The Nikon 1 introduces two new cameras with a completely new lens mount, completely new sensor design, and new lenses to go with the system. Will these cameras become "The One" choice when available? Nikon certainly hopes so, we give our first impressions on the new Nikon 1 V1.
Nikon 1 V1 Features
The Nikon 1 V1 is the premium level mirrorless camera from Nikon with an electronic viewfinder and accessory hot shoe setting it apart from the J1. For more details on the differences between the two new cameras have a look at our Nikon 1 V1 vs Nikon 1 J1 comparison
- 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor - CX format, 2.7x crop
- 3inch 921k dot screen
- EVF 1.44million dots
- Full HD video, 1080p, Stereo sound
- ISO100-3200 (expandable to ISO6400)
- World's fastest autofocus system
- Focal plane phase-detection AF + Contrast-detect AF
- 10fps continuous shooting, with AF tracking
- 60fps full resolution shooting (Single AF)
Nikon 1 V1 Handling
The EVF has built in eye-detection so that it can automatically switch on when needed. Apart from the larger zoom control on the back of the camera, the accessory / flash hot shoe, and the 1.44 million dot EVF, the V1 controls are pretty much identical to the J1.
Rear of V1
- There are a good number of buttons, with a mode dial on the back, although the mode dial is quite limited giving the choice of motion snapshot, smart shot selector, normal photo, and video mode. It seems a little surprising that the V1 doesn't include additional more advanced modes on the dial on the back. There is a small raised bar at the front to aid in gripping the camera, and on the rear is a good size rubber thumb grip.
Nikon 1 V1 Speedlight
The lack of a built in flash could be of concern for some, as the optional flash is not as compact as other mirrorless flash systems. Although it does offer more features, by being adjustable, and includes an LED video light.
|Photo menu (from J1)
||Setup menu (from J1)
- there are three main sections, playback, photo, and setup. When the photo mode is selected with the dial on the back, you can then change the exposure mode in the menus to choose between: Scene auto selector, Programmed auto, Shutter-priority auto, Aperture-priority auto, and full Manual.
- With 135 focus areas (Single-point AF) and Auto-area AF with 41 focus areas the focusing system on the Nikon 1 V1 is very responsive, and gives excellent control over what you are focusing on. The V1 shoots at 60fps at full resolution, and will shoot at this speed for 30 shots.
Nikon 1 V1 Performance
Sample images from Nikon are shown below, however they are not full size, but resized to 1600 pixels wide. Some are also surprised by the inclusion of a 60/30fps shooting mode, but the lack of auto-exposure bracketing, or the ability to create HDR photos in camera, something the extremely high speed shooting would be ideal for. (Perhaps this will be added in future with a firmware update?)
1/30 sec | f/2.8 | 10.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/250 sec | f/3.2 | 10.0 mm | ISO 100
1/100 sec | f/4.5 | 57.2 mm | ISO 800
1/50 sec | f/2.8 | 10.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/200 sec | f/4.5 | 38.5 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/5.6 | 110.0 mm | ISO 2800
Without being able to view full size images from production versions of the cameras, it is difficult to assess the image quality. However, colour reproduction looks good so far from viewing these samples, and dynamic range seems decent. With the camera(s) being available to buy on the 20th of October, which is less than a month away, we should have full size samples from production cameras in the not too distant future, where we will be able to give our full verdict.
Front of V1 with lens off
The lenses are all optimised / designed for both still image quality and video recording with quiet auto-focus and motors in the power zoom models, and white balance is optimised for each lens. The first three zoom lenses are all retractable / collapsible making them more compact when not in use.
10mm f/2.8 pancake lens - 27mm equivalent.
10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 - 27-81mm equivalent "Standard" zoom.
30-100mm f/3.8-5.6 - 81-297mm equivalent telephoto zoom.
10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 - 27-270mm equivalent power zoom.
A Nikon FT1 adapter is available for Nikon lenses - and with AF-S / AF-I lenses Auto Focus will work. With a 2.7x crop factor, a 35mm standard lens will become a 94.5mm equivalent lens, and this crop factor would suit telephoto lenses particularly if you're interested in having as much zoom as possible. Another way of looking at this is to think of the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D lens, which is available for around £90, would become a 135mm f/1.8 telephoto lens, which means getting a bright telephoto lens would be very cheap looking at the price of the lens on its own.
Future lenses are already under development with 7 prototypes being shown including a number of thin zooms, portrait, and macro lenses, for details have a look at the future lenses and prototypes here
. It will be interesting to find out the specifications of these lenses when they are officially announced.
Value For Money
Available from the 20th October 2011 the Nikon 1 V1 is priced at £829 with kit lens. This makes it a premium priced camera, most closely matched to the Panasonic Lumix GH2
(£739), Olympus PEN E-P3
(£775), Sony NEX-7
(£1250), and Samsung NX200
(£699) and the rest of the compact system camera market is cheaper still.
Nikon 1 V1 Verdict
It's nice to see 4 lenses available at launch with another 7 already in advanced stages of development. This gives the Nikon 1 system more lenses than some other manufacturers have planned for their mirrorless system! The Nikon 1 V1 is the more advanced model of the two cameras announced, with built in EVF and accessory hot shoe, and increased shooting capability, however some more serious photographers may be disappointed that the camera isn't more focused on them. The lens line up is also lacking in bright aperture lenses, and it will be good to see if the future lenses address this. The camera features hybrid AF, with contrast and phase detection built into the sensor, this should provide extremely fast focusing, and initial impressions were very positive. Yes, the camera can select the best photo for you, but nothing is stopping you from choosing the photo yourself and hopefully the high speed shooting ability of the V1 should be seen as a benefit, not a hindrance.
Nikon 1 V1 Pros
High speed shooting at 60fps
High resolution viewfinder
Compact camera and lenses
Large range of future lenses
Hybrid AF - Contrast and Phase Detection
Nikon 1 V1 Cons
Sensor size / Image Quality yet to be determined
High initial price compared to market for V1
Nikon 1 V1 Specifications
|CCD pixels||10.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||CX format|
|Sensor Size (width)||13.2mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||8.8mm|
- Face Detection
- AF Tracking
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/16,000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
- Centre-weighted - Average
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 6400|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1.44million dots|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL15 battery|
|Box Contents||EN-EL15 rechargeable Li-ion battery, MH-25 battery charger, UC-E6 USB cable, EG-CP14 audio/video cable, AN-N1000 strap, BF-N1000 body cap, BS-N1000 multi accessory port cover, ViewNX 2/Short Movie Creator CD|
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