Aug 072013


Going Super Wide: The Nikon 6.7-13mm Lens Review on the Nikon V1

You can order the Nikon 6.7-13 in Black or Silver at B&H Photo

The Nikon 1 system has been gaining acceptance and steam lately ever since Nikon cleared out the old Nikon V1 bodies at a crazy $249 price tag, WITH a prime wide-angle 28mm equivalent 2.8 lens! The result of that fire sale is that many people have this little beauty now and the good news is that Nikon has released quite a few cool new lenses lately that are higher up in the quality chain than the 1st installments.

Nikon V1, ISO 720, 6.7-13 at 6.7 and f/3.5


Sure, the old 10mm 2.8 and 30-110 Kit Zoom are fantastic but the newer lenses like the 18.5 1.8 and 32 1.2 are excellent and finally allows Nikon 1 owners to achieve a shallow depth of field effect in our photos. What does this offer? Subject isolation! The Nikon 1 system lacked these types of lenses for a while and now that they are here, many shooters are loving them. The 32 1.2 has sold out of black and silver for the last two shipments, and that is a $900 lens that the Nikon 1 haters said would never sell. I predicted it would, and it is. Because it is a jewel of a lens for the 1 system.

The Nikon 6.7 -13mm lens for Nikon 1 is indeed a superb lens of image quality but keep in mind that due to the small 1″ sensor, this focal length equivalent will be like an 18-35 lens on full frame and coming in at just under $500, it is not cheap, but is it high quality? That is the question, because if a $500 wide-angle zoom is no good or just average, then no one is going to buy it!


Luckily, this lens has been getting high scores among users who have bought it with some saying it is among the best wide-angle lenses  they have used!

The Nikon V1 and 6.7-13 Zoom at 6.7 (18mm). The lens is contrasty, has great color and is plenty sharp! Taken through my window wide open you can see the bug splat on my window but the colors look gorgeous. 


Build and Feel and AF Speed

The build and feel of the Nikon 6.7-13 lens is very nice. It is not as high quality as the 32 1.2 lens for the same system, but it feels better than the 18.5 or the 10mm or the 10-30 zoom. It feels more precise. It is smooth to zoom and feels great on the camera though it is on the light side and appears that it may be easily damaged. The finish is much like the finish on the Sony E-Mount lenses..which is..fragile. It comes in at only 4.5 ounces.

The AF speed with this lens on my Nikon V1 is very fast, almost instantaneous. Never a focus problem with the Nikon 1 and usually with wide-angle lenses, due to the large DOF, everything is normally in focus anyway. But the bottom line is that this lens has zero focus issues on the Nikon V1 and I assume it would be the same for the V2 or the J1-J3.


So build is good, but not pro-like build and the usability is fantastic. The hood is small and light and fits on the front easily. The AF is blazing fast as are most Nikon 1 lenses.

The wood and lines in this image are correct, the real building was ready to collapse and was warped beyond belief. The Nikon 6.7-13 rendered it with good color right out of the camera on the Nikon V1.


No Need for (aperture) Speed!

The Nikon 6.7-13mm Lens is not a fast aperture lens but it doesn’t need to be. The range is from f/3.5 at the widest end of 6.7mm to f/5.6 at the longest end which is 13mm. The lens also has built-in VR (Vibration Reduction) to stop the shakes. Shooting wide, we rarely need the help of VR but if you are in low light this may come in handy.

The image below was shot at the widest setting of 6.7mm at f/3.5 at ISO 800 at 1/30th sec. Not much noise (for the V1), great color and as sharp as you can get for this sensor. The light was LOW here but you would never tell that from the photo. My eyes saw dark muddy dreary color, and very dim conditions. The camera recorded the scene nicely and very bright. Great colors as well. I processed the images you see in this review with Nikon Capture NX2 which I found gives me better color output than any Adobe product.

EXIF is embedded in each image if you want to see the settings. This was shot at 6.7 wide open in a dark area, ISO 800 and 1/30th of a second.



Shooting this lens on the V1 threw me for a loop a bit. When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the nice build and feel and as mentioned already, while not a solid pro build it is leagues better feeling and looking than the 1st zooms that Nikon offered for  the 1 system. It is smooth, silky, shiny and comes bundled with a hood and caps. For video, this lens rocks and almost provides a steady cam type of IS.

When shooting images it is sometimes tricky because when shooting at the widest setting it is very hard  to make an interesting photo, especially if you have little experience with super wides like I do :) One thing that is easy for me to do is take a self-portrait and doing so at arm’s length is a piece of cake with this lens :)

ISO 450, 1/30th second, f/3.5 at 6.7mm


Putting it to the test – ROADTRIP!

My son and I recently hopped in my Mini Cooper Countryman and packed  two weeks worth of clothes and headed out from AZ to Illinois which is a long and tiring 1800 mile trip. We wanted to take some photos, visit with my Mom, and take a drive up into the mountains of Kentucky (which we will be doing this week and I will add more photos to this review within a couple of days) to visit more family.


My son brought his Nikon V1 setup with his 10mm, 18.5 and 30-110 (and some of his 6.7-13 photos can be seen later on down in this review). I packed the V1, a Sony RX1R and RX100II, leaving the Leica M 240 behind. Why leave my Leica? Well, the last two times I did this trip I brought the Leica M9 and this time I wanted something different. So far, 3 days in, I have shot the Nikon V1 75% of the time. The lenses I have are the 6.7-13, the 10mm, the 18.5 and the 32 1.2. A complete setup and all I really need besides a long telephoto, which I rarely have a need for.

In a Mausoleum/Tomb with the 6.7-13 at the widest setting


I found the 6.7-13 to be a fantastic lens to add to my bag and I actually enjoyed using it just as much as I do the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 on a Leica M. In fact, this lens gives nothing up in performance to that $600 Voigtlander prime and while this one does not give me a 15mm FOV, it does offer me 18-35 and that is good enough for my wide needs when using this camera system.




So, is this lens worth a buy? That depends. If you shoot Nikon 1 and love your Nikon 1 system AND you want something that will offer you a wider view than the 10mm prime (18 vs 28) then YES, most certainly!

As for me, after a week of using it I was unsure. After two weeks I was almost sold and after a few more days I was sold 100%. It stays with me and in my Nikon 1 kit.





A couple of full size files from RAW

Below are  two full size files from RAW. I believe the best test of a lens is by taking real world photos, which is what we all do when we buy a lens anyway! We do not shoot resolution charts or oddball things, we shoot life, things we see, things we come across. Family, friends and the world around us. If a camera does that well then it is good to go!

Click on the two images below to see them full size. The 1st one was B&W from Capture NX2.



Is this a perfect wide-angle lens?

NO, the lens is not perfect (and not many lenses are) and if you shoot it and open RAW files you will see distortion in the lens, and in many cases it is quite severe if you are up super close shooting straight lines. Remember, this is in reality a 6.7mm lens at the wide end! There is barrel distortion up close but all is fixable with a click of the button in Nikon NX2. You can also fix the distortion in Lightroom very easily. Once corrected you will get crisp colorful high contrast files that are typical Nikon 1 in appearance and pretty sharp across the frame. Again, you will not see the soft corners normally associated with wide-angle zooms.

See how the cage bowls out? This is an uncorrected file and you can see that because I was up very close to the cage it made the distortion very obvious. But this is easily correctable with one click.

UNCORRECTED – Some distortion in the bars


CORRECTED – One click


As long as you do not expect Leica $4000 performance in a $495 lens you will be just fine. For the 1 system, this is a welcome addition for all of you who love shooting wide and soaking in as much as you can into the frame. Just be careful of getting super close with straight lines at the widest setting of 6.7.




My son shoots a Nikon V1, and he loves the 6.7-13mm!

My son Brandon has been shooting a V1 for about a year or so and he loves it. He still owns an original Nikon D2h with a few lenses and he has now seen the light when it comes to size and weight. He owns the 10mm, the 18.5 and the 30-110 and he wants this lens too. Looks like he may be saving some cash soon.

Below are a few he shot with the lens on his V1 – no distortion correction on these, can yo tell? Probably not.






The Pros and Cons of the Nikon 6.7-13mm Lens


  • It is small and light!
  • Covers the popular 18-35 focal length
  • It is very smooth in operation when zooming
  • It is sharp across the frame
  • Superb color and contrast compared to other Nikon 1 zooms
  • Comes with hood and caps
  • Comes in black or silver
  • Great for video on the 1 series cameras
  • Built in VR (vibration reduction)
  • Sharp at 6.7, sharp at 13mm. Wide open or stopped down.


  • It does have distortion so must be corrected in RAW processing
  • Build is on the light side
  • No case or bag included


Bottom Line on the Nikon 6.7-13mm Lens 

This lens is a no brainer if you own and love the Nikon 1 system and you want a nice, small, well made and very good quality wide angle zoom. This will give you that 18mm to 35mm field of view which is a great little setup to have for tight spaces, up close shooting or when you want to cram a ton into the frame.

Wide angle lenses can be a challenge though because by shooting so wide it is very challenging to create an image that is interesting. I have seen many wide-angle pictures that blew me away so maybe one day I will master the art of shooting with a lens such as this.

In any case, it is a great lens and its only flaw is the distortion that is present at 6.7mm. But remember, this is a 6.7mm lens! So distortion will be there. It is easily fixed in software and 75% of the images in this review had the distortion fixed with one click. It really only shows up and is noticeable when shooting up close with straight lines in the image. For me, not an issue.

The lens comes in at just under $500, and when I originally heard that news I assumed it was priced too high. In fact, after using it I find that it is not priced high but probably just about right. Show me where you can get a quality wide-angle zoom covering 18-35 that is sharp across the frame, even at f/3.5 for under $500. Even the full frame equivalent from Nikon, the 18-35 (which I used to own back in the day) is $535, $40 more expensive and it is much larger, heavier and slower to focus. Nikon priced it just right for what it offers. Remember, you get what you pay for.

So one more thumbs up to Nikon for another great lens for the 1 system. This shows me that they are really committed to this system and I am excited to see what the V3 brings. I hear it should be coming soon, before the end of the year.


Where To Buy?

This lens is compatible with any of the Nikon 1 series cameras from the Nikon V1 and V2 to the J1-J3 and the newer S1. You can buy this lens at the links below:

B&H Photo: Black or Silver

Amazon Prime: Black or Silver



PLEASE Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site (and the cost these days to keep it going is pretty damn high), so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

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Aug 052013


Last week there were 12 of the Nikon 32 1.2 lenses in stock in Silver at Amazon and now there is only ONE. The Black versions sold out very fast. As of today, there is only one left at Amazon in Silver and B&H Photo are sold out of the black and silver 100%. This lens is selling very well despite the Nikon 1 hate patrol’s predictions :)

I bought this lens on 7/24 and am not disappointed in the slightest. In fact, my son and I left for a long road trip on Friday and all I brought was two Nikon V1’s, the 6.7-13, the 18.5 1.8 and the 32 1.2. I also snuck in a Sony RX1R and RX100II :) My son is shooting his V1 and 10, 18.5 and 30-110.

