The Nikon V1 Black Friday Deals and more thoughts on this system…

The Nikon V1 Black Friday Deals and more thoughts on this system…

By Steve Huff

Nikon seems to be picking up some steam with the The V1 which is now sold out at most online shops due to the special price reduction, which from what I understand is for a “Black Friday” special through November 26th. The dual lens kits sold out at Amazon (through Amazon) and B&H Photo but what many may not realize is that you can still get those special prices on the dual kit by ordering the V1 with the 10-30 and then adding one or both of the other lenses to your cart. This is possible at B&H anyway. The reduction will happen automatically when you add them to your cart at B&H which means you could get the V1 with all three lenses…the 10mm, 10-30 and 30-110 for $1140. Or even two lenses and the V1 for under a grand. I am not sure if Nikon is continuing this price reduction after the 26th but no one seems to know. It’s the holiday season so…

Contrary to what some are saying about the Nikon 1 system, particularly the V1, it is a very versatile system with great IQ and super speedy operation. The V1 is a camera I have been liking more and more for so many reasons and I still see some bashing it, but others have come around once they shot with the V1 themselves. This has been an interesting camera release for sure causing happiness, anger, stress and craziness, all at the same time. A couple people I know that shot with it still hated it, but they never had an open mind about it in the first place so I figured as much. Others seem to think that this was designed as a pro camera. It was not! The V1 is really aimed at the advanced hobbyist, or advanced family man, not the enthusiast. Even so, this enthusiast (and others that I see online) seem to be really enjoying the camera. At under a grand for the V1 with the 10-30 and 30-110 the price is right for what you get as I have been getting wonderful results that beat the Olympus E-P3 in most situations, a camera I have been enjoying for months, and the E-P3 is $829 right now with one lens and no EVF though there is a cool “street shooters set” coming soon at a great price for what you get.

Another guy that seems to be liking it, and a guy whose opinion I respect is Kirk Tuck. I have been enjoying his site for the last year and he also picked up a V1 and has been shooting with it over the past couple of weeks or so. You can check out his site here if you want to see his V1 posts.

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Today I wanted to take a look at the V1 in a different way than I did in my review. I want to focus on one of the the negatives of this camera and see just how negative this is in real use. HIGH ISO/LOW LIGHT. Many have been complaining about low light performance, well… those who do not own the camera have anyway. But I have been finding that if you adjust your RAW files a bit even your low light high ISO shots can be great. The good thing with this system is that the V1 and all of the lenses available for it are incredibly sharp. Even at higher ISO you get a sharp detailed image, not a smeared image. This of course is if you turn off the Noise Reduction and shoot RAW. Check out this shot I took at 9:30PM at ISO 800 with the 10-30…

The image below was shot at ISO 800, at night with the V1 and 10-30 just to see how the noise would appear and to also see if the details were smeared. You can click on the image for the full size file. This was shot as RAW and converted with ACR. 10-30 at f/3.5.

To me, that file above at ISO 800 at NIGHT is pretty damn nice. Detail is there, noise is minimal and I used ZERO noise reduction. So low light high ISO beats other cameras I have tried in similar situations, and the sensor is smaller with the V1. This tells me technology has come a long way since the early days of digital. No longer is a huge sensor needed to get decent low light performance.

Sometimes though what you see in your higher ISO images noise wise depends on the exposure, the available light and how you process the images. The V1 CAN be noisy when shooting indoors. What I do is use that to my advantage because the V1 noise that is there has a nice grain to it. I do not want to say “film like” because no digital file is film like. But the noise that is there is not really bad or ugly like some cameras can give you. I also love the way black and white conversions look at higher ISO’s with this camera.

The next four images are ISO 400 (3rd image) – 560 (all the others), indoors with the 10-30. Getting in close will give you a teeny but of shallowness in the Depth of Field dept. Click the images for larger and better versions. I have no problem with the noise in these images and these were indoor. I used the light from his iPad to light his face.

My son (in the above photos)  is a huge Nikon fan. He hates Leica because he says it is WAY too expensive for what it is, lol. He says I am silly for liking Leica and that I should buy a D3s. Yes, he LOVES Nikon. So much so that he was asking me for a V1 for Xmas this year so he can have a smaller camera system than his current D2h and lenses. He has shot with the V1 and he has gone back and forth on it. One day he liked it and the next he wasn’t so sure sure due to the random out of focus shots he was getting. I spoke of this in my review HERE  but Nikon just released a firmware update to fix this issue, which stemmed from the VR. Well, the updates are for EACH lens, the 10-30, the 30-100 and the 10-100. I tested this with the 10-30 and the random OOF shots that stemmed from the VR are no longer happening. In fact, I can now shoot at really low shutter speeds as the VR is very good with all of the zooms. So my guess is it will be back on his Xmas list.

HIGHER ISO – 3200 and 6400

Here are a couple of shots I added to my review a few days ago. Taken at night in my kitchen at ISO 3200 and 6400, no direct light, just the overhead kitchen light that was to the left. Noise reduction OFF.

