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Nikon 1 V2 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon 1 V2, a mirrorless compact system camera with a 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor.

| Nikon 1 V2 in Mirrorless Cameras

Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2 Front Angle

The Nikon 1 V2 is the upgrade to last years V1 and is the first compact system camera to feature the second generation Nikon 1 technology. It has a 14.2 megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor, electronic viewfinder and is available in black or white, priced at around £800 when purchased with the 10-30mm kit lens.

Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2

Nikon 1 V2 Features

There is a 14.2 megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor which has an ISO range of 160-6400. It has faster hybrid autofocus, 15 fps continuous shooting with autofocus and 60 fps with fixed-point AF. There is also a built-in pop-up flash as well as a hotshoe to add the new Speedlight SB-N7 flash unit.

There are a couple of new, exciting shooting features - Live Image Control and Slow View. Live Image Control lets you view the effects of changes to exposure settings in real time and Slow View takes up to 40 continuous shots and shows them in slow motion, you can then choose the exact moment you want to take a shot. Smart Photo Selector will take a number of pictures and will save the best 5 based on an algorithm, using information such as blinking in portraits to determine the best ones.

As well as full manal shooting modes available there is Motion Snapshot, which takes a slow-motion movie just before you press the shutter, and Best Moment Capture which takes up to 20 images and recommendes five of the best.

There are a number of lenses available, as well as the 10-30mm kit lens, there is an 18.5mm f/1.8 lens and more. If you already own any Nikkor lenses you can purchase the FT1 mount adapter to use these on the V2, if they are AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses you can still use autofocus. To transfer images to a smartphone or tablet there is the Wireless Mobile Adapter WU-1b which can also be purchased seperately, as can the GP-N100 GPS unit to tag your images with location data. There is even a ME-1 stereo microphone to add high quality sound to your movies.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD and you can also capture 3:2 photos while recording a movie. In advanced movie mode you can record in extreme slow motion or use the full manual controls to determine shutter speed and aperture.

Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2

Key Features

  • 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Nikon 1 lens mount
  • Advanced hybrid AF system
  • 3.0 inch, 921k dot, LCD screen
  • 1440k dot EVF
  • Full manual controls and RAW shooting
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 160-6400
  • 60 fps continuous shooting
  • Motion Snapshot
  • Best Moment Capture
  • Live Image Control
Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2

Nikon 1 V2 Handling

The V2 has an extremely compact plastic body, with a substantial rubberised hand grip, a rubberised area for your right hand thumb. The 10-30mm even has a rubberised loop around the lens barrel, making the V2 extremely easy to grip. The 10-30mm lens also can be compacted when not in use, there is a button to release and lock it, when released the camera will switch on, when compacted back, it switches off.

Despite a small body there is room for a 3.0 inch LCD screen which fills the majority of the rear of the camera. It has a 921k dot resolution and is easy to view. If you are struggling to compose images using the screen there is a 1440k dot resolution electronic viewfinder which is automatically activated when you put it to your eye. It is fantastic to use and your images look great in the viewfinder as well when looking back, although it's perhaps not the ideal way to look at your pictures.

There are plenty of buttons, but not so many that a newcomer to photography would be lost. There is a mode dial on the top with a dial, which controls aperture and shutter speed, movie record button and on / off switch. On the back is a function button which gives access to setting such as ISO, white-balance and focus. On the left of the screen are playback, menu, display and delete buttons, with a d-pad and rotating wheel on the right. With the d-pad you can cycle through the menus and access exposure compensation, flash mode, continuous shooting, timer and AE-L / AF-L.

There isn't a CIPA rating provided for the battery but we managed in excess of 400 shots without the battery showing signs of becoming low on power. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.05 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.5 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.7 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.9 secs
Continuous Shooting 5fps   5.5 fps
Continuous Shooting 15fps   14.8 fps
Continuous Shooting 30fps   30 fps
Continuous Shooting 60fps   60 fps

All of the continuous shooting modes record at 14.2 megapixel resolution.

Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2

Nikon 1 V2 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon 1 V2 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have excellent colours and are well exposed. Portrait shots have pleasant skin tones while they are free of red-eye. The V2 is capable of shooting at fast shutter speeds to capture fast moving objects such as the water flowing from the fountain above.