The V1 has been doing fantastic, and the 32 1.2 is my favorite lens. It really is the best lens for the 1 system, hands down. Size, build, feel, etc. All there and all gorgeous.

If anyone has been eyeballing it and thinking about it, there is one left. Act fast if you want it!

You can nab it HERE.







Jul 302013

A just for fun CRAZY comparison! Leica M vs Nikon V1 vs RX1R crop mode! 

As many of you know the Nikon 1 system has been more popular now than ever thanks to two things that have happened recently. 1st, the price of the Nikon V1 plummeted to crazy deal levels allowing so many more to give this system a try. 2nd, Nikon released a trio of fantastic lenses that are superb in quality and a couple with fast aperture speeds to combat the fact that shallow depth of field was hard to get with the kit zooms. So now that we have some killer lenses to go along with the super V1 or V2 or J bodies, the system is much more appealing. I have said it from the 1st launch of the V1 and J1…the Nikon 1 system is unique in the fact that they have very well made bodies and a very unique image quality which is best described as “hard” but with superb out of camera color, super fast AF, great spot on metering and very nice video as well. We lose out on shallow deoth of field when compared to a full frame sensor, but so does APS-C and Micro 4/3 when compared to full frame.

To me and for me, the best full frame digital experience there is comes from a Leica M or M9. It has been said that the Nikon 32 1.2 lens will give you the equivalent depth of field of an 85 f/3.6 on full frame. That is due to the fact that the Nikon is a 32mm lens, not an 85. You are only getting the magnification of an 85 because of the small sensor size and 2.7 crop. You still get the depth of field of a 32mm lens, which is always going  to give you MORE DOF than any 85mm lens.

Since the Nikon 32 1.2 is marketed as a fast portrait prime due to this fact that it gives us 85mm equivalent, I decided to test it against a Leica M with a Nikkor 85 at f/4 to see if the DOF is the same. Turns out the M with 85 at f/4 still gives us more shallow DOF than the Nikon 1 and 32 1.2 at 1.2 but with the Nikon we gain nice OOC color, sharp results all the way around and much less cost involved :)

For the 1st two images below I used right from camera RAW images without any modification. I was only testing for color, and DOF here. So images were resized to 1800 pixels wide. The V1 shot was sharper, just as I expected but if you look at her thumb ring you will see the M is still giving us some shallow DOF at f/4 and the Nikon is pretty sharp in this area.




Next up you can see the DOF differences more easily. Just look at the tree in the background. In the M shot, which was again taken at 85mm and f/4, there is a more shallow DOF. The Nikon was shot with the 32mm at 1.2. Is one more pleasing than the other? All depends on your preferences.



BONUS comparison!

How about using the Sony RX1R with its 35mm lens in 70mm crop mode at f/2 vs the Nikon 32 1.2 at 1.2? Using JPEGS only as the Sony can not shoot in 70mm crop in RAW. This way both cameras are using 35 mm lenses (close enough) and the Sony is being cropped to 70mm. What will the results be?

JPEG only on these tests due to the JPEG limitation of the Sony crop mode. The cameras did their own metering as well so this is basically a comparison of DOF and OOC color in Standard modes. Click for larger. You can see the Nikon has a more shallow DOF because I am at 1.2 vs the f/2 setting of the Sony. At f/2 they would have been the same in regards to DOF regardless of sensor size because they are both similar focal lengths.



One more.. you can clearly see here what should be. The Nikon giving a more shallow DOF because here we are comparing two lenses that are VERY close in focal length, 32/35mm. The Nikon at 1.2 will give a more shallow DOF than the Sony at f/2 even though the Sony is using a full frame sensor. At f/2 they would be the same in regards to DOF. SO as you can see using the same focal length lens on full frame or a 1″ sensor will give you the same DOF. 



NOTE: One thing to know is that the M and RX1R will easily beat the Nikon V1 for low light and high ISO, it is just how it is. Once the V1 hits ISO 1200+ it gets noisy though it is not as bad as many think or make it out to be. Below is an ISO 1600 shot with the V1 and 32 1.2, indoors last night. The Nikon V1 color, WB and metering was amazing in this low light. This is ISO 1600 with the 32 wide open at 1.2. So while the V1/V2 can not beat the big full frame guns at low light it can indeed beat them for large DOF and out of camera color and metering, and most importantly, cost. I love them ALL.

Leica M is $7000 without lens – My review is HERE

RX1R is $2800 with Zeiss 35 f.2 – My review is HERE

and Nikon V1 can be found for $249 body only. The 32 1.2 is $896 :) – My review is HERE


Jul 282013


Refurb Nikon V1 Black Body – $249 on Amazon now

Nikon V1 Refurbished from Cameta Camera on Amazon

YES! More Nikon V1 talk, but this is the last post about the 1 system until my new 6.7-13 Lens review which should be in a week or two. I am posting this due to the fact that MANY of you are asking me where to get a cheap black Nikon V1 body, so I found some :)

Yep, lots of you have asked where to get a BLACK Nikon V1 at a similar price to  the $279 deal on Digital Rev (that was a white one, new with 10mm). Today I spotted that Cameta Camera on Amazon has a bunch of refurb BLACK V1’s for $249 a pop. This is a body only, Nikon refurb with one year warranty. A Refurb is a camera that goes back to the factory for one reason or another. A return, an issue, etc. Nikon goes over the cameras, replaces parts, repairs or just fixes cosmetic issues and then packages them back up for refurb discount sales. So if anyone wants the black V1, and they are getting harder to find these days without paying $600+ then this is a good deal.

Check out this video about the Nikon V2 and Street Shooting (V2 is no better than V1 in speed or IQ)

Just click the link above or below to check it out. It is NOT prime eligible but I have ordered from Cameta on Amazon 6 times in the past and they always came through with super fast service and it was always problem free.

Nikon V1 Refurbished from Cameta Camera on Amazon

I know I have been doing quite a bit on the Nikon 1 lately but that is because of these insane prices on such a great little camera. With these new lenses out now, it is a killer system, 1″ sensor or not. I have one more Nikon 1 review coming and that is for the 6.7-13 Ultra Wide Zoom. Stay tuned for that. Until then, you can check out the video below showing my three fave lenses for the system.

Links to my fave three lenses:

Nikon 32 1.2  – Nikon 18.5 f/1.8Nikon 6.7-13 UWA Zoom

and IMO, a MUST own accessory for the V1!

What to expect IQ wise from the V1 with these lenses

Jul 272013


Taking the Nikon 1 to Dream Land with a 25 1.4 C-Mount $29 lens!

The Nikon V1 is an interchangeable lens camera. We all know this fact, but what many do not know is that you can use many other lenses, old lenses, 3rd party lenses, and even Leica lenses on the V1 using certain adapters. IMO, it is a waste of money and glass to use expensive Leica lenses on the V1 or 1 system cameras due to the 2.7 crop that robs the beauty from the lens. For example,  a 35mm summicron would turn into a 90 and you would lose the magic of the lens which was designed for full frame. Many complain about the 1 system and the difficulties of achieving “Bokeh” or out of focus backgrounds (shallow depth of field) with the standard Nikon 1 lenses. There are two that will deliver this for you but one is expensive at $900 (the 32 1.2) and one is under $200 but will still lack a little in the Bokeh department unless you are shooting up close. That lens is the fantastic 18.5 1.8.

Still, those lenses may not deliver the blur that many “power bokeh junkies”  want. There is a reason many people pay $11k for a 50mm Noctilux and yes, 99% of all Noctilux users shoot that thing at f/0.95 as it was designed and optimized to do.  Luckily, there is a crazy way to get extreme Bokeh on the 1 system cameras with the use of a $29 lens that is sold on Amazon, by Amazon. It is in NO WAY anything like a Nocti, but hey, for $29 what do you expect?

UPDATE: Yesterday I posted the image below asking ALL of you to guess which camera and lens took the photo.

MANY of you said Leica M 240 and various lenses from vintage glass like the Summarit to the $11,000 Noctilux to the 50 1.5 Nokton. I mean, a ton of you said Leica M, which is a full frame camera! This tells me that many associate crazy massive Bokeh with Leica and/or full frame. Crazy what we will see when we do not know what took the image :)

Others said the Nikon V1 and 32 1.2, but even that lens would not render anywhere close to this way. What you see below if you look closely is crazy melted bokeh and soft corners. The Leica modern lenses would be crisp and sharp in the corners and the Nikon 32 1.2 would be as well. Some vintage glass renders in this way on the Leica M 240 and yes, the colors below do look comparable to the Leica M 240 but this came from the V1 and the $29 25 1.4 C-Mount lens with the $10 adapter :)


Yep, the 25 1.4 C-Mount generic lens from Amazon sold by Rainbow Imaging. It is not a sharp lens, it is not made very well, it is tiny and yes, it is a C-mount lens that costs $29 and is a 25 1.4 lens that delivers softness, dreaminess and crazy Bokeh that some will find interesting and others will find not so interesting. To check out the lens at Amazon, click HERE. It comes with an adapter for Micro 4/3 so you will need the $10 Nikon 1 Adapter. So for $39 total you can add a 25 1.4 lens to your stable, though like I said, it is cheaply made, very soft and on the Nikon 1, can only be  used in full manual mode which means manual focus, manual aperture and manual shutter speed. It’s not a lens for those that want speed and convenience, it is for those who like to take an artsy shot every now and again.



C-Mount lenses are made for TV cameras and are known to be TINY but FAST in aperture. In fact, you can buy new high quality C-Mount lenses at B&H Photo. They even sell a 25 0.95 but it goes for $1500. Using a C-Mount to Nikon 1 adapter that you can BUY HERE at Amazon for $10 you can mount a C-Mount lens to your Nikon 1 camera. Not all C-Mount lenses will work well but when looking you need to find one that is made for 16mm. This will then cover the Nikon 1 imaging sensor. Many Nikon 1 users are expirimenting with such lenses as are Micro 4/3 owners. These lenses work very well on these smaller sensor cameras. When I say “very well” I mean, they work..but the results will be crazy in many situations, and some will be beautiful. All depends on the eye of the beholder.


