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Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review

The Nikon 1 V3 is the latest compact system camera from Nikon and offers high speed continuous shooting and video. Find out how it performs in our full review.

| Nikon 1 V3 in Mirrorless Cameras


Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Black (2)
The Nikon 1 V3 replaces the Nikon 1 V2 and is the premium mirrorless camera in the Nikon 1 series, the new Nikon 1 V3 no longer features a built-in electronic viewfinder, but comes with an accessory port on top that supports an optional electronic viewfinder. The camera has a new 18.4 megapixel CX (1inch, 13.2x8.8mm) CMOS sensor, shoot at up to 20fps with continuous AF, or snap 40 RAW images at up to 60fps with focus fixed at the first frame. The Nikon 1 V3 is available as a kit with a VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom for £799.99, and with the same lens plus an EVF and grip for £1049.99.



Nikon 1 V3 Features

Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Black (6)
The Nikon 1 V3 has an 18.4 megapixel CMOS sensor without an optical low-pass filter to capture sharper detail, ISO160 - ISO12800, RAW image shooting. The camera has PSAM shooting modes, front and rear command dials, and programmable function buttons. The mechanical shutter is rated for 100,000 shots, and there is also the option of using the electronic shutter, which is used when shooting at high speeds.

There is a Hybrid AF system - the 171 point hybrid AF system allows shooting speeds up to 20fps with continuous AF, and the camera will automatically switch between the 105 phase-detection AF points and contrast detection AF, which extends to the edge of the frame to focus on peripheral subject.

Built in Wi-Fi lets you control the camera from your smartphone, as well as share images to social network sites via your smartphone. HD movies are recorded with hybrid AF and subject tracking, you can also shoot full resolution images while recording.

The camera has a solid metal body with a moulded rubber grip from the front to the back of the camera. The camera features a 3inch tilting touch-screen with a 1037k dot resolution. The touch-screen lets you set the focus point, shoot photos and adjust settings.

There are a number of optional accessories available, including an electronic viewfinder (EVF), the Nikon 1 DF-N1000 with a 2,359k dot resolution and near 100% frame coverage. An optional grip is available, the GR-N1010, which will help when using Nikkor DSLR lenses with the FT1 Mount adapter.

Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Black (13)





Key Features



  • 18.4 megapixel CX format (1inch) CMOS sensor
  • Nikon 1 lens mount
  • 3inch 1037k dot tilting touch-screen
  • 171 AF points, 105 phase detection
  • EXPEED 4A image processor
  • 20fps continuous shooting with continuous AF
  • 60fps continuous shooting with fixed AF
  • ISO160 - ISO12800
  • Full HD, 60p video recording, microphone socket
  • Full manual controls and RAW shooting
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • Available in black

Nikon 1 V3 Handling

Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Black (10)
The Nikon 1 V3 feels very well built with a solid metal body and an updated and improved designed compared to the slightly DSLR looking V2. There are now two command dials on the V3, letting you set the aperture and shutter speed when in the relevant manual shooting modes. The rear command dial (Fn2) can be pushed in to change settings and acts as the zoom control in playback mode. Both the Fn1 and Fn2 function buttons can be customised. The camera has a good rubber grip that goes from the front of the camera to the back, giving a good area for your thumb to hold on to. For those that would prefer a larger grip, there is the optional grip that gives the camera a more DSLR styled hand-grip - this also adds a 3rd function button - as shown below, with the optional electronic viewfinder. 
Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Grip Viewfinder

The Nikon 1 V3 gives side access to the HDMI / USB and MicroSD card slot, and has a microphone socket on the left hand side for connecting an external microphone. There are four buttons on the left hand side of the touch-screen, and these move with the tilting screen, so that it is still easy to use the buttons when the screen is tilted. The top mode dial makes it easy to switch modes, and the buttons on the back of the camera all fall neatly into position, so you can quickly change settings when holding the camera with one hand. The manual pop-up flash is accessed by a side button, and can be tilted up (and held in position with your hand) for bounce flash. 

Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Black (7)

To focus you can choose from auto-area, single point and subject tracking focus, as well as touch the screen to set the focus position. You can set the focus point across a wide area of the screen, and the screen quality is very good with a high resolution and good colour production. The tilting screen also helps with visibility when shooting outdoors. 

Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Black (8)

The menus are neatly laid out into separate sections including: playback options, shooting options, movie options, image processing, setup and Wi-Fi. You can use the touch screen to scroll through the menus and set options making it quick and easy to change settings. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 310 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, which is average for a compact mirrorless camera - therefore we would recommend a spare battery if you plan on shooting more.

Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Nikon 1 V3 Black (11)
Speed - 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 <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.8secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.4secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.6secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG 6fps mechanical
10/20/30/60fps electronic
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 10/20/30/60fps electronic

Tested with the 10-30mm VR PD-Zoom lens, focus and shutter response are both extremely quick. The camera shoots at 6fps with the mechanical shutter, you then have the option to shoot at 10, 20, 30 or 60fps with an electronic shutter - it's also possible to shoot at 20fps with AF-tracking active. Flash is not available in any of the continuous shooting modes. When using the continuous shooting modes it can take a while to write to the MicroSD card, so a quick memory card is recommended.





Nikon 1 V3 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 V3 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have good colour and exposure is reliable. Photos using the flash show very little red-eye, and skin tones are good. Dynamic range is good, with the camera featuring a D-Lighting option to improve dynamic range, and there is also a HDR shooting mode available in the creative shooting mode. 

Nikon 1 V3 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Purple fringing and chromatic aberration is well controlled, with a little visible in areas of high-contrast near the edges and corners of the frame. Built in distortion correction takes care of any barrel and pincushion distortion, as well as vignetting. The 10-30mm PD-Zoom kit lens gives impressive macro results, letting you focus very close to your subject when using the full zoom. Images have reasonable levels of detail, however become quite soft when using the full optical zoom of the lens, and are softer in the corners. Therefore we'd recommend using a prime lens for better results.

Nikon 1 V3 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO160 to ISO400, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO800 to ISO1600 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. ISO3200 still produces good results with reasonably low levels of noise, but the level of detail is low. 

At ISO6400 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. There is also an ISO6400 NR option that produces an image with less noise, but also noticeably less detail. ISO12800 is best avoided as noise is at its highest, and detail is very low.

Nikon 1 V3 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with a warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a more accurate result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast.

Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review: Panoramic | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160
Panoramic | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | 10.0 mm | ISO 160

Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good, and well stitched together, although the resolution is low.

Nikon 1 V3 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The camera has a number of ways to shoot with a creative effect or filter, with a new Creative Palette mode which adjusts brightness, saturation, and white balance as you slide your finger around the ring on the touchscreen, or rotate the multi selector. There are also a number of the more usual effects, such as miniature, selective colour, cross process, soft, and toy camera.

Video - Video quality is good, and continuous auto-focus is quick when the camera needs to re-focus during recording. The Nikon 1 V3 has a number of high speed video modes, with the video resolution reducing every time the frame rate is increased, an example of these can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel, recorded at 120fps (1280x720), 400fps (768x288), and 1200fps (416x144). The highest ISO setting available for video is ISO6400, and the slowest shutter speed is 1/100th of a second whether recording 60p, or 30p. An example video, recorded using ISO6400, can be found on YouTube.








Value For Money

The Nikon 1 V3 is available for £729 body only which makes it quite good value for money, particularly up against the following cameras, which also offer high speed continuous shooting:

Sony Alpha A6000, 11fps with AF tracking, £549 body only. 
Panasonic Lumix GH4, 12fps, 7.5fps with continuous AF, weather sealed, £1299 body only. 
Olympus OM-D E-M1, 10fps, 6.5fps with continuous AF, weather sealed, £1249 body only.
Fujifilm X-T1, 8fps with continuous AF, weather sealed, £1049 body only.

