Love your camera – my Nikon V1 and I. By Nadine Curdes

Hello!

So this is basically a user-report about the Nikon V1 and the various lenses for it that I use. Do I have G.A.S? When it comes to lenses, certainly. But I need them all ๐Ÿ˜‰ What I don’t need is a new body. I’m aware of the V2 but I think that it’s 1) way uglier than the V1 and 2) why, oh why, did they change the battery? I love the big battery of the V1!ย All images were processed with Lightroom 3.ย I’m German, so I hope you’ll forgive my English.ย And thanks again for this great site!

 

Love your camera – my Nikon V1 and I

By Nadine Curdes

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

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

Kitzoom-0406

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

30to110mm-0611

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

30to110mm-0557

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

Dream

 

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

18.5mm-0503

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

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

pancake-0753

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

pancake-0754

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

macrolens-0636

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Nadine

32 Comments

  1. Great photos and glad to see more love for the Nikon 1 system.

    in early 2012, I bought a J1 as family camera to supplement the SLR that I got increasingly tired of lugging around on family outings and other activities where photography wasn’t the main purpose of the event. I wound up loving it – the fast autofocus and the ability to fire off a bust of a crazy number of RAW photos makes it perfect for capturing kids. And I love not having the burden of a large camera- I’d estimate that I pick the Nikon 1 over my SLR 80% of the time, now.

    I added the V1 when the prices hit rock bottom in December, I’ve been even happier with it than I was with the J1. There are a lot of things about the Nikon J1/V1 that irritate me, but the things I love more than make up for the shortcomings. It is not the prefect camera for every situation (and no such camera exists), but if you can’t take great photos with it, the fault lies with you, not the camera. Really fantastic for travel and casual photography where you have an agenda besides taking photos, but still want RAW files and better quality and versatility than you’d get from a compact or cell phone.

  2. Every now and then a poster comes along that shows a real drive to capture interesting images, strong compositions. This is one of them. Great stuff. That camera seems well suited to what Nadine appears to be doing. I’d like to see how that camera handles portraits, or “situations”. Could you show us some images in that category, Nadine?

    On a more general note, I just registered and logged in for the first time. Appears my previous user name (“Michiel”) has been taken. So I was slow in registering… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Wonder who that Michiel is…

    • Thank you! Yes, my camera understands me, that’s why I love it.
      Ah, the one thing I actually don’t like to take pictures of is… people (unless as silhouettes or shadows). So I’ve no pictures to share in that category, sorry ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I see where you’re coming from… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Can’t force you to do it, but give it a try, remaining faithful to your shapes/light/shadows/geometrics approach. You might surprise yourself!

        Inspirational this!

  3. I just had some real prints made (15 x 20 cm) and they look really good. I don’t know about bigger prints, sorry. I actually just had to switch on my camera to check for an answer to your other question… *cough*… No, it seems you really can’t switch of the image review, I checked the menu. But the image doesn’t linger that long… I never really noticed it, that’s why I had to check… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope I could help!
    Nadine

    • Thanks Nadine. I’d be interested if anybody has experience of making larger prints.

      Really like the review, by the way!

    • I have to agree, I love my V1 (and i just have the 10 – 30 mm lens at the moment), light weight but very capable and the B&W’s are just fantastic. Grabbed one when the price dropped following the reviews on here and by Kirk Tuck. As for the image review issue, if you switch the shooting mode to continuous rather than single it deactivates it….just don’t keep your finger on the shutter or you may get more shots than you bargained for.

      Now if Nikon would do a firmware upgrade that allowed the image preview to be switched off in single shot mode I’d be very happy.

      • Great tip on the continuous AF – thanks. I’m a long time Nikon user but I think they could learn a lot from Fuji in terms of the way they respond to user feedback and incorporate it into firmware updates. I suspect there is corporate method in their madness though – probably worried about canibalising sales of other Nikon products if they implement improvements on existing products!

        It’s very interesting that so many people comment on the quality of the B&Ws from the V1. It sounds like an interesting buy if only as a ‘poor man’s Monochrom’ (at the risk of lobbing a large feline in amongst the pigeons….)

  4. Hmmm….looks like a very tempting camera. When the 32mm comes out, it looks like you could pick up a body and 3 fast primes – 28/50/85 equivalent – for a much lower price than equivalent mirrorless systems. I’m seriously tempted.

    A couple of questions for any V1 users. I remember seeing one review that said it wasn’t possible to switch off the image review. Is that true? I hate having the image I’ve just taken lingering in the EVF while I’m looking for the next shot. Secondly the impossible question of how big it’s possible to print from V1 files. Assuming something shot in decent light at, no more than say ISO 400 or 800, does anybody have any experience with making real prints? I’m guessing 8x12s are no problem but what about say 12x16s? I’m not worried about clinically clean prints – if there’s some grain-like noise that’s not a problem. I see it as ‘character’ rather than a fault!!

    • Yes, it is true. But it does go away immediately when shutter is partially pressed. Plus you can fire off a bunch of pictures in a row (about 20 anyway) obviously without having it stop and pause for review-time along the way.

      But, still… Yeah, kind of should have been possible to turn off.

      Printing: no idea.

      • Thanks. I just find it annoying that you have to depress the shutter again to get rid of the preview. The fact that Nikon don’t allow you to switch the preview off is just odd. Can’t help thinking that they have put a few ‘bugs’ in this camera as they are afraid of cannibalising DSLR sales. Otherwise, why not make things like this configurable in the menus?

          • I can really see the potential for this system to be a lot of fun and, yes, quirks like the image review are irritating but no the end of the world. I did some quick calculations and here in the UK at least, it’s possible to pick up a body with the 10-30 zoom plus the 10mm and 18mm primes, all for less than the price of an OMD body alone! Mighty tempting…

            By the way, your V1 images are really fun. Great, graphic subject choice, showing the colour and shallow DOF potential of the system, despite the small sensor size.

          • Thank you!

            The subject choice is limited as I can’t get out of the house (disabled), all I can shoot is either out the window, or here, indoors. But I can still learn, and have fun while doing it too!

            The 18.5mm is genious. I love mine. It will bend even the straightest of lines (I know this lens is built in a communist country, but come on… this could have been corrected in firmware) but I am getting too many great shots to let it bother me. Great skin tones. Crisp colors. It should certainly be in your shopping cart when you whip out your credit card.

          • As you have shown, there are interesting subjects all around us if we take the time to look.

            I can feel my credit card flexing its muscles even as we speak….

  5. Great article and reflects my thoughts since I changed from a DSLR to a CSC. It has made photography enjoyable again and being smaller the camera goes most places with me. You summed it up so well and your English is excellent.

  6. Nice images, good write up on a fine, under-appreciated camera. By the way, your English is very good. Well written.

    I bought a V1 right off the bat when it first came out, loved the images, but was vexed by the price. So I returned it. When Steve alerted us to the December discount, I repurchased it. Have the 18.6, the 10-30 (which I don’t find so awful), and the 30-110. Will purchase the 90mm equivalent when it’s actually released (why the big mystery around this camera I don’t know) and the wide angle zoom soon.

    Whether priced at $1000 or $299, this is a great camera. Versatile, small, east to operate.

    http://jjsemplephotography.blogspot.fr/2013/02/bad-newsgood-news-nikon-v1-299.html

  7. Great post!
    I first bought the V1 on its release and yes I fell in love with it at once, collecting all the lens as they came out. I think for its size and quality a great camera and the same battery as the D800, which with the G A S I bought on a whim.
    .
    Size and weight makes it the perfect camera to be with me all the time. But recently i turned to the more ugly V2. Miss the battery of the V1 as i passed it onto my son. But now I enjoy the V2 with the 6.7-13, 10-100 and 18.5.

    The 10mm seems to be now left at home as the 6.7 is superb! If I could only have one camera it would be the V1 or V2….

  8. Thank you all!
    About the Nikon V1 RAW files: Yes, they are really easy to work with. It’s quite astonishing what you can do with them. And I love B&W!
    Nadine C.

  9. Nice images Nadine.

    The under-rated and often mis-understood V1 is one of the ‘fab four’ cameras I use as well.

    I think it really embodies Nikon’s years of experience and expertise in AF and metering.