So for those Nikon 1 shooters who do not want to spend $900 on the 32 1.2, which will give you sharpness, light gathering, 85mm equivalent and a fast aperture with plenty of Bokeh, for $40 you can have a tiny setup that will give you plenty of (crazy) bokeh BUT NOT SO MUCH Sharpness, not so good of build and a lens that will not focus to infinity :)  Still, when I saw this I had to try it so I could pass along the results here. For a $40 investment, the results are not bad at all! In fact, they do indeed look like some of the results I get from the full frame Leica M with really old 50mm glass.



Wrap up: The lens is available at Amazon HERE, and is prime eligible for $29 and it comes with a Micro 4/3 adapter so you can use it on your Micro 4/3 camera. Amazon prime members even get free 2 day ship! The Nikon 1 adapter needed for use on a Nikon 1 camera is also Prime eligible and is HERE. If anyone buys this set for use on the Nikon 1, you must put the camera into manual mode for it to work, otherwise you will get the warning message on the screen that a lens needs to be attached. So manual aperture, shutter speed and focus. Once you have your meter set, it is as easy as pie to use. I’ll add more images to the Nikon 1 gallery as I get them.

Have fun!



PLEASE Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site (and the cost these days to keep it going is pretty damn high), so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at Amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :) More info is here on how you can help! If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter, my facebook fan page and now GOOGLE +

Jul 242013


Even though I have no affiliation with DigitalRev, I love and have been a huge fan of their youtube videos for a long while now. Last week I made a purchase from their website for a Nikon V1 with 10mm 2.8 for $269 with FREE Fed Ex express shipping. I ordered and had the camera two days later at my door for a grand total of $269. This my friends is a deal of all deals. For $269 you get the rock solid V1, with its solid heft, large Nikon battery, built-in EVF, dead silent shutter or mechanical shutter, 1/16,000s capability, and small 10Mp files with a nice film like rendering right out of the camera. You get the 10mm 2.8 lens thrown in as well, and this lens is one of the good ones. In fact, my set is the 10, the 18.5 and the 32 1.2. Three quality primes equaling 28mm, 50mm and 85mm. Yep, The new 32 1.2 has taken it up a notch.

I added a grip from Amazon and picked up TIHS ONE because it allows access to the battery and SD card door. It’s also much cheaper than the plastic Nikon version – HIGHLY recommended.

I also have a black V1, yes I own TWO. My son owns one in black and his stepbrother owns a black one as well. It seems like we have our own little V1 club around here. The reality is that I have loved this camera since its release and have rarely been without one in my house. With the recent lens additions of the 18.5 1.8 and 32 1.2 this little guy is a steal of a deal, and IMO, better than the V2 because the V2 is $700-$1000 and does not improve on the IQ at all. The V2 also looks like a teeny DSLR. The V1 is classic in design and there will never be another like it. For $269, it is a true bargain.


I make ZERO money if you click over to Digital Rev and buy this but I could not sit by and NOT tell you guys about this as it may be the last chance for new V1’s being available. They also sell the black V1 with the 10-30 and 30-110 for $479 shipped. These will ship from Hong Kong but as I said, they ship them via Fed Ex Express for FREE so it arrives in 1-2 days from the time they ship it (they ship within 24 hours or so).

You can buy the white V1 and 10mm lens for $269 here, of the black with two lens kit for $479 HERE. Again, I make zero money from this, just passing along the word on a great deal for a camera I really love shooting. I bought my white one there and the experience was great. It is hard to find a new in box V1 these days as most of the big box stores are sold out and at Amazon they are selling the black with 10-30 for over $600. So if you have been getting the itch, I do not think these deals will last very long.

BTW, the strap is my leather braided strap from 

NOTE: Someone pointed out that buying from Digital Rev and shipping to the USA may void the Nikon warranty. It may be fine, but the only way to find out is to ask Digital Rev. If there were any in stock at a reputable USA store I’d go there 1st, but I think most are gone. I am not worried about warranty on a $269 camera, which is why I own two. :) Would I buy a $2500 camera from Digital Rev and ship to the USA? No. But a $269 deal like this? YES, I did. Twice :)


To see V1 samples with all of the lenses, click HERE to see my Nikon 1 Gallery page. This camera is not a toy, but a very capable tool with a unique way of rendering an image. 

Jul 222013

 The Nikon 32 1.2 Lens Review

The Nikon 1 System Nikkor 32 1.2 Lens Review

One of my favorite cameras now has the capability to mount a superfast 85mm equivalent lens that has been much needed since the launch of the camera system. The Nikon 32 1.2 lens for the Nikon 1 System is here and when taking it out to mount it to my V1, it appears to be a masterpiece of design and build quality. After taking a few snaps, it is obvious that this lens is serious about optical performance as well.

Nikon’s own blurb:

“A legendary lens in the making.

One of the most celebrated lenses in NIKKOR’s 80-year heritage is the 85mm f/1.4, often praised as the ultimate portrait lens. Now that same medium telephoto angle of view and outstanding performance is available for your Nikon 1 system—with an even faster f/1.2 maximum aperture. The 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 (86mm equivalent on Nikon 1’s CX format) combines exceptional optics with lens technologies usually reserved for D-SLR lenses, like Nano Crystal Coat for preventing lens flare (even in direct light) and the innovative Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for ultra-fast, ultra-quiet autofocusing. The 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 even includes a manual focus ring—another first for a 1 NIKKOR lens. Whether you’re shooting portraits, travel, landscapes or HD videos, the 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 brings exciting new capabilities to your Nikon 1 system.”


A 32 1.2 Lens for $896? Deal or Rip Off?

Coming in at $896 for a 1 system 32 1.2 CX lens sounds expensive on one end of the spectrum because many will be mounting this lens to a Nikon V1 that they paid $300 for or a V2 that they paid $700 for. Most other Nikon 1 lenses are on the lower end of the cost scale coming in between $190 to $500. The highly regarded 18.5 1.8 is less than $200 but weighs as much as a feather (not really, but it is LIGHT). The 10mm 2.8 can be had for $200 and the 30-110 zoom is $250 or so. So seeing a lens for this system come in at $896 is sort of nuts when you look at it in this light. Why is this one so expensive while the others are on the lower end of the price scale?

This was snapped out of my windshield as I was driving into Sedona, AZ with the Nikon V1 and 32 1.2 lens. Click it for larger!


I can answer that question for you. This is a 32mm lens, but let us just say it is 35mm for the sake of discussion. A 35mm lens is more expensive to make than an 85mm lens or a 45mm lens. Especially when premium glass is used with Nano coatings. Being a 35mm lens with premium build, nano coating, silent wave motor and a manual focus ring means that it will of course be more expensive than the other Nikon 1 lens offerings, not just because of these pro features but because those other lenses are not in the same league where build, feel, and even IQ are concerned. I have not even mentioned that yes, this is indeed a 1.2 aperture lens any ay you look at it.

You will indeed get the light gathering of a 1.2 aperture lens, and speed costs money in the camera lens world. For Nikon 1 users this is a huge bonus as we want a lens that will give us low light ability and some shallow DOF as well. We may not get the same DOF as we would on a full frame camera but it will be about the same as the Olympus 45 1.8 on a micro 4/3 camera. While the Olympus 45 1.8 is $399, less than half the cost of the Nikon, you can not use it on a Nikon 1, the build is not the same as the Nikon, it is not a 32/35mm , it is a 45mm.  It is also a f/1.8 aperture lens and  not an f/1.2 aperture lens.

A storm was a brewin…


So when you look at it in this light, $889 for a 32 1.2 lens sounds about right when you compare it to other lenses in this category, especially since there are no other lenses for the 1 system like this, at all. It is basically an ultra fast 35mm lens but seeing that it is mounted on the 2.7 crop Nikon 1 body, it gives us an 86mm equivalent, so it acts as a super high quality portrait prime, the best lens yet for the Nikon 1. It even has a manual focus ring that when turned, automatically brings up magnification in the viewfinder or on the LCD. The manual focus action is smooth as silk. So for $889, a superfast prime for Nikon 1 shooters is really not a bad deal at all.

Once you shoot with one you will see I speak the truth. Still, many will shun it due to the price and the fact that it is a Nikon 1 system lens, which is a shame. I learned long ago to never judge a book by its cover. Even with me, a guy who used it extensively along with almost every other mirrorless lens out there telling you all this I am sure many will comment that it is overpriced. The ones who say that are the ones who will never touch it, use it or own it.

For the 1st time with the 1 System, you can get shallow DOF without having to be super close to your subject :) 


The Nikon 32 1.2 is well worth it to Nikon 1 shooters who want the best quality lens they can get for this system. It offers build, speed, precision AF, beautiful manual focus ability and yes, even some shallow DOF for us 1 shooters. You could skip this lens and buy a Voigtlander 35 1.2 II and mount it with a Leica M to Nikon 1 adapter but you will lose some sharpness, have to shoot in manual only and lose the blazing fast AF. It will also be much larger and heavier. You will get the same field of view and depth of field and pay $500 more while losing sharpness. So again, looking at it like this makes the Nikon 32 1.2 appear to be a deal.

The 32 1.2 wide open at 1.2 will deliver sharp results and finally, some shallow depth of field for us Nikon 1 lovers. I added grain during a B&W conversion on this one. 


But what if I do not own a Nikon 1 camera? Is it worth buying into?

Many will say that you should not buy into Nikon 1, but I say hogwash. If your requirements are small size, fast and accurate AF, great video, nice build, built in EVF, and nice prime lenses than you have three options. Sony, Olympus or Nikon 1.

Sony: The excellent NEX-7 is still around for $1200 but really good lenses will cost you. The Zeiss 24 1.8 is still one of the best for the system at $1100. The 6 is also great. But it will be slower than a Nikon 1 camera in AF, color out of the camera will not be as good, and you will have larger lenses and more bulk. You will gain the power of a larger APS-C sensor which means better low light and richer files. There is no 85mm 1.2 equivalent made by Sony or Zeiss for E-Mount but there is the 50mm f/1.8 which will give you a 75mm equivalent.

Olympus OM-DThe OM-D has it all. Built in EVF, fast AF, jam packed with features, 5-Axis, etc. So buying an OM-D E-M5 and 45 1.8 will get you the equivilant of a Nikon V1 and 32 1.2. So why go for one over the other? Well, I have both and the new E-P5 here. I have shot with all of these quite a bit. All I can say is that you can still buy a V1 with 10mm prime for $269 with free fed ex express shipping. Add in the 32 1.2 for $900 and you have a $1169 investment. Buy a V2 instead at $700 and you are up to $1600. The Olympus E-M5 will set you back $900 plus $400 for the lens, or  $1300. You will have a more modern feature packed body but you while you gain all of the fancy stuff you will lose on a couple of things over a V1 or V2:

Nikon 1 will win for AF speed, sharpness, and color out of camera. Nikon 1 will be more simple and to the point and Nikon 1 has better video without the jello effect of the Olympus. A Nikon 1 with 10, 18 and 32 will take up much less space in your bag than an E-M5 with 12, 25 and 45.

