David and Goliath – The Nikon V1 vs. the Nikon D600 – Wide Angle by Steven Norquist

David and Goliath – The Nikon V1 vs. the Nikon D600 – Wide Angle

by Steven Norquist

Hello Steve,

You always have such interesting comparisons of lenses on your forum that I thought I would do a little test for your readers. I have really enjoyed using my V1 with the 6.7-13mm lens. The pictures the V1 produces with this lens have perfect sharpness edge to edge and corner to corner, seemingly an infinite depth of field which is perfect for my style of photography which is architecture and landscape.

Also this lens/camera combo has excellent contrast balanced with nice dynamic range so highlights don’t blow out and shadows don’t lose detail.

But how good is this combo really?

I decided to find out.

I borrowed my friend’s Nikon D600 and rented the Nikon 16-35mm wide-angle lens. This lens is Nikon’s newest and best full frame wide-angle.

I decided to compare it directly to the V1 with 6.7-13mm lens.

The V1 with 6.7-13mm is a $800 setup.

The D600 with 16-35mm is a $3300 setup.

UPDATE: In every test, the top image is from the Nikon V1 and the bottom image is from the D600!

As you can see below the D600 is a beast with this lens on it.
The V1 looks like a little toy by comparison.


The D600 with this lens is very, very heavy and I cannot even consider roving the country or the city with this thing for hours and doing the kinda of photography I do.

Just having the D600 and the V1 around my neck for the length of time it took to do these samples made my neck really hurt!

Here are the test parameters I used for this comparison:

  • Each photo was taken at the same time, hand held one right after the other.
  • Focus was automatic spot focus on the same exact target for each camera.
  • ISO used was the base of 100 for both cameras.
  • Exposure was Automatic Matrix metering.
  • No exposure compensation was used.
  • Focal length was 18mm and 35mm for the D600, and 6.7mm and 13mm for the V1.
  • This assured that the equivelnt focal lengths as far as composition area would be the same.
  • The D600 was shot at F11 and the V1 at F4. I tried to make the depth of field of both cameras as close as possible.
  • Everything was shot in raw and digital development and post processing (Adobe Raw and then Photoshop CS5) was the same process for both camera’s raw files.
  • Each image was then re-sized to 1200 pixels on the long side and layered into a single image for direct comparison on the web.

Here is the challenge for your readers: In each of the four tests, which camera is which???

Good luck!

For those readers that are interested, you can view my other V1 pics with the 6.7-13mm at this link.


Test 1


Test 2


Test 3


Test 4



  1. I have both cameras too, having recently bought the D600. I absolutely agree with the postings about the Nikon look (achieved by both cameras). Each camera has its place: clearly the larger the sensor, the larger the enlargement one can make, all things being equal. However, I must say that the little J1 (same sensor as the V1) does quite blow me away with its IQ, how it feels in the hand, it’s responsiveness, and of course it’s diminutive size. In that my day job requires traveling to native villages in the Alaskan bush in small planes where weight and size of cargo makes a difference, it is much easier for me to take the J1 with a nice compliment of lenses along with the obligatory kit I must bring (and of course carry) to these remote locations. (I must admit that I also bring the Fuji XE-1 with the 18-55 kit lens.) And I could not be more pleased with the printed results from both rigs. For someone wanting to step up from a point and shoot, the J1 is a perfect bridge between the P&S world and the DSLR, with wonderful portability, spot on focusing and excellent metering (though I like a -.07 exposure compensation on both Nikons in bright light).

  2. They are both great cameras and as to which is best depends on what you need. My wife had a D200 & 18-200 and I also a D200 and 17-55.

    She got ffed up with the weight and traded hers in for a V1 and both the standard zooms. She is delighted with the V1. I like it too, it’s well made and the focus is fast. The digital viewfinder is great though I can’t get used to the pause in the image after taking a shot.

    I have just traded my D200 in for a D3, why cos 12MP is enough for me, the D600 24MP would have been Ok but the D800 too great due to the file size. I am trading the 17-55 in despite it being a really great lens because I miss my 50mm 1.4AIS which is small, fast and silent. I have a 24mmAF, a 85mm1.8AF and a 180mm 2.8AF. With the D3 and the 24,50,85 the camera weighs less than the D200+17-55 (ok I still have to carry the small leses. The D3 is built like a tank the viewfinder wonderful and when using the 50 the feel reminds me of my F3 but with Digital Film.

    Both the D600 or any DSLR is great so is the V1 no need hand for any issues just use what feels best in the hand. Getting a 20mm 2.8 this weekend and have the choice of AF or AIS, might just get the AIS since the look, feel and sheer beauty of the manual Nikkors are fantastic. Those Leica users on this site will know what I mean. There is something just right about the feel of focusing my 50mm.

  3. Ok, Steve Huff, at this stage it would be a relief if you as the owner of this photography website told us if you agree it is a valid and reliable approach to judge Image Quality from 900 pixel wide comparison pictures (of the entire frame) ?
    Just so that we can be realistic about where we are ?

  4. I had the V1 and 10-30 + 18.5 + 30-110mm lenses…
    Its a great system. Better than NEX IMHO, and I’ve used that system as well!
    Great Image quality.. Even for A3 prints!
    I’m concerned though with Nikon and how they develop their business with FOUR systems (Coolpix, CX , DX, FX)… I still think one of these will have to go and it wont be the Nikon 1 system thats for sure! There’s been too much development/technology from it and is creeping into the other systems…
    I sold all my Nikon gear and switched to Fuji and the X-E1 with 18-55mm lens… The reason? The V1 had become my go to camera for everything but I felt it was just that little too small in my hands, I felt cramped using the camera.
    I’m ‘One Camera One Lens’ now with the Fuji and I think I’m better off for it!

  5. First I want to say big thank you Steve for posting this test. Your site remains one of the most interesting test sites on the web because of the variety of gear and tests you post.

    I would like to take a moment to explain a bit about this test and why I did it.

    My main form of photography is wide angle architecture and landscape.

    Because of this I seek certain capabilities in a camera and especially the lens.

    Ultimately the lens has way more impact on the final shot than the camera.

    I have used my OMD for sometime and love this camera, but there are no really great wide angle lenses for it.

    I have tried the Oly 12mm (24mm equivalent) but that is not wide enough for all my needs and I did not like the colors and contrast and its blue push. It was just too clinical for my tastes, too plain.

    I have not tried the Pany 7-14mm but plan on renting it.

    Because of Steve’s review of the V1 I bought one online for $250.

    I was immediately impressed by the raw files and even with the 10-30mm I started to see things that I had not seen in my OMD, big depth of field, open files with lots of range.

    After working with it for a few months Nikon announced the release of the 6.7-13mm lens.

    Could this be the lens camera combo I was looking for?

    I threw caution to the wind and got the lens and once I started working with it I was amazed.

    At F4 it was sharp across the whole depth of field. Hyper-focal shots were a breeze.

    I could shoot right at the sun with very minimal flare and only one tiny ghost.

    I have never seen any super wides that could do that.

    It had VR so hand held shots in low light were easy.

    The V1 has a top shutter speed of 1/16000 of a second so “too bright” was never an issue.

    The lens also has a nice balance between contrast and dynamic range.

    It is not too contrasty, it is just right, so shadows are not blacked out and whites are bright but don’t blow out. This lens is much, much better than the 10-30mm in this respect.

    Also the lens has low distortion even at 6.7mm. And it is simple barrel distortion so it is easy to fix when needed.

    So this was the camera I started to do some serious work with.

    I came from 35mm film and compared my film pics with the V1 10mp shots.

    They were very similar. Actually the V1 had better sharpness and resolution.

    So the thought that came to mind was: “I am not cheating myself by using the V1, the images that I am capturing have enough resolution to print at poster size in the same way that a 35mm film pic could print at poster size.”

    So what more do I need really?

    Enter the D600.

    I have read all the reviews and fortunately I have a rich friend who loaned me his for this test.

    My goal in this test was for the D600 with 16-35mm lens to blow the V1 entirely out of the water!


    Because if it did, I would buy the D600 and a wide-angle lens of top quality.

    I am serious about my art and I am willing to spend the cash if the result is a better end product.

    So when I took both cameras out, here are the things I noticed,

    Using the cameras:

    1. The D600 is really, really big! Well to be fair, it is big with this huge 16-35mm lens on it.

    2. The D600 is a pain to use as you have no live feedback or EVF to know what your shot looks like before you take it. You have to take it then look at the really poor LCD screen and hope there is some shade somewhere so you can see what the shot looks like. But by that time if you have to retake the shot, the moment is gone. If you try to use the live view you can’t even see anything outdoors on the LCD anyway so it is a waste. Sorry, I am spoiled by EVF’s now. Yes there is a histogram but in my experience it never really matches what you see, so it is not a precise guide for proper exposure.

    3. With the V1 you see exactly what the shot looks like before you take it and can make exposure adjustments before you take the shot and when you take the shot the EVF shows you what you got and there is no doubt in your mind you got what you were trying to get. Also the LCD playback it much brighter and better than the D600.

    4. The D600 makes a lot of mirror slap noise and people will look your way and you feel embarrassed sometimes.

    5. The V1 with electronic shutter is totally silent, no one hears anything including you. Your connection to the shot is more subtle and Zen like.

    6. The D600 attracts a lot of attention as it looks like a small weapon and people will come up to you and ask what you are doing.

    7. With the V1 no one gives a second thought.

    Performance of the cameras:

    1. The D600 has higher resolution (it better since it has a 24mp sensor!) and you can zoom into the shot way more and see more detail. Very nice. The V1 is no slouch though, it is not far behind and does a great job with only 10mp.

    2. The 16-35mm lens has higher contrast and color saturation than the 6.7-13mm. But this higher contrast is not always good as the shot is more closed down and requires more post processing to open it back up and the D600 with this lens has a tendency to blow the highlights out in matrix meter mode. You can see this in test pic 3 where the building got the highlights blown out. So for safety I always shoot with exposure compensation set 1/3 under. In actual practice the D600 has less dynamic range than the V1. I know this sounds crazy, but this is how the shots come out with the 16-35mm lens.

    3. The V1 exposes right on 97% of the time and those times when contrast is high in the shot I can see in the EVF that the highlights are getting blown and can adjust exposure before I take the shot and see the improvement before I take the shot.

    4. At night the optical viewfinder of the D600 is pretty bad, you really can’t see to compose the shot as well as you like. But this is true of any optical viewer so the D600 cannot be blamed here.

    5. The V1 at night has an EVF, so guess what, you see exactly how things are going to look and there is never an issue with not seeing because it is too dark.

