The Nikon V3 Arrives. 1st Impression report.

The Nikon V3 Arrives. 1st Impression report.


UPDATE: A quick super fast generic J1 vs V3 JPEG OOC test is HERE.

My V3 review sample arrived today and I was excited to test it. FINALLY, the V3 we have been waiting for! WooHoo! Many of you here know I was and am a huge Nikon 1 system fan and my fave was the original V1. 

Then I opened the box and took the camera out. Uh Oh. 1st impression is that Nikon dropped the ball. The V3 is TINY, feels cheap (The $200 J1 feels nicer and better made), the EVF is cheap without a swivel and is quite small..but the killer for me? The V3 now takes MICRO SD cards! YUCK! Gone is the SD card slot and it is replaced by an itsy bitsy teeny weeny Micro SD card slot. I am not a fan of using Micro SD cards in a camera, especially one that costs $1200 as the V3 Kit package does.

So yes, my 1st impression was not a good one. I decided to load up the battery and take it out in my yard to test the AF and all of the other good stuff such as the new 10-30 Kit Zoom. Maybe it would wow me with something cool and unique or its overall abilities when in use…

…AF is very fast but no faster than the new $700 Sony A6000. Shutter sounds pretty nice, but no nicer than the new $700 Sony A6000. IQ? Same as the V1 and V2 in my limited snaps out back (which I do love). The new kit zoom seems softer than the old one. For $1200 Nikon has delivered the cheapest feeling and smallest V body yet. In comparison, the failed AW1 felt like a tank in comparison. Not sure who is making the decisions at Nikon these days but they do not seem to care about the 1 system nor the users who fell in love with the nice V1 and V2.

With such disappointment out of the gate I may not even do a full review. It does nothing to inspire me or motivate me. It feels cheap, it is too small, has nothing special about it and is a step backwards from the V1 and V2 in build, feel and maybe even IQ. The Micro SD card was a bad move as well.


The new 10-30 zoom has pretty noticeable barrel distortion as well (looking at OOC JPEGS).

In the $1200 price range I would take many cameras over this V3, and even save some money while I was at it. I have been a huge Nikon 1 fan since the V1 but Nikon let us down with the V3, at least that is my opinion after an hour or so with it. Way too much competition with better cameras and lenses for less money. After messing with the V3 around the house for a while I would say that this camera should come in at around $399-$599 today simply because there is much better out there for less money (The Olympus E-M10 with lens for under $700 is a much better buy than the V3 and will outperform it in every way). This may be the nail in the coffin for the 1 system as what Nikon has delivered in a V3 falls really short of what was needed in todays market. I have some nice 1 system lenses so I may buy a V2 once it goes to fire sale clearance. I will be skipping the V3.

YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE V3 AT B&H PHOTO HERE. Maybe some of you will enjoy it 🙂 For me, it is too much of a letdown as it could have been so much more. While I look at the positive in everything, I really have very little to say about the V3 that is good…or positive besides the fast speed that we always have had with the 1 system but I get this with the V1 and J1 already. I mean, it is a good 1 series camera but why buy a V3 that feels cheaper, is smaller, uses an external EVF when you can get a V1 or V2 that has a better feel, built in EVF, etc for much less?

Just a few of the alternatives that are a much better buy IMO: Sony A6000, Fuji X100s, Olympus E-M10, Panasonic GX7, or a Nikon V2. Maybe even a Leica C.

My next reviews? Sony A6000, Sony A7s, Leica C, Voigtlander 75 1.8 on the Leica M


  1. Thank you for the honest and useful review as always. I got “cold feet” with Fujifilm because of its fancy sensors and sadly Olympus has no good support in my country (Turkey) on service and spare parts wise – (for example no one sells visor for Pen cameras) and I’m looking for a camera to lets me shoot editorial photos such as event and street photography with certain concepts. I can’t consider Sony also because of its heating and thermal noise issues – plus its a consumer electronics company rather than a photography equipment manufacturer.

    I’m doing (what I truly love) editorial event, landmark and street stock photography with my humble Nikon D90 and 35mm F/1.8 lens and I tried it once with Fuji X100T – – BUT even that most latest and most loved and praised camera of Fuji wasn’t as good as my old D90 + 35mm combo.

