It seems the Nikon 1 series has been discontinued. This is a real shame. It was a charming little camera with the emphasis on little. I tried one years ago and would have loved to have had one. As it was, it was way too expensive and even the secondhand first editions have been climbing in value.
Where Nikon dropped a clanger was in aiming at a non-existent market. Devoid of easily accessed manual controls for essential things like focus, shutter speed, ISO and aperture, it was a chunky, bulky phone camera that wasn’t as nice and flat as a phone camera. It didn’t integrate particularly well with anything having no easy way of getting the images off the camera and onto a tablet.
I have my phone with me all the time. The photograph below was one I took earlier this year when I was parked up for an hour between school runs in the school bus I was driving. The light was poor yet the image is clear. It’s good enough for what I need. That’s a very important phrase that I want you to remember - good enough.
The pictures I saw from the Nikon 1 were excellent. As I’ve said, I wanted one. I actually bought an Olympus because it offered better options though have not taken advantage of any of those options. I have idly considered getting a Nikon 1 as well but that would be a little too bougeous.
Nikon and all the other camera manufacturers have badly misjudged the market. I recently saw a photo of a pop star standing by the crowd. Everybody in the crowd was taking a photo using a cellphone. The point is cellphones have reached the point where they all have cameras and as the photo above can take excellent photos. No doubt somebody will produce a photo taken with their speedy camera and proclaim that the cellphone image pales in comparison. That may well be true but the cellphone image is good enough. The speedy camera image is overkill. In fact expensive overkill.
Comparing a cellphone image with a camera image I can look and say better contrast, better definition, better acutance, better low light performance. These things mean nothing though. It’s like comparing a painting by a popular artist with a classical master artist. If you really look you’ll see the differences. Not everybody wants to sit studying an image through a microscope for hours on end looking for the differences. Yes - real cameras are better at photos. They suck at getting them online or onto a tablet or computer. They’re also big, bulky, heavy and ridiculously expensive.
My cellphone was $29 and I bought it without a contract. A typical camera can cost several hundred and then several hundred more for the lens. Nobody is going to sell their images no matter how good they and everybody else think they are. Look at Flickr - all the free images any user could desire. Why in God’s name with all this free stuff would anybody want to pay for images? I’ve never paid for a photo and I never will. Similarly only a few people have paid for my photos. Not enough for me to want to take photography professionally.
The Nikon 1 failed because it was aimed at the cellphone market and cellphone users just don’t want a bulkier cellphone. It was a success because it was the smallest of the amateur cameras. It could have been so much more had there been some easily accessible controls on the first edition. As it is, I am not surprised Nikon is winding up its 1 series. Canon surely won’t be too far behind in curtailing their smaller camera series.