Nikon V1 with 10, 18 and 32 – Total cost = $1370 – This gives you a 28 2.8, 50 1.8 and 85 1/2 equivalent prime lens set. 

Nikon V2 with 10, 18 and 32 – Total cost $1800 – 

OM-D E-M5 with 12, 25 and 45 – Total cost = $2700 – This gives you a 24 f/2, 50 1.4 and 90 1.8 equivalent prime lens set.

The V1 has a 1/16,000 of a second shutter, so no ND filter required to shoot at 1.2 in full sun.


When you start to add in other lenses the cost rises for the Oly system and the 1 system is less expensive, smaller, faster and with what I feel is better color. BUT, the OM-D E-M5 has a larger sensor, more features, and better high ISO performance. Still, the difference is not that huge and like I said, the Nikon will be sharper if that is your thing. The Olympus will be a little “richer” in its files which can give you a more “pro” or polished look but again, not a huge difference. Just see my Olympus 45 1.8 Lens review HERE and take a look at the images there, and then again at these in this review. Do those strike you as being any better in quality? Hmmm.

So if you are on the fence do know that the Nikon 1 will also give you more noise in the images, even at base ISO, but they will be more film like in their look at the same time. The OM-D will be richer and the Sony NEX series richer still. To those that say the 1 System sucks, you are so wrong! It is a great little system as long as you are not hung up on sensor size. With this 32 1.2 lens added, it made my love grow even more for the 1. You can read my Nikon V1 Review HERE, and my V2 review HERE.


Nikon 1, it’s quite good

So many have dismissed the Nikon 1 system and have called it everything from a “toy” to “junk” to “worthless” and even “bad for photography” but I have been a fan since day one of the Nikon V1 release. I found that even though it had a few issues, the V1 was HIGHLY capable and gave a unique look that no other camera was giving but the speed and AF accuracy is also top notch. I said from the get go that the V1 put out files more film like than other digital cameras, mainly due to the “hard” files that came out of it. These images have grain, grit and superb color right out of the box. Even base ISO has grain, but it is nice. Those who crave large and smooth buttery files will NOT like the Nikon 1 bodies because this is not what they will give in most situations. What it will give you is sharp detailed 10-14MP files with amazing exposure and color. It will give you fast AF in a fun to use format and body. Did I say beautiful color right out of the box?

Right from RAW, this color is SPOT on. Something my Leica M could not do or get close to. The 32 1.2 when wide open delivers super sharpness and nice contrast as well. This is not your old 1950’s tech, this guy is as sharp or sharper than any full frame or APS-C 85mm lens, and yes, you can qoute me on that. I have owned the Nikon 85 1.4, the Canon 85 1.2 and 1.8, the Olympus 45 1.8 and others. 


But enough of the V1 as I went over all of its virtues in the V1 review from long ago, and then the V2 review not too  long ago. Needless to say, I am a fan of the 1 system for what it brings to me: Size, speed, rock solid exposure with an almost film like rendering and gorgeous color with sharp as can be performance. It lacks in the high ISO department, shallow depth of field department and resolution department seeing that the V1 is 10MP and the V2 is 14 MP. But what happens when you attach a nice lens? We finally get “WOW” performance from this little powerhouse system with a nice control over depth of field. We now have TWO amazing lenses for the 1 system, the 18.5 1.8 and this 32 1.2 that is above that one.

Yes my friends, this Nikon 32 1.2 lens is awesome.  What a beauty of a lens it is in just about every way. After using this lens for a while I came to appreciate what it is, what it does and how it transforms my V1 into something else than it has ever been before. I can go for some shallow DOF or some crisp sharp rendering with good dynamic range and splendid color. Nikon 1 gives me better OOC color than my $7000 Leica M 240.

The sensor in the 1 cameras may be small but it is capable of nice results as long as you do not need huge megapixels. The 32 1.2 lens is sharp, crisp and pumps out rich color. The Nano coatings show. Click them for larger!




The 32 1.2 is the best quality lens for the Nikon 1 system. Period.

Those of us who are familiar with the Nikon 1 system know the main weaknesses and high ISO is at the top of the list. Compared to the competition in the APS-C world, the V1 and V2 can not compete at ISO 400, 800, 1600, 3200 or 6400. The noise starts to get worse and creep in at ISO 400 even. But guess what? Film has a way of doing the same thing. I look at the V1 as a mini digital film camera, and know what it will give me in return when I crank it up to ISO 1600 or 3200. Before the 32 1.2 all we had was the 18.5 1.8, which is a GREAT lens but 1.2 is faster than 1.8 so we can now get that extra bit of light to the sensor and lower our ISO or gain faster shutter speeds to eliminate shake.

Wide open at 1.2, shot at a distance. I am so used to shooting 35 and 50 that shooting at 85mm seems odd to me as I am so far from the subject. Still, you can not argue with results like this from a Nikon V1. This is from RAW.



Clouds – 32 1.2 at f/5.6 – converted to HC B&W with Alien Skin


The 32 1.2 also gives us that 85mm equivilant portrait length prime, with some nice shallow DOF. While the DOF can not compete with a full frame camera and 85mm lens, it does compete with the DOF from a 35mm lens, because that is basically what this lens is when rounded up. You can not get the DOF of an 85mm lens from a 32mm lens, period. Still, there is nothing else comparable for the 1 System and this lens delivers the goods in all areas.

Close focus – You can focus as close as 17 inches or 0.4 meters or 16 inches. That’s pretty close for an 85mm equivalent lens.



From RAW showing the Bokeh of the 32 1.2 wide open.


Out of camera color and contrast is superb!


The 32 1.2 also gives us real manual focus control and it feels GREAT and works great on the Nikon V1 and V2 (have not tested on the J series). Yep, the front of the lens has a nice feeling metal manual focus ring that rotates smoothly. As soon as you start to rotate the camera automatically goes into magnify assist mode making it a breeze to get critical manual focus. You also get a meter that pops up in the display to show you where you are at in the focus range. Shooting MF with this lens is a good experience. The AF performance is top notch but sometimes you will want precise control and this lens gives it to us with the 1 series camera.


Do not be afraid of the smaller sensors!

As Craig Litten explained in his excellent V1 article, there is no need to be afraid of small sensor cameras. The Nikon 1 series is a fantastic take anywhere system that while not offering full frame or APS-C performance in DOF and creaminess will give you some things that are better than what a DSLR or larger sensor can give you. For example, with a full frame camera it is very hard to get large Depth of Field (everything in focus) and we usually need to stop down to f/11  to do so. With the 1 series you can stop down a lens like the 32 1.2 to f/5.6 and have a large DOF. At 1.2 you will get shallow DOF. It is the best of both worlds but do not expect full frame f/1.2 shallow DOF performance. Still, the small sensor in the V1 and V2 and even Sony RX100 are splendid for what they are and what they can do and they are highly capable regardless of what the naysayers THINK. Yes, I say think as those who bash this system are those who are just hung up on sensor size.


With the new 32 1.2 lens by Nikon, they have given the 1 series owners what they have been begging for since day one. Now that it is here many are complaining about the price yet I see people every day spend $4000, $6000, and even $11000 on Leica lenses. I see people plunk down $2500 for a Nikon DSLR lens and others pay $1300 for a Micro 4.3 2.8 Zoom. At $896, Nikon delivers a very well made, very well feeling quality fast 32 1.2 lens for the 1 system so us owners can have a fast portrait type of prime. This lens is built to a level much higher than the 18.5 1.8 and even though it is larger, it is still VERY small when compared to other lenses that are 1.2 in aperture, or even 1.4 aperture. It is about the same size as the Panasonic 25 1.4 for Micro 4/3 but feels better made, looks nicer, focuses faster, is silent and will give similar performance. (and looking at my review for that Panasonic 25 1.4, I prefer my images here with this lens by far)


My Final Word on the Nikon 32 1.2 and more on the 1 system.

If you own a 1 system camera and have been craving a fast lens, this is it. If you go for it, you will LOVE it. 

The AF is fast, the lens and camera will even focus in near dark conditions and thanks to the Silent Wave Motor it is QUIET. You can shoot at 1.2 and suck in more light and keep your ISO lower and it is damn good looking on the camera. I say BRAVO to Nikon for this one, it is a  fantastic lens that just made the Nikon 1 system that much better. I just wish they had a 13 f/1.2, 19 1.2 and a 75 1.4 in this quality build. That would be awesome but I am also aware that most 1 series owners are those who are just happy shooting the kit zooms, so I am surprised Nikon released this one at all. I am not sure how many more fast primes they will release, if any, but this one is the real deal.


I enjoyed shooting this lens so much I went ahead and ordered one for my V1 camera. I review and evaluate tons of gear, much more than I even write about on this website. It is not very often that I buy what I review. In the past 6 weeks I have tested the Leica X Vario, Ricoh GR, Zeiss Touit lenses with a Fuji X-E1, Olympus E-P5, Samsung NX300 and this lens. The only one I plunked my money down for at the end of the day is this lens. So there ya go.

Truth be told, I enjoy shooting my Nikon 1 more than I did the Leica X Vario or Fuji X-E1 or Olympus E-P5. I can own any of these cameras as a walk around every day kit but I chose the Nikon 1. So did my son and so did his stepbrother. Pretty crazy but it seems that those who shoot the little NIkon V1 and actually gives it a real go ends up really liking it, and at $269 for the V1 and 10mm 2.8 (while they last) it is the biggest no brainer of the century.


As for this lens, at $890 it is NOT cheap but fast QUALITY glass never comes cheap and if it does it is sadly not to the quality of this lens. Sure the Olympus 45 1.8 is $400 but it is not a 32 1.2. Sure the Sony 50 1.8 is cheaper but it is also not a 32 1.2 lens. The only other lens that comes close to this focal length is the Voigtlander 35 1.2 and that is a $1400 full frame Leica M mount lens and I would bet $100 that it would be less sharp from 1.2 to f/2 on the Nikon V1 or V2! It is also much larger and heavier and while it kicks major bootie as a 35mm lens on a full frame $7000 Leica, it would be no better than this lens on the Nikon 1 as an 85mm.