    Besides I once had very first, old Olympus Pen with its 14-42 kit lens. I’ve even joined a contest that my stock agency held – – I’ve shoot one of the famous landmarks of the small town I’m living.

    With these in mind; Nikon 1 V3 seemed like a good choice at first because it comes with a decent lens, visor and handgrip. But you got it, tested it, held it in your hands and you probably thought about the built quality of Pen F right?… And Nikon felt flimsy compared to it.

    Considering this all, if I couldn’t get a Leica M with 50mm Summilux – or manage to get a OMD EM1 or Pen F with backup and prime lenses – seems like I have to stick with Nikon dSLRs. And its too bad that they are not manufacturing Nikon DF anymore (its totally out of sales in my country). Bugger…

    Again I truly appreciate for the honest review (on this, and all other cameras included highly praised Fujis) because rest of the photographer blogs I’m seeing on the net sounds like a sales pitch rather than guiding review.

  2. Steve, really enjoy your site, I too bought a V1 after reading your review and find it a really fun camera to use. With two young kids and all the associated faff that goes with them the fact i can carry this camera and a couple of lenses in a small bag is a real selling point. It also has the AF performance to actually focus on the little ones running around to capture those special moments.

    My only concern had been the lack of shallow DoF for portraits, partly my lack of skill but it is more difficult than using my trusty D5100 and 50mm F1.4 (too big to carry every day now days)

    The V3 has left me with a dilemma, get the f1.2, not a insignificant investment and hope the v4 has a built in EVF (sorry i just don’t like detachable ones) or jump ship, the OMD series is very tempting, 4/3 may make my shallow DoF a little easier, but how does the focus speed compare???

    Anyone else having similar thoughts?

    • I’d go E-P5 or E-M10 or E-M1 and if you want shallow DOF, the Nocticron is amazing. Other great lenses are the 12-40 2.8, the 25 1.8, the 25 1.4, the 45 1.8, the 75 1.8 and the 17 1.8.

      • Thanks for the reply Steve, will the above be just as good from a focus speed point of view? I have read good things about both the omd 10 and panasonic gx7. I actually nearly bought the pl5 a while ago but worry about the lack of built in evf

  3. Amused by all these “Nikon has lost it’s way” type comments. They are one of the few ( three ? ) firms in the digital camera business that are profitable. I have the V1 and really rate it. It’s beautifully assembled, feels solid, and has some things that make it, unlike most small cameras, worth carrying above a cell phone camera. Namely super fast subject tracking AF and small interchangeable lenses. I owned all the lenses, including the 32mm, but whittled it down to the two VR zooms. I tried the V3 … it’s built fine, does not feel as “cold” to the touch as the V1, and the new kit zoom will win some business purely because of the auto lens cap. The reason I lost interest was the external EVF and the feel of the shutter button. Just my view, as the view above is just Steve’s – don’t take any person’s view as a “verdict” on a product or entire company ( ! ) it’s just an opinion.

  4. @Roger Huston
    I can get a V1-kit which includes the 10-30mm, SB-5N flash, 8GB SD card and a Nikon bag for around $400.

    I already own the 18.5mm and the 32mm is surely nice as Steve has shown very clearly in his review with some really good images. It is in fact very tempting to get the V1-kit and the 32mm f/1.2 for less than the V3-kit 🙂

  5. I bought the V1 two years ago and I love its speed and size. Sinze then I have aquiered a Nikon D600, which I love both for its IQ and handling (I got my shutter replaced, so I hope my days with dust on sensor is over). I have however kept my V1 as a lighter travel camera.
    Getting accustomed to the D600, I have learned to love the added functinality a semi pro camera give you and have been waiting what the 1 series would come up with. But as Steve and other has pointed out, I feel that Nikon with their V series cameras has been going in the wrong direction. I did not want the V2 and certainly not the V3. I therefore have given up on the 1 series, and a couple of weeks ago I bought the OMD em5 (elite) with the Zuiko 12-40 /2.8. Lots of functionality, good IQ, splendid lens and dust and splash proof. I will keep the V1 for my kids, but I don´t think Nikon will come up with a new V camera that I would coonsider buying.

