The Three Amigos in the Streets of New York:
Ricoh GR, Sony Rx1, Nikon V1 and 32mm Lens
By Joe Marquez – His website can be seen HERE
On a recent trip to New York, I took the Ricoh GR, Sony Rx1 and Nikon V1 (and 32mm lens) to do a little street photography on the side. The Ricoh GR is the smallest aps-c camera, the Sony RX1 is the smallest full frame camera and the Nikon V1 is most likely the fastest focusing mirrorless camera in the world. Walked around New York in my spare time carrying these three little cameras in a very nice ONA Bowery bag.
Here are my brief thoughts working with each of the cameras and I’ve included a plethora of images for your review.
The diminutive Ricoh GR has the full frame equivalent of a 28mm f/2.8 lens and is widely touted as one of the best street cameras available. I consider its 16.2 MP aps-c sensor a sweet spot for street work. I’ve owned this camera for about a month and it took a few days to get comfortable with the menu system and features. I still have much to learn yet I was able to use the Ricoh effectively on the street.
For the most part, I set the camera on TAv mode (manual setting of aperture and shutter speed and auto iso) and adjusted aperture and shutter speed as necessary. Very easy, intuitive and important because light in New York City changes often and significantly due to buildings, open avenues, cloud cover and more. I did blow out a couple of shots when I forgot to adjust shutter speed. However, other than my miscues, the camera seemed to consistently nail exposure.
Another feature I enjoyed was every time the camera turned on it would display the function buttons and the assigned customization. Such a small feature but so nice for a Ricoh novice such as myself. And of course the exposure compensation toggle was easily adjustable with my thumb and I used it with no problem.
I really enjoyed the focusing options on the Ricoh – perhaps its strength. Primarily, I used snap focus between one to two meters but would often override by using the autofocus button. In general I stopped down as much as possible to maximize the DOF however there were situations when I had to shoot wide open at f/2.8.
Image quality from the Ricoh was outstanding. Colors looked accurate, black and white conversions were excellent and there’s plenty of detail in the 16.2 MP aps-c sensor.
Oh and I really liked the small size of the Ricoh. One day while shooting the New York Halloween Parade (with a Nikon DSLR – my El Guapo) I carried the Ricoh in my pant pocket and used it for a few wide angle shots. Worked like a charm. Also, the camera is so small and discrete people pretty much ignored my picture taking. Thanks Ricoh for keeping the camera so nondescript. Well done.
Overall, the Ricoh was the smallest and most discrete of the three, but simply worked great – the Martin Short of the Three Amigos.
The Sony Rx1 with the 35mm f/2 Zeiss lens is a superb camera and produces amazing images with its 24.3 MP full frame sensor. However, the Sony would be such a great street camera if it simply added a snap focus feature or would not revert to infinity every time the camera slept or was turned off. Of course shooting at f/8 or f/11 alleviates much of the focusing issues, but my intent was to shoot the Sony wide open to get that shallow DOF for a completely different street look than the Ricoh.
To give me the focusing flexibility I assigned the C button to AF/MF Control Toggle and the AEL button to AF/MF Control Hold. This allowed me to alternate between autofocus and zone focusing. More often than not I would focus to a particular point by holding down the customized AEL button, then release to lock in the distance. This required some extra effort but worked reasonably well. I probably looked silly randomly aiming the camera at different things in different directions to get the zone focusing distance I wanted. And of course every time the RX1 went to sleep the distance would revert to infinity. Ugh.
Overall I was willing to sacrifice the percentage of keepers to get that shallow DOF and lovely out-of-focus rendering from the Sony – so most of my shots were taken at f/2. Occasionally a scene required a greater DOF and it was a treat to hear and feel those 1/3 incremental soft clicks when I turned the aperture ring. Sweet camera this RX1.
I shot in manual mode (mostly f/2) and auto iso and adjusted shutter speed depending on light. The exposure compensation dial is readily accessible and allowed me to quickly tweak if needed.
Image quality was superb as one would expect from this camera and the shallow DOF shots were just what I wanted.
If the Ricoh GR is Martin Short, the Sony Rx1 is Steve Martin – the most successful of the Three Amigos.
Nikon V1 and 32mm Lens
That leaves Chevy Chase. I only took one lens with the Nikon V1 and that is the 32mm f/1.2. This gave me the equivalent of an 86mm super fast lens on a fast focusing camera – all in a package similar in size and weight to the RX1.
As you may be aware I am a fan of Nikon’s 1 System, primarily because it is the fastest focusing mirrorless system available. And despite the small CX sensor, the camera delivers more than adequate image quality for my street photography. Add the 32mm lens to the V1 and now I had a crazy quick rig and an entirely different look than the Ricoh and Sony.
In many ways the Nikon is the easiest to shoot because it has the fewest bells and whistles. I set the camera to manual or aperture priority and auto iso. I love shooting at f/1.2 and the greater DOF with the small sensor hides many focusing errors. Focus is set to auto-area, face-priority AF is activated and I simply let the camera rip with its silent electronic shutter that reaches speeds of 1/16,000 sec. So different than the Ricoh and Sony.
Autofocusing is fast, accurate and tracks very well – although not perfectly. If someone walked toward me I raised the Nikon and pressed the shutter. Most of the time the camera found a focus point quickly, but occasionally it hunted before finding a subject or face. Sometimes it missed focus entirely, then latched on in the second or third shot of a continuous sequence.