True you will never get the full frame look of a 35 1.2 on any Nikon 1 camera but that is not what this system is all about. It is about fun, usability, reliability, speed, and yes, color and image quality. It is a take anywhere compact system that gets trashed all over the internet by those who never touched one. No, not everyone will like the look of the files that come from the smaller sensor but this lens makes it much harder to dismiss the Nikon 1 unless you are just a Nikon one trash talker just for the sake of being one.

Yes my friends, the lens is a winner but only you can decide if the cost is worth it to you. If you own a Nikon 1 you owe it to yourself to check it out if you can and you may just fall for it as I did. It’s a beauty and yes, worth the premium price if quality is what you seek.

You can see more images from the Nikon 1 cameras HERE

You can buy this lens at Amazon or B&H Photo at the direct links below:

Buy this lens in Black at Amazon or B&H Photo

Buy this lens in Silver at Amazon or B&H Photo

















PLEASE Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site (and the cost these days to keep it going is pretty damn high), so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

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Jul 152013


The Nikon 32mm f/1.2 Lens is a Bargain*

*in the 1 system world!

By Joe Marquez  – His website is HERE

The Nikon 32 1.2 is available at Amazon HERE or B&H Photo HERE.  *Amazon & B&H have the Silver version in stock now. 


For the past couple of weeks I’ve been shooting with Nikon’s 32mm f/1.2 prime lens for the 1 system. This is Nikon’s new diminutive portrait lens and on the CX one-inch sensor the lens produces a field of view equivalent to an 85mm focal length on a full frame DSLR.

So why is this a bargain? Well let’s compare pricing of the fastest 85mm prime lenses available for Nikon and Canon.

Nikon 32/1.2 – $899

Nikon 85/1.4g – $1649

Canon 85/1.2L – $1999

In comparison to the Nikon 85/1.4g you save $750 and get the bonus of one half stop of light gathering capability. In comparison to the Canon 85/1.2L lens you save $1100. And the savings don’t factor in the cost of a camera body. Purchase a Nikon V2 or bargain basement V1 body ($200)  instead of a Nikon or Canon full frame body ($3000) and now we’re talking about some serious dollar savings.


And there’s the weight savings to consider.

Nikon 32/1.2 – 235g (8.29oz)

Nikon 85/1.4g – 660g (1.45lbs)

Canon 85/1.2L – 1030g (2.26lbs)

Nikon V1 or V2 body including battery – 383g/337g (13.5oz/11.9oz)

To my surprise, the 32/1.2 attached to a V1 or V2 body with a battery weighs less than the 85/1.4g alone.

Well, of course everyone wants a bargain, but what are the limitations of the 32/1.2 compared to these other 85mm portrait lenses?  I’ve listed a few below, however, based on my shooting experience with the 32/1.2, none are a deal breaker for me.

Depth of field not as shallow.

Noisier, particularly in low light.

Fast focusing slows in low light.

Not as many megapixels.


These are more a consequence of the smaller CX one-inch sensor than the lens itself and as sensor technology improves, these limitations will become less so (except of course the fixed DOF).

So what do the images look like? Not bad and I’ve included a few below. These were taken on a V1 body which I purchased a month ago. The images include street shots in Waikiki and Chinatown, contestants at a Dracula event in Honolulu and performers at the Korean Festival near Diamond Head.

In summary, what would you say if someone offered an 85mm equivalent portrait lens capable of shooting at f/1.2 that costs approximately half a Nikon or Canon equivalent and along with a camera body weights less than a Nikon 85/1.4g lens alone?

Don’t know about you, but I would say, “what a bargain!”









May 292013

USER REPORT: The Nikkor 6.7-13 VR lens review by Steven Norquist

Hi Steve,

I read your review of the V1 about a month ago just before my birthday and your review was so interesting that I decided “what the hell” and I bought a V1 on Amazon with the 10-30mm lens before they were all gone. My little gift to myself. (as if I don’t have enough cameras already!) I started shooting with it and just fell in love with this little camera. It fits the hand so well and is like a baby Leica in feel.

Putting the camera into electronic shutter mode makes it totally silent and vibration free and allows for a top shutter speed of 1/16000 of a second! Amazing.

As I started to process the raw files I was getting some very interesting results. A very open file with lots of dynamic range and sharpness across the whole frame, side to side and front to back. This must be due to the huge depth of field the cx sensor is capable of.

I was so impressed with the little V1 that when I heard the release announcement of the new Nikkor 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 VR Lens and saw the crazy MTF chart at the Nikon website I knew I had to have one.

So I ordered it (at $500 it cost twice what I paid for the V1!).

It is a beautifully made lens. Heavy and made of metal and comes with a nice lens hood which actually does work! The zoom is firm, tight and smooth, no play in there.

The 6.7 looks great mounted on the V1.


I took the 6.7 out on its first shoot at Cabrillo Monument in San Diego. I shot everything in raw using Daylight white balance with a +2 amber boost. Metering was Matrix. All raw images were converted using Adobe Raw and any adjustments were made in both Adobe Raw and Photoshop.

My normal process is simply to bring out of the raw what is already there, to enhance contrast and color in a natural way to achieve a “slide film” style look. The V1 with its lower pixel count 10mp sensor excels in creating that “film like” look in my opinion.

Shot at 6.7mm at F4. Note the foreground foliage is sharp even though I focused on the distant land.


BELOW: 100% crop of the lower left region showing forground and infinity distant objects. All share the same detail level.

crop 1

This lens has very high contrast and very high resolution. Truly amazing detail across the whole frame side to side and front to back. When shot at 6.7mm at f3.5 the lens will vignette very heavily and it is best to stop down to f4 where the corners lighten up by 50% or so. The lens is most sharp at f3.5 and f4. F4 is optimal as the corners will sharpen up a bit and the vignetting will be less.

Color rendition is excellent, spot on with intense saturation. Blues are deep and rich and avoid the cyan shift that can cause that yucky digital blue we all hate.

13mm @ f5.6. I really love the blues this lens produces and the rich yellows and oranges. Reminds me of Velvia film.


Below: and a 100% crop

One-Hundred Percent Crop

At 6.7mm the lens has barrel distortion but it is actually not that bad when you consider that this is a 6.7mm lens! It should have a crazy fish eye distortion but the barrel distortion is not really bad at all and can be corrected in Adobe Photoshop using the Lens correction tool by simply punching in +5 when shooting at 6.7mm. Use lesser correction values as you zoom in with the lens.

By 13mm the lens is straight as an arrow with no distortion or vignetting of interest.

6.7mm @ F4. Distortion corrected in Photoshop by using +5.


Over all I am very amazed by this lens. Nikon really pulled out the stops on this one, it could become a classic. And as the Nikon 1 series cameras mature and their sensors improve over time this lens will be there all the way to squeeze the last notch of resolution out of them. I don’t regret this lens purchase or the V1.

Thanks again Steve for your inspiring reviews and for turning me onto this camera. There ain’t nuthin wrong with 10mp!

Let me leave you with a few last samples.

6.7mm @ F4, no distortion correction.


6.7mm @ F4. Distortion corrected in Photoshop by using +5.


10.9mm @ F5. Love the natural deep greens this lens can produce. Look how pure the white is on those tombstones, no color bleeding.



Apr 262013


So this is basically a user-report about the Nikon V1 and the various lenses for it that I use. Do I have G.A.S? When it comes to lenses, certainly. But I need them all ;-) What I don’t need is a new body. I’m aware of the V2 but I think that it’s 1) way uglier than the V1 and 2) why, oh why, did they change the battery? I love the big battery of the V1! All images were processed with Lightroom 3. I’m German, so I hope you’ll forgive my English. And thanks again for this great site!


Love your camera – my Nikon V1 and I

By Nadine Curdes

I still remember my first camera, which I got when I was 10 years old. It was a film camera, had a fixed focal length (whatever that was…), resembled a little black box and was basically a really cheap point&shoot. But I loved that camera and it was my constant companion for the next 10 years. When it finally “died”, I bought a digital camera – and lost my joy in photography. I thought it was because I disliked digital photography – but no, that wasn’t it, I just had bought the wrong camera! It was certainly a (technically) “better” camera than my old one, but it wasn’t better for me. So for years, I only took some holiday shots until in 2011 my sister asked for my help, because she wanted to buy herself a new camera. Through her I got acquainted with this great site and read lots of Mr. Huff’s reviews. At first to help my sister decide, then because something that had been dormant inside of me for so long woke up again: I wanted to take pictures and I wanted a new camera to do it with! Then I read the article about the Nikon V1 (“The camera I expected to hate”) and the rest, as they say, is history. I fell in love. Maybe because the V1 resembles a small black box ? But joke aside, I liked the look of the camera and the picture samples and decided to buy it. Best decision I ever made! The camera just felt right in my hand. Solid and well made. The AF is a dream, fast and precise and always seems to know what I want. I always shoot in aperture priority mode and choose my own ISO.

At first I only had the 10 – 30mm kit-zoom. I know that many people complain about that lens and yes, it isn’t great (it’s slow – and there can be a slight distortion of the horizon, but nothing Lightroom can’t fix), but it’s decent enough and I shot happily away with it


But, of course, now that my love for photography was revived, I wanted more – more lenses ;-). So the next one was the 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6.


I love that lens. It isn’t very fast, but it can still give you some shallow depth of field.


Then (again thanks to this site) I found the 18.5mm f/1.8. A fast prime, yeah! And a 50mm equivalent! Great! I was in heaven and when that lens arrived, I shot with it exclusively for about two weeks.



This is a very good lens. It is not expensive, it’s fast, it’s well-made. I love the IQ it produces. And it can give you some nice shallow depth of field.


If I had to decide on only one lens for the V1, this would be it.

The next prime I added was the 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens. This lens gives fantastic colors, in my opinion.


Together with the 18.5mm, these two lenses kicked the 10-30mm out of my arsenal – ah,well.


Since there is someone in my family who owns a Nikon DSLR and who would let me borrow his lenses, I got a FT1 mount adapter and tried some of the “big” lenses. For myself I bought a (slightly used) Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 for macro-photography. The AF doesn’t work with this lens but the MF is easier than I thought it would be and in macro-photography, I think, it’s even better to focus manually. I really like this lens and even so it’s quite big on the V1 (together with the adapter), it’s not too heavy or unwieldy.


The last of my ever-growing assortment of lenses arrived just today: The 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 wide angle lens. Of course I tried it today and it looks like another winner. It’s certainly a nice, well-made lens.

I don’t carry all my lenses around with me all the time. My standard set-up is one wide-angle, the 18.5mm and the 30-110mm.

That set-up fits nicely into my camera bag (a Think Tank – thanks to Steve Huff again!)