  6. I wouldn’t mind a V3 body to shoot birds with my existing 70-200 f/4 or 300 f/4. And I’d even pay $700 for that. But $1200 for a body, and a lens and accessories I don’t want or need, is just too much.

  7. I too am keeping my V1. Although I have both the 32mm 1.2 and the 6.7×13 along with the 18.5 and the 10-30 zoom and the 10mm that came with the camera. For me, the whole reason for the V1 was the 32 lens, it just pops.

    The 6.7×13 is no slouch, but it just doesn’t have that wow factor. However, I just found out that if you take three wide shots in portrait and stitch them together you can get a brilliant pano shot.

    However, I am VERY disappointed in Nikon for the V3. A release like that has the ability to doom a product line and the V3 may very well mark the end of the 1 line. I’m pretty well invested in the Nikon 1 series personally and was looking at the V3 as perhaps a half step up until I could find something better.

    • The V1 and 32 1.2 is phenomenal, and I am sure it would be on the V3 as well, but I see no real reason to go from V1 to V3 unless you want a touch screen or swivel LCD.

  8. Love your site, been visiting for awhile. Been an owner of the Nikon 1 system for well over a year. I have a Nikon 1 v2 and just got the Nikon 1 v3. I have to disagree with you on allot of what you said. I think you should be doing a review, and should not have shelved the product because your first impression did not match up to your expectation.

    I was skeptical at first particularly because of the removable grip and EVF. I was not happy about the XD card slot either. The body feels better and more sturdy then the Nikon 1 v2 and the built/materials seem better quality. I like the size of the design. The v2 was almost sometime too large for me and I did not bring it with me everywhere. I feel better about taking the EVF and the Grip off and bringing it with me in my pocket to the grocery store encase I want to use it.

    The fact that you could remove the EVF was almost a deal breaker for me. I have never used a camera with out a viewfinder. I always look though viewfinder to frame my photographs. I am having to get used to using the camera when the EVF is not attached. The fact that the screen tilts helps as I can get a better viewing angle if I need. I was intrigued by the tiling screen. It is a big bonus that I can tilt the screen, look down at the image, and shoot from the hip. It reminds me allot of a TLR ROLLEIFLEX style camera. Should be really great for candid street work.

    The v2 EVF never tilted, so I did not expect the v3 would. The LCD screen on the V2 did not tilt but the screen on the v3 does. It is a trade off. You can get better shooting angles while sill being able to see your shot with the v3 then you can on the v2. That is an improvement over the last version.

    I have also never liked touch screen on a camera, but I will admit the touch to focus feature is nice. There were times on the V2 that I could not get it to focus right where I want. I find being able to tap where I want focus during certain situations… like macro to be quite useful.

    I don’t get why people are saying the microSD card slot is a deal killer. I admit I am not a huge fan, but I have yet to remove the card from the camera when syncing photographs. I bought the largest capacity and that should suite me for most needs. I don’t travel much so don’t need to bring a bunch of cards with me everywhere I go.

    I like the Wi-Fi I wanted something that increased my workflow for instagram… yea I know I do some marketing of products on instagram with photos… this helps me get the right to the photo for editing into the proper format. The Wi-Fi does not work quite how I imagined, I had to call tech support because the interface was confusing. Think of it like a direct connection from your camera to your phone. You can shoot live mode through the phone, but all the controls on the camera are not functional while you are connected.

    I am most disappointed by the smaller battery. I noticed the life cycle is really going to be affected. I got much more shooting time out of my V2 battery. A couple extra batteries might be necessary for longer shoots. The Wi-Fi also eats up battery pretty quick it seems like.

    I did not think about two aspects of the removable grip and viewfinder which are minor, but should be noted. You can’t access the battery when the grip is in place. If you are using the EVF you can’t use the external flash because the hot shoe is taken…. now out of all the iusses with the camera this one is probably the biggest. If i need the EVF and the off camera flash I will have to switch back to my v2 unless I figure a workaround out.