The Nikon was so fast I was able to get a considerable number of in-focus shots out the window of a fast moving New York taxi. It could see it trying to lock onto people’s faces standing or walking near an intersection. Incredible little camera and the 32 is just plain special IMHO.
Image quality may be the worse of the three cameras but is perfectly adequate. The metering system is top notch and the small 10 MP files convert beautifully to black and white. The out-of-focus rendering of the 32mm lens is a pleasant surprise and of the three cameras it produced subject isolation the best.
The Nikon with the 32 is larger than the Ricoh, but because of the longer focal length I was able to get some nice close-ups without being intrusive. People in the street generally ignored my shooting with the Nikon and 32 and I believe I was able to get the most natural looking candids of the three.
Overall the Nikon did a great job on the street and I probably ended up with more keepers than with the Ricoh or Sony. I suspect this may change over time as I become more familiar with the Ricoh GR.
So the Nikon 1 system may not have the image quality of the Ricoh or Sony, but the one strength it has – incredible autofocusing – when coupled with the fast 32mm prime lens makes for a beautifully efficient street rig.
You may wonder why I took three cameras and didn’t just use the Nikon V1 and an all-in-one zoom lens (10-30mm) or a couple of primes (10/2.8 and 18.5/1.8). Well, the zoom lens is too slow and even with the 1 System primes, I really wanted a variety of looks and the image quality of the Ricoh GR and Sony Rx1.
I’m not a pixel peeper when it comes to image quality. In particular, street photography is less about image quality and much more about the moment and composition – and of course getting the subject in focus. But all else being equal it’s nice to have that little extra image quality or slightly different look if possible – and he Ricoh and Sony delivered.
Overall, the Ricoh GR is small, discrete and simply made for street photography. The Sony Rx1 is a bit temperamental as a street camera, but the images are so lovely and worth the extra effort. The Nikon V1 and 32mm lens kept producing surprisingly strong street images with the least amount of work.
Why else take all three? Kind of cool being on the streets of New York with the smallest aps-c, smallest full frame and fastest focusing mirrorless cameras in the world – and shooting like the wind. Cough.
i really really wanted the GR. then came across a V1+10mm for $195. did a lot googling and was surprised of the rave reviews. Quickly bought it ! I now no longer have gas for anything else, maybe except the 32mm
I mostly use the V2 to shoot my sons, here are 4 unique features that enable me to capture something no other camera can:
– Tracking focus while composing on the LCD. When the kids run around in the playground, I need fast continues autofocus. I will keep looking at the LCD to compose at a long period of time. If I would have to use one eye on the OVF or EVF, my eye will be very tired.
– Take full resolution stills during movie capture. Many times I find the need to record the kids in video, like birthday party, play cards together and dance when they feel the beats of a song, during these times, I do also found many moments that are also better to retain as still picture as well. V2 can capture full resolution stills during video recording, it’s not 16:9, but 3:2. Moreover, the shutter speed and aperture can also be fully controlled. Is Nikon 1 the only system capable to do so?
– Capture the pictures right before you press the shutter. During some family activities, like playing chess, monopoly or card games, besides a game participant, I will also lay my camera on the lap, holding it with on hand, looking at the LCD screen waiting for the moment they laugh or do some silly things, then press the shutter right away. More often than not, the best moment is gone when I press the shutter, like they will turn away their head, close their eyes and so on, but V2 help me keep the best moment before I press the shutter.
– Slow view. Last but not least, I don’t use this function a lot, but it very useful when my elder son likes to jump out from the swing, my younger son like to jump from a height, it really can capture the best shot that other camera have to have a very fast fps to do so, and a lot of time to deleted the unwanted photos.
Is there anybody cherish the Nikon 1 the same way as me?
Always interesting and amusing to read the comments from armchair quarterbacks who have never played the game. Would love to see the clips of the critics’ “gameplay.” Got none to share? Thought so.
Do you have any to share?
Great article – and great cameras!
My favorite of course is the Nikon 1 V1 with 32mm lens.
Hope Nikon will make a good successor of the V1…
yeah, no surprise. but i really *do* love my V1, using it all the time with the 18.5mm/1.8 Lens,
and like it way much. Let’s hope that Nikon would release a 23mm/1.8 Nikon 1 Lens,
i’d love to have my 35mm on the V1 focal lenght.
A photograph i did with the V1/18.5 here:
greetings from germany,
Joe the positive reactions from all the people and in some cases smiley faces says it all… even the last lady who looks like she wants tan your hide 😉 is looking at you in a cool way.
All the people in the photos felt comfortable with you taking their photos.
That means you a cool hombre.
I wonder if critics of street photography would enjoy walking through an exotic market in Bac Ha, North Vietnam and photographing the local Hmong in their beautiful clothing as they went about their daily lives. Or photographing Ecuadorians in the cobblestone streets of Quito. Or masses of people crossing in front of trolley cars in the streets of Hong Kong.
I just happened to spend a couple of days capturing a few images of people in New York doing what people do in New York. Nothing else.
“As much as I want one camera to do it all, it just aint gonna happen.”
Actuall Ricoh GXR modular came closest to one camera doing it all.