    6. The 16-35mm has huge distortion at the low end of the zoom, but it is simple distortion so it can be corrected.

    7. The 6.7-13mm has much lower distortion as you can see in the samples in this test. David Hunter said in Test 2 that the bottom pic was the V1 because it had higher barrel distortion, well the opposite was true, the D600 with 16-35mm had more distortion in all the shots.

    8. Depth of Field? No contest here, the V1 blows the D600 away until you stop the D600 down to F16, then things are on an even playing field. But by stopping the 16-35mm lens down to F16 or F22, you get into diffraction for this lens, so you won’t get as sharp a shot as you could if you stayed around F5.6, but then the corners would blur, so you are stuck. On the V1 I am shooting at F4, so diffraction is not an issue, I am right there using the lens with optimal sharpness.

    9. Vignetting: the D600 with 16-35m has much more fall off, very sudden in the corners, the V1 with 6.7-13mm has much less and very subtle corner fall off.

    10. ISO? The D600 of course blows the V1 away. I can shoot at ISO3200 with the D600 all day with no problem. I love that. But with the V1, I cap it at ISO800. But I shoot in the day mostly so high ISO is not a big need for me.

    11. Sensor spots. D600, tons of them. Very annoying, a lot of trouble to clean them all up in photoshop. V1, none of course.

    In summary:
    The purpose of this test was to show that the V1 is a very good camera with a wonderful sensor. The reason it was hard to tell the D600 from the V1 was not because the web resolution was only 1200 pixels, no, it was because both are well made Nikons with that classic digital Nikon look.

    It was very, very surprising to me how much these two sensors look alike even though they are made by different manufactures. Nikon must tweak the sensors to get the Nikon look out of them.

    For the critics who say that 1200 pixels is not enough resolution to see the difference between cameras?

    Sorry, no.

    Nikons look like Nikons, Leicas like Leicas and I-phones like I-phones.

    Each has a look unique to them that is obvious as long as this uniqueness is not spoiled by a ton of post processing.

    Different lenses on the same camera look different even at web size, especially at web size, which is where all these examples and tests are found. We see this every day on Steve’s site.

    Does an Ansel Adams pic, or a Salgado Pic, or a Herb Ritz pic look like a cell phone pic just because they were sized to 1200 pixels for web viewing?


    The character and uniqueness of the artist and the camera and the lens is not lost at web viewing size.

    The V1 and the D600 pics look very similar because they are.

    The D600 excels in some areas, resolution, high ISO and the V1 in others, ease of use, depth of field, nice exposure.

    But in the end they are both Nikon sensors, with Nikon lenses. They are meant to produce Nikon looking pics.

    Some have suggested that the test pics I took are bad, or boring, or just grass or something like that, and that is why the cameras don’t show much difference.

    Each of these boring test shots have certain test characteristics present in them.

    · Each is a high contrast situation where highlights are at the limit, clouds, buildings, cars.

    · Each has a large portion of 18% gray (boring grass) to test the camera’s ability to expose the whole scene correctly.

    · Each has a hyper-focal composition to test the ability of the lens to keep the closest corners just as sharp as the infinity objects. (Wide Angle Lens Test.)

    · Each has a significant component of shadow which tests the dynamic range ability of each of the cameras to show shadow detail and highlight detail in a high contrast situation.

    By the way, Kudos to Greg, the only one who guessed each pic correctly!

    So in closing, the D600 is a full frame high resolution camera. It is really great and I have enjoyed using it. Shallow depth of field is really its specialty. Pop a fast 50mm on it and it comes alive, or put a nice telephoto on it and sports photography is killer.

    Wide Angle Photography? Not as easy with that built in shallow depth of field to overcome. But I know there are really great lenses that can be used on it that will allow deep, deep depth of field with sharpness perfect to the corners, low vignetting and low distortion. Maybe one of those really expensive Zeiss lenses?

    I guess the question I have to ask myself at this stage is: Do I really want to spend 2k for the body and then another 3k for a Zeiss lens just to get those corners sharp?

    Or would it be better to wait and see what Mirrorless Full Frame offerings are coming so I can use that amazing Voitlander 15mm Heliar, probably the best wide angle lens ever made, on it?

    Oh, and don’t forget, I hear rumors of a V3? Same lenses, higher resolution?


    A lot to consider.

    • Thanks Steven! I must admit that I own both cameras so I had a leg up. It’s a shame you have to defend yourself like this, but I agree with everything you are saying. When you shoot raw, the little V1 punches well above its sensor size. I owned an OMD for over a year with all of the great primes (I’m sure I will catch flack for saying this), but I always felt the files were missing something. To my eye, they were too digital if that makes sense. Despite the smaller sensor the V1 does have the classic Nikon look and the raw files are quite amazing. It’s not only about the pictures it produces though. I really enjoy the whole package…silent shutter, compact size, speed, simplicity, evf. It’s just a lot of fun to shoot with. It has its limitations and I think anyone who likes this camera is the first to admit that. I just don’t understand why all the haters, most of whom have never even used one, can’t stand the fact that some people actually like it and that it is a very capable camera. As far as the file sizes go, you can still easily see the difference in dynamic range, sharpness and colors quite clearly so I’m not sure why people are complaining about that either.

    • ” Does an Ansel Adams pic, or a Salgado Pic, or a Herb Ritz pic look like a cell phone pic just because they were sized to 1200 pixels for web viewing?”

      Are you by any chance mixing Image Quality (technical) with Artistic Quality here ?

      My point is that there’s no way you can judge a lens’ or a camera’s Image Quality (technical) from 1200 pixels wide pictures – or even worse: 900 pixels wide pictures, like the ones you showed us.