So I’m quite in love with my V1. Is it perfect? No, of course not. No camera is. But it’s perfect for me. It understands me, it sees the world the way I do. When I shoot with it, I don’t think about the camera, only about the picture. Using the V1 feels natural, intuitive and easy. That’s what I like. For that, I can live with the smaller sensor and the 10 MP. I don’t make my pictures into posters anyway. For me, this camera is a joy to shoot. I want to take it out and take pictures with it and I have not felt like that since my old film camera “died”. So I’m happy!

Choose the camera that feels right to you. That may be a DSLR, a range finder… or like in my case, a V1. It doesn’t matter. As long as you enjoy it.

Thank you,


Apr 192013

Craig Litten’s Daytona Bike week images..

A few weeks ago I posted about a workshop with Craig Litten at Daytona Bike Week and while I was not able to attend I heard it was one of the best Bike Weeks ever. Craig, like me is a big believer in the little Nikon V1 camera and he shot with it pretty much exclusively from what I understand and every image below was taken with that little $300 powerhouse. :)

I was sad to miss this workshop as I feel it would have been fun and challenging at the same time but I am 90% sure I will be at his next event, Biketoberfest! In fact, I am hoping to buy my flight next week to lock it in. Anyway, I asked Craig if I could post his shots from the event and he was all for it so enjoy!

ALL SHOTS below are by Craig Litten!

BTW, Fuji X20 1st look coming Monday, Nikon Coolpix A first look coming Wednesday and another Zeiss ZM lens for Leica refresh! Also have a great Olympus article coming later today. Stay tuned!







Bike Week 2013











Feb 192013


The Nikon V2 Quick Review by Steve Huff

Good day to ALL who are reading this today! I have the flu or some sort of sickness that is giving me a fever, chills, cough and overall yuck feeling but lucky for me I have a laptop I can work on in bed. :)  Yes, my dedication to this site is still there even after 4+ years of daily updating and this is due to all of YOU who come here to read. I truly appreciate each and every one of  you!

Before I begin and start typing away about the Nikon V2, which is Nikon’s follow up to the semi sort of successful Nikon V1 (which can be had at insane blowout prices right now) let me state that I was not going to review this camera, which is why this quick review is being written quite a while after the cameras release. I just did not think the V2 offered enough of an improvement (on paper) over the V1 and for the cost difference, I could not imagine the V2 to be $600 better than the V1 (current sale prices on V1).

BUT! I had that same point of view with the original V1 which ended up being a camera that I loved (the camera I expected to hate) so if I discounted the Nikon V2 and it ended up being a great and much better camera than the V1 then I would feel bad and we can not have that!

So here I am, getting ready to write about the update to the V1, the Nikon V2 :) But one thing that is different today than when i write the V1 review is that we have the Olympus OM-D that was NOT out when the original V1 surfaced so my bottom line conclusion just may be different than it was with the V1. Read on…

The Nikon V2 with the new 18.5 1.8 Lens, IMO the best lens in the Nikon 1 series lineup. The Nikon V1 and V2 can give you superb IQ with a big depth of field.


This review will be a shorter and pretty quick review though mainly due to the fact that there are not many huge differences between the V1 and V2. Besides the body design, the actual usability and performance are not that big of a difference unless you really really love a big grip.

So here are the main differences..

  • We still have a just under an inch size sensor but with more megapixels (10 vs 14)
  • a new “slow view” mode (another gimmick mode)
  • new physical dial on the top to choose modes (this IS an improvement)
  • 15 FPS 
  • new body design with a large deep grip that the original did not have.
  • 135 AF Focus Points vs 45 Focus points (I only use center anyway)
  • Now has a built in flash for those that like that sort of thing
  • ISO 6400 max ISO compared to 3200 of the V1

To get the basics and idea of the Nikon 1 system, take a look at my original V1 review HERE and then come back here to read about my opinions on the V2 and if Nikon really improved the V1 enough to consider it at $1000 vs the now blowout $399 V1. Much of what pertains to the V1 pertains to the V2 as there really is not much difference between them at the end of the day when it comes to usability and image quality.

Again, the 18.5 1.8 – click image for larger


The more things change..the more they stay the same

When Nikon released the V1 they also released the cute J1 which was a dumbed down version of the V1. Smaller, lighter, no EVF, lower res LCD, smaller battery (and life), etc. To me, it was a no brainer to go with the V1 over the J1 and I think Nikon realized this as well because not but a year or so after the J1 release Nikon is already on the J3 (after an awful J2 update which was basically a J1.1) which is in reality not so different than the original J1 except for a few small updates like the V2 from the V1. The J1-J3 even all look and feel the same.

So how about the newer V2? When the V1 came out many asked for improvements in controls..manual dials, grip, etc. Nikon did in fact listen to those requests as the camera now has the mode dial on top and a big fat grip that does help holding the camera. The only issue I have with it now is that it appears to be much cheaper and it resembles a Nikon coolpix P&S to some extent but it is obvious they snagged some design ideas from Sony’s NEX system. I appreciate the dial and grip but when shooting the V1 and V2 side by side I personally prefer the V1’s style, design and feel over the V2 but I like boxy square cameras :)

Nikon added a mode dial which was missing from the V1. This is much nicer than the in menu mode selection of t he V1.


Many will prefer the V2 over the V1 but we have to think…

The V1 is still available (in VERY small quantities) at blowout pricing and image quality wise, both of these cameras are very very close in IQ, ISO, etc. Some will even say there is NO visible difference. You can buy a V1 right now with 10-30mm lens and 30-110 lens for $399. The same setup with the V2 will cost you $996 or almost $600 more. That is a huge chunk of change that can go towards a lens like the fabulous 18.5 1.8 which comes in at under $200. You can read Craig Litten’s review of the lens HERE if you have not yet seen it. 95% of images here were shot with the 18.5 1.8 as well and is a lens I highly recommend for the 1 system.

The 18.5 wide open at 1.8 – crisp and sharp



Build & Feel of the Nikon V2

As you can see in the image above, the V2 looks quite a bit different than the V1 that preceded it. The V1 was square, boxy and solid like a mini Leica shaped camera. The V2 is more point & shoot in its appearance resembling a Nikon Coolpix. I much prefer the clean lines and feel of the V1. When the V2 was leaked to the rumor sites the #1 thing being said was “it is UGLY”. That started a war between those who preferred the look of the new design against those who hated it. With anything, it will all come down to personal preference but my preference is with the V1 in design and style.

Build wise, they are about the same. Both feel solid and well thought out and the rear of the V2 is now cleaner and more simplified.

The back side o the V2


And the rear of the V1


With the V2 you have your buttons on the back left to control playback, menu, display and trash and on the right a simple wheel that allows you to scroll, apply some EV comp, adjust flash and timer modes. The V2 also now includes a built in flash and Nikon has kept the microphone input for you video buffs out there. Overall, the build is equal to the V1 but the design will come down to what YOU prefer in a camera for usability. I am thrilled that Nikon has done away with the silly dial on the back of the V1 which always accidentally switched to movie mode or one of the gimmick modes. No more of that!

Image Quality of the Nikon V2


After shooting with the V2 for a week or so I feel the IQ, color signature and overall look of image is about the same as it was/is with the V1. To many this will be a disappointment and other will be happy as it means they can keep their V1 and skip a V2 upgrade. I am not seeing any more detail and in fact, a part of me prefers the smaller 10MP file of the V1. IQ wise, each camera can give you pleasing and sometimes beautiful results with minimal fuss with post processing.

The files out of the V1 and V2 are a bit “hard” with an almost filmish feel to them. They have some slight “grit” to them and you will not see ultra smooth and buttery results like you can get with camera that have surfaced since the V1’s release. A cameras such as the Olympus OM-D is a much better camera in my opinion with better lenses available, just as speedy in AF and operation, less image noise, and not far off from the V2 price tag. But the V1 and V2 do offer something unique, and that is IQ that is much different than the Olympus OM-D, NEX-6, or Sony RX1. It is all about “feel” but a part of me thinks Nikon delivered “too little –  too late” with the V2 due to all of the competition out there at similar prices, even their own V1.

*See my Sony RX100 review which uses the same sized sensor.


The IQ from the 1 series is what I call “simple”. When you aim the Nikon V1 or V2 and press the shutter button, the results may surprise you once you go back and see the image on your screen. Do not judge them on the weak colored and not so sharp EVF as they will appear much nicer on your computer screen. The Nikon V2 is a camera one will get if they want small, fast, and sharp detailed results with that Nikon color signature and a film like result. Because of the lack of shallow depth of field the results can be very “documentary” like. Like using an old film camera with slow lens attached. Simple. But simple can be good.

Of course using the 18.5 1.8 helps with some shallow DOF but even so, you still do not have anywhere  near the shallow DOF capabilities of larger sensor cameras.

Be sure to click each image to see it in the correct form – larger and much more detailed. The site shrinks them here and they do not look their best unless clicked on. One of the shots below was taken with the V1 :)




I refer to the Nikon 1 series cameras as giving us “real” results due to the limited shallow DOF use. What you get is more like reality and what we see in the moment. So as for the IQ of the V2, I like it just as much as I did the V1 when it comes to IQ and usability but like I said, today we have many more choices including the Olympus OM-D, Sony RX100, and upcoming Fuji X100s. These make  the almost $1000 price tag of a V2 and lens a little harder to swallow TODAY. Especially when the V1 was just cleared out at insane prices of $299 for a one lens kit and now $399 for two lens kit. I have a feeling that Nikon made many less V2 bodies and kits than they did with the V1 because B&H must have had 1000 V1 and one lens kits they cleared out at $299. The V1 just did not sell in the quantities Nikon had hoped for.

But speaking of “close outs”, it also makes me think Nikon will do the same with the V2. In 9-10 months we may just see these being cleared out at ridiculous prices which is why I say if anyone is interested in the 1 system now, the V1 is the way to go. At the time of this writing B&H Photo has just a handful left of two lens kits for $399 and the deluxe kit for $799. Check them out HERE.

So what are my thoughts on the IQ of the V2? Well, to these eyes it is pretty much the same as the V1 and I love the IQ from these cameras when I want a different “feel” to the photos. It is s step up from a point and shoot for sure but again, if you want shallow depth of field with super creamy out of focus backgrounds there are many other cameras that can do this much better.

The Nikon 1 series is about size, speed, and take anywhere great results and  the V2 is the “enthusiast” model in the lineup when compared to the J1, J2 and now J3.

Quick & Dirty comparison – Nikon V1 vs V2 ISO 3200

Here is a full size out of camera file – same settings using the 10-30 lens. Click each image for full size file. ISO 3200.

1st image is from the V1 at ISO 3200 – click it for full size.