Ricoh GXR Modules
P10 1/2.3″ : 28-300mm
A16 APSC : 24-85mm F3.5-5.5
A12 APSC : 28mm F2.5
A12 50mm F2.5 MACRO
M MOUNT A12 : APSC Leica
Now if only Ricoh added a tilt screen & FF module & 24-720mm 1/2.3″
(& a MILC APSC Foveon !)
Who are we to judge what consider street photography or not. Until this very moment no such definite definition exists. So long it’s candid and it involves people anything goes.
Yes. And there is such a thing as boring, random and sometimes intrusive “street” photography. Just randomly pointing your camera at people coming towards you doesn’t make great photography.
These photographs have nothing, no sense of composition, plan nor purpose, no ‘moment’, they’re just paparazzi type shots with legs cut off , wonky bad angles, bad colour and tone and more about the photographers obsession with the idea of street photography and obsession with cameras. For such styles I think a cheap compact or phone cam would suffice. I’m sorry for being harsh but what is this trying to show or prove? If it were about fast focus then I would understand. I am no street shooter and admire the attempt and I think the photographer has talent wasted on crap subject matter like this.
I am being unfair, colour is ok. And didn’t mean any offence, just think this is something beneath the photographer and poor subject
Here is a great example of invasive street “work” by the master himself. In this interview renown photographer Bruce Gilden gives his take on what motivates his work. Worth a look for anyone interested in the many street styles. Not sure about the “method” he uses, but he sure gets some powerful and compelling images.
What I want to know is why so much money for gear to photograph subjects and situations an iPhone or a cheap compact can do as well?
Street photography needs a purpose, but this all seems pretty random and as someone else mentioned the shots are too intimate. I’d be furious if I logged on here and found one of the close up pictures to be of my wife or sister
Why? Out in public and under video surveillance anyway… what on earth is the harm? Or even the difference? We are all photographed all the time, in and out of subway stations, when using ATM machines or going in and out of the corner stores of any town in any country in the world.
Why should this be any different? Or do you spend all day being furious at those other things too?
Me? I got two Nikon V1 cameras for the price of one iPhony.
Because they don’t publish me standing at the ATM on the internet.
Some comments – from “Old Europe” it seems – reflect a very revealing societal trend: some want to impose a liberticide law for failing to overcome their inhibitions or to fulfill their unfulfilled fantasies, who knows?
This desire to Privatize the Public space is a temptation that informs us perfectly on the mental and moral state of senescent European society.
That’s a lot of complicated words for one post Jean-Louis. Would you care to elaborate, so the lesser gifted among us can grasp what you’re getting at?
Michiel (from Europe)
seems goobledegook to me too!
Wouldn’t you like to fulfill unfulfilled fantasies?
It happens that I bring my Nikon D600 (Sigma 35/1.4), Sony NEX-5N (Zeiss 1.8/24), and my Nikon V1 32/1.2, when out walking. All three superb combinations, although in total quite a bit heavier than Joe’s threesome!
I’d love to have the three you use instead, as a lighter combination would have been very welcome!
Tord, why bring 3 cameras, 2 with the same focal length, on a walk? One camera with an ff eq 35mm lens should do it. No wonder you find it heavy going.
Good stuff… great images…
Ricoh GR really lets you get closer to your subject, thanks to its smaller size, wider lens and very comfortable grip. I like RX images as well, but as far as handling goes, – Ricoh all the way…
It proofs one thing: there is only one future direction, more advanced, lighter camera’s with mostly smaller sensors, crops between factor 1,5 and factor 2, maybe in the top end still FF, price wise in an affordable range, even for the experts.
The FF DSLR range is being hyped so much because it brings in a lot more margin, but just looking at pictures and prints, the result is not necessarily better and the form factor, weight and prices kills easily the enthusiasm.
Of course It depends on what you’re doing, but see the messages Nikon and Canon have to bring now to the market, it’s not going very well with them, certainly not with those FF-ranges. Not everyone is being prepared to pay a few extra k of $ to have ‘theoreticaly’ one or two stops more bokeh versus a crop sensor camera with fast glass. Btw, a lot of our FF-friends just walk around with zoom that are not going below F4.0…so? And quite a lot of FF Canonikon glass is just a few % better than average or ‘just good’, surely if you compare it to Leica, Zeiss, Fujinon, 4/3,… The plastic fitted lens universe of Canonikon is overpriced and overrated, in many cases, see also DxO. Some of the most expensive ones even seem to be a joke. I’ve difficulty to understand this. It is spot in which the margin starts killing the quality.
Between these chunky FF DSLR’s and the pure compacts – evaporating in the also too crowded smartphone market – lies this kind of new advanced, capable gems.
This is what a lot of people want. What more and more people want. With fixed lenses or as an interchangeable system.
Easy to go, easy to take. The ultimate contrast with the new Df that still needs strong shoulders and a good neck to carry to other end of this world, including the load of glass it will need to achieve a more or less balanced IQ.
But let me be clear, I understand that true professionals still make different choices. If you need to be able to shoot 6 fps at the highest quality, nothing in Steve’s blog will fit the purpose as it should be.
1. Our first gift is Fuji Film X100S cameras to four lucky 500px members. All you have to do to win one is 1) Take a photo that interprets 500px logo in a creative & clever way and 2) Upload it to your account with tag 500pxbirthday. You have one month to enter and winners will be announced December 1st 2013. We will ship world-wide, no age restriction and winning photos will be judged on creativity and photo techniques.
new Firmware Update Ver.2.01 fujifilm x100
Lady last pic looks like she wants to tan your hide 😉
If anyone is going to get FF mirrorless right for ultra wide to tele M lenses it’s Ricoh.
