Nikon 1 V1 Complete Review

 

Nikon entered in the mirror less cameras in mid 2011, which is kind of late but well anticipated. NIKON 1 System: V1 is its flagship camera into this category. This category is still evolving and Nikon as usual is here with a new type of Sensor size which is its own proprietary size called as CX.

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Basically Nikon has launched the ‘1 SYSTEM’ cameras for people who want to take really nice photo graphs but are intimidated by the dSLR’s control panel. The main advantage of the V1 is its easy to use and basically a point and shoot camera with some customization like changeable lens system, for which there are 4 choices from Nikon. Lens Mount is totally new called as ‘1 NIKKOR’, which means enthusiast need to buy a adapter to use their old AF-S and AF lenses which does not work very well in here.

 

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Specifications:

Body Material: Manganese and Aluminium Alloy

Sensor: 13.2 mm x 8.8 mm CMOS sensor, 10.1 effective megapixels

Effective Angle of View: Approx. 2.7 x lens focal length (35 mm format equivalent);

Focus: Hybrid autofocus (phase detection/contrast-detect AF); AF-assist illuminator

Lens: 1 NIKOR lenses,

AF area: Single-Point ( 135 points), Auto Area ( 73 points), Subject Tracking.

Lens Servo: Autofocus (AF): Single AF (AF-S); Continuous AF (AF-C); auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A); fulltime AF (AF-F) and Manual focus (MF)
ISO Sensitivity: 100-6400

Focus System: Hybrid AF, (mix of contrast detect and phase detect), AF assist Illuminator.

Continous Shooting: Electronic shutter (Hi) 60fps, 30fps and 10fps at full resolution

Mechanical: Up to 5fps depending upon the modes.

Video: 1080/60i video, slow motion

Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC compatible

Battery: Li-ion Rechargeable Battery (EL-EN15), offer 350 shots.

LCD Monitor: 3”, 961K dots

 

Lens and Sensor:

 

At 10.1 MP the sensor is good provided the sensor size is CX (13.2 mm x 8.8 mm) which means that pixel size is small which means they gather less light than APS-C or full frame sensors, so lot of amplification is required and which produces noise like grain and improper colour rendering in images. But With the Help of EXPEED 3 processor (which is Dual Core), Nikon has found a decent answer to this problem, and camera produces good result.

In terms of Auto Focus, Nikon has blended the best of both worlds by providing on sensor ‘Hybrid AF’, which includes both phase detection and contrast detection depending upon the conditions. Contrast detection is slower but better in accuracy while phase detection is faster but less accurate. Sensor use 73 points AF, which is really good but the no of AF points can be as high as 135 depending upon the user mode.

The lens and sensor system is same as in the Nikon 1 J1 since both shares the same thing in core there is not much difference in lens and sensor system as such.

The CX format lens mount since is new, there is a adapter for older F- mount lenses called as FT-1 adapter.

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Body:

Body is mixed with manganese and aluminium and feels premium, and brushed metal feels fine in hand. V1 is bulkier than its cousin J1. Because of the Electronic View Finder ( EVF), a bigger battery it is bulkier and bigger than the competitor Olympus PEN E-P3

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Buttons are big and easy to press, a rear dial which lets you chose modes and video mode as well. For enthusiast PASM ( program mode, Shutter mode, Aperture mode, Manual Mode) can only be accessed by menu for which a four way controller is there.

1.4 million dots EVF is rich and covers 100% of the frame, giving you what you see what you get. It comes with an Eye Sensor, which turns off the LCD automatically to save the battery juice.

It has stereo microphones (on front plate) and two infrared receivers (One in back and another on front plate) and one AF illuminator.

An electronic accessory port is situated along the camera’s top plate which can be used for multiple purposes like attaching GPS, Flash or external microphone.

At the bottom of rear plate the control dial is present along with 4 dedicated buttons which gives you access to the menu and customizations.

Flash:

There is no flash in built in this system, but an external Flash can be attached to an electronic accessory port which is present along the camera’s top plate. Flash SB-N5 Speedlight can be attached with it.

Battery and Memory:

The V1 comes with a EN-EL15 battery (which comes with D7000 dSLR). It provides 13.3W of power for a CIPA rating of approximately 350 still images. On using EVF the battery gives more juice, and without flash which means majorly photography in good light and with EVF it lasts up to 450 shots.

The SD card holder is just beside the battery chamber and the camera supports upto UHS-1 standard SDXC/SDHC/SD cards.

Performance

Camera is not a dSLR, so one should not expect a dSLR grade performance, but it does not depress you, the performance is quite good and responsive too for general day to day photography. In fact innovative features like 60fps (ultra fast frame rate) that too at JPEG + RAW is really awesome.

Because of the light weight elements, the focus system is really fast and reliable thanks to the Hybrid AF system which works like breeze in day light and quite impressive in night time with focus time well under 1 second.

In High speed photography you can capture around 30 frames at JPEG and JPEG + RAW mode before the buffer goes full which means that you can capture only half a second of action at 60 fps but on 10 fps it is 34 shots; which is 3 seconds of action. The write time leading after the capture of the ultra fast shots can be really long can goes beyond 65 seconds even using UHS -1 card.

AF system is impressive with focus well within one second. In one shot mode it is responsive. But at high speed the focus is fixed and you can’t control it but AF tracking is really nice at 10 fps which is boon for capturing those precious moments with kids, camps etc.

AF system is decided by the amount of light present in the scene and is only decided by the processor, user cant select the AF system employed.

Motion snapshot is one best thing about this camera and is highlighted even on the mode dial. Idea is to capture ‘memories’ rather than just photos. In this system a video is buffered when you press the shutter button half. When you press the button full one second of video is recorded along with 16:9 size photographs. But no sound is recorded and you have to pick sound from different fie and then use NX2 software to complete the video with sound.

Other feature is Smart Photo Selector which is a kind of ‘super’ auto mode. It takes 20 shots at 60 fps and then selects 5 best shots and save them to memory card, shows them in review to user based on the image sharpness and the quality.

Camera system still prefer the lower ISO range along with higher shutter speeds which risk the image blurring but Nikon has Rolled out a newer version of Firmware ( 1.20) which hope fully sort out this problem.

Video: Video is really nice with electronic shutter comes into picture and you can take video at 60 fps at 1080p/1060i which is really good, video quality is nice and sound is good as it is picked up by stereo microphones.

Final Verdict

Camera is for people who want good photos but do not like the details of dSLR. Impressive AF system, good quality pics compared to competitors, a great post capture processing of images and near accurate color reproduction are a plus point. Great for day to day and even for some sport photos (not for serious sport photos). A Good bright LCD is good to have on back panel. But lack of scene modes is somewhat painful and to a enthusiast very little customization is provided. At the end retail price of the Nikon 1 V1 is around 36000 in India and $899 in US which is expansive, but since a better V2 is already announced and hitting the market you can wait for that as well