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Posts Tagged ‘nikon v1 review

More Nikon V1 Impressions

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Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 | 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

Sunday was such a beautiful day in the city. The weather was perfect, and as is typical in the winter time on days like this, the light seems to have a crisp, dramatic look all day long. A walk in the park was a must.

I keep forgetting how large Golden Gate Park is. We started at the south-east corner and trekked our way to Spreckels lake, which is a little less than 3/4 of the way to the west entrance that intersects Ocean Beach. The entire journey took us between three and four hours, covering around five miles. We loved every minute of it, and Suki,  who unlike her human companions could have easily walked the length of this park a dozen times over,  was especially happy.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Spread out among the large, open recreational spaces are dense areas of trees and local plant life. Small gardens, large groves, tons of areas to explore. Places where light takes on even more drama, where your image data gets slammed into either end of the histogram. Places where you wrangle your camera’s EV dial and white balance settings. I love these places.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 180


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm | 1/60 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 24mm | 1/80 sec, f/5, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 11mm | 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

I love working with the RAW files from the V1 because the experience is so familiar to me as a Nikon shooter. Every manufacturer has its own look, its own way of handling colors, and the V1′s files are decidedly Nikon. Therefore, much of my work flow in handling the V1′s output is nearly identical to how I process my D700 files. Awesome!

The ability to easily carry an entire system on a trek this long is one of my favorite things about the V1. I had a camera body, flash unit, and three lenses covering a 27-297mm equivalent range in my bag with room to spare, and I could barely feel the weight on my shoulder the entire time. I couldn’t possibly carry that range with my DSLR system without destroying my back. When I do head out with the D700, I usually select only one lens to bring along in order to keep weight and bulk to a minimum. No compromise in that regard with the V1. Take it all!


Nikon V1 +  1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm |  1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100

Running into other Shibas is always a treat, more so for us than for Suki, who was only mildly interested in this five month old puppy.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

As the sun continued to fall, beams of light became more and more visible in areas with densely packed trees. Right after I took the shot above I thought, “there’s something missing in this frame….”


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Ah yes, a Shiba Inu. =)


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 | 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

With the lenses currently available for the 1 system,  you won’t be throwing backgrounds way out of focus, though getting in close with the 10mm pancake can deliver some pleasing results.  Nikon is said to be releasing some fast primes for the format soon. I want them yesterday!


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor  10mm f/2.8 | 1/800 sec, f/4, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 at 110mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 140

Lens changing is pleasantly fast with the 1. Large, easy to see lens markings line up at a 12 o’clock position at the mount, and the rotation required to lock the lens into place is much shorter than I expected. Going from a wide shot of the lake with the 10mm and quickly changing to the 30-110mm for a close up of the duck felt just like switching things up with my F-mount system, only on a much smaller scale.


Nikon V1 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 at 110mm | 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

Small cameras have come a long way. Using the V1 system lately has made me realize that for a lot of what I shoot, a DSLR can often be too much camera than I actually need or am willing to carry. These smaller systems will only get better and better, and I personally am much more excited about the future of cameras like the V1 than I am about what’s next in the DSLR realm.

Written by Jonathan

December 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Growing Up Too Fast

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Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 + SB-N5 | 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

My great nephew Julian is now a touch over one month old, and wow, kids grow fast! Last night, he met up with the entire family for the first time. Of course, uncle Jonathan has a camera in tow.

The dimly lit house we gathered at was a great place to test out the new flash unit I just received for my Nikon V1. The lack of a built-in flash in the V1 seemed like a curious omission from the camera at first. Nikon instead opted for  a separate unit, the SB-N5 Speedlight, which attaches to the camera using a proprietary connector.

Proprietary connector?! My first reaction was “why not a regular old hotshoe I can mount my SB-900 to?” Then again, an SB-900 is nearly double the size of the camera body itself. Not a combo I’m likely to use anyway. This smaller SB-N5 unit feels way more practical in use, and what makes it rock compared to a typical built-in flash is that it can tilt and swivel, much like its bigger SB brethren.