ISO 3200 – click image for full size

ISO 6400 – Click image for full size

Future Lenses for the 1 System

Nikon has shown off some prototype lenses for the 1 system and two of these are rumored to be an 18 1.4 which would be a 50mm equivalent, and a 32 1.2, which would be an 85mm equivalent. There is also rumor that one is a 14mm 2.8 giving a 35mm equivalent. The 50 and 85 sound nice and should easily give the shallow depth of field many have been asking for. Hopefully Nikon releases these lenses soon as these cameras are in DESPERATE need of a fast prime! Even though they said this system was not designed for the serious enthusiast or pros, I see many of them shooting with the V1 due to the speed, accurate AF, EVF, and color. I think once the new fast primes arrive there will be more serious interest in the camera.

My five easy tips for V1 owners

1. Turn off the Active D-Lighting for better contrast. I always shoot with this off.

2. Turn off VR if you are shooting in good light or using a tripod

3. Turn off Noise Reduction in camera. In my opinion, the images look better with the noise than with smeared details.

4. Shoot in RAW for best quality

5. Don’t be afraid to customize your color settings!

So that is about all I will be writing on the V1 until new lenses come out for it or I do some street shooting with it. I have said all I can say about the V1 itself but I am still enjoying the camera and shooting almost daily with it. It’s solid, it’s well made, it feels like quality (I did not feel this way with the J1), it is small(ish), it is sharp and it is fast. I’ll be looking forward to the new lenses in 2012 for sure. Coming soon to the site – The Sony 50 1.8 lens review on the NEX-7, the Panasonic GX1 review and more including the Ricoh GRD IV and possibly a review of the Nikon 30-110 lens. As always, thanks for reading and stopping by!


  1. Hi,

    My wife imported a white V1 with 10-30 and 30-100 lens’ from Hong Kong to here in UK just after Christmas 2011. It arrived sound and safe after only a couple of days transit. She paid £600 (sterling) a lot less than here in UK.

    She swopped it for her D200 18-200 Nikkor because of the weight. I’m so pleased with it myself that when a fast prime is available 24 equivalent or 28/35 or 50mm 1.4 then I might swap my D200 17-55 for one. IQ is great, AF is fast and it is nicely made. A lot less £ than new Fuji xPro (?).


  2. I purchased a Nikon J1 a week or two before Christmas, and I haven’t returned it. I guess that makes me a Nikon fanboy, too. I think it’s fair to say that few will buy something, keep it, and then tell everyone how bad a decision they made.

    But why would I purchase this camera? After all, if you look at the comments scattered about through the various forums across the web, you’d rapidly come to the conclusion that this is the most overpriced, poorly performing camera ever made. It will be Nikon’s downfall. No grip, no fast lenses, a sensor that is so small that an Instamatic would give you better performance: these were all listed as reasons to avoid the J1 like the plague. I must have been insane to pluck down the cash. But I did have my reasons.

    1. Yep, I’m a Nikon fanboy, at least to the extent that my DSLR stuff is all Nikon. I had to choose a “system” when I initially started buying digital a few years ago, and I’d had years of experience with Nikon 35mm film cameras. Besides, most of the Nikon lenses I owned would still work. Is Nikon better than Canon? Sorry, but I don’t get involved in theological arguments.

    2. I had handled other cameras with similar feature sets, and found that I liked the J1’s handling and size. That, of course, is a completely personal opinion, and one which I do not have to justify except to myself.

    3. Most important, I wanted a small camera to carry with me. If you don’t have a camera, you won’t take a picture; and the DSLR is just too big to carry everywhere. Hauling around that little J1–and it does fit nicely in my coat pocket–has meant that I’ve taken a number of photographs that I would have missed.

    Does it have the noise performance of my DSLR? You have got to be kidding. Would I take it to shoot a wedding? Whatever you’re smoking, it’s probably illegal. Does it have every enthusiasts’ desired feature set? Not by a long shot; heck, it doesn’t even have an external flash sync. Does it meet my needs? Yes, it does…with bells on.

    It’s small, easy enough to use, has manual exposure settings if I want them, very sharp lenses, decent image quality, shoots RAW, and–most important–I am getting the results in a final print that I want.

    I learned long ago that forum comments are 80% nonsense. As one poster, and I’m paraphrasing, said elsewhere, “After reading these forums is there ANY camera that’s worth buying?” I’d add more, but I’m busy reading the comparisions between the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado. I can be fair on this, too. I own a Dodge Ram.

  3. 1. No Grip
    2. not particularly small considering sensor size
    3. Crazy expensive.
    4. lenses look cheaply made.
    5 comes in pretty colours!
    6. lack of buttons
    7. smoothing used on raw output.
    ps Nikon fanboy much?

    • 1. There is a grip available, and not everyone needs a grip. I shoot my M9 without a grip and have for years.
      2. It is smaller than the E-P3, and very solid. Feels the best of any mirrorless I have tried.
      3. Not so, the E_P3 is $800, GX-1 $800 yet the $850 V1 is better made, faster AF, better high ISO, better OOC color, sharper, etc
      4. Lenses are fine. They feel great and perform wonderfully. This is what surprised me the most. Built in VR as well.
      5. Only black or white. White is not in the USA. So only black here.
      6. Not so. I can control my Aperture and shutter speed and change ISO super quick.
      7. Not so. I show examples at ISO 3200 and up with razor share details. No smoothing if you turn off NR in RAW processing. Shoot RAW.

