Canon M vs Nikon 1 J4
The Canon EOS M and the Nikon 1 J4 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2012 and April 2014. Both the Canon M and the J4 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (Canon M) and an one-inch (J4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 18.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Nikon 1 J4? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Nikon 1 J4 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the J4 is available in four color-versions (black, silver, orange, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon 1 J4 is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the J4 is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the J4 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon M||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Nikon 1 J4||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||8.2 oz||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|Canon M100||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon G9 X||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon M10||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.6 oz||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon G7 X||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon G16||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon SL1||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon T5i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon T3i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|Nikon 1 J5||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||8.1 oz||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|Nikon 1 V3||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||13.4 oz||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 V2||4.3 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||9.8 oz||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|Panasonic GF6||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.4 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Panasonic G3||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599|
|Sony NEX-3N||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The J4 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the Canon M at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon 1 J4 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the J4 is 65 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the J4 offers a slightly higher resolution of 18.2 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the Canon M. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.52μm versus 4.31μm for the Canon M). However, it should be noted that the J4 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the Canon M, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the J4 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J4 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the Canon M provides substantially higher image quality than the J4, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the J4 provides a faster frame rate than the Canon M. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The Canon M and the J4 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M and Nikon 1 J4 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The J4 has one, while the Canon M does not. While the built-in flash of the J4 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J4 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon M writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the J4 uses micro SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M and Nikon 1 J4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the Canon M has a hotshoe, while the J4 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the Canon M and the J4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Canon M was replaced by the Canon EOS M3, while the J4 was followed by the Nikon 1 J5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon M better than the Nikon 1 J4 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS M:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon 1 J4:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 4.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 109x66mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 66g or 22 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 8 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J4 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Nikon 1 J4 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon M and the J4 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon M||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Nikon 1 J4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon G9 X||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon M10||..||..||..||o||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon SL1||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon T5i||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon T3i||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|Nikon 1 J5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|Nikon 1 V3||..||76/100||4.5/5||3/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 V2||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|Panasonic GF6||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Panasonic G3||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|Sony NEX-3N||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon M vs Nikon 1 J4
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon M||Nikon 1 J4|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2012||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M||Nikon 1 J4|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||18.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||5232 x 3488 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||2.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||15.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC V||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||53|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||10.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||827||426|
|Screen Specs||Canon M||Nikon 1 J4|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M||Nikon 1 J4|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||4.3 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||micro or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M||Nikon 1 J4|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M||Nikon 1 J4|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
109 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||298 g (10.5 oz)||232 g (8.2 oz)|
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