      By the way I’ve never owned or even tried any of those two cameras and thus I have absolutely no opinion on their IQ abilities. What bothers me is only the unfortunately widespread habit of presenting 900 pixels wide pictures as evidence of a lens’ or a camera’s IQ.

      • Many people only use the web, social media etc. Many quality photographers limit their flickr resolution for their pictures to 1200. Some do not mentioning the camera used either.
        Thus it is entirely valid comparison. It is the way the majority of people use their cameras.

        Just because you cannot see the difference you would like to see, does not make it invalid. In fact it makes it more valid and realistic.

        Just the same as using a camera. As opposed to measuring its specifications via often strange picture analyses. Is the best way to judge a camera.
        Because only a very, very, few shots are ever taken in ideal conditions. As such the measurements and analyses do not often stand up to real life.

        Steve’s site here, being a great example of real pictures.

  6. Haha, all you “pros” failed brilliantly, just accept the facts – mirrorless cameras are the future for 95% of our needs.

  7. So it looks like most people who guessed got three out of four wrong …but just looking at the photos taken I would say it doesn’t matter, because photos are uninteresting and have very little value. You could have used a Hasselblad or an iphone and they would still be bad. Thats what it’s all about right?

  8. comparing the pictures with your lickr gallery i guess, that the pics with the more greenish sky are the V1 pics. thank you for your effort.


  9. These comparisons are fun and the big mismatch of weight classes was an interesting idea rather than comparing similar cameras. As usual there is very little IQ difference under rasonably favorable shooting conditions. There is a way bigger difference between photographers these days than between cameras

  10. The V1 and D600 are my two favorite cameras!
    Everyone should get BOTH. This comparison does a good job of demonstrating the fairly insignificant differences in photos taken by both cameras in good light. I like wide zooms and the 6.7-13 on the V1 is a good compact substitute for the D600 with the new 18-35 G lens (a great and light lens).

    I bought my V1 when the price plummeted and didn’t take the camera too seriously until I used it on a work trip following and photographing workers in Manhattan. I was amazed by the focus speed and perfect exposure levels. The shots also have the same color quality as Nikon DSLRs. Now that I have the 6.7-13 and 18.5 lenses I’m even more impressed. 10 MP is a great file size if you don’t intend to crop. My only gripe is the EVF time lag when you pull the camera to your eye for a quick shot.

    The D600 is still my go-to camera for landscapes and for low-light handheld shots but the V1 is excellent for everything else.

    Sharing batteries, SD cards, remotes and AF-S lenses (with the FT-1) makes these two cameras perfect compliments to each other.

  11. I love these crazy comparisons, they’re fun and meant to be taken that way. One point I would like to add as an owner of a D600 is that if you use it with one of the many excellent small primes then it wouldn’t look any longer in the top shot than the V1. I used to own an OMD and moved to FF as the price dropped to try it out, I wont be going back. The images are just more complex, I’m not sure whether its dynamic range and would struggle to define it, a bit like a red wine , rich and full of flavour. I’m sure the full frame Leica photographers will understand what I mean. My OMD shots whilst very sharp etc. just seem “thin” when compared. Certainly I would NEVER lug around any of the FF zooms, way to heavy, slow and awkward. A small prime perfect and no more awkward than an OMD!

  12. You can see a very small difference in dynamic range and shadow detail – but not much. And that’s saying a lot for the V1 in these type of shooting conditions (bright light, harsh shadows, and strong contrasts).

    I use my D700 now mostly when I need to create a lot of separation and have little control over the background and subject positioning (such as at events… RenFest, FanExpo, etc)… and that may change now that I have the 32mm f1.2, and as I get more AF-S lenses to use with the FT-1 adapter. In most situations even today though, I grab the stealthy V1 instead of the larger system.

    When I do feel I need the D700 and heavy lens, I NEVER hang it around my neck for long periods of time. Having tried various straps (including the Black Rapid), packs, slings, pouches (including Think Tank), etc. I find I really prefer a belt system. Carrying the weight at your waist is the way-to-go, IMHO. I use the B-GRIP system, though the CAPTURE ONE system looks very nice also!

    But even with a good carrying system, there are definite advantages of the smaller systems (such as the V1). Having the ability to carry it around your shoulder or neck all day is very handy/speedy, and having a handfull of lenses in a small waist pouch (or even just your cargo pants pockets) makes for an extremely versatile, nimble, stealthy system! I definitely see myself using the smaller V1 (or NEX) systems more and more as time goes on.

  13. Just sold the V1 to purchase more lenses for the D600. The V1 was easier to use and always nailed the focus.

  14. The bottom image of 1,2, and 4 and the top image of 3, don’t have shadows as blocked up. I would guess those would be the D600, since it costs more.

    I sold my D7000, and D300 to get the V1 (at a fire sale price), the OM-D, and XE-1. I love mirrorless.

  15. I don’t know which pic came from which camera and don’t really care. Shoot with what you want to shoot. After 35 years of SLR/DSLR (including a 10-year stint as a newspaper photographer), I have sold all that gear and have just a pair of Fujis, X100S and X-E1 w/35mm f1,4. They are all I need anymore. Just use whatever makes you happy and show us some images you are proud of instead of this stuff.

  16. I have just returned from a two week trip in the Australian bush and the performance of the little V1 gave me no regrets about leaving all my DSLR kit at home. The results were to a standard that I have just printed 10×12 inch copies of shots and am happy to frame them and I am generally too critical of my work to frame many shots at all.
    A very under rated system that brings me happiness and no back ache. People need to try it before they bag it out.