      Funny, I am a Nikon fanboy now because I tell it like it is with ONE Nikon camera. Lol. Why don’t you try one sometime, the V1, not J1. Buy it and give it a whirl for a coupe of weeks. Have an open mind. Ill tell you this, I chose to keep the V1 over any other mirrorless. I use it daily. Fact.

  4. I’ve always been interested in great photographs but I don’t think I’ve taken a great photo since I returned my brother in law’s Nikon FG back in the 80’s.

    As far as digital, I’m new to anything other than point and shoot and am considering the Nikon V1 and the Fuji X10, largely because of the viewfinders (I just prefer to compose a shot that way). I’ve looked into the systems that offer the viewfinder as an add-on and get the tilting thing but honestly don’t want to deal with another piece of equipment or added bulk. I am mostly interested in shot composition not the technical details and I will shoot in full auto most of the time. My subjects are people, in and outdoors, including my son, who surfs and plays baseball. I’ll take some video but won’t be displaying it on a 60 inch hi def monitor. I rarely print anything larger than a 5×7 but would like to be able to do larger prints if the shot warrants it.

    I’m headed to Fiji next Wednesday and have my credit card in hand, ready to pounce on Amazon. Which do I buy?

    And yes, I plan to link to Amazon through 🙂

  5. hello Steve,
    thank you for the review; for some reason, i have been intrigued by this camera as soon as i found out it existed, and was quite surprised to see so much negativity, posted mainly by people who had not even seen one, never mind taken pictures with it.
    there must be a lot of really smart people out there who are able to judge a camera just by the way it looks or the technical specifications on paper; i am not that gifted, i really need to have one in my hands for a few days before i can make up MY mind.
    glad to see that i am not alone in my way of looking at things, and to have found a few objective reviews.
    at the end of the day, it is really all about image quality – and, for a small camera, its ease of use.
    i just ordered one, and ordered also an adapter to mount my M lenses on it … i cannot wait to try the combination! this could be a nice complement to my M8….

    • Thanks for the comment, hope you enjoy the camera. As far as i know though, there is no M to NIkon 1 adapter, so where did you order this from? Also, if this existed, your 50 would become a 135. This is not a camera I would want to use other lenses on due to the 2.7 crop. You will lose mostly all of character of the lens.

      • good morning,

        i placed an order with a vendor in asia, i am very curious to find out more about it myself.
        yes, i am aware of the huge crop factor, but my 15 and 28 could work just fine (=40 and 75) … and even the 50 @ 135 cropped could be interesting.
        the 75 would be kind of a monster 200 tele, i am sure, most likely too much!
        i will post my findings when i get both camera and adapter.

      • i also ordered an adapter for c-mount lenses; it occurred to me that the 16mm video cameras had the same frame size as this sensor (2/3″), so it might be interesting to try some of the old super fast video lenses on this camera ….
        there is a guy in poland who will make ANY adapter, fyi.

        p.s.: i went to a store yesterday to see how the V1 looks and feels in real life, before i receive mine in the mail, and i have to say:
        1. it LOOKS FANTASTIC. i cannot comprehend how people can call this ugly, i think its design is superb
        2. it feels “solid”, a real quality product in your hands
        3. the viewfinder is phenomenal.

        i cannot wait to get mine!

  6. I agree that there will be more serious interest in the 1 System after Nikon releases the fast primes. The smaller sensor in and of itself is not a problem but rather a compromise. Unfortunately, compromising on sensor size has not meant substantial benefits in other areas. Despite the sensor being half the area of Micro Four Thirds, the Nikon 1 System lenses are not more compact and/or brighter than their MFT counterparts. The camera bodies are also not more compact or have more features. So while I see a lot of potential for the Nikon 1, it doesn’t seem to have fully exploited the advantages of the smaller sensor yet. Of course not everyone would want an even smaller camera, but an extremely compact body and lens with a 50mm equivalent F1.4 prime would be a compelling “take everywhere camera.”

    • I for one am happy that Nikon didn’t shrink the body size down any smaller than it is – too small and things get hard to handle. I returned an X10 for that very reason and decided to order a V1 kit instead – the N1 ergonomics are almost perfect for me and are miles ahead of m4/3. In my opinion, of course.

      • I agree with Ken . I sold my Fuji x10 for the same reasons. The Nikon V1 is the perfect size for me and has the image Quality, speed and features I required.

        For someone else it might be the Pentax Q or the Nex-7.
        There are enough mirrorless cameras out there now that there should be one that is just right for just about everybody.

        All that matters is that you like it. It does not matter if any one else likes it or not because only YOU will be using it daily.

        We all owe Steve a big Thank You for giving us all the reviews and the honest information to help make our choice easier.

        Thank You Steve !

  7. I think Alvaro is right the Nikon 1 may bet the ultimate P&S,i but what’s wrong with that? That’s exactly why I purchased a J1 as the replacement for my old higher end Canon powershot.

  8. Hi Steve !

    Long time lurker first time poster here, I just want to say thank you for creating this place where we can get our daily fix of photography-crack, you make your visitors feel like on more of the family and that’s shows a great heart, you’re doing a difficult but wonderful job!