I set exposure manually at the camera. Wasn’t too worried about the low shutter speeds since the flash would help me freeze movement. From there I just rotated the flash head where I wanted it in order to wash light off part of the white ceiling above me, relying on the camera to vary flash output automatically. The whole experience felt just like using the iTTL flash system with my Nikon DSLR. It worked, and worked well.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 + SB-N5 | 1/40 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 + SB-N5 | 1/25 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 + SB-N5 | 1/40 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 + SB-N5 | 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 + SB-N5 | 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400

Of course, the SB-95 is nowhere near as powerful or versatile as Nikon’s real hotshoe flashes, but for indoor shots with bounce and for outdoor fill, it’s a must for a V1 owner.

Written by Jonathan

December 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Running Shiba, Gunning Nikon V1

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Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 15mm | 1/100 sec, f/4.8, ISO 100

Suki and I have been missing on the blog for a while, but we’re back to talk about the Nikon 1 V1!

I must admit, when Nikon first announced the Nikon 1, their first mirrorless camera system, I wasn’t terribly excited. The camera’s design is on the bland side (especially compared to my Fuji X100), and the sensor, while much larger than the ones you’d find in a typical compact, is smaller than one in my Olympus E-PL2 and other m4/3 cameras. Epic fail, right? Not at all.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

My initial impression of the V1′s image quality is very favorable. The files are detailed, sharp, and clean. All the lenses currently available for the 1 mount (10mm pancake, 10-30mm, 30-110mm, 10-100mm) seem to perform very well. But what intrigued me most about the V1 wasn’t so much the image quality as it was the system’s speed.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 | 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 22mm | 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 100

The V1 is heavily specified when it comes to speed, especially in auto-focus performance. It has a hybrid AF system that can use phase-detection and contrast detection to acquire and track focus, giving the V1 a significant edge in focus performance compared to other mirrorless cameras. The dog park was a perfect place test this capability out, and I was, to say the least, floored by how fast the AF is.

One thing’s for sure, I never expected to take a shot like this with a camera other than a DSLR:


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 22mm 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 100

Not only is the AF blazing fast, but the camera is capable of some ridiculously high burst rates. Switching from the mechanical shutter to the electronic shutter, which incidentally has a maximum speed of 1/16,000, allows you to shoot as high as 60fps in full resolution, though at that speed you lose the ability to continuously focus. However, you can do single-point, continuous autofocus at 10fps, which is more than enough to keep up with Suki at the dog park:

In a scene like this, the V1 doesn’t stutter, hesitate, or second guess itself. You hit the shutter release and it just goes. Brilliant.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

The dog park is relatively small, and I wanted to up the ante. Suki runs much faster in a bigger, more open area, so we headed to the beach for more Shiba Inu running action. To minimize lens changing in such sandy conditions, I used the 1 system’s super zoom, the 10-100mm VR, though I’m sure my telephoto 30-110mm Nikkor would have performed just as well here:


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 10mm | 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm  | 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 400


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 40mm | 1/640 sec, f/5.3, ISO 100

Left: Suki at impulse speed. Right: Suki at warp speed.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320

Again, the camera confidently kept Suki in focus, even when she was running straight at me:


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 280


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 250


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 220


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 220

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I haven’t done too much video with the V1 yet, but it’s spec’d well in that area as well: 1920 x 1080 30p or 60i, 1280 x 720 30p with full manual exposure control, as well as some high-speed capability at lower resolutions: 400fps at 640 x 280 or 1200fps at 320 x 120. The high speed is played back at 30fps, giving you the ability to capture slow motion video. The one above was shot at 400fps. Pretty cool stuff!


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 10mm |  1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 180


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm | 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 560

My x100 has been sitting in my carry-everywhere camera bag all by itself lately. Not any more!  I can now supplement the Fuji’s excellent low light, high ISO ability with the V1′s  high performance video capabilities, fantastic focus and burst speed, and lens changing flexibility. Well, actually…. the Fuji is getting repaired right now (an entirely different story), so the 1 is all that’s in the carry-everywhere bag for now…

Which isn’t all that bad so far. The V1 is flat out fun to shoot with, the build is super solid, the metering is spot on, the image quality is surprisingly good, and boy is it fast. Will return with more impressions =)

Written by Jonathan

December 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm