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).
[ad#Adsense Blog Sq Embed Image]
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.
HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT’S EASY TO HELP OUT & I CAN USE ALL THE HELP I CAN GET!
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 Germany, United Kingdom and Canada as well!
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 +!
Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!
It is nice to see a review that goes beyond the tecnics. Very nice pictures, thanks.
I just bought the V2 (new) for $329 with the 10-30 zoom. Since it was also being sold without any lens (body only) for the same price, I got it with the 10-30 lens. I did not really need the 10-30 zoom, as I got one when I bought my J3. I use the J3 for indoors photos because outdoors, I need a viewfinder. I also have the 30-110 zoom and the 18.5mm f1.8 lens. I like the articulated flash on the J3 unit better. I doubt that I will ever use the flash on the V2. I do love the “grip” on the V2, which the J3 lacks. I am very happy with the 10-30mm lens as long as I stay in the f3.5 to f8 range. I have not used the 30-110mm lens that much and I rate the the 18.5mm f1.8 lens as a “must have”.
Steve, I just got the V2 and paid $530 both zoom lenses included. So pretty good deal. I know you love the 18mm lens. I can’t afford that yet. How do you rate the two zoom lenses? I didn’t see anything about that above.
Hello, I am looking to buy as compact system camera as my Nikon D90 is bulky. I like your photos, I’d definitely consider the 18.5 lens as I like to work with shallow dof. So now I am in a pickle as I don’t know what to do.
I am used to Nikon and would like a light camera to carry in my bag for those “I wish I had my camera moments”. And I need a view finder, I cannot feel the image from the screen (sorry, it’s just the way I feel). So this is all pro- V2. And your photos look great in terms of detail (at least at this size on the screen).
However, I wonder if the 14M is small compared to others that go up to 16 or even 20. And then also I wonder if I should spend the money on a new SLR (gosh, they have 24M now, my D90 is 12.5M!). But I think that even if the camera is smaller, it will still be bulky so…
I was wondering what you think of this camera now. It is a little dated (The V3 does not have a view finder, well it does but it is an expensive extra).
What would you recommend me to do? (I would be VERY grateful for your expert opinion).
I LOVE THE V1 and V2! I still own a V1 and the IQ is stunning. Color, sharpness, film like tones and it’s affordable. The Nikon 32 1.2 is one of my top 5 all time lenses, and it is for this system. The V2 is small, fast, and provides a ton of things to really love about it. Those who trash it never owned one.
thank you so much for your quick reply. I looked at your sample photos, and the details are very good! And the point is to have good quality and take the camera with me at all times… I miss it when I don’t have it.
I checked out the Nikon 32 1.2 …. wow…. That’s one pricey lens (for me).
My favourite lens on the D90 is a Sigma 30mm 1.4f. It’s just sweet. What would be the Nikon 1 series equivalent? (I am rubbish at the conversion, but I have seen many using the 50mm for similar photos to what I take with the 30mm).
I’ll give it a little bit of more thought, but the balance on the scale is definitely on the yes…
Thank you again for your help!
Which fits into a jacket pocket easier, the V1 or the V2? I’m thinking of picking up one of these used.
I want to upgrade from my J1 with the 10mm f2.8 and the 10mm-30mm because I believe I would be happier with a camera with a viewfinder.
The V2 is not a pocket friendly design, so the V1 100%
I printed this picture https://500px.com/photo/65218141/caribbean-beach-by-dan-p?from=user_library It was taken with a V2 12×18 inches and it looks really nice. This picture was taken with the 10-30mm kit lens.
Thanks Dan. That’s a nice picture with some very vivid colours.
I think the fact you were sick with the flu shows through in your review! You were quite negative and I don’t believe the fine little V2deserved all that! The photos are great and the improvements obvious. I love my v1 but am also impressed with the V2. I use both right along with my expensive Nikon DSLR’s. Can’t understand all the negativity about the sensor. I like it, makes small lenses possible, whereas such cameras as the Sony’s use monstrous lenses by comparison. If I want to use big lenses I also want my DSLR bodies to handle them. Just my preference, and other choices are the preference of other photographers. I don’t put down their choices and can’t fathom all the negativity, most by people who never saw or touched the camera. Let’s all live by the guide ‘to each his own’, I really like the Nikon 1 series. Let the hate mail begin!
Nikon Canada sells the V2+2 lens kit for 700CAD. Check online Canadian stores – they are a bit cheaper.
Regarding the Nikon 1 system, any rumor of wider primes, say 8.9 mm (my alltime fave full frame is 24mm)? The current 10mm doesn’t quite do it for me.
Steve, good evening. I’d like to know if you’ve tried with the FT1 adapter AND manually focused lenses (namely ZF2 lenses). Actually I’m still trying to figure out which “smaller” camera I should pair with my D600 and each one has its pros, in this case I might use excellent lenses without entering another system, however I’m waiting for the V3 because the V2 (and now AW1) still fall short in some respect. Unfortunately, I have no idea how clear is the image of such lenses in the viewfinder compared for example to a DSLR. Since Nikon continues to refuse delivering the equivalent of a FM3D, I’d like to know if the 1-system is what I’m looking for or I should look for something else (E-M1 or Nex 7 or whatever else)
I have and love the V1, and have defended it many times. Having used the V2 several times, I’m thinking of buying *another* V1 to have forever for when my current one eventually dies. The way the V2 is, it doesn’t look good for the V3, so the V1 may indeed be “the last camera” I’ll ever want.
Having used the V2, here are my problems with it (appearance is not one of them)
1 – switched to the J1 battery
2 – the increase in megapixels wasn’t tracked by the processor strength, so the Image Viewer is jittery.
The V1 is so smooth you can’t tell you’re looking at a display; it looks like you’re just “looking at the scene” through glass. The V2 is delayed and you can see it update.
3 – the display, in its attempt to show you a more accurate representation of what the final image will look like, ends up being covered with excessive noise in most cases.
The fact is that “static” noise in a final picture is not so distracting, when compared with the “each frame is different” noise of a live display. This is the result of Nikon’s choice to show the actual processed image in the display, instead of simply a raw rendition of the incoming signal. It’s a step backward for usability, really, as the static is like watching static on a tv screen – buzzing constantly – and is very very distracting.
4 – The PASM dial is poorly designed.
Rather than give each item an ergonomically-pleasing angular range, they evenly divided the 360 degrees of the wheel amongst the available options. The result is that there is a) absolutely no way to “feel” where you are on the dial (unlike the excellent, if poorly located, dial on the V1), and b) you have to make *massive* movement to switch between each setting. Going all the way from the last to the first setting is a full 360 rotation, which is basically unbearable.
5 – Factual camera terminology like “Aperture” has been replaced by “user-friendly” language like “background softening”, which is just strange, counter-intuitive, and ultimately counter-productive.
This is helping one perhaps adjust for a good shot but without understanding the “why” and “how” of what’s happening with the device. Maybe I’m just a gearhead, and what I’m arguing essentially amounts to saying cars should say “tire rotations/h*vehicularAdjustmentFactor” instead of “speed” (re: “f-stop” vs “background softening”), but I think it’s silly. On the J or S series, maybe this would make sense, but the V is the “pro” line of the 1 series.
6 – Worst of all, Nikon consolidated all the sound options into a single setting called “Silent Photography”.
So, if you want to turn off the *inane* “beep beep boop beep” sounds some sound flunkie picked for “this means autofocus is complete”, you also have to turn off the physical shutter, and if you want the classic, Nikon shutter sound, you have to listen to all the little fake electronic sounds of pressing buttons and things. Absolutely no thought was given to the fact that a) artificial sounds and real sounds are not the same thing, b) some people want one kind of sound or another, or even (goodness no!) to turn on and off *specific* sounds (as was the case on the V1), but most egregiously c), the fact that the “Nikon shutter” is a marketing point, something they should embrace, considering the J doesn’t even *have* a physical shutter. In the movie “The Dilemma”, the main characters are getting a huge contract from a car company to put the muscle-car sound and feel *back in* to their electric sports car; Nikon has just removed that asset on purpose, for nothing.
I waited anxiously for months for the V2, because the V1 is so surprisingly good and once battle-tested just needed a few tweaks. Instead, we get a completely new camera which – while it did improve on many points – unfortunately broke things which were excellent before being “fixed”.
I was surprised not to see any of the above mentioned in your otherwise-excellent review (except the battery issue).
I have the V1 and some lenses and I see absolutely no reason to ‘upgrade’ to the new V2. Ten megapixels is more then enough for most people and the V1 is an excellent camera. No camera is perfect and neither is the V1. Once you get to know the V1 though (and that happens very fast), it’s actually a super fun camera to use and it gives very good results.
An interesting tip: I purchased Cokin Harmonie 40.5mm UV filters for my lenses. I haven’t seen any tests yet, but build quality wise these filters are amazing! It’s the first filter I have ever used that actually IS slim (and not just saying so on the packaging). They almost disappear into the lens when you screw them on, I was afraid I did something wrong! These filters really only add about one millimeter length to the lens, truly amazing. I always disliked putting the thick B+W (or any other brand) filters on compact lenses. Well, I no longer have to, with these absolutely tiny French Cokin Harmonie filters.
Thank you for this review Steve. I wasn’t sure if I should buy the brand new V2 or the older V1. After reading your review (and some others), I decided to save myself a lot of money and buy the V1 with 10-30mm kit lens. It’s amazing, this thing (brand spanking new with a full 2 year Nikon warranty) cost me only 250 euros! I sold the 10-30mm and with the money I saved, I bough the Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 and the superior 11-27.5mm lens. The 11-27.5mm is smaller, more contrasty and sharper wide open then the 10-30mm. It’s a great small kit.
I have the V2 with the 2 kit lenses but also have the Panasonic G5 with several lenses. Am thinking that my V2 no longer needed and should sell now while price is still good but I like the use of the FT-1 adaptor for my Nikon FX/DX lenses even though I only get AF-S. What would you do keep both.
Bought an almost new V1 second hand with the 10mm lens for $220,-
That’s a real bargain:) and love the camera for what is does. In 2 years you can buy the RX1 for the same price. The patient consumer wins:)
Steve…hope you are feeling better…but you sound like an apologist for liking the V1…before the OM-D…I have the V1 and the Olympus E-PM2 and find them useful in totally different settings…but I feel you are totally right for the V2…for the money…you can get a nicer camera….I love both my mirrorless cameras…the V1 I use for street photography…I put the 10mm 2.8 on that …set the shutter to quiet and I can take pictures of folks as I am talking to them and they do not even know I am taking their picture…so the V1 is great for that…plus for video shooters out there…the video is awesome
Apologist for the V1? I am a HUGE LOVE of the V1, no apologies needed. I recommended the V1 easily and whole heartedly. It is a GREAT camera and at those last blow out prices it was a steal.
Managed to get a Minty v1 with 10mm for only £205. Shot it for a few days and LOVED it. Can be a bit frustrating having to menu dive but the feeling of the camera and the film-like images I was seeing got me totally sold. Added a 10-30 from Ebay for £40…yes….£40, an 18.5mm and now the excellent 30-110. I have a 4 lens kit which fits in 2 coat pockets and, what’s more, I love using it. Feels like a camera, not a device. I have shot so many digital cameras that GAS was becoming a problem. I think I’ve worked out what it was that had me hopping from one system to another for so long. None of them gave me the same feeling of using my first proper camera, an olympus om10. This little gem from nikon comes pretty close! Pixel peepers are looking at pixels, not photographs. As for noise, or grain as we used to call it, look again at some of the classic images from the days of film……grainy aren’t they. They were taken with cameras, not devices.
As of Sunday morning Feb 24, B&H no longer has the $399 V1 package.
All v1 packages are listed as “discontinued” except for the following package.
B&H still lists a $799 V1 package with flash, adapter for F lenses, 10-30 zoom and the f/4.5 10-100 power zoom.
What is that “adapter” attached to the V1’s hotshoe? Thanks!
Here ya go:
All this talk about IQ etc. needs to be thought of in terms of the user’s systems and particular situations.
For me it is:
1. My cell phone’s camera
2. My coming V1 with 10-30 & 30-110 (from B&H at $399)
3. my other cameras
For bicycle camping journeys I’ll have #1 and #2 (and seriously need to think about the 18.5mm f/1.8 lens)
In the #3 category it varies with each user.
If one wishes for smooth creamy out of focus backgrounds (on a budget) try film cameras. Canon AE-1 with 50mm f/1.4 FD lens in great shape is around $200 or less. [[Limited film processing is cheap compared to digital camera depreciation]]
As for me on occasion I’ve borrowed my son’s Nikon D700 with 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom and 50mm f/1.8.
One camera cannot do everything…. The V1 was a no brainer at closeout prices for a bicycle camping enthusiast. Although the equivalent OM D m4/3 kit is only about 50% heavier, it is about $1000 more and does not have a cost competitive fast normal lens available.
Correction to the above..
OMD kit for 12-42 zoom, 40-150 zoom, and f/1.8 17mm lens is about the same weight as Nikon V1 kit with 10-30 zoom, 30-110 zoom, f/1.8 18.5mm.
The price of these two kits is greatly different but the weights are almost identical.
Good write up. I’m stuck between getting the 18.5mm for my v1 or getting the 35mm for my NEX 5N. They both seem good IQ wise, but for extra £££ I also get the benefit of OSS with the SONY option and I’m leaning towards that.
The Sony is my go to general camera and only really use the v1 for its 30-110 lens. Saying that, I’m swayed more by the Nikon wide angle option over the Sony. Will wait until they are both more widely available before making my decision though.
I’ve been dispointed with the Nikon ISO IQ so far though. Took it to take some photos of Tornado fighters and had to push it to 1600 due to it being an overcast day. The noise is more prominent than id like, but I’m still getting used to the camera.
The “gimic” modes really wind me up though. Save them for the J series. Wish I had the option to change the v1 mode dial options to PASM rather than movie, photo, gimic 1 and gimic 2, and put a sticker over the top.
With the v3, id love a back to basics approach. 3 mode wheels, 2 on top for ISO and shutter speed, and one on the back for aparture. 2 customisable fn buttons. and a customisable rocker switch (like the one on the v1). the view finder at the top left. and a touch screen for the menu options. NO GIMIC MODES! I dont want more MP, but if the lowered it back to 10MP and improved the high ISO noise, id be extra happy. But then I’d wish all mirorless cameras took this approach. Id rather have a larger buffer for consecutive shots, than a larger file size.
Is it just me, or does anyone else find the flower girl’s ant trail strangely erotic?
Could require an anteater..
Steve, you are one of the only reviewers who tries to describe the subjective “look” of cameras and that is much appreciated. Your description of the way the V1 renders, the deep colors and film like appearance (not quite Kodachrome but something along those lines) is the reason I love the camera. Now Nikon just needs to come to planet earth with the pricing. And release that 32, 1.2.
As someone said above, to each his own, but I love the look of this V2. A camera that doesn’t try to be old,but can stay by my M3. I would also like nicer (in all senses) lenses for it.
Steve, NICE Grado Grado RA1…
I went for the Violectric Dac & Amp Set-up and shot it with my OM-D!!!! LOL!
The Nikon V2 looks like a fun camera…and I think it is fun and less bother for a lot of casual shooters…but at that price point, like you mentioned it is OMD all the way, the file the lenses etc…more money but lots of choices. NOW.
The V1 is very compelling on price and is a great buy!
The new Nikon looks interesting. I makes me wonder why the micro four thirds maker won’t build a viewfinder into the camera?
Thanks for the review Steve and be well. Great looking black and whites in your review.
Maybe it is only natural that the 14MP of smaller pixels of the V2 don’t give a perceptible improvement of IQ over the 10MP of fatter pixels of the V1.
To put it in perspective though it is not too shabby that the Nikon 1 ‘s are pretty close in IQ (and sometimes better except ISO) than the ‘previous’ generation M43 like the Pana GF5 if you look at DXO mark scores (I know, does not say everything).
So time heals a lot of pixel peeping wounds in digital camera world, even for Nikon 1 owners :-).
For now I still have my V1 in my coat pocket every day. None of my camera’s achieved that. I am getting the 18.5 f1.8 this week.
I am tremendously enjoying myself shooting pictures with a camera that is not perfect, more so than with most of the perfect camera’s I thought I had.
Hi Steve. Nice review while sick! Just bought V2 two lens kit plus 18mm for a trip to Israel. Just didn’t want to lug my D7000 plus lenses. Chose V2 over V1 despite the price and have been very happy. Autofocus is insane. Metering outstanding. Jpegs great. And raw has enough latitude for me. Just grabbed FT1 and been playing with my 18-200, now a 50-540 that focuses to 1/2 life size, and my 70-300, now a 190-810. IQ is outstanding. And my D7000 feels lime a brick now. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
I sold my Fujifilm X10 a couple of months ago. I also sold my Nikon D700 two months ago. Also, all the Nikon mount lenses I had. This week, I sold my SIgma DP1 & DP2 Merrill cameras (as much as I loved – really – LOVED the IQ, they were too slow for my liking). I sold my Leica X1 about three months ago as well. I now have two cameras: the Leica X2 (love it!) and the Fujifilm X-PRO1 with the 18-55mm lens. Love, love, love the Fujifilm approach. I bought the X-PRO1 two days ago. I can’t keep up with all new cameras and hope (really! please help me!) not to invest in another camera for the next two years. The V2, like the V1, seems neat, though. 🙂
Appreciate the review, Steve. I’ve seen and held the V2, but not shot with it. To each his own, but for me the V2 is the best looking of all Nikons, not just the 1 series, but ALL Nikons, and this comes from a long time Leica M owner. I think one advantage to the 1 system is the lens prices, and their size, For my purposes, though,I’m not happy with any of the lenses, and waiting for the 32 mm 1.2. Also would prefer better lens aesthetics.
Nice pictures indeed, but the price is simply not competitive with other cameras in this range. Nikon has clearly gone ‘all in’ with the 1 series, but there’s just not enough there to justify this over m4/3 or even the RX100 or Fuji X10/20. Compare the V2 to the E-PL5 and it’s not even close.
I compared the X10 to this and didn’t see much difference in speed – I have learned that so far, I’m partial to Fuji’s color signature. With used X10’s selling in the $350, it was a no brainer to pick one up. I almost went for the V1 deal, but for how I use the camera, the X10 was a better choice.
I hope you will feel better
The V1, at the astonishing sell off price in the UK, has proved irresistible. What Nikon were thinking launching the camera at the original price is beyond puzzling. The V2 is still too expensive, so I still doubt the 1 series will be as successful as it should or could be. But for now, I’m happy to buy a bargain, especially after reading Steve’s reviews.
Nice review but I have to say, it’s one of the ugliest cameras out there and that’s saying something.
Great looking images and amazing quality but that camera is the ugliest camera I’ve ever seen.
It is so ugly it’s trying to be small with it’s design but it just looks awful
yea but think of it this way, the uglier the camera, the more thieves will ignore it thinking its a child’s toy 😉
I think one would be better off with an iphone camera.
Hope you feel better soon Steve. Thanks for the V2 review.
A question for you. I love to take portrait photos. I have a V1 and am debating between getting the 18.5mm f1.8($200) or the FT-1 Adapter($200) with a regular Nikkor AF-S 50 mm F/1.8G FX Lens ($300). I think with the larger glass, the later would give a nicer picture quality and shallower DOF(nicer bokeh) with an extra $300. What do you think? Do you have this setup that you can do some picture comparison?
Well, two totally different lenses. Ask yourself if you want a 50mm equiv or a 150mm equiv (what the Nikkor 50 will give you). Id go 18.5 any day as 150mm is way too long for normal use.
50mm FX lens is an equivalent of 135mm and 135mm is a perfect lens for portrait (perfect portrait range:70-135mm)?
Love the photo of the Official Bodice Inspector. I suppose it’s not the first time a horrible camera has taken a great picture. I picked up a V1 and 10-30 for £200 and I’m beginning to think it’s the best £200 I ever spent. It is just a fun camera to use and the photos are pretty good too. If you haven’t got fun in your photography you’re missing out.
V1 and J1 are horrible cameras due to bad quality control buttons.
The J2 is substantially upgraded, it’s an excellent, solid tool.
The V2 is for those who like it.
v2 is as ugly as sin.
When the V1 came out, the “killer” feature was the fast AF. You could follow the subject as well as a phase-detect, and focus fast in all kinds of light. I tried the OMD (back before the firmware upgrade), and it did not seem as fast. The NEX-6 does not quite seem as fast, either.