    In regards to the Nikon system I’ll have to stay on the critics side. Why ? not because I just would like to bash the V1 or something, far from it, the V1 accomplishes many things the other systems haven’t and in its first try, IT IS a wonderful camera (and a wonderful camera experience).

    But the thing is, I simply cannot support the 1 system at all, I see no advantages nor much more potential. Today, performance may be top notch sensor-wise and usability may be great but neither of these things are exclusive to Nikon. Every bit of criticism that has affected m4/3 can be applied to Nikon 1 (small sensor, dof, etc) and nobody (except themselves perhaps) is stopping m4/3 from improving their sensors and taking the advantage over Nikon here (Sony might be already there).
    Nikon has also failed to follow the lead of Pentax Q and has produced lenses that are as ergonomically mismatching to their body as NEX (although they can still improve this). And the worst part is that Nikon will not represent more healthy competition, it’ll probably eat the whole market (before Canon gets here) on its brand alone and the whole DSLR game will just repeat itself, leaving the small but innovative competition out of the market (Oly, Pentax, Ricoh, Panasonic, Samsung).

    I just find it difficult to justify support for a system that is locked on such compromises from the beginning, as of now the 1 system only has superior technology as its advocate but that’s easily attainable in this world. Just as there are many critics that haven’t even touched one (I’ve played with the J1 so far) it just worries me how many of its followers are just defending its brand name without ever balancing the pros and cons (Steve’s and Kirk’s opinion I respect greatly because of their experience with lots of cameras, but other’s…i’m suspicious).

    For the record, I say all this not under an enthusiast mindset at all, if anything I see the 1 system as a replacement of advanced P&Ss (i.e. canon Gs). Unlike many I didn’t go mirrorless looking for a everyday Leica replacement or anything like that. I understand it as a new medium, a consumer tool that has the potential to be as versatile as its user, be a P&Shooter or an enthusiast, to go small OR Big. That’s the HUGE difference between DSLRs, P&S and DSLMs (digital Single Lens Mirrorless). Reflex systems will always be huge, P&Ss will stay tiny but Mirrorless can do both (modular by nature), and under this view the Nikon 1 fails IMO, for as good as it’s sensor might be it doesn’t offer much ceiling for the P&S photographer to improve their photography beyond the P&S experience besides changing lenses and AF, unless that wasn’t their intention at all, but then why bother changing lenses in the first place…

    Sorry for the long post, guess I vented a little, here, have a cup of coffee on me.

    • completely agree with you, it almost seemed like Steve got payed for the review (I’m awaiting censorship) as you find sooo many enthusiasm in it and he put himself so strongly on V1 side, that I failed to see objective oppinion. Maybe he wanted to balance all the negative oppinions with one strong swipe.

      using capitals in review to emphasize that it focuses ACCURATELY, FAST with GREAT METERING, come’n stop.

      – For first, you don’t see live exposure compensation, what is that (and pain-in-the-ars of changing it)? failure as hell!
      and I don’t care about accurate metering (seems right on many cameras not only on E-P3) as I usually shoot “to the right” – overexposed a bit, and I want to see it live (in postprocessing I turn it down a bit – but I do get lots of more shadow information where possible from RAW).
      This looks like a amateur oversight, with few others (fiddly funny kiddy modes, no classic PASM dial, no stereo-mic input yet claiming “HD” video with muffled wind-noisy-annoying sound – picture is just 50% of a story in HD movie world)

      – for second, focus _allways_ gets it right, indeed. Isn’t it because of very big DOF (due to small sensor) and small apertures (due to slow lenses) – you think you have pictures which are all the time in focus, indeed. EVERYTHING is in focus.
      Or did you really check each picture focus point in camera? I doubt that.

      With Sony Nex5/7, you obviously have much much much shallower DOF so focus can’t be allways accurate, mostly when you like to focus&recompose – which is known to “shift focus”. Hence touchscreen focus is so awesome as you’re focusing completely on the subject without recomposing and shifting it a bit away (google). This camera doesn’t have touchscreen to do that (failed to mention it vs E-P3 awesome touch-to-take-picture ability) – not that it needs to – as there’s zero shallowness in DOF mostly.

      – for third, in this thoughtful & amazing high-performance stellar device V1 – you find so many quirks – like missing function buttons to bigger-than-needed size (which is no smaller/pocketable then competition apart when used with very long zoom lenses), which makes me wonder where this 4 years of research went.
      To the sensor indeed, ISO 1600/3200 performance seems unreal, but that’s about it. If you are in m43 system, your excellent lenses will work with E-P4/GF4 (2012), but your average CX lenses still won’t bring you joy no matter what, and they won’t be cheap! Almost leica-like-priced!

      end of rant – I wanted to put it to balance with so many praise of an overpriced system, mostly when rumored Canon G13 is going to be:
      1. half priced & half the footprint of V1 with built in flash
      2. 12Mpixel backlit awesome sensor-lens-camera (a bit improved S100 sensor)
      3. with much improved HD video with stereo mic

      I don’t want to have G13 again (I used to own G10/12), I want to have “future potential”. I wouldn’t invest £500 pounds to Leica lens if I wouldn’t see that system is growing/improving every year.

