Jonathan Fleming's Blog

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Running Shiba, Gunning Nikon V1

with 17 comments

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


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

17 Responses

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  1. GAHHH She’s so cute. I can’t wait to meet her!!!!


    December 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  2. Cute doggy, Great photos and that video is cool.! I want a camera!! 🙂


    December 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm

  3. Jonathan:
    No disrespect for the Nikon or any other camera you might review, but I personally think you’re so good you could take a great picture with a Flintstone rock camera. Great pics.
    I like to wish you and yours a happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.


    Howard Tyree

    December 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm

  4. What a great post. Love so many of the photos — and the video — great!

    Fox & Hana's Mom

    December 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

  5. Wow! I love the shots! I have a Shiba and she is the best dog I have ever had! These pictures capture a Shiba’s personality perfectly! Thanks for sharing!


    December 19, 2011 at 7:33 am

  6. Shibasquatch! I can’t believe how well this little camera works. So fast for something that small! These are some of my favorite Suki pictures ever, too!


    December 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

  7. Wow! I’m impressed. I recently bought the EPL-2 and while I love it, I have to say I am a little disappointed with its lowlight capabilities, which are lacking to say the least. I still love that little thing but I do wish I’d done a teensy bit more research before diving into the 4/3s arena.

    And I absolutely *LOVE* the last photo. The warm sun on her face, with the cool blue shadows? So good!


    December 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

  8. Those are some really awesome action shots of Suki!! Great review on the mirrorless camera. Looking forward to more photos! 😀


    December 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm

  9. Love these running shots of Suki! She looks so powerful and graceful in motion.


    December 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

  10. Great shots, beautiful Shiba. Can you ple thetase elaborate
    on the focusing modes you used? I am stil
    not getting good focus in my V1


    December 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    • The focus mode was single center point continuous. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend updating the firmware to the latest version for all your 1 mount lenses. Might fix the issue =)


      December 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

  11. +1 for the V1 … only recently got mine to replace my Fuji X100 – I was getting good shots from the Fuji but it was just too slow and clunky for my liking and I was missing some kodak moment shots in the process.

    Not regretting the move to the V1 so far. My EPL2 still remains as a more conventional walkaround back-up. 🙂


    December 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  12. Great review and great images! I love the slow mo video. I’ve spent the last 30 mins trying to convince the wife that buying one for me for Christmas would be a great idea… I don’t know if she’s gonna give in 🙂


    December 22, 2011 at 10:45 am

  13. […] 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. […]

  14. OMG !!! I like it !!!!! Suki’s so great !! Your camera’s GREAT !! perfect moving and running scene.. I don’t know what to say everytime I see your photo. just : GREAT !!


    January 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm

  15. You don’t have a friend with a Chihuahua or other toy dog that you could borrow do you? I’d be interested in seeing how the AF performs with such a dog running head on at the camera at a range of 12 feet or so. Would be much more demanding on the camera.

    Terry Jackson

    January 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm

  16. Thanks a million for this! Seems like I have found myself a “new” camera after my old one broke down last year. Have been looking for a much faster one, that takes better pictures of my dogs, is easy to carry in your pocket and is affordable too.


    August 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

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