Author Topic: Nikon 1 V1  (Read 1293 times)

keithsnell

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Nikon 1 V1
« on: March 13, 2012, 09:09:53 AM »
One of the things I've struggled with over the last 6 months or so is when to take (or not take) my camera equipment with me when we're heading out on family jaunts.  Sometimes the D3 or D7000 (with a high quality zoom lens and external flash) seems like just too much to take along, and so I end up missing family "snapshots" and those precious images of the kids growing up.  We have a Canon S3 that has been performing the "snapshot camera" duties for the last 5 years or so, but it's getting a bit old, the image quality is not up to par, the viewfinder is "uninspiring" and I just find myself not wanting to take it along either.  So, I've been looking for a compact camera that is small enough to comfortably take along (stuff in a jacket pocket or hang from a belt pouch) but still provides good enough image quality.  Rebecca also reminded me that we often use the long end of the zoom on the S3 to video the kids school and church events, so having a decent telephoto capability was a must too.  And speaking of video, one of my top priorities was finding a compact camera that could do double duty as a video camera.  I've been watching the micro 4/3rds cameras for quite some time, and almost went for a Panasonic GH2, but that camera still wasn't small enough to be really "pocketable."  

When the Nikon 1 system was announced I was intrigued, but hesitant about the image quality.  Reviews like this one: http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-11666-11988 from Rob Galbraith, along with several other reviews by pro photographers that were looking for a weekend family camera, finally convinced me to take the plunge.  I bought the Nikon V1, 10-30mm zoom, 30-110mm zoom and tiny little SB-N5 flash.  The V1 is the larger of the two System 1 cameras, but having a viewfinder was a top priority, since I find it difficult to evaluate focus on the LCD of a camera with these old presbyopic eyes of mine.  (A viewfinder gives better "eye relief," and the viewfinder in the V1 has a built in diopter adjustment).  

The bottom line?  I'm happy!  The V1 is an awesome little video camera.  The resolution and framerate options are somewhat limited compared to some of the competition on the market, but I find the 720P 60fps option just about perfect for family videos.  Should I want higher resolution, the V1 can also do 1080 60i or 1080 30P.  By comparison, the D7000 has great video quality, but the autofocus implementation is not up to par for video in ANY of the digital SLRs.  The AF in the Nikon V1 is much better for video, and getting even better as I learn the nuances of the AF system. :)  (Face tracking works very well in the V1).  

One of my favorite features of the V1 is the diminutive SB-N5 flash.  The ability to tilt and swivel the flash head in order to bounce the flash off the ceiling gives me much better looking images without the typical harsh shadows caused by the direct flash on almost all the other compact cameras on the market.  The SB-N5 is definitely a strong selling point of the system.

Image quality is very good (I would rate it on par with the D3100) up to ISO 800, and certainly acceptable at smaller web sizes at even higher ISOs.  The "look" of the images (color and tonality) is very similar to what you would expect from the D7000 or any recent Nikon dSLR.  "Pixel Peepers" might be a little disappointed at ISOs higher than 400, however for the type of images I'm capturing with the camera, it meets my requirements.  (For some perspective, I find it head-and-shoulders above the image quality of the D100, and I'm still selling images through my stock agent that were taken with that old 6MP "noisy" camera.)   I also find that video quality is very good all the way up to ISO 3200.  I suspect that it is a combination of many things, including how the video is processed and downsampled in camera, that makes the higher ISOs useable for video.  The bottom line is that it provides very nice quality video even up into the higher ISOs.  

This isn't intended to be a formal review, I just wanted to share my impressions of the system and let you all know that I have some experience with the system if you are curious about it yourself.

Keith

P.S. 
Rebecca surprised me by commenting "what a darling little camera" when she saw the V1.  Certainly that type of appeal makes the camera more fun to use.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 09:23:08 AM by keithsnell »

prairiedust

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Re: Nikon 1 V1
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 08:22:39 PM »
Good to hear.  Some cameras just feel right, and it's even better when the results satisfy.
I'm watching green creep over the landscape and feeling the gnawing emptiness that comes with too long since a good photo exploration.  Between my day job and preparing for some big shows I'm finding it difficult to get out.  But I'm on vacation for Spring Break and am looking forward to the open air.  Maybe it'll include a trip to the Platte River to photograph the sand hill crane migration.  I'll have to research to see how the warm winter has affected the timing.
Dave Leiker (PrairieDust)
Exploring the Rural Midwest

keithsnell

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Re: Nikon 1 V1
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 10:16:18 PM »
Glad to hear that you're planning to get out for Spring Break.

We're headed to a little cabin in Crestone Colorado for the kid's Spring Break.  I suspect they'll still have snow in the higher elevations, but it will be nice to be close to the mountains again.  Evan is very excited about going "crystal mining" (for quartz and amethyst we hope to find in the area).  He has a new rock pick that he's very anxious to try out.  I'm sure we'll be exploring some of the old mining towns (now ghost towns) and it should make for some interesting adventures.  I'm not planning on much photography, but I'll have the V1 along if the creative urge hits.


girod

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Re: Nikon 1 V1
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 07:41:10 PM »
Hello Keith,

I completely agree with Rebecca that N1 is "a darling little camera" system.

I almost got the V1 too, plus the FT1 - mainly for a cheaper way for better reach but back-off after learning that the FT1 will not implement the AF-C and tracking. I still don't mind carrying the D700 and D7K in my Kata sling bag.

Instead, i ended up pre-ordering the D800E. And now, every night I dream of horrible moire and other aliasing artifacts - what a way for self-destruction! Marianne Oelund, Bill Claff, Horshack, RLPetrus etc seem to be excited about it more than the D800.

What do you think (D800 vs D800E)?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 07:49:58 PM by girod »

keithsnell

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Re: Nikon 1 V1
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 08:17:31 PM »
Hi Jaime,

It depends on what you are shooting.  With the D800E you will find that some weave patterns in clothing (even blue jeans) will cause moire, as will some fine repeating detail in cityscape type images (grid patterns at a distance, etc.)  On the other hand, if you are shooting primarily nature and landscapes, then you will probably be safe from moire.  You will also find that shots from the D800E will rarely require any sharpening, and if they do, it will be very little.  The extra micro contrast will also give your images more of a 3-D or lifelike appearance.  

The D800E will be fine, as long as you recognize that at times the files might require just a bit more post processing to perform local moire removal.  It's not hard to do, just requires an extra step or two in Photoshop (if the automatic moire removal in Capture NX2 doesn't do the trick).

If you were planning to use the camera to shoot portraits, weddings or event photography, I'd say stay away from the D800E, otherwise the D800E will be an awesome camera (that demands very good technique to produce files with the detail the camera is capable of).

I'll look forward to seeing some images when you get the camera.

Keith
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 08:20:15 PM by keithsnell »

girod

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Re: Nikon 1 V1
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2012, 06:47:26 PM »
Thanks Keith. I'm most probably at the bottom of the pre-order list since I only placed mine last week-end.

jaime