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Nikon's J3 and S1 bring very minor improvements to 1 series

Nikon S1
The Nikon S1, which is very much like the J2.Nikon

Nikon's 1 series of compact interchangeable-lens cameras hasn't been evolving at lightning speed: Just a few months ago the J2 brought extremely small changes to the J1, and now the J3 does the same, while the S1 adds even less.

The prospective camera-buyer is caught between two uncomfortable questions: At the rate Nikon is releasing these cameras, why buy one today? And considering how little each new generation adds, why buy one at all?

The new J3 brings the megapixel count up from 10 to 14, and improves the burst frame rate from 10 to 15. The S1 gets the frame rate improvement and a slightly different body and UI, but that's it.

Admittedly, a 15-FPS burst mode is a great tool to have as a photographer, and the improvement is significant. But what about better low-light performance, or an articulating LCD, or cool exposure bracketing, or built-in wireless? Nikon's competitors are adding these things to their compact cameras, and the 1 series is starting to look rather poor in comparison, especially considering how competitive Nikon's DSLRs are.

The J3 and S1 will be available next month for $599 and $499 respectively with a kit lens. But this photographer would advise you to look elsewhere for now.

In better news for Nikon fans, the D5200, a minor improvement to the solid D5100 consumer DSLR, is now available in the U.S. for $899 with kit lens.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is