    While I don’t have the 6.7-13mm I am definitely considering it as I’ll be using the V1 more now that the warm weather is here (shorts, T-shirt, and ‘travelling light’ season).

    Would love to see some more images using that lens. Hopefully you can post more in future!

    • It’s a terrific lens and worth the slightly higher price (for Nikon 1). The high quality, small, affordable lenses are a strength of this system that seldom gets written about. Maybe this piece will make a few more aware that you don’t have yo worry overmuch about lenses if you buy into Nikon 1. Nikon has been coming out with new lenses every few months and none of them have been duds. Compared to Micro 4/3 the selection is still limited, but the basics are covered and the prices are very reasonable.

      Sure, there is a bit of a shortage of fast lenses, but this is not a camera system for people wanting a dslr equivalent. It will probably never have that kind of lens selection, but what it has are all of good quality. The lenses are all solidly made, with metal barrels and mounts and smooth operation and very decent optical quality. They are real Nikon lenses. They focus quickly and quietly, at least in decent light where the camera can use its incredibly good pdaf focus system. Nikon just nailed this autofocus system first thing, and so far no one else has made an on-sensor pdaf system that is this fast and accurate. It can track fast moving objects accurately and fire off machine gun bursts. The metering is also fast and accurate and I don’t worry about it much. This camera doesn’t have a bunch of fancy scene modes and special effects (and the ones it does have are stupid), but it consistently turns out attractive, properly exposed, in focus shots. Nice. The controls are obtuse, but if you are the sort who always shoots in one mode, it works fine. The little flappy lever is not as versatile as a dial, but it’s easy to use by touch and is properly located. I just wish they had used the F button to bring up a quick menu (I think the V2 does, so adding this feature would be easy (hint, hint, Nikon.)

      Sometimes you have to push up the ISO a bit, but the noise, when it comes on, is not that bad. At first it’s mostly luminance noise with a fine grain, rather filmlike. That’s one of the main reasons this is such a good camera for black and white. The Nikon Picture Control settings let you choose colored filter effects and sepia and other tones, but you have to dive deep into the menus to set them up.

      I guess I’m glad I bought it when the price hit bottom. I expected a great bargain and got a great camera. I never expected I’d be buying more lenses, but they have all been so good I can’t say I mind (though the price of the 32mm is likely to put it out of reach). Now if they’d just come out with a macro lens… And a fast 13mm (35mm equivalent). Then I’d be a happy man.

  10. Excellent set of photos that wonderfully highlight the abilities and uniqueness of the V1.
    It really has a personality that I have not seen in any other camera.
    I bought one, like you, after reading Steve Huffโ€™s review and have been in love ever since.
    I recently acquired the 6.7-13mm lens and it is magnificent!
    A perfect match to the V1.
    Next on my list is the 18.5mm.
    Note to users: The V1 loves to do B&W. The raw files it creates are like Monochrom files in that they are very flat and allow you complete control of tone and contrast.
    You picture of the upright log and the snow is a perfect example of what the V1 does.
    Keep up the great work and look forward to future posts.

  11. Dig reading this.

    Thanks to Steve and last years $$ drop, I have been a happy V1 user since.

    Shoot mainly street with my 18.5, looking forward to the upcoming 32 1.2

  12. Great photos. And amen to what you wrote.
    I think Olympus OMD E-M5 is the body I fell in love with, but my GAS keeps telling me to keep looking anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. This is so cool to read.

    The Nikon 1 is the camera that got me to sit up and take notice of this whole new segment of cameras in the first place, and I wanted one from the get-go. Then I did something stoopid and started researching. And, of course, I went with my brain in stead of my heart; I got a Sony nex.

    That being said, the nex is fine, and it really got me started. But the Nikon1 kept tugging at my heart, and I just could not resist the insane prices towards the end of last year. So in the end I ended up getting it, and have TWO cameras now for what the v1 sold for alone initially, so I guess I came out on top.

    I never use the Sony any more, though. All I ever shoot with is the nikon1 with either the 18.5 or the 30-110. Love, love, love it! Big smile.

    Ciao.
    Jan

  14. Nice shots, finding the right camera for you will lead to many beautiful pictures and hours of fun. Congrats!

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