  17. okay okay i get it already. basically, what this article and what most of the articles here in Steve’s website try to say is that – “Nowadays, if you want great pictures its no longer necessary to go for big expensive “pro” cameras but instead go for smaller and less expensive ones”

    but is IQ really the only factor that makes us decide to buy/use a camera, or any other tool?

    For me, I believe usability and personal fit is an important factor as well. I dont know if I am the only one who thinks like this but I believe that everyone should just use the tool that best works for them. We cannot just assume right away that just because a person buys an expensive camera and shoots the same photos as those who use a p&s or mobile phone that he already has no idea about the camera nor assume that it is a waste. Its his personal preference and if he is happy with using his camera that way then why not let him be. Maybe the price tag is one of the factors for that person to become comfortable with the tool he uses? maybe the price tag is the one that gives him confidence to use it? we dont really know. but we should not assume right away that it is a waste. What is good and fitting for one person maybe different for others.

    So just use the camera/tool that best fits you and enables you to do what you want to do.

    Maybe someone should write an article that highlights this fact rather than repeatedly giving comparison of Expensive “pro” vs cheaper. Because a lot of people just dont get the message and just try to bash on the competing products. In the end its only just trying to tell us that in the web or most daily use, IQ produced by cheaper cameras are now comparable to those expensive ones. So no matter the price, the specs, the design, etc. in the end its only about what tool best works for you and what you are happy with.

    on the other hand, maybe these kind of articles are the ones that lets Steve Huff gather and collect website hits or visitors, increasing his chances of gain. 🙂 good job Steve Huff

  18. It is very simple to tell results from the 1 system and the FX system apart, even in small JPGs: the 1 overshoots in bright areas. In RAW files, further very significant differences will become evident.
    I know what I’m saying. I still have a D700, and I had two 1s, a V1 and later on a J1, which I sold both as their image quality could by no means compete with the D700’s.

  19. Ok– the v1 can do quite well. I have the V1 and a d700 and D3 along with the 17-35 af-s and 6.7-13.
    Problems arise at handling — switching focus modes and shooting modes and ISO requires menus on the V1 vs flicking some switches on the d700.
    The prism viewfinder on the D3 /D700 is awesome — the image freezing on the EVF of the V1 is a compromise.
    Finally, the V1 never gets the per pixel clarity /quality of the d3/d700 but it does okay up to ISO 400 and good enough to ISO 1600.
    However, the single AF is about the same and the continuous AF/ tracking AF is almost as good in good light.
    The v1 is a very good compromise — well worth the weight savings but there is no mistaking the full frame DSLR’s are a lot heavier but they do not compromise handling or image quality.

  20. Listen to all the gearheads and D600 owners out there. They’re all missing the point as usual. It’s the final image that counts! Granted, such a small resolution is not a great comaparison, but, let’s not forget where most of the images are viewed today – online on Facebook and such, or on an iPhone, of Android.

    I don’t own either system, and I for one am thankful for your post. It’s nice to see such great performance from a system like Nikon’s 1. I’m not a fan, but I’m glad to see it holds it’s own against a full frame.

  21. Some very strange people here complaining about an unfair/silly test as the web resolution is not good enough.
    Well guess what. Most users post on the web and many do not print.
    So that make this post one that is valid for the photo takers of the world. If some want to print and exhibit at half wall size, fine enjoy yourself. But for those that do not and still complain, this post just shows you have more and easier possibilities yet to look at in your photo life.
    I like these comparisons they show clearly that for Mr and Mrs Joe InStreet a big heavy camera is not a must to take the snaps.

  22. The only thing one can conclude from this kind of web-hosted shrink-down comparison of images is that, for web purposes, an iPhone and a Leica are the same.
    But that doesn´t mean they are the same.

  23. Steve,

    I really need your opinion whether I should invest on Nikon 32mm or I should get GX-7 with their new 42.5mm f1.2? I already have J1 with 10-30mm and 30-100mm lens. But I feel GX-7 with 42.5mm might be better than J1 with 32mm. Please share your thought. Thanks!

  24. I don’t understand the tone of some of the criticisms. If you differ with someone’s approach why not try some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism?

    Do you guys remember when Michael Reichmann compared 13″x19″ prints back in ’08? He took two photos of the same woodland scene. One photo was taken with a Canon G10. The other was taken with a Hasselblad equipped with a Phase One medium format back. The experts couldn’t tell them apart at that size.

    The V1 is a very capable camera with beautiful IQ. A lot of corrections can be done in post, but I think that tilt/shift lenses are ideal for architecture. I don’t know if the Nikon PC-E lenses play nicely with the V1. The other area of concern is dynamic range. Things like sunset scenes often have enormous dynamic range. This is where the new full frame Nikon DSLRs really shine with their tremendous dynamic range and post processing recovery potential. I’m not sure how well grad ND filters work with the V1. Maybe someone out there has experience with them on the V1.

    • “Things like sunset scenes often have enormous dynamic range. This is where the new full frame Nikon DSLRs really shine”

      Does the world really need more $3300 sunset pictures?

      It might make sense for someone who earns income from landscape photography but it seems a bit silly for most of us.

      We are dealing with the mass market here. Full frame makes no sense for most photographers, but there are many ‘shooters’ out there who care more for the gear than for the results.