      Ok, you have accurate&fast focus here, you have similar on the GX1/GF3/E-P3 and if 20ns better means that V1 is superior camera, well it’s for you maybe. For me it is a bit of a failure unless it’ll cost here £500 with 2 lenses.

      P.S. and what about that Viewfinder subject mentioned couple of times? Just buy one for E-P3 (is cheap) and you get a great advantage of tilting + you can put it away to have it more pockatable with pancacke lenses. I don’t see a viewfinder in a camera as an advatage (in cameras that AIMS to be small/pockatable) but you are mentioning couple of times how great it is to have it, like if it would be impossible to get it for any other mirrorless system (because you use it 99% of time). I use LCD most of the time as touch-to-focus is an awesome thing.

      • More haters who do not even own the camera… Exposure Comp…do you see that in a D3, D700, D7000, Leica M9? Nope, so I guess those cameras are all “failure as hell” too huh? Don’t care about accurate metering? Well, the market that Nikon aimed this camera at DOES INDEED care about this as Nikon did not make the camera for you and your personal tastes. The focus is fast and always right even at 110mm wide open. After thousands of shots, not one out of focus to date for me. Your complaints about function buttons are odd again as Nikon did not aim this at a pro market. It has a FN button, and one that will be programmable in a future update. Also, the camera is not too big at all! If you want small go buy the Panasonic G3, you can get one at target with lens for $325. Why? Because no one wanted it. Was too small and too crippled. Besides, Nikon has the J1 for those who want more of a P&S and small experience.

        As for the Canon G series, it is in NO WAY better than the Nikon 1 series. I have shot with the G12 and tried my best to enjoy it and I hated it, just as i hated the G10 for numerous reasons. The G12 is a basic P&S dressed up to look like it is something else. This is why I did not waste my time writing about those cameras. They did nothing for me. At all.

        more…The AF on the V1 used phase detect and contrast detect and is much quicker than the AF on any of the M 4/3 cameras. If you used them all you would have found this out for yourself so your comments on the AF being similar to the M4/3 cameras are not true. You sound like one of the butter guys who trolled on over here from another “forum” to defend your camera choice. I shot the V1, and still have it. I use it DAILY and it has yet to let me down in the areas where it excels. Is it perfect? NO! I never said it was. It needs faster lenses for sure. But again, this camera is not aimed at PROS or this emanating a big sensor. It is aimed at the every day joe who want something that just works. These shooters could care less (nor do they even know about) large sensors or DOF. They want a camera that they can take out and shoot and get great results with out of the box.

        This is what the NIkon 1 is all about.

        I am guessing you have not been visiting my site for the past three years because if you did you would know how I write and that I only write about cameras, lenses and products that inspire and excite me. If a camera is shit, I do not waste my time. So when I do write about something it means I enjoyed it and I write about my experience with it. So the enthusiasm you see is real. Maybe if you shot with a V1 and took it out to shoot some real photos for a while you would feel differently like most who do. For its intended audience, Nikon nailed the V1. It’s quick, accurate, great color, and almost foolproof. It has a great build and feel, nice EVF that doesn’t stick out like a wart and has better low light/high ISO than any M4/3 I have tested. The lenses are slow as molasses and give no shallow DOF but they are sharp as can be. The video is also superb. The other two gimmicks (motion snapshot and the other one) are crap but nothing I can do about that.

        So I am sorry that you felt my review was to “enthusiastic”. Im a happy cheerful guy by nature so it comes across here on this blog in many ways. Maybe you could use some of that cheer 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

        • I have played with V1 in jessops presented by one Nikon representative, with posters on the window and some heavy marketing. I played with X10 the same day, the new X-lens from pana (wasn’t expecting it to be that small) and few others (got to know that GX1 won’t be having manual video controls and so on).

          I tried to stay clear of troll arguments in my post, but usually I posses zero diplomacy as like you said, I’m new on your blog.

          “I don’t care about accurate metering” was unfortunate wording, honestly!
          I am not native speaker obviously one can tell. What I wanted to say was – I don’t care that this has better metering than competition as an argument.
          This difference isn’t a issue with mirrorless competition (that you would be tempted to switch). WHAT IS AN ISSUE (what you should have written) that one would join V1 side is for example:
          – speed (still 3-4 fps with IBIS vs 10fps on V1)
          – missing OIS (not present in Panasonic for example unless you have a lens with it, not sure about Samsungs)
          – low-performing kit lenses that you get with them
          – cheap 460k LCDs (most panasonic range, Samsung/Oly have better models)
          – few others, but not metering. Is better on V1 which is fine.

          I don’t see live exp comp (sorry, I’m not viewfinder guy as you can tell and hopefully I’m not lone-soul-enthusiasts using screen mostly) and that is a bummer for me. Mostly when ANY mirrorless competition has it (with live histogram to tell you if you overblown highlights), even compact cameras. Bringing DSLRs here is not fair, you got me, I’m not your pro level. Maybe that’s why I was interested in V1.