As much as I want one camera to do it all, it just aint gonna happen.
1. Nikon J1 was my go to for Olympics. After Olympics I hardly ever shoot sports, almost never people so J1 went to a good home.
2. I shoot a lot of landscapes so it was either Nikon A, Ricoh GR, Sima DP1M. Sigma won out due to unique properties of Foveon and Foveon b&w.
3. I like a small camera with small modern interchangeable lenses. GX7 won out due to its smallness, tilting evf allowing me to look down into evf (as i compose shoot).
4. I want a camera with reach. For my type of photogrpahy DR ISO doesnt matter to me: this Dpreview competition was won by a 1/2.3″ Panasonic FZ200 http://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Challenge.aspx?ID=8780&View=Results&Rows=4
Sony DSC-HX50V compact pocketbale is 24-720mm.
5. I want shallow dof with legacy primes. I hardly ever use ovf, evf (unless it is tilting) I prefer to look down (as in Rollei TLR) therefore I prefer tilting lcd screen. I dont shoot anything fast moving thus I dont need phase detect on sensor. Thus I am waiting for 2014 Sony FF in Nex5 body without evf possibly aroud $899 or Ricoh FF.
My three cameras for 2014 :
Sigma DP1M, Sony DSC-HX50V 24-720mm compact, Sony FF in Nex5 body or Ricoh FF.
I use a V1 and love it, but you have to wonder how many people would have known what camera took any of these photos if they hadn’t been labelled.
I don’t understand the “I shot manual, with auto-ISO, adjusting the shutter speed depending on light”. You surely shot auto then ( as auto-ISO will take care of the exposure ), and for your fixed chosen aperture, the shutter speed changes only affected motion blur, not anything to do with “depending on light”. Do you know what you are doing ?
Probably he is on shutter priority mode. Of which auto iso should take care of light, but to the predefined max iso set. Hence he will need to reduce his shutter to introduce more light when that max Iso set is reached
In that case, he didn’t shoot manual ! ( I own the camera and like it a lot, just not sure what to make of the reviewer’s usage commentary )
Call me crazy but I loved your V1 images the most. The gritty, grainy files just look so amazing in black & white that it looks the most like film to my eyes. And the shallow depth of field you can get from that 32mm lens is pretty astounding (and that bokeh…WOW). I’m considering the AW1 for a street/hiking/take everywhere camera, I just hope the upgraded sensor can still deliver the aesthetic qualities of the older 10mp sensor. It’s kind of funny how people initially balked at the idea of the 1 series. Personally, I thought quite the opposite and felt that the 1 inch sensor is the perfect balance between size and image quality. How did you find the balance between the body and the lens? I would think it would be a bit front-heavy with that large lens.
I also liked the “quality” of the V1 shots the most. I don’t know much about the system, but I have seen a few 32mm shots before. Blew me away then as well
Perhaps it’s the strange times we live in, but I used to love street photos and now they just seem creepy. Maybe it’s just old age.
I think its because 95% of “street” photos are just of peoples backs as they walk past unware, or whom are sleeping etc. Most people want to be a street shooter but don’t ever want to approach a subject, which is understandable, its a difficult thing to feel comfortable doing.
Not saying Joe falls into this group of course…
1. Do they tell a story?
2. Do they capture a “decisive moment”?
3. Do they make the viewer feel like a participant?
My test for street. If neither of the three, it`s too trivial or creepy and in the bin.
4. Do they have an interesting composition?
Usually not, sometimes yes. Tatsuo Suzuki lots of times, sometimes not.
I am an unashamed owner/user of a Nikon V1….even without the 32.
I too find some days I don’t like the V1 and others I do. I’ve only got the 10mm, so naturally I am already at a bit of a loss for detail due to the sensor size. Then like Joe I find that AF can be off and that it doesn’t like the slightest shake of hand even at 1/60th. That said I too have had A3 prints that because they are organic look good even at 1600 ISO. It is not a Pixel Peep camera. What can I say. It’s like the difference between 16mm and 35mm film stock in Motion Pictures I guess.
Thank you for presenting three great options. The Ricoh GR is really intriguing for me due to its quality and diminutive size. I consulted Steve’s GR review after reading this ( happy that it was reviewed here) and I think it is pretty clear that this is a fantastic small pocketable option. Can’t wait to try it out.
Congratulations for your articles and Steve site that I read since a long time, I agree with you on ease of use of the nikon V1 without being intrusive. I had a D700 that I sold because since the V1, I was no longer using it. With v1, images are less good qualities, but you can do it and, in black and white they are very close to what could be achieved with film iso 400 or more. I do not have your talent, but for those who want to see more street photos taken with the Nikon V1 and 32mm : http://marue.srnum.fr
Steff, Your photos are superb. I really liked the ones you took with the 18.5mm and 32mm. Anyone interested in seeing what the Nikon V1 can do should check out your b&w work.
Great photos, I like your style.
Thank you very much, I like to walk alone in the city, observing people.
I would like to add that in reality on the ground, I never have time to change the settings. I make my choice of aperture and iso according to the light of day, then I focus only on the subject. So I do not need a lot of buttons and it does not bother me to change the menus. The v1 is just good for me. Exept maybe for changing between area AF mode and spot.