      • It reminds me of fast cars here in Australia.

        A lot of hobbyists spend time souping up their vehicles, adding turbos and afterburners and whatnot, then only ever driving at 100km/h because of the speed cameras.

        • Most photo’s are viewed on a small computer screen or I-pad.

          No doubt a full frame will give better IQ than smaller sensor camera but often the viewer can’t tell the difference.

          There is also excellent software that will interpolate pixels when resizing up so that quality is maintained.

          Whatever the gap between mirror and mirror less cameras is, it’s closing rapidly. Many are happy to foresake a bit of that image quality for the ease of carrying.

      • Ash-
        I have very modest equipment, but it’s just cool to see the availability of cameras that can come a little bit closer to matching the dynamic range of human vision. Cameras are tools. Whether a particular tool is worth the price and weight is up to the individual and his or her personal requirements. I would like to get a full frame camera at some point because my legacy lenses would be operating at their original focal lengths.

        • Thats a good reason for owning full frame camera!

          My point is that the mass of photo enthusiasts, especially those that display their pictures on the web do not have a good reason for it.

  25. I just bought a 6.7-13mm lens in the last hour at what I consider to be a great price, second hand.

    I have done a lot of research on it and can’t find a bad review.

  26. I would say at a glance D600 is all the top pics. Better DR and better lens. The V1 has slightly blown highlights, is softer and less sharp. Closer than expected at web size. Really need to see a larger sizes for proper comparison.

  27. One thing this little bit of fun has done is exposed a few peeps with nothing but a boorish disposition and i for one look forward to the answer.The little V1 rocks especially if we can be looking at the output beside a full frame camera like the D600

  28. Seems to me the argument here is regarding value and portability. Neither of which the examples above are particularly great examples of. For my money, a used Sony NEX-C3 coupled to a Sigma 19mm f2.8, is a much better example in terms of portability, image quality, and value.

  29. My guess is that the darker pictures are from the D600.
    I saw images from flickr from some pros who constantly underexpose their Nikon 1 files on stop or more. And the exposures looks perfekt.

  30. You forgot to throw in a third FREE option – i.e. the camera that came with your phone, or the decade old compact at the back of the cupboard.

    Pointless exercise at web resolution.

    • If you honestly believe that a camera phone is equal to a compact you are deluding yourself. The quality is seldom there, especially when you want to do some editing. It’s mostly down to the lens and when it’s no bigger than 0.25 inch, it’s limited from the off.

      It’s thanks to people like Steve, who did this review, that make this blog site worth visiting. None of the reviews here are that scientific but done out of interest and for fun.

      I always enjoy reading them.

      • You’ve made me realise that the two posts spouting “my VAST experience” (authors words and emphasis) twice in as many days was the nail in the coffin. Coming here is a religious experience, lots of self-hype and over-inflated puffery.

        As an atheist, I’ve given up discussion with religious zealots. As a photographer, I’m giving up looking here. Don’t know why it took me so long.

    • Not necessarily. I own the D600s big brother and a V1 AND various film cameras incl medium format and there is a difference between them in the images you take. If you muck up what you take with your camera, there is only so much you can do to rescue it.

      And I have taken good shots with a cellphone… the linked one was. But the same shot would have been a hell of a lot easier with a V1 and a 10 mm lens, or a full frame with 15 mm.


  31. No offense ment, but I think that a person who invest in a full frame DSLR system will take much more complex light situations than lawns and grass from the sidewalk and in bright sun. What is the point of a “test” like that ?

    • The vast majority of people with 135 sensor cameras just lug them around and take the same shots as people with phones/ P&S and all cameras in between. That is unless they leave them at home because they are to heavy. Most buyers did not buy them they were sold them.

      • My 135 sensor cameras is quite small and light, and so are the tiny lenses that go with it. One is a Leica Monochrom and the other actually has a really cool interchangeable sensor that cleans itself perfectly before every picture. That modern marvel is the Leica M6.

      • “The vast majority of people with 135 sensor cameras just lug them around and take the same shots as people with phones/ P&S and all cameras in between.”

        You might be right, but it is not the point. If the author wants to make a test to convince family & vacation photographer that the V1 is good enough, it is ok, but the way it is presented, I thought the two camera would have been put to their capabilities, which is not the case with the pictures presented. If that test is a good point to chose between a FF D600 and a V1 on those pictures, I am on the wrong blog. Sorry and have good day.

        • Do you take a shot at every setting “to test the camera” no you don’t, or do you?
          So random shots of a locale are quite satisfactory. Its the “lady in the red dress at the end of a dull road” rather than a limp flag that attracts the shot in the first place. You sound like a pixel peeper who gets the shot of the “lady in red ” after she has turned the corner, as you were to busy setting the capabilities of the camera.
          Very very sorry and have a good day you seem to need one.

    • That is just as unrealistic of expectation as thinking that anyone who buys a nice $3000 Gibson guitar is going to jamming on stage with a band, or anyone who buys a $2000 carbon fiber road bike is going to be entering into competitive bike races, or anyone who buys a $90k sports car is going to be taking it to the track or drag strip. The reality with these purchases, photography included, is that while the gear is very competent, all too often it is merely a plaything for well off adults.

      I forgot the exact quote but it was something like “99% of camera’s are better than 99% of photographers need” and there really is some truth to that.

      We, as photographers, largely buy what we think we should have, or simply “the best” because we can afford it, and hey, more power to us for doing it.