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 V3 Verdict

The Nikon 1 V3 is a compact mirrorless camera, with a new compact 10-30mm power zoom lens, making it more easily placed in jacket pockets. The camera, with its unique sensor technology allows extremely fast continuous shooting, at up to 60fps at full resolution! The camera also offers impressively quick continuous shooting with AF tracking, far beyond what any other camera can currently offer. If you are looking for a camera capable of shooting at extremely quick continuous shooting speeds, up to 60fps, or up to 20fps with AF tracking, then this is the camera for you, as there is nothing (other than the Nikon 1 J4) that can come close to this performance.

The Nikon 1 V3 is available for £729 body only, or £1049 with 10-30mm PD Zoom lens, EVF and Grip, making it cheaper than a number of the competition. The Nikon 1 system also benefits from a fairly wide range of lens options, currently at 11 lenses, as long as you're happy buying a Nikon lens, as there is currently no 3rd party lenses for the system.

Image quality is good with the camera producing good colours and reliable exposure, with the only negative being the performance of the 10-30mm PD-Zoom lens when using the full optical zoom as images are slightly soft. This is partly offset by the excellent close-up macro performance, which is unexpected on a kit lens. Video quality is good, with rapid focus and the ability to shoot full size images while recording. The 3inch tilting touch screen also makes it very easy to use the camera, and built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to share photos. The Nikon 1 V3 with extreme high-speed shooting offers something unique in the camera market and offers a well-rounded package of options and features, making the Nikon 1 V3 highly recommended. 





Nikon 1 V3 Camera Review:
  The Nikon 1 V3 is designed for high speed shooting of stills and video and certainly delivers!



Nikon 1 V3 Pros

Great tilting touch-screen
2 year warranty
High speed continuous shooting
20fps continuous shooting with AF tracking
High speed video modes
Good image quality and colour
10-30mm lens gives excellent macro shots
Fast focus and shutter response
Good handling



Nikon 1 V3 Cons

Non-standard flash hot-shoe
10-30mm PD lens soft (particularly telephoto end)
Prime lenses needed for best results






Nikon 1 V3 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels18.4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5232
Pixels (H)3488
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1inch
Sensor Size (width)13.2mm
Sensor Size (height)8.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1037k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity160 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting60fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS60p, 30p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)310shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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Photographs taken using the Nikon 1 V3

Vilnius Old Town LithuaniaMinnionParliament Building BudapestColosseum RomeSt Peters Basilica RomeSt Peters Basilica RomeBIRDGoldfinch FeedingMute SwanWrenThe Great Blue Heron, a wonder of nature.Osprey On Deck!Burnt Tip Orchids (Orchis ustulata)

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LenShepherd 14 4.6k United Kingdom
12 May 2014 8:35AM
An interesting review.
It would seem good for wildlife photographers to 400 ISO for extra working distance or reach with an AF-s long or macro lens via the Nikon adaptor.
Most of us cannot afford £15,000 for the 800 prime Sad 300 mm FX angle of view equivalent with the 105 VR should be good for insects in flight.
To some extent the lower quality above 400 ISO can be offset for wildlife because of the extra depth of field for the same angle of view compared to DX or FX.
josa 10 25 Czech Republic
12 May 2014 5:40PM
Not impressed, a good family camera for $200.00 (by X mas...)
dannyr 13 46 United Kingdom
14 May 2014 8:55AM
Probably the best looking 1 camera but still way too expensive! at least it's a step in the right direction.

Just noticed it still has those two 'Soccer mom' modes on the command dial, sorry I cant remember what they are called but they are on all 1 cameras.

I wanted to ask does anyone actually use them? They just seem rather pointless.
Ahaios 9 1 United Kingdom
15 May 2014 4:44PM
Beautiful camera and I like they added two control dials.

However at £799, as Josa writes, it will probably be yet another Nikon 1 xmas clearance bargain.

Who on their mind would buy this, when you can get an Olympus OM-D EM10 for under £679 (built-in viewfinder, better sensor, and lens lineup) ?
Kswg 8 Malaysia
11 Jul 2014 3:56AM
Good camera review. Nice camera and one of the best camera around.

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