Use the Ricoh GR exclusively for a month and you’ll get even better quality images. I was shocked how much I ended up loving mine and finding a valid use for 28mm (I’ve mostly been a 50mm guy the past couple of years). Shooting dng and converting to b&w with the Ricoh GR(especially at base ISO) results in some really nice tonality and might even be capable of the best b&w images outside of the Leica M Monochrom, Leica M8, and Leica M9/M-E.
Nice writeup, Joe. That 32mm is certainly the goods for the Nikon 1 camera!
Thanks … a bit hazy … but I believe … yes, I see a 32 in your future.
Excellent photos, but the look from the Sony makes them stand out compared to the Ricoh and Nikon. (for me at least!)
As a Leica M and Nikon D800 owner, I decided to get a Ricoh GR for those days when I really didn’t feel like carrying a camera. I could not have made a better decision and have come to love using it beyond what words could describe. In fact, it never leaves my side. Customizable to no end and possessing one of the best camera grips in the market, the GR has to be one of the most practical cameras in the market with its snap focus capability and its native ND filter. If they ever make a museum to celebrate the art of street photography, the Ricoh GR will be up there with the legendary Leica set of cameras. No, the optics are not perfect, but it delivers every time, and at a fraction of the cost of other street shooters. Try one out in the streets for a couple of days and you’ll be hooked.
Agree, love the GR. I do use an optical finder sometimes in very bright light.
I love the 1st photo of the second block (5th overall in the article). Great tonality, and subject. You seem to see the world very naturally from the 28mm perspective.
I’ve said it before, the V1 is the apple of cameras. As long as you let it do all the work and set it more or less on full auto, you can trust the results 95% of the time to be very very nice.
It’s not easy to adjust settings on this model. Maybe that’s good. For once: Don’t worry about controlling things… Give up, let go, float downstream, and click the shutter on full out program mode and be astonished.
I have the V1 and Oly EM1……..how Oly and some of the others say they have the fastest autofocus I don’t know…….the focusing on the little V1 is nothing short of astonishing and it’s very difficult to deliberately get one out of focus! LOL
Yes, the images are a little ‘grainy’ or film like but they have beautiful colour and are pleasing to look at.
In my opinion, the only thing I’d give a negative to the V1 as a street shooter is a flip screen as often this doesn’t draw attention to shooting.
I do love the Nikon V1 though!
Well I’m pretty good at getting out of focus shots with my V1. LOL
I think (purely a guess) it partially has to do with using face recognition and auto-area. Face recognition adds one more thing for the V1 to consider. If it can’t find a face it finds something else, but then if a face appears, particularly in a continuous sequence, it will switch focus to the face. And if the person turns away, the sensor tries to find something else to focus on. However, if the camera finds a face, it definitely hits the mark at a very high success rate.
And then of course I sometimes get greedy and try shooting moving objects a f/1.2. Even though the DOF is not as shallow because of the sensor, there really is not much room for error. And error is my middle name.
About a month ago I too the V1 to Venice (with a Sony RX100M2) and 90% used the V1. Below is a link to the photo’s……..I think you can instantly recognise the Sony ones!
I really love the colour from them and end up shooting better as the camera does the work!
How would you rate the GR ? I liked the camera but I had pretty poor luck in terms of getting accurate focus, especially in lower light. While I didn’t find it hunted or took too long to focus (at least on par with my RX1, which was no speed demon either) the issue I really had was that it would confirm focus but then the resulting shot would be a bit out of focus, so accuracy was the issue rather than speed.
In a lot of sample images of the GR (from across the web) I often see some shots that look slightly soft, and I never know if its just due to the photog using Snap/Zone focus and not covering the DoF, or if they tried to use AF and just didn’t get an accurate result.
The RX1 on the other hand, while not speedy, always seemed to be really spot on.
Between the GR and my RX100, I had a much higher keeper ratio with the RX100, and the f1.8 at 28mm equiv, vs f2.8 at 28mm equiv on the GR gave a similar look in terms of subject separation (neither being great at it, but still both better than a smartphone or true P&S look)
Jeff, for everything not moving, the Ricoh focused just fine – faster than the Rx1, slower than the V1. I didn’t bother to track movement toward or away from me. I’m only comfortable doing this with a DSLR or Nikon 1 system camera. A few times I shot at f/2.8 in less than ideal light and the autofocus again seemed fine. Even though my preference is snap or zone focusing with Ricoh, I had no issues with autofocus.
Yes! More Nikon1-love.
It strikes me how so many people who own “better” cameras aren’t that happy with them after all, they always seem to be chasing the next thing. While the V1 just keeps delivering the goods for those of us who use them.
Thanks for a great write-up.
I haven’t really been overwhelmed with Nikon’s Full Frame offering of late (including the Df) and I can see myself possibly moving away from it in future (depending on how well the A7 performs, and the future that Sony offers).
But I can’t see myself moving away from the Nikon1. It just offers too much, and does what no other camera can. I hope Nikon pushes forward here and release a V3 with and/or an Nikon SP inspired version.
Out of interest, what would you like to see on a V3? I wish Nikon would go back to the form factor of the V1 which is so much nicer than the V2. Basically, I’d like the V3 to incorporate the interface improvements of the V2 in a V1 body. As for the sensor size and pixel count – LEAVE IT AS IT IS !! (are you listening Nikon…?)