To me, that is the key question. Does it still outrun the MFT and ASPC competitors? Because there are still a few times when I need to chase around a kid or two, and I haven’t got the arm strength or the bank account to carry around a D800 to do it.
I was asking myself the same question, I have an omd and two nikon FF bodies and the Nikon 1 does the best at keeping up with moving kids. I’m wondering if the new fujifilm x20 will be able to do the same
Thank you for this review – I can say, that you have calm me down with this.
I’ve got one question concern with V1:
When I set exposure mode to Programmed auto, then I change iso sensitivity to eg. 100-400 or 100-800, camera always taking pictures with maximum value. If I set A800 (auto 100-800) every picture has ISO 800 – no matter what are external conditions.
Have you experience same attitude?
Just wondering… are you sure the image is actually being taken at ISO800?
On my V1 for example… if I set the auto ISO to (100-800) and then compose the image – the LCD display shows the shutter speed, F-stop and… sure enough… ISO A800.
This doesn’t mean that the image is actually captured at ISO800 though – it’s just showing that the camera setting is Auto ISO, Max 800.
After pressing the shutter button, and then reviewing the image, if I press the DISP button to get further info, it then shows me the *actual* ISO the image was taken at (ie. ISO 250 perhaps).
It is kind of annoying that it doesn’t tell me the ISO *before* I press the shutter release (only during play-back) but I guess it’s all part of Nikon’s ‘auto-pilot’ philosophy with the V1.
In any case… mine seems to work OK in auto ISO mode.
@Shawn (Mars O) – Thank you for your response.
You’re right – I have checked every photo on card after reading your reply, and I found only three with ISO below Axxx number. That is strange, because some photos have terrible quality when I compare them with those with lower ISO that I manually set.
When I see pictures posted by Steve I’m going mad, because …. take a look – http://i.imgur.com/oOV4Q0p.jpg this is my car, and this is my reality.
Get some well deserved rest Steve and get well soon.
I loved the v1 when it first came out, but sold it for a couple reasons, 1) can’t STAND the mandatory image review after taking a pic 2) no PASM dial was frustrating 3) basically non-functioning F button. the V2 addresses these issues for me, and though 600 bucks is steep, I think it’s a worthwhile upgrade if those items bug you like they do me. in regards to OMD being superior, I agree that in terms of ultimate IQ, yes, but the one thing I feel the nikon 1 has a leg up on when compared to all other mirrorless units is it’s ability to accurately track focus in AF-C. This is great for kids and active subjects. but if you shoot stills or portraits, then that’s a non-issue. i guess this camera best appeals to those who need a small camera capable of tracking snot-flinging kids… sorry, I’m a bit of a rambler =D
Hope you’re feeling better soon, Steve. Great review and images!!
There’s a bit of magic there, in those images… I think maybe due to Nikon’s colour accuracy/profile and great, great (legendary!) metering.
I’m surprised though that the IQ of the V2 isn’t better than that of the V1 as rumor has it that the V2 doesn’t have an AA filter. Hopefully Nikon can take a big step forward in sensor design with their next (V3) model. Regardless though, I really think it’s the lenses that are going to make or break the One system.
Looking forward to seeing what else Nikon has in store for us over the next couple years! 🙂
Just take the grip from http://www.kleptography.com/rf/#camera_nikon1v1 ,
Looks good and works very well at a reasanoble price. (€32 / $39 incl shipping to Europe)
We will wait for the V3. (And hopefully a 1.4 13.5mm, the perfect holiday combo i.m.o. 35 prime plus a 80-300 zoom equi 13.5 + 30-110)
How would you compare the 18.5mm and the 10mm 1 series lenses? Besides the difference in focal length, does one strike you as clearly better than the other? Above you say that the 18.5 is your favorite, but I’d be interested to hear how you think of it compared to the 10.
Why do I ask? Because I just scored a closeout v1 and I can already tell that it’s going to be a fun camera. The simplicity reminds me of the camera I bought in college when I was studying overseas in Spain. I forgot my camera at home and bought a basic 35mm camera at FNAC ($65! I might have gotten gouged…). I used that camera to take some of my favorite pictures ever, and I think a lot of my enjoyment had to do with the camera’s simple controls. I only had to think about composing and what kind of film to buy. I still have the camera with some undeveloped film from Seville inside. The only problem was limiting my shots, since developing film was expensive. Thankfully, I don’t have to show much restraint with digital cameras these days.