    The only feature that the Nikon 1 v3 and V2 don’t have that prevent me from using it as my work camera (Real Estate Photography) is bracketing. If it had that I would be able to do my HDR photographs much easier, and this camera system would probably replace my Nikon D7000. I have a bad back, so the weight difference alone would be worth the switch. Personally the v3 has a place in my camera collection and I am glad I decided to pick it up.

    • Sounds like you like the V3, so that is good. Some will enjoy it, some will think it is lackluster for the money. I just do not see anything that makes me want it over a V1 or V2. Its a Nikon 1, but why the external EVF for a V series? Why the small battery? Why Micro SD cards? Makes no sense to me for the price point. It is a good camera, not saying that at all. My issues is it is not enough to get my recommendation over a V1 or V2 which can be had for dirt cheap and deliver similar results, and for me, in a more enjoyable body. But glad you are enjoying it as that is what it is all about. There is no right or wrong, and everyone has an opinion 🙂 I’m just let down by what it is.

    • +1 on the lack of auto exposure bracketing (landscape and real estate photography).

      A $1200 camera, apparently targeted at enthusiasts / second camera for pors, with no AEB? … Really???

  9. This was a reply to Steve in an earlier post. It ended up here at the bottom 🙂

  10. Could be you are right. Currently I’m looking to upgrade my J1 because I really want a Nikon 1 with an EVF as the J1 LCD is not so good in bright sunlight.

    The V3 price is very steep and there is the disadvantage of the attachable EVF which I hated on my Olympus E-P2, but on the other hand this EVF looks a lot better and not so high on the top of the camera. I also think there is an advantage with the 18 MP sensor which allows for some cropping in case the object is a little too far away. Also the tiltable LCD seems to be really nice.

    Anyway, to me the V3 just looked and felt top notch and the grip felt nice to me, but I’m still not 100% sure if I should just get the V1 with flash and a Nikon bag for less than 1/3 of the price of V3 with EVF and grip.

    • If you can get the V1 for $250, I’d say it is a good camera. However, the best lens for it is the 32m 1.2f which, in my opinion, makes it great. You get good pictures with the other lens, with the 18.5 (50mm) being the best of that range.

  11. V3 is the first Nikon camera with touch-screen; a breakthrough move at Nikon. With the tilting touch-screen and 18M the V3 is a huge improvement to my V1. Owning a 7-lens 1Nikkor collection (including FT1 and 50mm/f1.4G), I will definitely upgrade to V3 when its price is dropped to around $300, the price I paid for my V1, which I love and I am not in a rush at all. Miki

    • A touchscreen that others have been doing for many years though. I would not call it breakthrough, Id call it “nice’. The problem is that the previous Nikon bodies were all cleared out at rock bottom prices which is how 85% of 1 users acquired their cameras. The V3 at $1200 will be a very tough sell. As you said, when it hits $300 you will buy 🙂 Same here, but it will be a year or two before that happens. At $1200 not many will buy as the competition is too stiff.

      • Thanks, Steve for the reply. I already have a nice 1Nikkor lens collection for which I have paid nearly $3000; with this background I really do not care the competition. This is the reason I am utterly happy that Nikon eventually included a tilting touchscreen and reached 18M, which should have been done right away when the V1 was designed. My perspective is a bit different than yours; I have no another $3000 to build another lens collection with a different camera system; I have been trapped into the 1Nikon system. Miki

  12. Just went to the camera store today and had a look at Nikon Df, Fuji X-T1 and Sony A7r and finally the V3 and tried to taking pictures on my own SD card with DF, X-T1 and A7r which was a very nice guesture by the shop.

    I own the J1 and have used the V1 and V2 as well and my conclusion is that this is by far the best Nikon 1 to date regarding build quality. The feeling is a clear step up and above all the other Nikon 1s in my opinion. And yes, it is very small, but sometimes small can be nice.

    The X-T1 is also very nice and with a great EVF. To my big disappointment the Nikon Df was bigger and felt sort of cheaper than the rest.