Below Nikon V2 at 3200 ISO – click it for full size file


Pros and Cons of the Nikon V2


  • Slightly Smaller than the V1
  • New grip adds grippage
  • New “real” control dials
  • Great HD Video
  • Very fast to AF and lock on with phase and contrast detect AF
  • Sharp results with Nikon color
  • Can shoot at ISO6400 vs 3200 from the V1
  • Built in EVF is always a plus


  • Nikon changed the battery – should have stayed with the V1 battery
  • Small sensor can have limitations with dynamic range and noise
  • Sensor not as good as Sony RX100 1″ sensor
  • No tilt-a-ble LCD
  • EVF stayed the same
  • VERY stiff competition today from Olympus, Sony and Fuji
  • Not a huge improvement over the already nice V1
  • New design is not the best looking
  • Waking from sleep can be a pain in the rump

A few full size files from RAW

Below are couple of images from the V2 direct from RAW using Lightroom. You can click them for full size.

The 18.5 at f/2.2 – Very sharp and this is the Depth of Field you can expect wide open when up close to your subject. Click image for full size.


This one was shot at f/2 with the 18.5


again, the 18.5 but at f/4


My bottom line conclusion on the Nikon V2

If you are interested in the Nikon V1 system TODAY, even with killer competitors out there then I highly recommend going with a V1 deal while they last. They may be and probably will all be gone within a week or two of this review posting but at $399 for a V1 and two lens kit, that is steal compared to the same V2 kit at under $1000. IQ is pretty identical between the V1 and V2 and most shots you will not even notice any difference in real world shooting. I was enthusiastic about the V1 because at the time there was nothing out there with the size, build, speed, metering and AF capabilities to match it and even with the small sensor, results were great. Today it is a different story (OM-D) and Nikon just has not done enough with the V2 to up the ante or make me want to buy one, even over a V1. They even changed the battery which I thought was a great strength of the V1.

If you want a grip, more AF points, and prefer the 14 vs 10MP then go for the V2 but I have to say at this stage of the game, there are better camera for the same or a little more money. After the insane V1 price drop to $299 with the 10-30 I feel that Nikon may do the same for  the V2 in 9-12 months. A camera is NEVER an investment but Nikon themselves may not seem to know where to take the 1 series. Maybe the V3 will have it all.

Still, the Nikon 1 system is highly capable and can deliver great results. It is far from a “toy” camera that some claim it to be. It may not offer “pro” results due to the small limited sensor but it is fun to use, has great and accurate AF, metering, color and JPEGS are also very nice. This is a camera I would take with me on vacation and just shoot shoot shoot with. I know the results would be great. Sometimes we do not need the ultra power of the pro cameras and shooting with something like a V1 or V2 can be a lesson in getting more from less. More fun and more keepers.

With that said, anyone can get great results with the Nikon V1 or V2, my only niggle is the cost TODAY when compared to other camera offerings. If you already have a V1, no need to upgrade just yet :)

As for the 18.5 1.8 lens, I can not recommend that one enough. It is my fave 1 system lens. You can buy it HERE.

Where To Buy?

You can buy the V2 at B&H Photo or Amazon, two dealers I highly recommend.






PLEASE Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site (and the cost these days to keep it going is pretty damn high), so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at Amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :) More info is here on how you can help even if you are NOT in the USA as I have Amazon links to GermanyUnited Kingdom and Canada as well!

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Feb 142013


Nikon V2 arrives, but the original V1 is still a steal of a deal!

Happy THURSDAY to all! I’m having a great and happy day as always and not because it is valentines day (for me, every day is valentines day) but because a new camera arrived this week for me to review and it is none other than the Nikon V2. Yea, not so “new” but new to me!  I was not originally going to review the V2 but I figured that since I almost panned the V1 (the camera I expected to hate) I figured it would not be fair if I did not review it. What if it is flat-out AMAZING and kills the V1? Lol.

After a couple of days with it I can say the IQ reminds me VERY much of the V1 in color, tone, and look. The camera has a huge grip now, is not as ugly in person as it appeared in photos and is really fast thanks to its phase and contrast detect AF. Super early 1st impressions over the V1 (which I also have here) is that it is easier to hold, has physical control dials, and is built just as well. There are indeed improvements but are they huge? NO. With that said, is it worth a $600 difference in cost over the V1? Probably not since teh V1 is still available for such an amazing price.

The V1 is one hell of a little speedy camera that has fantastic color and “feel” even with the smaller sensor (that does put out a teeny bit of grain even at base ISO). In fact, in the past I stated I felt that the V1 has a filmic like  feel at times, depending on the light. Film, even ISO 200 film had  noise and some grit. So does the V series but not too much. They are very capable cameras.

The new V2 is just under a grand with two lenses, the 10-30 and 30-110. The V1 can be had (and there are still a few in stock at B&H at this price) for $399 with the same TWO lenses. Yes, the V1, the 10-30 and superb 30-100 for $399. I bought my son one and also bought one for myself (I sold my previous V1) because at these prices it is a steal.

So would I go for a V2 for $995 over a $399 V1 set? Well, it is very early for me to say but I will spill the beans in my upcoming V2 review. I will be reviewing it with the new 18.5 1.8 lens. My very 1st indoor test shot with the V2 is below and this is out of camera in my kitchen yesterday wide open at 1.8. The two shots under it were also shot wide open with the new 18.5  – you can click any image for a larger and crisper view :)




What I find interesting is that the V1 and two lens kit is $1149 if you buy direct from Nikon:


but click over to B&H and it is $399 for the same kit, and if you add the 10mm you get $100 off of that as well:


Then we have the V2 and the same two lens kit for $996.95:


So my Nikon V2 review will be coming soon as I will be shooting all weekend with it to see how it performs and feels over the V1. There will also be side by side comparisons with full size image samples, so stay tuned.

Jan 242013


Last chance for the Nikon V1 closeout deals…

B&H Photo must have had loads of Nikon V1 stock as they have been clearing them out for the last couple of months now. Last time I wrote about this deal I purchased one myself to give to my Son as part of his Christmas gift. He now shoots the V1 and it has pretty much replaced his aging D2h :)

B&H has raised the price of the V1 and 10-30 combo from $299 to $349 but they have other specials as well, one of which is the “superkit” featuring the V1, 10-30, 10-100 Power Zoom (which sells for $749 on its own), the Nikon lens adapter, the external flash and a bag for $799. Yep, $799 for the entire kit including all of the extras. It was not that long ago that a Nikon V1 and 10-30 would set you back $850. Today you can get the camera, lens, power zoom, adapter, flash and bag for $799!

I know many of you took advantage of the $299 deal for the camera and one lens just like I did and now I am tempted to grab this “superkit” as it is giving so much for the money. One could buy this kit and sell it in pieces and make money it seems.

Let’s see…

Sell V1 and 10-30 for $250

Sell 10-100 for $450

Sell adapter for $90

Sell Flash for $75

Sell bag for $20

If you took it all and sold it you would make just about $85 profit. Crazy!

The reason this post says “last chance” is because I heard it through the grapevine that there are not many of these left, and once they are gone they are gone. The Nikon V2 is out and going for $850 with just the 10-30 and from what many have been saying it is a small improvement over the V1 in the IQ dept. Nikon also recently released the 18.5 1.8 lens which you can read about HERE. Great lens for this system and under $200.

For anyone looking for a nicely built and made camera that puts out sharp detailed 10MP files with great color, the Nikon V1 is currently a steal. You can read my review HERE as well as Craig Litten’s review HERE. Craig LOVES his V1 and will most likely have it with him shooting during our Daytona Bike Week workshop in March!

Buy the Superkit HERE

The 10-30 Kit for $349 is here

The V1 with 10-30 and 30-110 for $429 is also HERE.

Dec 182012


All you want for Christmas! Nikon Steals, RX1 Shipping, Pentax, Grado, Parrot Zik and more!

Ho Ho Ho! It’s almost that time again and I am sitting here writing yet another Christmas gift post. We only have just over a week until Christmas day and I am sure most of you have completed your shopping but I am sure there are a few stragglers holding out…waiting for that deal. Maybe some of you are looking for an X-mas gift for yourself after a year of hard work :)

This week I brought home a new gift for the family from a local dog rescue. A one year old Chihuahua named “Baby” who is super sweet (but now I know why she was named BABY). My old Scrubby is still kicking and looks like he will see yet another Christmas day, so for that I am thankful.

The Rescue Dog – Shot with the Sony RX1 at ISO 6400, no flash, f/2, indoor low light. Converted to B&W with Alien Skin Exposure 4


So to all who are regular readers here and to those who may have just stopped by this one time, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays/New Year. 2012 Was amazing for me yet again and I am expecting 2013 to ROCK. I already have one workshop in the planning stages in an AMAZING location with Ashwin Rao and another in an even more Amazing location with Craig Litten. Craig is actually putting on this workshop and when I saw where it was and what it would consist of I knew I had to be in on it. I emailed him and mentioned that we should do a team effort and I will at least be there to join Craig and all the others who attend. These two workshops will be quite special and will be announced soon and they may be the only two I am involved in for all of 2013.

Deals and Steals on the Nikon 1 System are still here, through December 31st

With that out of the way, let’s check out some last minute gift ideas! I will start with that amazing Nikon V1 deal, which keeps getting better. I swear that B&H Photo must have had about 1,000 of these in stock as they seem to have an endless supply. STILL in stock and at these prices they are outright STEALS:



Nikon V1 and 10-30 for $299 – WOW!


Nikon V1 with 10-30 and 30-110 for $399 – WOWZERS!


Nikon V1 with 10-30, 10-100, Nikon Lens Adpater, Flash and bag for $799 – Triple WOW!



This V1 deal is damn good and while the V1 sensor is not the best in class (that prize is taken by the Sony RX100) the camera as a whole is highly capable of superb results with fast and accurate AF and super RAW files. 10Mp means small file sizes which means manageable files and the HD video is VERY good as well. Also has a Mic input if you want super QUALITY Audio to go with that video. Take a look at my V1 setup that I am just now starting to use for videos:

The Nikon V1 and Rode VideoMic Pro – $299 for the camera and lens, $299 for the mic :)


That is a Rode VideoMic pro attached and let me tell you, this mic is a HUGE upgrade to ANY on camera mic. The sound quality is up there with more expensive mics and it even has three settings. One that is a normal audio level, one with a reduce level and one with a higher sensitivity and if you want to record sounds from afar, this will pick it up with crystal clarity. It’s $299 at Amazon or B&H Photo.

The Nikon V1 at ISO 800 with the 10-30 Kit Zoom. Indoor no external light source besides the floor lamp behind me.


