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Introduction

The Nikon 1 J5 is a powerful mirrorless camera that was introduced on the market in 2015, and since its launch date, it has been heavily praised by the photographers mainly because of its compactness, which makes it be exceptionally practical, and at the same time, capable enough to capture well-defined imagery and videos, while being affordable for hundreds of customers on the market!

On the other side, we have the Sony A6000, which is a well-known, mirrorless camera that has firstly appeared in 2014, and although there is nearly 12 months of difference between them, this camera does also offer numerous advantages, and since the time frame isn’t huge, it shares multiple common things as the Nikon 1 J5, which by default means that we are going to have an entertaining comparison between the two of them.

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Head To Head Comparison

Nikon 1 J5

The Nikon 1 J5 sports a mainly plastic construction that actually looks and feels like metal even though it isn’t, and what’s also cool is that this unit is fairly compact because it measures only 2.4 x 3.9 x 1.2″ (HWD) and weighs approximately 9.4 ounces without a lens, hence, you’d be able to carry it with you anywhere you go and you will never feel restricted in terms of shooting photos.

As a matter of fact, this model aside from being lightweight and compact, it is very comfortable to shoot with as well, thanks to the presence of the faux leather covering that adds beauty and a higher level of stability for your ultimate user experience!

Moreover, the control layout is well-organized, and controls aren’t numerous, but instead, they are simple and very easy to use. Namely, on the top, you will find an integrated, pop-up flash that is mounted on a hinge, and what also got my attention regarding the flash is that it shoot even if it is tilted upward. On the left, there’s a single button that activates the flash, whereas on the right, there’s a Mode dial that is joined by a Power Switch that is set close to the shutter release, and a Control dial that houses a Record button at the inside.

On the rear, Nikon has managed to maintain the simple design of the controls, the left side does not hold even a single button, while on the rear, there is a controller dial that is surrounded by 4 buttons.

Interestingly, the top-rear part of the body does not include a viewfinder, so, you’d have to shoot through the tilting, LCD touchscreen that has a resolution of 1,037k-dots into its frame, and personally, I really like it because it is sharp and bright that will allow you have a convenient use even under a strong, daylight.

When it comes to the connection options, the J5 packs a micro-HDMI port, standard micro USB port, single memory card slot that supports microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC cards and it is also both, WI-Fi and NFC-enabled, which is something that I absolutely favor, because you’d never face any difficulties transferring your photos and videos to compatible devices.

Now, let’s take a look at the performance and how they can help you achieve great results with this camera.

The Nikon 1 J5 is powered by an EXPEED 5A processing engine, has BSI CX-format CMOS image sensor of 20.8MP, ISO range of 160-12,800, 105 phase-detect AF points and an impressively high burst shooting speed of 60 fps!

Considering these components, the Nikon 1 J5 will not disappoint you once you start shooting, because it outputs a strong performance and keeps the noise as low as possible.

For instance, JPGs taken through ISO 800 are filled with tremendously defined details and accurate colors that give the image a truly rich look, and the same can be said regarding the ISO 1,600, however, starting from this point, the noise becomes more pronounced, and it drastically increases at ISO3200-6400. At 12,800, the blur starts to overcome the noise and you should avoid it by all costs.

On the contrary, RAW format images employ fantastic details through ISO 6400, and at ISO 12,800 as expected, you’ll notice more noise but still, the images will still be usable.

Before we end reviewing this camera, I’d like to inform you that aside from capturing quality photos, the Nikon 1 J5 will let you record videos that will definitely grab your attention, and at the same time, you’ll have multiple options to choose from.

To be more precise, this unit records 1080p videos at 60 fps, and it can even record 4K videos, however, at 15 fps which is still satisfying. The footage looks sharp and clear, hence, I don’t think that you will find remarks.

Nikon 1 J5 Sample Footage:

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Sony A6000

The Sony A6000 boasts an attractive, yet compact body that measures 2.6 x 4.7 x 1.8″ (HWD), weighs around 12.1 ounces without a lens, and employs a magnesium-alloy in its front part, whereas, the other parts of the body are completely made by composed materials. But wait, this isn’t only a compact, fancy-looking camera, it is also tough because Sony has implemented a weather sealing which definitely comes handy, especially if you opt to shoot under different weather conditions! Good job, Sony!