          – it is TOO BIG than needed considering smaller sensor. “BIG” is a subjective factor, but (if you re-read my original post) I said that 4 years of expertise could have brought much smaller body and smaller lens footprints then competition.
          Now look on Sony 5n body, is it crippled? Or cute GF2 (which I love)? You don’t need to be (failure) GF3 (really the only “bad” model in mirrorless maybe with Cx3). But they can’t get any smaller (or lenses) due to sensor size, Nikon could have been smaller! It is Samsung NX200 size-wise which has APS-C inside! 4 years of research yes? We have 2 different opinions here, but I do believe they could have been something like Olympus XZ1 with pancacke lens sizewise. This isn’t any better to carry then competition, so for me they lost here.

          – G10 was one of the most loved cameras, mirrorless didn’t exist at the time. You are the first guy I’ve met that hates it (even my fellow professional photographers had one) but you have seen 10times as much cameras as I’ve did, so I say it’s alright. Had I other choice apart from DSLRs? Don’t think so.

          RAW shooting ability with improved controls over G9 (great exposure/ISO dial, fn buttons…) with wide bright 5x zoom lens + 15Mpixels (although noisy) in a compact magnesium (built as a tank) body?
          Brilliant display (best at the time) with exact metering/auto white balance? What not to love? I loved it during the days sooo much – I wasn’t alone (many reviews said picture quality was on par with DSLRs at the time (on low-ISOs), thanks to ISO80 clean results) – I couldn’t use it during the night though. It wasn’t night shooter at all but was 2008 back then wasn’t it (and it had flash)?
          I never used viewfinder (was a joke) so that could have been a problem for you that you didn’t give camera a chance.

          – G12 (rather small update but with better 10Mpx sensor) is in NO WAY better then V1 indeed! 2 different leagues (well 1 year has passed). I was talking about the “rumoured G13” and haven’t said it will be better anywhere.
          But all the advantages (12Mpixels (bigger & improved vs G12) sensor, cheaper, smaller, lighter, faster lens with collapsible zoom, built in flash…) will WIN against a bit better picture quality of Nikon V1.
          OK – viewfinder will still be a joke, so those who need it won’t even look.

          But like you said, for “every day Joe”, and Joe doesn’t like to pay more then he needs when isn’t looking for pro camera. And results out of the BOX from G cameras? Well, with old G10 90% of time. I believe G13 won’t be different (not in JPG though, in 2008 you didn’t have ultra-pics-venus-X-generation-quad-core engine to run, G2 isn’t any better). What G13 will lack? Still won’t come anywhere close 10FPS, that was a sole reason I jumped to mirrorless back then, not image quality. I wanted a night & fast shooter. All these cameras (even X10) weren’t there, V1 has an superb ISO performance and 10fps! But lacks night lenses & night performance for me. And in Hyde Park during day time? I guess picture quality will be the same.

          – I like you are enthusiastic, but I failed to see much enthusiasm in V1 pics myself. It simply wasn’t there for me, looked as “2D” as iPhone4 pics taken in one professional camera review. I repeat myself, investing to this system is risky NOW. With rumoured lenses it can become killer (they look too good to be true and affordable), but competition isn’t sleeping as well. Samsung has extremely nice lens line-up comming, Sony is waking up, m43 is expecting $1000-$1500 X lenses and so on… expensive? Yes, exactly like “1 system” from Nikon, here in UK at least.

          – Lenses are sharp because you “use” only centre area of it (big lens, small sensor) and have smaller aperture. We’ll see if the lens quality and sharpness stays with rumoured F1.2-F1.8 ones. We already have sharp F1.4 25mm leica or superb F1.8 45mm olympus avaiable NOW.

          – I haven’t said that AF is the same. I said is better on V1 (it is, probably best in the world) but not soo much that it makes difference vs say E-P3/GX1, they have blazing fast auto focus as well. Vs Fuji X100? Of course there’s no comparison. But I’m saying AF speed isn’t an argument to jump from any current mirrorless system to V1, they’re all good enough. V1 is better, it’s good.

          overall, like we used to say on battlefront, We’ll wait and see. Competition is good for consumer, and haters will allways hate. I’m (hopefuly) not one, I just wanted this system to be good. Good from start. It isn’t. It _might_ be, in the future, with V2, new lenses, price dropping (I expect new lenses to be very expensive).

          In my oppinion mirrorless system was created to counter the heavy-bulky DSRLs with bringing size down without sacrificing quality. Putting non-removable viewfinder in V1 or “P&S like” DOF is against it.

          A guy that is affraid to use viewfinder (because it brings wrinkles 😉

  9. The V1 is tempting, but the lack of more prime lenses has given me pause. I think I’ll stick it out a bit more and wait for the rumored Fuji system with interchangeable lenses. Happy turkey day everyone.

    PS – Eagerly waiting on the Ricoh grd iv review.

    • Aim well and shoot carefully. First time I hear someone putting the Turkey to rest with a camera before putting it into the oven Are these new Nikons really this versatile?:)

  10. Hi Steve, I am really enjoying your updates on the V1. I have owned mine a week now an I really enjoy it. By the way, this is my only camera. And I feel like this was the best choice because of the ability to expand and the quality.

    I had an Oly e-pl1 , a panasonic Lumix G2 and like more about this Nikon V1 than any mirrorless camera I have used or owned.

    I don’t agree with the thinking that this is to high priced. It is a bargin compared to any other mirrorless camera with a built-in EVF.

