This was a bitterly cold day. I was mainly shooting film, but had the GXR in the bag.
Two of these photos were taken one morning as the sun was peeking over the hills above Dunedin. The others were taken from a hotel balcony, with a failing battery, at dawn yesterday. All using a Nikon V1.
I also took basically the same shot using instagram in Auckland, but the quality is much lower.
The Nikon V3 has been released. This is, in my view, an improvement on the V2, but I am unsure as to if it is as good as the V1.
Now, I like the V1. A lot. A fair number of the photos on this page are taken with it, and I use this as the second body in my Nikon Kit. But the entire system is confusing, to put it mildly. Thom, who is probably the reference person with Nikons, makes these comments.
Apparently the folk at Nikon are still scratching their head wondering what it will take to make the V series cameras popular. My guess is that the V3 isn’t it, though I’ll have an exception in a moment. To understand that comment, let’s step through the V series design mistakes:
V1 — Not-Really-Mode dial that moved by just looking cross-eyed at it; almost no external control for a serious user; no real customization allowed; a slippery body with no real grip; proprietary accessory slot with no coordination with long-time Nikon accessories such as Speedlights; a sprawling menu system that you needed to dip into to do much of anything; and strange omissions (bracketing, anyone?). Some also thought 10mp wasn’t enough, especially in a small consumer oriented camera that cost US$900.
V2 — Still almost no external control for serious users; no real customization allowed; no coordination with Speedlights; a sprawling menu system that you needed to dip into to do much of anything; and strange omissions (what, still no bracketing?). And the cost? Still higher than entry and mid-range DSLRs.
V3 — The EVF is now a forced option in the US, making for a vulnerable and expensive extra part the previous cameras didn’t have, plus the EVF also takes up the flash/accessory shoe; we lose the built-in hand grip for a smallish hump on the front of the camera and an optional grip that of course doesn’t have an Arca-style dovetail, meaning we’ll still be putting plates on the optional grip; still no coordination with Speedlights. A bump in price of 33% here in the US.
It seems clear to me that Nikon doesn’t clearly know who they want to sell a Nikon 1 to, especially at the top end. The mix of purely consumer features with high-end features such as 20 fps shooting with continuous focus doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sure, I know a lot of those consumer features are just tag-alongs from the J series cameras, but the V3 is a bit of a mishmash, especially since some of it’s “advanced” features come in the form of “options.”
And Steve Hudd, who like me, likes the V1, a lot,, notes about the new one…
The V3 has been completely re-designed. Now the camera has the ability to shoot 120FPS HD video in slo-motion at 1280X720 resolution. THIS IS sort of a big deal for some video people. Continuous shooting on the V3 will get you 20 FPS at the full 18 MP resolution or even 60 FPS stills using one focus point. The one thing they kept with the 1 system and improved upon is indeed the SPEED. They also added some sort of quasi image stabilization mode. Not sure what it will be like though.
The GOOD news I guess is that this is an all new Nikon 1. They are not dropping the line but instead they beefed it up for even better video capabilities, speed and also packed it with a tilt EVF and a new 18 MP sensor. You CAN add an external EVF but that always just adds a hump, which these days there is NO reason for. Cameras today are FINALLY getting away from the add-on EVF humps, so why Nikon ditched their internal EVF is a mystery to me.
Well, yes, as a second body (to a D800) the V1 rocks. Firstly, it can take standard Nikkor lenses: most of the photos in this gallery — including the two flower ones — were taken with a DX kit zoom lens I have in my commute bag along with the V1. A couple of photos were taken with the prime lens.
I find this is a much better camera for street shooting than a big Nikon. It’s also OK at small things like flowers — the D800 is brilliant at portraiture and landscapes, and can do birding, but this is much better. This gallery is photos taken walking around Dunedin this week.
The nikon one is my main travel camera. In part because the EVF is built in: I have a Ricoh GXR I found in a bargain bin — and it is a better camera, but the EVF comes off. I don’t use padded bags. And if the Nikon one gets lost, it is not thousands for a new body. I use a cheap Voightlander Bessa as a film camera when training — with Russian lenses — for the same reason.
Up grades? I can think of but two.
The first is the 32 mm lens, which gives me an 85 mm equivalent. The second would be a fast telephoto for birding — the kit lenses are not that good, and it’s easier to but a f4 tele on the adaptor at present.
If you can find a V1 or V2 going cheap, get one, if you shoot Nikon, together with the adapter. It gives you another way of shooting. And if you like video… consider this as an alternative to a micro 4/3.