      I just bought a very expensive carbon fiber race bike even though I’m a ride around the neighborhood type cyclist who isn’t ever going to be competitive at my age. BUT, I like watching the pro’s on tv and I like high end tools, and can afford it, so while a cheaper bike would be just fine, I think its fun riding my race bike (slowly) around.

      That is a large percentage of photographers too. How many D800 owners really print large, if print at all ? Not that many. Many just though “cool, 36megs for $3k, sold!” and what does the camera do ? take some snapshots that go of facebook.

      Obviously this isn’t the case for everyone, but for every one really talented photog there are a great deal of people who have more money than talent.

      • You don’t need to be a “really talented photographer” to benefit from a camera with a larger sensor. I’m not a pro; not even a great amateur, but have thousands of photos of my daughter playing sports and participating in on-stage events, taken with $3000 worth of gear (a Nikon 70-200/2.8 and a D7000). Much of it is at pretty high ISO (1600 to 6400). I also enjoy candids with the shallow DOF I get at 85/2 on DX.
        I used to shoot nature subjects, but not nearly so much in the last ten years, since life got busy. But I do have a few prints in my office up to 20×30″.
        My point is that while cameras like the ‘1’ may do some things well and be fine when used within their limitations, it’s pretty common for a hobbyist to want a camera that does more.
        I’ve read this argument often enough and I’m sure there’s anecdotal evidence to support it, but I don’t believe for a minute that a significant number of FF DSLRs are purchased by people who could just as easily get by with a ‘1’. Maybe DX; maybe not.
        Aside from a few working pros, offhand, I can think of one person I know with FF gear – a doctor. You know, the proverbial “more money than common sense” stereotype ? Except that large prints of his nature photos adorn the walls of our local hospital.

  32. Who cares. Next time shoot something other than grass from 20 feet away. I will never understand for the life of me why people whine about how heavy a camera is.. have you not seen Ansel Adams’ rig strapped to the top of his station wagon?

    • Great point, John! Yes, I’ve read the complete “Basic Photo Series” by Master Adams, and am familiar with that image of him with his 8×10 view camera on his station wagon. I don’t think he’d complain about the weight of a “mere” Nikon D800, etc.! Happy New Year!

  33. 1. Don’t wear heavy cameras around your neck. There are many good shoulder straps and other support gear.

    2. My guess is the D600 is the top photo in each case. The midtones are crushed in the bottom photos.

  34. By downscaling to 1200 pixel wide pictures you destroy any difference, even between a cell phone capture and a high-end Medium Format capture. What’s your point ??

    • “What’s your point ??”
      Besides fun.
      There is also the point that once put up on the web it doesn’t matter much. One camera “appears” as good as any other. The ‘Any’ and ‘Other’ boiling down to personal preference or budget.
      I am happy with that but why do people with a large budget keep pushing their choices onto the rest, when the cost is “mostly” not justifiable for purpose.

      • I haven’t seen anybody here “pushing their choices onto the rest”, like you put it … ??

        I’m just wondering why we don’t get access to download the full captures (preferably also the RAW files) as basis for a far more valuable discussion ?

        Web-sized (max 1200 pixels wide) images used as evidence of image quality of a camera or a lens tell me nothing. These posted comparison images are even only 900 pixels wide. It makes no sense whatsoever.

        (But I can easily agree that for posting pictures on Facebook and the like, all you need is a cell phone camera).

  35. Excellent review and I can’t tell the pics apart!

    I have the Olympus OM-D with Pan 7-14mm and it’s a lens I use a lot. It is excellent.
    I also have the Nikon V1 and am very impressed. I am in the process of acquiring a 6.7mm-13mm UWA lens for the Nikon V1, so your review was of particular interest to me.

    I bought the V1 second hand with two zoom lenses and the performance is excellent. It’s hard, almost impossible! to get an out of focus shot with it!

    There’s no frills with it – just point and shoot, basically.

    I do like the RX100M2 and OM-D for the art filters/HDR and a bit more control than the especially setting ISO.

    Thanks for posting the review, Steve.

    • I must partially disagree! The V1 can be used a very creative tool too, it is not just a p&s! I have bought a $10 adapter and I can now use my M42 vintage lenses with it (eg a 55mm f1.7 with a crazy bokeh and mysterious blooming/coating) in manual mode. This opens a whole new set of creative options!

      • Those who think the V1 is a P&S toy are absolutely ridiculous and A: Either never tried one or B: Did try one but had no clue as to what they were doing. With lenses like the 18.5 1.8 and 32 1.2 this is a powerful little system that gives a film like vibe and is off the charts when it comes to usability. Pick the right lenses and it’s as good as any mirrorless camera out there right now. I have a 20X30 print from my V1 that hangs on my wall that has blown others away when they see it. The color from the V1 is quite special as well. It is a body that gives no issues in use – focus is spot on and fast, images are sharp and crisp, and again, with the right lenses can give you any look you need. I love it due to the fact it gives me the best color from any camera I use and the fact that it gives me a look that no other camera gives me. A more film like appearance. Love it. That is why I own two 🙂

        • Every time I see photos coming from the V and J cameras I am more and more impressed. Nikon had a great idea but I can’t help but think that a lower price point would have made these sell much better. The kits should have been priced to fly off the shelves from the beginning. So many more people would have bought into the system. Despite what people say, these cameras are just fine for low light. They have a personality too. It’s nice to see images with personality for a change!

          These are solid little cameras!