Agreed – I like the form factor of the V1!
Really all I could ask for is a better sensor, more direct control dials/buttons (to change ISO etc.), weather sealing, and possibly an un-obtrusive, on-board bounce flash that could be used to control my off-camera speed light.
It’s tough to determine whether or not Nikon is listening because we all want different things. I owned the V1 for almost a year and a half and now I’ve owned the V2 for about 6 months and I find the V2’s ergonomics, form factor, whatever you want to call it superior to that of the V1. I by no means disliked the V1, I was shooting with it long before people started to realize it was a good camera (which means yes, I paid full asking price for it and don’t regret it). No matter what a V3 offers I won’t be upgrading because I am content with the V2, but if they asked me what I wanted I would say keep the V2 design and add better low light performance and commander mode for off camera flash.
The V2 *does* look intriguing. I’m not sure if it’s as ‘pocketable’ with the extra protrusions… but it certainly does look much more ergonomic from a usability stand-point!
It’s only the very slightest bit taller than the V1 but at the same time it isn’t as wide or thick (excluding the grip). For me it’s not any more or any less pocketable than the V1, just lighter and more comfortable to use. The grip was something that I was delighted with because I added the Franiec grip to my V1 anyway. Plus, even the 10mm sticks out further than the grip so if you are transporting the camera with a lens on it you aren’t loosing any portability.
Does anyone have the Nikon 2?
I own the V2 and just received my 32mm today!
Congrats – I’m sure you’ll love it! It’s the *only* f1.2 AF lens that Nikon makes AFAIK 🙂
I have a fun little post at my blog site called ‘The Nikon1 System – On Trail’ that you might find interesting 🙂
I’ve already bookmarked your site, you have an interesting (in a good way) style. I’m the one who commented that I liked your Hartigan impersonation.
Hey there, Observer.
Yes, to be honest I am completely happy with my V1 and find the lenses excellent too. Something for everyone, even a VERY nice (and tempting) video-lens. Almost makes me want to give that genre a try as well while I’m at it.
The only full frame camera that has grabbed (and kept) my attention since I got the V1 is the Leica MM. Now, THAT is a whole different ball of wax. Different price too, but I can see that you get your moneys worth. Something for a later day, perhaps?
The V1’s biggest “weakness”, its smaller and more dated sensor, often turns into what I feel is its biggest “strength” and that is the kind of hard/gritty files it produces. Where most modern camera’s have far better high ISO performance, it comes with a bit of a smoothness, or shall we say “modern CMOS digital look”
The V1 files have this rough edge to them, and while noisy, its a rather film like grain, which just seems to give wonderful tonality and texture for B&W photography.
I’ve owned all three of these camera’s and sometimes you just can’t beat what the V1 can give you. I’ll spent a fair bit of time working with Silver EFX 2 and add grain to RX1 files just to get that look the V1 gives right out of the camera.
Also, you can’t beat that 1/16,000th max shutter. The RX1 does look amazing shot wide open at f2.0, HOWEVER, your often going to need a ND filter to do that during the day, since the leaf shutter is limiting. Real PITA to screw it on/off whenver you go into shade/shadow. Really wish Sony made one built in like the Fuji X100
My experience as well.
I’m interested in your description of the V1 files as ‘hard/gritty’. I know what you mean (and agree that any noise isn’t unpleasant). I think the ‘gritty’ description is apt for the B&W files but less so in colour, though I can’t offhand think of a better way to categorise them. I’m planning to make more colour prints as I think that ‘s the only way to really get a feel for what’s possible from the camera. I do know that files like the V1 produces deserve to exist outside a computer hard drive!
V1 actually has some really fantastic color and white balance, as well as really spot on exposures. Higher ISO’s take a toll on it, but its actually a pretty wonderful color camera too. Resolution limits its as a landscape tool, and the DR isn’t as huge as many newer cameras, but that all said….it gives rather pleasing shots frame after frame.
Nice looking blue skies, green foliage, reds, you name it, they are pretty well reproduced by this little camera/
I just had a 16 x 20 colour print made from the V1 – looked quite nice! It’ll be (charity) auctioned later this month.
OMG the camera?? or just the image?
Well said Jeff. I really love the look of V1 files as well. I forgot about the ND filter of the Fuji and yes it would have been a nice addition to the Rx1. However, I do remember using it and then always forgetting to turn it off. One of my many user errors.
Congratulations for your articles and Steve site that I read since a long time, I agree with you on ease of use of the nikon V1 without being intrusive. I had a D700 that I sold because since the V1, I was no longer using it. With v1, images are less good qualities, but they have the merit to exist and, in black and white very close to what could be achieved with film iso 400 or more. I do not have your talent, but for those who want to see more street photos taken with the Nikon V1 and 32mm, I give the url of my site : http://marue.srnum.fr
very nice site. i was looking for information and more sample photos of the 32mm 1.2 lens. at least other than those from steve huff and joe marquez, because most of their images are awesome.
Nice pictures and a fun read. Having the same 3 cameras, I could relate to your shooting experiences. Of those three, I actually use the GR the most because of tiny size, control over aperture and shutter with ISO float, pretty fast focus, and very good image quality if you hold it steady. But, I enjoy all three for the reasons you mentioned.
