The Nikon V1 does Western Alberta by Paul Chance

The Nikon V1 does Western Alberta

by Paul Chance,

After years of using the Nikon D200, D300 and D700 bodies with the 2.8 aperture lenses, I recently went light with the Nikon V1, along with the two-lens kit (10-30 and 30-110 lenses), making a nice 27-300mm package that was considerably smaller than my D700 assorted glass. My main objective was not to replace my D700 but to have less gear on family vacations.

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I went to Death Valley earlier this year with both the D700 and the V1; the V1 got good results, so when I recently vacationed in Western Alberta, I left the big gear at home. I used the V1 kit with a Gitzo Traveler tripod and a couple of filters, the Singh Ray Vari-ND and the Canon 500D. I took the vast majority of waterfalls and river shots with the tripod and VariND filter.

Since a family vacation is often not conducive to the golden hours of 5:30-7:30am and 9:00-11:00pm, I used the Vari ND filter and split ND filters to create various moods.

V1 advantages include (1) Size & Weight: I strapped my tripod on one side of my Camelbak, my collapsible hiking stick on the other side, and attached camera and lenses to the waist belt of the Camelbak using small Lowepro bags. I hiked hands free with equipment very accessible. (2) Easy Controls: I had no problems setting exposure compensation, manual focusing, time delay or remote shutter release. I used Aperture mode for 100% of the trip. (3) Sensor Size: The increased depth of field of the sensor helped on the landscape shots. (4) Focus: The camera focused quickly; I easily adjusted the AF sensor to my chosen target, and easily switched to manual focus in dim light using hyperfocal distance.

V1 disadvantages include (1) Wake Up Time: The camera goes to sleep and takes two seconds to wake up, causing several missed wildlife shots. (2) Noise: The small sensor creates unacceptable noise levels above ISO800. (3) Lens Limitation: Currently no fast zoom lenses are available for this camera. While Vibration Reduction is good, it does not replace a fast shutter speed. The small lens size makes using gradient filters difficult.

I readily recommend the V1 for shooting landscapes if final prints are no larger than 10×15. It’s a great camera for vacationing, hiking, and taking family shots. I would not recommend the V1 solely for wildlife photography.

To view more images from the V1 in Western Alberta, visit my website:

Comments are welcomed!



  1. I will also take my FT1 and 70-200 and TC1.4 in case we see whales and eagles. Still working out if I will carry it in the pack or on the belt.

    I may have to adjust my earlier comment about the V1 not working for wildlife.

  2. BTW, headed to western Washington state this summer (rainforest, etc) and will take my V1 kit as well as my Fuji XP1. As much as I like the V1 – it is sure fun using the XP1.

  3. Thanks for the post. I am planning on a hiking trips with my Nikon 1. Curious as to the camera bag you have found most useful.

    • Hi Paul,

      I am a bit unconventional. I hike with a camelback with two very small lowepro bags (both waterproof in case of rain) on my waist belt of the camelbak. One holds the V1 with the 10-30 the other hold the 30-110 lens. My traveler tripod is on one side of the camelbak and my collapsible trekking stick is on the other side.

  4. It depends on what is the purpose of the trip. About once or twice a year I get together with friends for a photography focused trip. I will take the big stuff for those trips.

    Most vacations with family, I will be going light.

  5. Great shots. #2 is simply breathtaking. On our latest trip to Spain I left my DSLR at home too. It was very liberating in many ways. I also found it an inspiring little challenge to see if I could come home with satisfactory pictures despite the unavailability of bags full of gear. It worked out fine. Perhaps paradoxally I don’t feel I missed a single shot. Out of interest, what are your plans for future trips? Do you think you will leave the big stuff at home more often?

  6. Thanks for the kind comments and glad ya’ll are enjoying the pictures. The temps were cool in the mornings (high 30’s low 40’s) so I was concerned about battery life. Next time I will set the time to 15 minutes.

  7. Inspiring images, Paul.
    I sold my x100 to grab a V1 and I am enjoying shooting again.
    I think if I were taking the V1 with me for animal/nature photography I would keep it on at all times and just switch batteries if for some reason I was out longer than an average V1 battery lasts.

  8. Excellent images Paul, if you’ve read my article on using the V1 in Venice on this website, you will know that I too am a big fan of this system. As for the wake up time from sleep, I find that with such an amazing battery life I just leave the camera on all the time when out shooting. Although I carry a spare battery just in case.

  9. With IQ like this who needs DSLR’s for daily non-pro use ? I have aGF1 with the original kit 14/45 and 20mm f1.7 prime and I feel the quality of these shots from the V1 is as good , if not better.