Thanks for the rec and for the great site.
Well, my two fave Nikon 1 lenses are the 10 and 18.5. Both are fantastic. The 18.5 will give you some shallow DOF when using it up close, the 10 not so much. IMO, it would be good to own both as the 10 would be like your 28 and the 18.5 like your 50.
Thanks! I was afraid you were going to say that…
I bought a V1 with a 10- 30 lens for £286 GBP.
You can do a lot with the raw files in CS6. In fact I’d say that the sensor is far more capable than the sensor in the D90.
The V1 has a cracking little sensor and if you know how to meter properly and know your way around Lightroom / CS6, it could be all the digital camera that you ever need.
Awesome pics again Steve… without pixel perving the shot of the wizard like guy adorned in a lovely stitched red leather hat (where can i get one of those) looks realy sharp at web resolution and I’m surprised at the subject separation with such a small sensor.
You’ve brought me around to understanding this isn’t a ridiculous new system and I’d love to try one but the RX100 seems more convenient for size, M4/3 are a similar size (barring the GH3 which tailors to a video niche) but have larger sensors and more compelling native lenses. The fuji and Sony NEX options have much larger sensors and more compelling lens lineups and even the Cannon M offering seems to have an advantage for people vested in a cannon system… so I’m not sure who this appeals to.
Until it’s discounted like you allude to…
I recently bought by mum a Panasonic G2 at a discounted price which she loves, I think I’d have gone for the original V1 in hindsight.
Apart from real Nikon nuts, and even those, who would this appeal too?
Not really sure at this point who this would appeal to. Nikon fans will love it, every day consumers will buy as they will see it at best buy where they really push the 1 series it seems. You can buy an OM-D for a teeny bit more and have access to stellar lenses and richer IQ but there are fans of the 1 system. The V1 is well worth the cost it is selling for now..a steal.
It appeals to me! I already have a V1 though, so I’m going to be buying it anytime soon. Another thing to compare is not just body prices, but lens prices as well. M4/3’s of course has the most lenses available right now on mirrorless but some of the great lenses cost more than a V2 two lens kit. With that said, if I didn’t already own a V1 I would buy the V2 (body only) and purchase the 18.5mm and the soon to be released 6.7-13mm. That’s $746+$189+496= $1431. Not too bad! A similar set-up on the OM-D would be much more expensive.
I don’t know about “much more expensive”. That’s about 3/4 the cost of a similar set-up for the OM-D (with Oly 9-18 and PanaLeica 25 1.4) but is it 3/4 the quality?
Well, to me $1431 compared to the $2197 set up you are suggesting (based on Amazon prices) is a huge difference and would be considered “much more expensive” in my book. The $750+ difference may not be much of a difference to you though. I’ve only played with the OM-D in a store and although I’m sure it’s a fully capable camera, it isn’t perfect either.
Personally, I’d do as I did, buy the V1 + two lens kit (10-30mm, 30-110mm) for $399. Then, as I plan, add the 18.5mm for $189 and the 6.7-13mm for $496. Oh, and $139 for the basic flash, stupidly omitted. For $1214 (plus taxes, shipping) you get a quick, fun camera, a decently fast 50mm equiv prime, and zooms that cover the equiv of 18-297mm. Body and lenses are very well made, mostly of metal, and the lenses are of good optical quality (except the 10-30mm, which is an average kit zoom. The controls are still a weakness, but I can get the results I want in the end Just takes a bit more fiddling with than it should.
Outdoors, the super quick af is consistently a pleasure, as are the smooth evf and the zooms, especially the longer oneii. It really is most comfortable outdoors, as a travel camera or unobtrusive street camera. Indoors the af slows down and the slowish lenses don’t help. I’m looking forward to getting the uwa zoom, as that should be fun both indoors and out.
agreed should keep V1 and add the 18.5mm
Great review of the Nikon V2 Steve! Awesome images! Hope you get well soon!
Thanks Jerry, trying to rest today 🙂