    It would cost as much or more for any other camera by the time you added the EVF but the package would be bigger and have an inferior kit lens.

    Steve, thank you for the tips on the V1. I am really loving mine now !


  11. With the Black Friday discounts, the V1 + dual lenses become more and more enticing. Your high ISO shots are helping Nikon a great deal in selling the camera also 😉

    … if only I were not so fully invested in m4/3 lenses… well if Nikon do come out with the fast lenses as mentioned, and prices come down a bit further, I might add the V1 as a second system…

  12. I guess I still feel its far too expensive for what it is. For me personally at that price there are a slew of more attractive options.

  13. I picked up a J1 to replace a canon power shot A650 IS P&S as my pocket camera. I’m very impressed, I shot my kids at the park today and was blown away by the AF accuracy and color rendition of the raw files. Also getting the J1 in black helps the in hand build factor quite a bit. It’s much heavier then I thought it would be. The price cuts helped push me over the edge, glad I jumped.

  14. I continue to laugh at the reactions to this camera. Olympus and Panasonic have been through nearly 3 generations of their products and Nikon came to market with a first generation product that in many respects beats the Oly/Panny duo on the first go round. Of course there will be lenses, why wouldn’t there be. Nikon was bold. They did surveys and the most Nikon shooters said they didn’t want this camera. It will be interesting when the V2 comes out to see how many Nikon shooters bought a 1 or buy a 2. I know I was recently surveyed by Canon on mirrorless, so they may be planning something too. Think how good and fully formed the Canon will have to be to compete with 4th generation m4/3 and 2nd generation Nikons.

    • I’m still not really sure how these Nikon cameras beat m4/3, outside of AF. IQ-wise, m4/3 is nearly equal or better in every category, and it also has much more shallow dof potential.

      I don’t have much interest in this race, since, personally, I’d just shoot my iPhone if I needed a sensor smaller than aps-c, because NEX is a fantastic size/IQ trade off, but I’d certainly still choose m4/3 over these new Nikons.

      • Well, it beats most M4/3 bodies due to the AF Speed, Af Accuracy, AF tracking, Built in EVF, Metering, high ISO and AWB, sharpness and build. Color is all personal pref. M4/3 images have more shallow DOF due to the lenses and sensor but the images tend to be more smooth. Just a different look. M4/3 wins for lens choice no doubt. Also wins for video if you are shooting with something like a GH2. I enjoy both and look forward to see what the GX1 brings to the table. A GX1 and 25 1.4 seems like a great match but still, no built in EVF (which I use 98% of the time on the V1) but a add on that adds bulk and cost.

      • In one sentence: It stays out of the shooters way. That is what it is better at than all other compact system cameras, which still require workarounds in one way or the other, some more, others less. Be it because of lack of AF speed or accuracy, tendency to over-underexpose, no integrated EVF, lack of excellent native lenses, etc.

        • Exactly, it keeps out of the way and that is what makes it great fun to shoot with.
          Or in other words you don’t have to fiddle a lot to take a picture.

          • Yes and no. I have a J1 and the only real negative is having to dive into the menu to change the ISO. And I don’t trust auto ISO to always pick the lowest possible ISO value. If I set ISO 800 as the max for auto ISO, the J1 seems to pick 800. Likewise for ISO 3200. Don’t really care about the lack of PASM, but lack of ISO access on a button is unfortunate.

          • I haven’t had any problems with auto ISO and it seems that I get the lowest ISO possible. I shoot in aperture mode and when light is low I make sure to set it to lowest possible aperture (widest opening). Could be that the camera chooses differently in P mode if that is what you use?

          • Anders, interesting – I’ve seen several comments about auto ISO behavior. I think this calls for some research to determine just how auto ISO is implemented in the V1.

  15. Fast glass is greatly needed for the system. I’m still enjoying my V1, but the arrival of the upcoming e-mount 50mm 1.8 may relegate the usage of the V1 to strictly outdoor use. The impending Fuji mirrorless is something I want to also save some cash for in case it lives up to my very high expectations.

    • The VR makes it possible to shoot at very low shutter speeds like 1/10 sec or even lower without the image being shaken.

      Nikon claims 4 stops using VR II, so you can shoot the 10-30mm at the long end at f/5.6 without shake as if it was an f/1.4 lens (at f/1.4) without VR built-in and at the same shutter and ISO settings.

      I know DOF will not be the same as with the fast lens, but still I can’t see that there should the any problem with the current lenses shooting indoors when using VR.

  16. Steve, I always thought your son had a good head on his shoulder and he sticks with his D2H!! I have thought several times about selling my pair of D2H bodies but since I have owned one since 2003 I just can’t bare to part with ’em!!!

  17. Huge discount right after initial launch, I don’t know, will Nikon offer huge discounts for a D800 kit if it were launched the same time as the V1??? I do not think so haha!

  18. Thanks for the link to Kirk’s website, Steve. I’m not a forum dweller and live and die by RSS. He has a fine writing style and is a solid shooter. Happy turkey day!

  19. “I want to focus on one of the the negatives of this camera and see just how negative this is in real use. HIGH ISO/LOW LIGHT. Many have been complaining about low light performance, well…”

    Kinda weird that you stop at iso 800.. why not showcase the iso 1600 – 3200?
    With the current slow lens i am sure the camera would need higher iso than 800 in some condition if not more likely.