  10. Great photos. The V1 is not for me, but I really see the attraction, tiny with a built in EVF and the price is pretty good too. I’d also say, personally, it’s a much nicer looking camera than the cheaper Micro Four Third models.

  11. Hi Paul,

    wonderful photographs, just goes to show that someone who clearly knows what he is doing can produce magnificant pictures from this modest but effective camera.

    My wife loves her V1 and I’m just waiting for a fast prime or two. As Nikon have already produced a 35mm equivalent, something like an equivalent to a 28mm 1.8 would be very nice. For street photography and general travel this single lens would probably do me. A fast 85 equivalent would complement this very well.

    We are going to have to visit Western Alberta, what fantastic landscapes!


    • Agreed, I did miss being able to shoot wider than 27mm. For landscapes, the 1.8 is not as critical, although for street photography I certainly can understand the need for a 1.8.

  12. Hey Paul, lovely work. The waterfall shot is very nicely composed, looks like you had a lot of fun 🙂

  13. These are amazing photos. I had a V1 and loved it for it’s fast and accurate AF.
    Unfortunately my bag with the V1 and 10mm pancake was snatched away recently.

    I recommended the J1 to a friend and I would not hesitate recommending it again.

    I will however wait for now before buying another V1 myself. Refresh intervals are pretty short these days and I guess the next model is around the corner. I hope the next model gets more pixels (16M would be nice) and usable quality at ISO1600. A swivel screen, some fast lenses and ideally a vertival grip.

    If such a package comes along I would give it some serious consideration. I have no G.A.S. at the moment and my next purchase would probably be a D800E. But I will definitely need a smaller system sooner than later and hope Nikon will pleasantly surprise me with some good additions to the 1 system.

  14. Nice images Paul. The small cameras have really matured in the last year. I think cameras have generally matured in the last year. The Nikon 800E is just about to kill medium format, unless the medium format guys up their game, which I expect them to do shortly.


  15. Nice results. I too appreciate the smaller kit these days but even still I would be hard pressed to do any serious ‘photo trips’ and leave the 5D2 behind. That said I’m pretty happy with the XPro-1…just need a wide angle for it.

  16. For what is basically a small sensor camera, those pics are impressive. It shows, once again, that it’s mostly the photographer when it comes to creating good photos, and these are really good.
    Seeing that scenery again, (I lived in the area for several years), reminded me how beautiful our country is.
    These would be considered excellent if shot with an FF camera, but with a V1, I think they’re remarkable.

  17. Very nice pictures Mr. Chance!! Pls tell me how you use hyperfocal distance when there isn’t a DOF scale on the lens

    with thanks

    Greg Hall

    • D-lux 4 had it on the screen…a scale and a yellow zone shows what will be in focus…Nikon must have the same

    • i have a phone app that supports the V1 and CX lenses that let me know where the HF point is. Also, using f11 & f16 combined with the increased DOF of the little sensor make it somewhat easy.

  18. Looks good! I know the V1 start up time is slow so I found it’s easier to just turn it all the way off, and then back on when you need it – it seems to be a lot faster that way than letting it go to sleep.

  19. Why all the Nikon 1 articles on the site recently? Do the site sponsors have a huge inventory of unsold stock or something and are trying to push for my advertising? I’m a big time Nikon user and the V1 doesn’t even appeal to me. I’d rather stick to the OM-D.

    • Hmmmm…nope, Nikon is not an advertiser nor do they pay me one penny. The reason for the articles is because there are happy owners and users who want to share their experience with the camera 🙂 Just because you are not interested doe not mean others are not. There are many happy 1 series owners out there. Thanks!

    • I don’t think it’s that many. I would wish for more and I appreciate the variety in the photos submitted.

      I guess Nikon 1, despite it’s quite good reviews, are cameras that still have to prove themselves since we crave for larger sensor and they are all around us (GX1, NEX, E-M5, X2, X100). It’s good to see that people are still enjoying the V1/J1.

      • I think these photos are proof enough. I’m buying one tomorrow actually. And I have an OMD.But when I want to shoot and not think too much this looks perfect.

  20. Wow that’s actually really impressive for a camera I still find difficult to take seriously … But this certainly helps.

  21. I love the your second pic. It’s an awesome point of view and nice to see what a Nikon1 System is capable of! The wake-up time don’t hits me so much. I guess, its a bit faster. But you are right, that it takes worthy seconds in comparison with a DSLR: The Nikon1 needs two hands (with the Zoomlenses), a Nikon DSLR just the right hand to get ready.

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