Nikon Launches Mirrorless Cameras Ahead of Canon for New Market

Nikon on Wednesday unveiled its first mirrorless cameras, Nikon 1 J1 and Nikon 1 V1, beating its rival Canon in making such an official announcement for the emerging market for small, interchangeable-lens cameras.

"A new market is developing among people who feel a compact camera is not quite good enough," Yasuyuki Okamoto, head of the company’s imaging division, told reporters, adding that he saw the camera’s small size as one of its main appeals.

Both Nikon and Canon lead the market for the bulky single-lens reflex cameras used by professional photographers and enthusiasts. Mirrorless cameras have a lot of the features as these bulky DSLRs, except the features come in a handier smaller units, which travelers and light packers prefer.

They have large sensors, giving good picture quality, but no optical viewfinders, enabling manufacturers to keep the camera body smaller and lighter by leaving the mirror out of the structure.

The long-rumored Nikon 1 J1 and Nikon 1 V1 are priced at $915 and $1300, respectively, to go on sale on October 20, the company said at a launch in Tokyo.