Nikon 1 J4 vs D6
The Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D6 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2014 and February 2020. The J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D6 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (J4) and a full frame (D6) sensor. The J4 has a resolution of 18.2 megapixels, whereas the D6 provides 20.7 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 Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D6? 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 Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D6 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 D6 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 D6 is considerably larger (335 percent) than the Nikon 1 J4. Moreover, the D6 is substantially heavier (447 percent) than the J4. It is noteworthy in this context that the D6 is splash and dust-proof, while the J4 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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.
As can be seen in the images above, the D6 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|6.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|7.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|8.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|11.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|12.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|13.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|14.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|15.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|17.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The J4 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 92 percent) than the D6, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 Nikon 1 J4 features an one-inch sensor and the Nikon D6 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D6 is 640 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the D6 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 6) than the J4 (EXPEED 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 20.7MP, the D6 offers a higher resolution than the J4 (18.2MP), but the D6 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.44μm versus 2.52μm for the J4) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D6 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 10 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 pixel-units. 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 Nikon D6 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D6 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 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 J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 J4 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D6 are ISO 100 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3280000.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|2.||Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|6.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|11.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|12.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|13.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|14.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|15.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D6 provides a better video resolution than the J4. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the J4 is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D6 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon 1 J4 and Nikon D6 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|12.||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 D6 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 Nikon D6 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The J4 writes its imaging data to micro SDXC cards, while the D6 uses CFexpress or XQD cards. The D6 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the J4 only has one slot.
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 Nikon 1 J4 and Nikon D6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D6 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The J4 lacks such a headphone port.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D6 (unlike the J4) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The D6 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. 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 Nikon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D6? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon 1 J4:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 14 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 160x163mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 1038g or 82 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (92 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2014).
Advantages of the Nikon D6:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 18.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 6 vs EXPEED 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- 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 (2359k vs 1037k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3580 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the J4 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D6 is the clear winner of the contest (25 : 10 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 Nikon 1 J4 and the Nikon D6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the J4 and the D6 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Nikon D6||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|6.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|7.||Nikon D5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|8.||Nikon P900||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|11.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|12.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|13.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|14.||Nikon D3X||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|15.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|17.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon 1 J4 vs Nikon D6
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||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D6|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014||February 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 6,499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D6|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||18.2 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5232 x 3488 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.52 μm||6.44 μm|
|Pixel Density||15.71 MP/cm2||2.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 3,280,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||EXPEED 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||53||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.7||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||426||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D6|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D6|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||micro or SDXC cards||CFexpress or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D6|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Nikon D6|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||3580 shots per charge|
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
160 x 163 x 92 mm
(6.3 x 6.4 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||232 g (8.2 oz)||1270 g (44.8 oz)|
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