We are definitely in agreement bgood. I was a little intimidated by the GR when I first looked through the menu and all the customization, but once in hand, it is actually a very easy camera to use and adjust quickly.
Typo, it’s spelt “Discreet” and not “Discrete” which is a different thing.
There are a few more actually. My bad.
Beautiful shots Joe! You probably know which are my favourites, but I love them all!
Did you ever get the FT1 adapter?
Thank you sir. Yes, I did get the FT1. Plan to give it a go on the northshore when the surf picks up.
Nice article, all three cameras produce great image quality, but i agree that your shots with the Nikon are the most successful. It may be the longer focal length, or it may be that your moat used to that camera. Either way its another great testament to the 1 series.
Great article…I actually like the Nikon V1 pix the best overall…they may not have the best IQ, but the speed at which it can shoot seems to have given you the a better chance at the perfect moment.
Interesting and relevant comparisons I think. All different cameras but with quite a lot in common in many respects so thanks for the write-up.
On the V1, although you obviously like the camera and show a commendable aversion to pixel peeping, there’s a little bit of the apologetic tone that V1 shooters seem to adopt (and yes, I’m guilty as well…!) when you say mage quality is “perfectly adequate”.
Real life example. By coincidence, a couple of hours ago the postman delivered a package of prints (remember when photographers actually made prints…?) made from my V1 files. Mostly 12×8″ (A4) and they look great, as you’d expect. But what really blew me away was a 18×12″ print which has as much detail as you could ever need and is now in a frame ready for hanging on the wall. My next project is to try some 24×16″ enlargements – I’m pretty confident I won’t be disappointed. Seriously, how many photographers ‘need’ to print larger than that (if they print at all)? V1 shooters need to shed that small-sensor shame, stand tall and proclaim that it’s results, not numbers on a spec sheet, that matter.
You are absolutely correct Col, but those Rx1 files are simply amazing.
Oh, I have absolutely no doubt that prints from the Rx1 are stunning (and once Sony have filled out the new lens range just a little, the A7/A7r will be a dream system). Meanwhile I’m trying to rationalise the purchase of a N1 32mm lens ahead of a big trip…(!)
First great pictures Joe. I regularly visit your site to look at your latest crop. On the N1 V1 files, I just printed on canvas a picture from this incredible camera with dimensions 180cm x 70cm for a gallery exhibition. The end result goes well beyond “acceptable”. I am still astonished by the quality of the files from this camera.
I love my V1…never apologize and the more I use it…it seems the results keep getting better…and a 24 x 16 is definitely reasonable…no it can’t compete with the Ricoh as far as IQ but it still makes beautiful images
I am a big fan of Joe’s Nikon 1/32mm files.
But for me the RX1 results are in another league
Thank you Chris. I’m a big fan of the 32. I can’t think of a smaller, faster setup to get one of my favorite focal lengths. And yes, when I want that special IQ, the Rx1 comes out of the camera bag.
Exactly. The Nikon 1 files look amazing. The RX-1 is another league, such nice photos.
The Ricoh doesn’t do it for me. I don’t like any of the shots…
Great article and really well written. I enjoyed your analysis. Some of the most engaging photo review writing that I have read in a long time. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work.
Thanks James. Appreciate the nice comment.
Great street pics, Joe!
My favourites are the dog in the lorry and the jewish trio.
I find the GR hard to beat as a street camera.
Those two images do have a little personality. Thanks Andy. I agree the GR was a delight and all the good things I had previously read about it are true – fits in your pocket, a delight to hold, easily customizable, quick to adjust … really makes you want to get out and just shoot.
let`s find a more precise term than “street photography” for this kind of photos. maybe: “people walking by photography”!?
Yeah, who wants to look at photographs of pavement all the time.
i have to admit that i prefer shop photography made by a surveillance cam. same principle but more variety.
Mmmm true and quite a few shots of “hipsters walking by photography” (count the black hipster glasses!) 🙂
I count 11
I’m just curious when and how “street photography” suddenly got so popular.
These days its like every other thread you read someone is talking about how they need mirrorless, or a small camera etc for shooting “street”
DPR etc is chock full of thread after thread of B&W shots of people’s backs as they are walking away with photog after photog calling themselves “Street Shooters”
I’ve been on forums and a gearhead for a long time, and never really remember the average enthusiast ever talking about street shooting. Kids, pets, landscapes, etc, yeah, that hasn’t changed, but these days it feels like everyone wants to be a street shooter.
Fine and good, but the question is why ?
Did the advent of smaller mirrorless cameras simply give people a means to shoot street, which they wanted to do all along, or did the smaller mirrorless cameras make people want to try new styles ?
Can’t speak for anyone else Jeff. Personally I love photographing people. Also, I don’t shoot people’s backs. I’m pretty upfront in my photography. I enjoy capturing interesting faces, fashion, activities and so on. When you live in Hawaii and everyone is in bikinis, it’s kind of nice to see some local fashion whether in Cambodia, Italy, New York or wherever. Small cameras are good because people don’t shy away – although one time I used a Hassleblad on the streets of Hong Kong. LOL. Shooting on the street is not for everybody, but I certainly enjoy it.