So overall, I’d get in on the Nikon V1 deal, even if it is for a gift. The person getting it will be like “WOW, this is a $900 camera” and believe me, this is so much better than any $250 point and shoot.

How about a steal of deal on a Pentax K-01? 


I reviewed the Pentax K-01 a while ago and could not fault its image quality one bit. My main niggle was no EVF nor a way  to even add one because the LCD in full sunlight was awful. The IQ with the included 40mm lens was stellar though. You can read my review HERE and FYI, Amazon has the K-01 on clearance with the 40mm 2.8 lens for $449 and they have most colors available as well. Click HERE for all of the K-01 Deals at Amazon. Great camera, odd design. If you happen to like the design it is a GREAT buy right now. I was even tempted at this price but I have to stop myself as I already own the next camera on the list and it is doing just about everything I need.

The Sony RX1 – In stock on December 22nd with free next day air shipping! 


Amazon has the Sony RX1 coming in stock on December 22nd (ships and sold from Amazon) and they are giving FREE Next Day Air shipping with it so you can get it BEFORE Christmas. Amazon is up there with the best of any online retailer and I shop from them just about every single week. Never an issue and the best return policy in the camera business (though B&H is a close 2nd). While not a steal or a deal, I know a few of you are waiting for this one to be in stock and Amazon is taking orders NOW for a ship date of December 22nd, just a few days from today. My fave camera and yes, I own one with the EVF.

You can order the RX1 here and if you do, it will ship on December 22nd. The cool thing is Amazon won’t even charge you until it ships, not even for an authorization.

BTW, dont forget to check out the amazing RX1 shots posted at this TUMBLR page as well as the brand new Facebook Group devoted to the RX1! The group is not mine but I will participate from time to time and I expect lots of good photos and info there.

BTW, if anyone in your life is searching for the best pocket compact camera, my vote goes for the Sony RX100. You can read my review here.

DEAL ALERT! Cool point and shoot! Great for teens or anyone who wants a small P&S! $96 deal.


The Nikon S-01 is a very cool little P&S and in chrome/silver it looks damn amazing as well. These are marked down from $179 to $96 and are decent performers and super pocketable. Amazon has them for $96 HERE. Probably the coolest P&S this season.

Other gift ideas that get my stamp of approval…

Being a tech guy I am in to all sorts of things besides cameras. I love guitars, headphones, audio equipment and anything “techie”. Technology is amazing and I try out so much gear it is insane. What I have kept out of all of that gear can be seen below so if you are also a tech person maybe you will enjoy reading what I have to say about these items.

The Bella Lumiere Swan LED Lamp Black/Red – Great for video blogging, conferencing, and more.


I have been using this lamp on my office desk for a few days and have to say that I really like it. The cool thing about this lamp is that it has three color temperatures from super cool to super warm. The lighting is soft and perfect for video blogging which is what they market it as… For example..if you use skype for video calls or conferencing or blogging this thing is great. It brightens up your face with a nice soft and flattering light, instead of harsh ugly light. I have even used this for a couple of product shot photos. It is a touch lamp and you can even adjust the intensity of the light in 3 levels per temperature just by a touch. Here are the specs and  I have the red and black on my desk and love it.

  • Excellent light for video blogging, video conferencing, makeup application, reading, and task lighting.
  • Uses 13W DiCon Dense Matrix LEDTM technology
  • 3 color temperature settings: tungsten to daylight
  • Dome-shaped diffuser accessory provides smooth softening of light
  • Touch control intelligence for convenient dimming. Modern design with a flexible neck allows ease of use

When I 1st saw this lamp I was like “yea, why would I want or need a $149 lamp when I can go get one for $15 from Ikea”? But this lamp has found a place on my desk due to the softness of light and color temperature and intensity settings. It also looks great with its bendable head that is easy to position. Amazon has them in BLACK or RED for those who appreciate good tech and light. Bottom line? If you do lots of video conferencing or Skype this lamp can come in handy.

Headphones that I own and use and LOVE! (I’m an Audio Geek)


Love good sound and good design? I do  and when I sit and work for hours every day I sometimes enjoy music running through my Grado PS-500 Headphones and Grado RA-1 amp. I also enjoy the Grado SR-80 and at $99 it has some of the best sound for the money easily beating ANY of the popular “Beats” headphones that are so popular due to style (but their sound lacks big time).

One set of headphones that I settled on for travel and wireless use after testing about 15 sets is the Parrot Zik bluetooth headphones. These have been causing quite the stir and some love them and some hate them. Me, I love them! I have spent quality time with them and learned how to get them to sound their best and the coolest thing is that they are WIRELESS and have rock solid bluetooth connectivity with my Apple Devices.

They are build like $1200 headphones, sound like $350 headphones and have the comfort of the Bose QC15 (but beat then for build and sound) and just about the same level of noise canceling. You can use them wired or without wire but if you try to use them with the wire and no battery the sound will be awful. Wired with battery is awesome and wireless just as good. They lean on the more Bassy side but also have some detail. They do not resolve the details anywhere near what the Grado’s do but they have a nice pleasing sound that is not fatiguing at all. The video below is of my Grado PS500’s. Love them for my serious listening…

With the Parrot Zik You can even use the special App on your phone, iPad or device and control an EQ, Noise Canceling and the Hall effects (which are awful for the sound). Overall I use these wirelessly with only the NC turned on. I love them and they have been on my head every day while I work. I love that when I am needed in the house for something all I have to do is remove them from my head and they pause my music automatically. The touch controls on the side means you can change songs or volume with swipe of a finger. These are pretty technologically advanced headphones and I have used them for music, phone calls, and meetings and movies without fail. The only thing I can say is get an extra battery as the included battery will last about 6 hours when using only NC. With the EQ and other effects you are looking at 4 hours.

The Parrot Zik headohones are NOT audiophile in quality but they are perfect for travel and causal use. Their convenience can not be ignored, neither can their beauty. If you buy a set keep in mind that you must have a charged battery in them for good sound and I highly recommend to keep the hall and echo effects OFF. This only adds sibilance and a hollow sound.

They do great with rock, jazz or acoustic and while not a master of any of these Genres, they will please almost anyone except the super demanding audiophiles. If you want a travel headphone with KILLER sound but wired and without noise canceling then check out the Sennheiser Amperiors. Light, comfy, great build and style with amazing sound. $349 at Amazon. These beat the new Momentums for Sound quality and look amazing in the blue Aluminum finish.

You can buy the Parrot Zik at Amazon HERE. Extra batteries are HERE

HOLD FAST GEAR! Amazing quality accessories…


Hold Fast Gear sent me out a couple of products about a month ago as a gift..they did not even ask me to review the items. I was told they loved my site and they wanted to send me a gift to show their appreciation. Of course I know this was probably a way for them to get a review but I never did review the stuff they sent, mainly because I have yet to use the main product which is a cool as hell photo belt designed to hold your lenses and accessories on a shoot, and it is BEAUTIFUL and well made with amazing Leather. They also sent me a little leather wallet that I have been using daily and it is pretty sweet. Even has slots for SD cards.


I suggest everyone check out HOLD FAST because not only are their leather products jaw droppingly beautiful, the packaging is something to behold as well. They have a mix of straps and accessories that some will enjoy. They are on the higher end of the price spectrum  but the product is HIGH END and gorgeous. If you check them out, tell them I sent you!

The Scarabeaus – A new way to carry your camera with German engineering and build. 


I have had one of these for a couple of weeks, and I am the 1st to be using one. The inventor of the product wanted me to try it out and see how I like it. Well, I have been using it and have to say it is a pretty unique invention that does what it claims to do, and it does it well. The Scarabaeus is a solid German made device that attaches to your belt and allows you to carry your camera holster style. It fastens in securely so no one can snag it from your belt and it is easy for you to remove when you need the camera. This is a quality piece of engineering and while I enjoy it, I can not say I would use it with my Leica M because of the size and the possibility to ding your lens on a wall or something near you. BUT for cameras like the RX1, RX100 and Micro 4.3 this thing is super cool. No straps, no weight on your back or shoulder, just your camera at your side locked in and loaded ready to shoot.

I used this device to carry the RX1 on a full day shoot and it was pretty amazing. Most of the time I forgot I was carrying the camera as you do not even notice it there on your side (unless you have something larger like an M).

This device is perfect for the smaller mirrorless cameras and is constructed of quality materials. Made in Germany with precision. You can see their website HERE though I have to say that the site is extremely basic. Just the image above with an order link. If you would like a camera carry solution and are sick of straps this could be just what you have been looking for.

There is one con though. If you need to change your memory card or battery you will need the tool to remove the device from the base of the camera (allen wrench). Other than that it is a cool device and invention that I will enjoy using.

Ready Cap! Put an end to losing your lens caps!


Ready Cap is a very cool device that straps on to your STRAP and it stores and holds your lens cap when you shoot! If you are like me then you have gone through your share of lost lens caps and this is a pain especially when you have to re-order a few Leica caps :) From $14.99 you can put an end to lost caps, period.

I tried out the system and it worked for me and was simple and easy. The holder stays on your strap and just by reaching over and snapping your cap in place you are in business. You can buy any size adapter ring for any size lens cap you may have. The system comes with one size at $14.99 and each additional size is $3.99.



So basically for $20-$25 you can be all set and never lose a cap again. Very cool idea and works as advertised. You can check out more of this at the ReadyCap website HERE!

THE MICRO LENS POUCH! A must have to store your lenses on the cheap.


These are cheap and amazing for storing your lenses. I have several and they are soft, protective and come in sizes to fit any lens. They are also CHEAP. Here is the popular 3 pack for under $30.

and finally, some credit where credit is due! Great new music…


It may sound cheesy but I highly suggest anyone that loves music..hard driving rhythms, catchy hooks and rythyms and superb songwriting that makes you want to sing along loudly check out the new CD from none other than 80’s sensation RICK SPRINGFIELD. His “Songs for the End of the World” CD is so good there is not one stinker on the CD. These sound modern, not like 80’s rehashes. I like a few Springfield songs in the 80’s, hell, all of us from that generation did but I have to say this is his best music ever. It’s not just me either, read the reviews at Itunes, Amazon or on the web. At 63 Rick can still rock and create some kick ass music. If you buy the CD all of the tracks are awesome but stand outs are #2, #3, #4, #7, #8, #9, #10, #1 and #11.

I am a huge Music fan but I enjoy everything from Jazz to Bluegrass to Soul to Rock to the Classics. This is a GREAT CD. My fave of 2012. Don’t believe it? Take a listen for yourself.

Also, do not miss the 99 Years of Leica book! It is well worth it for any Leica fan!



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