    But so far i am liking the high iso capability of this little sensor.. i would say better than the current m4/3 atm..

    • I have ISO 3200 and 6400 shots in my review, and they look pretty damn good! Usually I NEVER use anything more than 1600 with any camera and Id probably top off at that with the V1 as well but I have shot with it at 3200 and did not have a problem with the noise. But see the review for 3200 and 6400 shots. Thanks!

  20. Bought the V1 last week. It’s simply brilliant for 95% of what I shoot, and exactly what I have been wanting, but didn’t believe existed. I’m a guy who bought a dslr (Nikon D-90) and good glass to shoot my very active grandchildren. I like to shoot w/o flash when possible, but don’t hesitate to use it when needed. My grandkids have grown up thinking I have a camera and flash permanently attached. This weekend I shot with the 10 f2.8 and the 10-30, in lousy light outside and marginal inside lighting, and not only nailed every shot, but got better shots because the V1 was invisible to the kids. IQ is wonderful, and high ISO shots (up to 3200) were perfectly usable. I did have to move to shutter priority in low light to stop action because the camera is biased in other modes to lower shutter speed rather than raise iso. I’m with you, Steve. People who are bashing this camera just haven’t shot it in real life conditions. There’s a heavy bag with pro lenses sitting in my closet now that’s very lonely for the light of day.

  21. My response to the initial Nikon 1 announcement was pretty typical – I wasn’t impressed. Then I started seeing user images that caught my attention, followed by reviews/user blogs like Steve’s and Kirk Tuck’s. That let me to seek a V1 out in a store to play – numerous times.

    Net result: a V1 with all three lenses on order. I’m planning on using it for the days I only expect to be doing casual shooting and want to leave the Leica gear or the DSLRs at home. It will hopefully fill the role of my old everyday carry cameras – an Olympus XA or a Retina 1a. My guess is that I will usually have the 10mm mounted for everyday use with the 30-110 in my pocket; I hope the rumors are true about upcoming fast primes, a small 28-35-50-85 equivalent kit would be great.

    The constant barrage of web venom from N1 haters is getting rather old. It reminds me of the current state of US political discourse – namely something resembling UK football hooliganism. People can’t seem to understand that not personally liking something doesn’t equate to it sucking.

    Thanks for posting the low light stuff, Steve – seeing actual examples of how a camera handles poor lighting is important to me.

  22. Hey Steve! First of all I have to say that I’m really digging your’s reviews!
    I’m in a big struggle right now….I just sold my nex 5 with 18.55mm planning to buy the nex 7 18.55mm, I also have bought and I still have 16mm, fisheye adapter and the 55-200….Now I’m seen the review of the v1 and seems really cool…so I don’t know now if I should stay in the nex 7 idea or change my mind sell everithig and buy the nikon v1….
    Again congrats on your fantastic work I’m becoming a fun of you!

  23. The 800 ISO shot is pretty damn good and so are the other shots. Your son is also a pretty damn sensible young man that hasn’t been infected by the Leica virus yet 🙂

  24. When I was last in London at the end of October I dropped by Jessops, who had a working demo V1 model. I took to it immediately. Very intuitive and great to handle with confidence.

    Compared to the competition alongside, what impressed me most was its quality solid build and ease of use (it had the 10-30 lens). And boy is it fast to focus. I’m pleased to find from your review shots, Steve, it has excellent image quality considering its small sensor.

    Certainly the V1 seems faster than my D90 and 18-200 I had been lugging about day for the past five hours (my choice, I’m not complaining).

    Would I consider the V1? Certainly. For the same reason I bought the Olympus XA when it first came out: ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’.

    With the V1 system and its potential, we’re certainly spoilt for choice!

  25. the 1 system is much better than everyone’s expectations, I m in the same boat as ou are right now, currently trying out the m43rd system as an everyday camera, its been great, but the Nikon 1system is starting to look very good too, whats your preference at the moment Steve? do you prefer m4/3 or the 1 at the moment as an everyday shooter? btw, your son might be right about being silly for liking Leica, but every photographer will eventually become silly 🙂

  26. The V1 is still over priced in Europe, but apart from that only one thing stops me from buying one at the moment – the flash. Dear Nikon – when you introduce a N1 next year (for the discerning photographer) please make it compatible with the SB-series of flashes and make the lenses and body weather proofed. I do not want to buy yet another flash that cannot be used with my other Nikons.

  27. In my opinion, being late in the game Nikon should show a roadmap for its lenses. All is good for the body, but a body with no lens is pretty useless… a lot of potential for sure, but I prefer my pictures to be “real” and not “potential” 🙂

    I’m very interested in the V1 body (thanks to you Steve!) but the only lens line-up in the mirrorless area is really mFT; more specifically, I need a fast pancake standard prime (cf. Lumix 40/1.7), a fast middle tele (cf. Zuiko 45/1.8) and an ultra-wide zoom (cf. Zuiko 9–18/4–5.6, a little dark but small and affordable). All these lenses are “rumored” for the Nikon 1 system, but as far as I know, none is officially confirmed… or maybe I’m wrong? Any announcement I have missed?

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