“Shooting on the street is not for everybody, but I certainly enjoy it. ..”
people on the street are not for you publishing them without their consent.
if they are posing for you or part of a crowd its ok.
but if they are the main theme of a picture and not people of public interest. …..
i showed your blog to my girlfriend and she finds this kind of photography disgusting.
maybe women have a better understanding of whats right.
so dear joe,
show your family, show your friends, but not people who do not know, that they are photographed!!!
so please show me your girlfriend in a bikini. you have so many bikini-beach-shots in your album. show me your face joe when you are sad walking in the streets cause a friend of you died. show me when you are drunk at a party, show me ….it will be my joy
Funny I shared this post with my wife too. She had the same reaction as your girlfriend, Michael.
True that this is not a post focused on street photography. It is about the 3 cameras and how they can render people walking in streets not aware of being photographed, some not looking like they want to be photographed…or in a couple of shots playing up to the camera knowing they are being photographed.
But it does give one a sense of unease about what people are now calling the “street photography” genre. It is beginning to look more like “street paparazzi” nowadays when one looks at many blogs and sites. Suppose that’s another reason cameras can auto focus much faster and shoot with more “stealth”.
I feel that much of what is today called “street photography” has made many of us cynical about the genre. There is just so much thoughtless and meaningless street stuff being produced and published by so many wannabee snappers that one cannot help be cynical.
One can only hope that these streeters respect certain private moments (even in public) and have a compassionate thought about publishing images without consent. I am sure that many of the subjects would be unhappy to see some stuff published – specially when the content and context has little or no human interest at all – never mind engaging visual ingredients like lighting or composition. But then again it is such a contentious and sensitive subject. These days, where ever-watchful Big Brother is everywhere, privacy has become near extinct.
I enjoyed the comparisons of the 3 cameras. I understand the street environment was a good setting for the comparisons where AF speed can be tested with walking people (front on to camera – not backs, thankfully) and other attributes of the technical virtues of each machine. But it does make one think and wonder about Jeff’s comment re why this immense popularity in street photography and the mania of posting so many pictures of strangers in the street.
Problem I have is that few really know or can encapsulate to us what “street photography” is really all about in today’s world. Is it documentation of a society, is it a personal statement or diary or is it just becoming a test for the ability and virtues of a camera to be fast and stealthy? Good to know there are many cameras that can be all that.
Thanks for the post Joe. I enjoyed the read.
My favorite book is the Divina Commedia. And it takes a lot of real people in the inferno, some of them were alive in Dante’s time. In literature, cinema, paint and surely in all the arts the use of real people to inspire and compose art has been in all times and cultures.
For my profession I see the cities as organic systems with life and the photography applied to the urban life can be art as literature. Of course I think that it’s an abuse to take photographs to people in disgrace (by the way Steve has wonderful photographs of those persons but taken with dignity) and to take girls just for a voyeur (in the bad meaning) impulse. 2013 is different from 1896 and it’s going to be different from 2857, these photographs, the most of them are going to be a register of our age and cities, and some of them art (I refer to the photos taken for everybody in the year, not just from the post lol).
Several photographs in this post are with consent, there is a pair where the person photographed is clearly uncomfortable and perhaps those photos shouldn’t be public. But in general I don’t see nothing wrong with them. Anyway, I prefer a world with liberty to take, and be taken, photographs in the street that one were the censorship could delete the creation of art. It seems that the Vienna of today cannot tolerate somebody like Adolf Loos.
“people on the street are not for you publishing them without their consent”
Don’t know how it is in your country, but in the United States of America you don’t need consent if they are in a public place.
Michael from Vienna is clearly in the dark about 3 things:
1) street photography – google Henri Cartier Bresson
2) American laws
Where do you see “art” in random street scenes?
This isn’t classic street photography, nor can it be classed as reportage. I think the photographer is trying to capture people’s personal space or mood perhaps? Or just people doing things on the street? It takes balls to do this, cos If I noticed someone photographing me I’d rip the camera off of them and shove it where the sun don’t shine
Check out http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2013/11/lets-talk-images.html
A good example of art in the form of street photography.
Thank’s for the link, very impressive
“so please show me your girlfriend in a bikini….show me when you are drunk at a party, show me ….it will be my joy”
Michael, you sound so sad. Why are you so sad? What happened man?
“If I noticed someone photographing me I’d rip the camera off of them and shove it where the sun don’t shine”
Ibraar, such aggression. What’s up with that? Are you sad and disappointed too, like Michael?
Maybe you two can start a club or something. Or write a self-help book. Would love to photograph you both though.
Really GREAT to see your photos …and a welcome break from all our camera fetishes…the images are what count…keep ’em rolling!
With his processing they all look about the same in terms of I can’t really tell the difference between the images he’s shown and what camera they belong too. Thanks for the post.
Mostly agree, Josh. But I thought the V1 didn’t quite match the resolution of the others (no surprise really)
The V1 might not match the resolution of my A7R, but it sure is a lot more fun to shoot with, especially on the streets. Besides, prints up to A2 look just fine to me. A photograph doesn’t need to be tack sharp with perfect tones. I have only one lens for the V1 and that’s the 18.5mm f/1.8. Versatile focal length, fast aperture, fast focussing and tack sharp wide open.
Like James, I set the camera to manual or aperture priority, auto ISO, auto-area, face-priority AF activated and let the silent lightning fast electronic shutter do it’s thing. Nikon no longer makes the V1 and you can buy a new V1 (kit) cheap.