Canon M5 vs Nikon 1 J4
The Canon EOS M5 and the Nikon 1 J4 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2016 and April 2014. Both the M5 and the J4 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M5) and an one-inch (J4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 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 M5 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M5 and the Nikon 1 J4 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the M5 is only available in black.
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 considerably smaller (42 percent) than the Canon M5. Moreover, the J4 is substantially lighter (46 percent) than the M5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M5 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|6.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|8.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|9.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|10.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|11.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|13.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|14.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 launched at a markedly lower price (by 44 percent) than the M5, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M5 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.
With 24MP, the M5 offers a higher resolution than the J4 (18.2MP), but the M5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.52μm for the J4) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M5 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 5 months) than the J4, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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 resolution advantage of the Canon M5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon 1 J4 are 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm for good quality, 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS M5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J4 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the M5 provides substantially higher image quality than the J4, with an overall score that is 24 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.6 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|8.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M5 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M5 and Nikon 1 J4 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
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 M5 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 M5 and Nikon 1 J4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M5 has a hotshoe, while the J4 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The M5 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the J4 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the J4 was succeeded 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 is the bottom line? Is the Canon M5 better than the Nikon 1 J4 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M5:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 18.2MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (24 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1037k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the J4 launch.
Advantages of the Nikon 1 J4:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 116x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 195g or 46 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2014).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M5 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 M5 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M5 or the J4 perform in practice. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|6.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|8.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|9.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|10.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|11.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|13.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|14.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon M5 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 M5||Nikon 1 J4|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2016||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 979||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M5||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||24 Megapixels||18.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||5232 x 3488 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||2.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||15.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||77||53|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.4||10.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1262||426|
|Screen Specs||Canon M5||Nikon 1 J4|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Magnification||.. x|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M5||Nikon 1 J4|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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 M5||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||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M5||Nikon 1 J4|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
116 x 89 x 61 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 in)
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||427 g (15.1 oz)||232 g (8.2 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.