Nikon 1 V2 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have good detail at both ends of the lens, although a little soft in the corners. There is a good control over purple fringing, with a slight amount appearing in contrasting areas of the image. The 10-30mm lens has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm which makes it hard to get close to your subject for macro shots.

Nikon 1 V2 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The lowest ISO setting is 160 which produced a noise free image, with only very slight increases in noise when moving up to 200, 400 and 800. At ISO 1600 images are a little soft, with detail lost in places at ISO 3200. This worsens at ISO 6400 with images looking blurred in contrasting areas.

Nikon 1 V2 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under our studio lights the AWB setting copes excellently. The incandescent preset takes a very similar picture as the AWB setting under the incandescent lights, with the fluorescent preset having a strong magenta cast when shooting under the fluorescent lights.

Nikon 1 V2 Digital filters

Digital Filters - To add creativity to your pictures and make them unique, there are a number of picture control modes, with examples above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD, you can find an example using the zoom on our ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.

Value For Money

The Nikon 1 V2 is available with the 10-30mm lens for around £800.00 Below are a number of alternatives which all come with a kit lens, which are of a similar price.

Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2 Review: Nikon 1 V2 Review: Sony NEX-6
Olympus E-PL5 Canon EOS M Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Sony NEX-6
£599 £649 £599 £819

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon 1 V2 Verdict

The Nikon 1 V2 is an excellent advancement in the mirrorless camera market. There are stunning new features such as Slow View and there is fast high-speed shooting. Given you can shoot at shutter speeds up to 1/4000, it's possible to use the camera for sports photography if you purchase the 10-100mm (35mm equiv: 27-270mm) lens or attach a AF-S or AF-I Nikkor lens using the FT1 mount.

Of course, the V2 is also great for many other types of photography and it doesn't require you to carry a bag to keep it in. If you've got big pockets, they'll easily fit it, especially as the 10-30mm compacts down when not in use. The price is a little high at the moment, but once it drops it's going to be a very popular camera.

    Nikon 1 V2 Review:
    The Nikon 1 V2 is feature packed, has a tiny body and  impressive image quality.

Nikon 1 V2 Pros

Fast high speed shooting at fast shutter speeds possible
High resolution viewfinder
Compact camera and lenses
Eye-detection EVF
Impressive image quality
Camera switches on when you unlock collapsible lenses
Slow View is unique and extremely useful
FT1 mount allows use of AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses
Lots on accessories available to add GPS and Wi-Fi

Nikon 1 V2 Cons

Scene modes can't be individually selected
High speed shooting could be developed for additional features (HDR, Panoramic, etc)
Image quality could be better at higher ISOs
High initial price compared to market


Nikon 1 V2 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels14.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3072
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeCX format
Sensor Size (width)13.2mm
Sensor Size (height)8.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,000
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/16,000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • M
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder Resolution1.44million dots
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting60fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS60
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Wi-FiNo Data
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeEN-EL21 rechargeable Li-ion battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsEN-EL21 rechargeable Li-ion battery (with terminal cover), MH-28 battery charger, BF-N1000 body cap, BS-N3000 multi accessory port cover, UC-E19 USB cable, AN-N1000 strap, ViewNX 2/Short Movie Creator CD, User's Manual, Reference manual CD

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Photographs taken using the Nikon 1 V2

Blackhead Lighthouse, CarrickfergusMoonUntitledBig wheelLast of the summer sunUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled

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josa Avatar
josa 11 25 Czech Republic
16 Dec 2012 3:02PM
Why? Suzuki Swift for the price of a luxury car, lots of CA's, resolution OK, images somewhat soft, good for a blind grandmother...
Niknut Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2012 3:24PM
£800 ??...& the lens is utter crap in the corners !!!......definition falls off the graph, & colour
aberration is ridiculous !!!!

The camera itself & it's concept is a little beauty !!, but Nikon needs to get their sums right
in the lens performance......Sony seem to have it spot on with their NEX6, at the same price
point, & with a much higher EVF resolution, & with exquisite results from their lenses !!!

Maybe the next generation (V3 ?) might show some improvement ??.....but at £800 they
must be jesting !!
ballz Avatar
ballz 13 United States
19 Dec 2012 11:45AM
Stop misleading people... The FT-1 does not work with AF-I lenses

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