMark testing has indicated that this new sensor has much improved dynamic range and colour depth. So, I looked for high contrast scenes and often shot with at least part of the subject flower in bright sunlight in order to put this new sensor through its paces in real-world conditions.
The Nikon 1 J5 sensor also does not have a low pass filter. This should improve overall image sharpness so I took a number of images to try to see how much detail was retained.
At times it was quite breezy so you will notice that some of the images are taken at higher shutter speeds.
I shot using single point AF so I could position my focusing point in the most critical part of the frame. I shot in manual mode most of the time and used matrix metering, as well as auto-ISO.
I found that the auto-focus with the J5 was very quick and accurate and I could grab focus on fast moving insects like the fly in the above image.
And, here is a 100% crop of the fly so you can see how much detail was retained.
The RAW files producing with the new 20 MP BSI sensor are excellent and are a significant improvement over those produced by the Aptina sensors in previous Nikon 1 models.
Compared to my Nikon 1 V2’s the new sensor did a much better job holding onto highlights under bright, high contrast lighting, and the colour rendition seemed richer. Have a look at the image below, shot in bright, direct sunlight.
The new BSI CX sensor in the Nikon 1 J5 is a godsend. It helps to eliminate one of the biggest knocks against the Nikon 1 system which has been image quality.
Nikon really needs to showcase the performance of this new sensor to get over all of the bad press the Nikon 1 product line has had since it was launched.
I think the future of the Nikon 1 product line is now much brighter with the new BSI sensor. Many enthusiasts and pros who have been using the V-series of Nikon 1 cameras will be eagerly anticipating a Nikon 1 V4. I hope that Nikon addresses the design quirks of the V3 and integrates the EVF and grip.
It also would be great if Nikon stopped using those silly micro-SD cards in the Nikon 1 product line – or at the very least in the V-series cameras – but that is probably too much to ask for.
Although I would personally never buy a Nikon 1 J5 because of the absence of an EVF, many people will enjoy the improved performance and functionality of the Nikon 1 J5. When matched up with the Nikon 1 30-110 mm lens and a set of extension tubes the J5 is ideally suited for flower photography, creating very good quality images and is a lot of fun to use.
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Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.