        • In Bob’s defense, I don’t think he was saying it’s just a P&S camera. I think he was commenting on how easy it is to use, sort of what Steve reiterated when saying, “It is a body that gives no issues in use – focus is spot on and fast, images are sharp and crisp”.

          • Yes, you are correct.

            I have a V1….. I wasn’t being derogatory….the opposite actually!

            I was just saying there was no frills. Just always takes sharp photo’s…
            no art effects, etc.

          • lol I also thought that Bob wasnt being negative or derogatory when I first read his comment.

            I guess its the initial instinct of V1 users to rush and defend due to the usual frequency in which people bash on it 🙂

            poor misunderstood Bob Morgans

  36. I’m a little disappointed. This is the internet – instant gratification is a must. By the time the answer is posted, I probably won’t care and wouldn’t get caught playing this game again. I don’t think most of us appreciate being strung along like children waiting on bated breath of your revelation. Thank you.

    • I agree with Jonathon on the notion that this is an unsatisfying guessing game. There really should be a payoff to the time spent evaluating these photos. First, the answer should be revealed in the post to illustrate the author’s point, and second, the point being made, if any, should be worthwhile. From my perspective, the post is pointless and without any practical value.

  37. I’m making a guess based on barrel distortion. For instance, in Test 2, the bottom picture is slightly more curved than the top photo. I say the bottom one was shot with the V1.

  38. Haha! Cool! My guess is that in each set the b-picture was taken with the V1: I kind of recognise its dynamic range: in the shadow areas, it has more detail than in the other. But honestly, I could be all wrong.
    For this type of photography (landscape and urban), the V1 is the winner, for obvious reasons.

    Of course, for low light work, studio work, isolation of subject, the D600 would be the winner.

  39. Test1: D600/V1 – Test2: V1/D600 – Test3: D600/V1 – Test4: V1/D600. But this is exactly where the big two (or three) are afraid of. DSLR’s will get dinosaurs while the mirrorless market has the future and the technical competences of brands like Olympus, Panasonic and Fujifilm are increasing from model to model. It is also the reason why I don’t believe in FF as a mainstream type of sensor anymore. The only niche where it’s important for is studio work and dedicated projects. With the very fast lens hype in mirrorless camera’s you can achieve a far better bokeh than you do with a FF DSLR and a slower zoom, as used in most cases. Give this another three to five years, and this type of DSLR will be on the same track as medium format now.

    • “Give this another three to five years, and this type of DSLR will be on the same track as medium format now”

      – on what track is medium format now?

      • Out of reach and for 99% of the photographers due to the form factor, portability, ergonomics and most of all, the absurd price strategies. Fits in very dedicated projects only, but less and less since sensor technologies made a very significant progress in both IQ and resolution. It’s a side track, you cannot say MF is mainstream I assume, certainly not for the non-professional crowd.

        • “certainly not for the non-professional crowd” – it has never been the case and MF isn’t dying, the same way as LF isn’t dying nor is dead.

          It’s just relative to who you deal with, who you know and what others around you use for their needs.

  40. All I can tell is you get a lot of bang for the buck with the V1. Interior, low light shots will show a bigger difference. For everyday photography, the V1 is more than capable.

    • Agreed. You can’t tell anything from small jpgs like. The opposite extreme of pixel peeping at 100% isn’t all that helpful either IMHO. Making a couple of portfolio prints is a much better test but of course difficult to share. I find viewing on screen (or online) at 25% is a reasonable approximation of a small-medium size print. Viewing at 50% is a reasonable approximation of a medium-large size print. Post some bigger jpgs (min 25%) and we would actually have something to work from.

    • Almost all cameras take good pictures outside in bright sunlight with wide depth of field. I am more interested in which camera can take good pictures indoors with subject isolation.

      Take these two cameras to a kids birthday party at an ice-skating rink, and I will tell you which is which. The guy with the D800 and the big lens might go home with sore arms, but he will have good pictures.

      • What do you compare here ? Pro vs Day to Day usage of the cameras (D800 and V1) ?

        Pro usage:

        V1 will take good pictures indoors with subject isolation if you buy the 18,5 mm f1.8. ISO performance is below today’s standards, but the grain effect is most appropriate for journalistic endeavors. V1 has been called “digital film camera” and is really true. Search on this site for more V1 reviews and you’ll know what i mean.

        Day to Day usage:

        Come on … you really need to take D800 for kids party !? It’s dangerous, cause you might hurt somebody with that tank 🙂 I’m joking, but anyways, with the focus speed and accuracy of V1 i still think you’ll take good pictures on an ice-skating ring. Actually you gave me a great idea and i’ll just go and try it.

  41. Test 1 : Top pic is D600 (highlights)
    Test 2 : Bottom pix is D600 (sharpness)
    Test 3 : Top pic is D600 (shadow (higher DR) + pictures of the V1 push on the blue).
    Test 4 : Top pic is D600 (shadow (higher DR))

    But it’s hard to tell differences on such tiny resolution (you could do the same OMD vs D600)

  42. 16-35 is not “the newest and the best” full frame uwa for Nikon. First of all, it is not newest (18-35G is). Second of all it is the best (14-24 of course is). Actually the professional reviews on 16-35 are generally disappointing in terms of corner sharpness. It is a sizable lens in terms of weight, true, I used to own that lens. If you want to see great and sharp and light setup that is REALLY wide, try any m43 camera with Panasonic’s brilliant 7-14/F4 UWA (small and light and very very sharp wide open and 14mm wide – not 18mm).

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