In addition, the handgrip is comfortable to hold, and it is of a decent size, which is really cool since it can accommodate the needs of both users, those with smaller and those with larger hands.

Speaking of the control layout, this model packs a single wheel, nine buttons and two dials that are spread across the top, front and rear part of the body, and to be honest, even though it sounds like they are numerous and kind of hard to work with, trust me they aren’t. Instead, they are simple and easily accessible, hence, I think that you’d be very satisfied.

On the rear, in comparison to the Nikon 1 J5 who lacks viewfinder, the Sony A6000 actually has a 1440k-dot OLED electronic viewfinder that will help you have a crisp view of everything you intend to capture, and here, Sony deserves credits because they’ve managed to introduce even a viewfinder to such a compact camera.

Slightly below, there’s a very sharp, 3″ tilting 922k-dot screen that will offer you numerous advantages, starting from a crystal clear sight regardless if you want to record/shoot videos/photos, previewing your content under a bright daylight, or to shoot from various angles. The screen has you backed up completely!

Moreover, the connection options are composed of a multi-terminal that is compatible with USB, charging and with a wired remote, along with a micro-HDMI port, it is Wi-Fi and NFC enabled, same as the Nikon 1 J5, and the only thing that lacks is a built-in microphone and a headphone port.

Performance-wise, the Sony A6000 utilizes a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, an expandable ISO range of 100-25600 to 51,200, a powerful Hybrid AF system with 179-0point focal plane phase -detection and 25 contrast-detect points, continuous shooting rate of 11 fps, and a BIONZ X image sensor that helps you achieve tremendously good results regardless if you’re recording videos or capturing photos.

One of the biggest highlights regarding the Sony A6000 is the ability to perform nearly equally good in daylight and dim-light conditions. For instance, the daylight results are fascinating because the color accuracy is definitely strong, the details look sharp and of course, this means that the overall image quality is superb. On the other side, noise levels are controlled properly under low light, starting from ISO 400, however, beyond 1600, the built-in noise reduction that is focused upon JPEGs may soften a bit more the details.

To simplify this even more, I’d recommend you stick between 3200-6400 in order to achieve the best results, because once you reach 12,800 and above, images start to get blurry and you’d benefit much from them. In general, I found the Sony A6000 to be one of the best cameras for low-light shooting.

Finally, the Sony A6000 lacks 4K shooting, and therefore, the Nikon 1 J5 receives more points from me, however, the Sony A6000 does a fantastic job in recording 1080p/60fps videos, and under bright-light conditions, you will unlikely notice that the footage has that annoying, so-called “jellocam”/rolling shutter.

Sony A6000 Sample Footage:

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Nikon 1 J5 vs Sony A6000 Feature Comparison

Nikon 1 J5 Sony A6000
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Mirrorless
Megapixels
20.8
24.0
ISO Range
160-12,800
100-25600;51,200
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
Yes
AF Points
171 AF Points
179 AF Points
Viewfinder
No
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
CMOS
APS-C

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Conclusion

Finally, we reached the part where we will have to give the final answer, which one is the winner after this intense battle. Well, hold on for a minute, let’s quickly overview their strongest points and where each camera outperforms the other.

For portrait photography, the Nikon 1 J5 outputs just an average performance, and even though the Sony A6000 does not offer a godlike performance, the results are fairly better.

For street photography, the Sony A6000 wins again with a huge difference, whereas for Sports photography, both are similar, but the J5 wins only because of its 171 focus points and the shooting rate of 20 fps.

For Daily photography, Sony A6000 outperforms the J5, whereas, at Landscape photography, both are average, but the A6000 offers tiny advantages.

In a head to head comparison, The Nikon 1 J5 has a 12% higher resolution than the A6000 ( 1.037k vs 922k-dots), has a faster continuous shooting speed ( 20 vs 11fps), records 4K videos and its screen is selfie-friendly.

On the contrary, the A6000 packs a viewfinder, an external flash shoe, employs 14% more pixels ( 24MP vs 21MP0, has a 100% higher Max ISO ( 25,600 vs 12,800), 8 more focus points ( 179 vs 171), performs better under log light ISO, and has a stronger battery life ( 360 vs 250 shots).

In my opinion, I think that the Sony A6000 would be a better choice, even though it has some cons like is the case with everything in this world.

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