    The Leica T was sitting on the disk when I entered the shop, fully equipped with the EVF and I must say it look completely off. Didn’t even want to pick it up 🙂

    • You may have been fooled by the grip. Take the grip off and feel again. In no way is it better built than the V1 or even J1. It is almost equal to the J1 – almost the same, but smaller by a little bit. The V1 beats both easily in build, no contest. The V1 has the large battery, built in EVF, sturdier and better shape, easier to hold, etc. The V2 is tiny, feels cheap, external EVF is small (and see no reason why they did not make it internal other than to save costs) and once again changed the V system body hoping to find one that sticks. Who knows. With the grip added on it feels a little heftier of course but take the grip off and then hold a V1 in the other hand, big difference for me. The point is for $1200 it should be BETTER than the build of the V1 and offer more. It offers more megapixels and maybe faster speed yet again but that is it. IQ wise, not so sure after a side by side.

  13. I love this review, for it’s honesty, and lack of bias. I used to think maybe nikon would be able to complement the compact camera market in some ways ( famous as it is for low light and speed), but that they invest so little in the system at ridiculous prices, makes me wonder: do nikon people really think dslrs are forever, or is there something seriously wronh with the innovation department?

  14. Isn’t the Nikon 1 meant to be as small and light as possible. Otherwise why not go with a larger sensor system. As long as micro sd cards don’t have a performance disadvantage then i don’t see a problem as it contributes to the compactness. However you are correct in saying that is it is too expensive. The same is true of the lenses. The system as a whole just isn’t appealing enough because of it.

    • Small is OK, but when cameras get to be too small they are silly and toy like, much like the Panasonic GF series they were doing a while back. The V1 was perfect in size and now the V3 is smaller than even the J1.

      • I agree. All Nikon had to do was improve the V1 with a better sensor, EVF and control layout and they would have had a hit. Body size was perfect. Integrated EVF, perfect spot.

        I am honestly starting think they are setting up the 1 series to fail…every time

  15. I sold my Canon 5D MK2 for the V1 for reasons i can’t tell you here. And first i was a shocked. Not that i thought it can compete with the 5D but i thought it was better than my Canon G10 files. But it wasn’t 🙂 At least not for landscape at ISO 80 in good light.

    But my love for the V1 grew with the time and i was able to catch some really nice photos with it.

    Simply i think the IQ of the V3 is not good enough. For the price, the cometition, a Version 3…

    In the V1 i saw some kind of passion of the developers. They killed it after the first version.

  16. 1) I agree with you in questioning Nikon’s decision making. It makes little sence.

    2) Why introduce micro-SD storage in this camera and the J4? Introduce it in a point an shoot with wifi.

    3) Why is there no firmware update for the V1 and J1/2 to disable the forced 5s image preview?

    4) Why no shoot without lens option or focus peaking for AI or AIS lenses and the FT1 adapter?

    5) the value of the 1 series is the fast AF, lenses with Internal focusing, and compact sized lenses. Travel with the 18.5, 6.7-13 zoom , and 30-110 zoom is a delight. Wildlife photographers can get superb results wth the FT1 and eirher the DX 55-200 or DX 55-300. The 70-300 1 Nikkor may be better. The 32mm is an ideal portrait lens.

    6) I wanted evolution to take the V1 and redesign the controls to be like other Nikon cameras… a mode dial and a control dial like the one used on the V2 would have been the only changes I needed.

    7) Why does Nikon make it so difficult to just buy a camera body? I have 1 Nikon lenses an dint need additional kit lenses.

    The day the V3 was announced and I discovered that it used another different battery and micro-SD cards, I bought a second used V2 body.

  17. Steve why do you say the AW1 was (is) a failure? I know of no other camera in its class and it is more or less a specialty camera. Calling it a failure is a misnomer. No?

    • It did not sell and was discontinued a few months after launch. That is what I meant…sale failure, not technical failure.

      • Why do you think the AW1 has been discontinued? It’s still available online and it’s listed on Nikon USA’s website as an adventure camera under the Nikon 1 line. I don’t know it’s sales figures but I think this one wasn’t really meant to sell in large volumes as it is even more niche than the rest of the 1 series. I’m not saying you are wrong, I don’t know either, but I don’t see any proof to suggest that it’s officially discontinued.

      • Hey Steve: Amazon and DigitalRev listing the AW1 as discontinued was an error – its still for sale and in production. From what I’ve heard, it’s the best selling 1 series camera, and Nikon has had problems getting enough in the channel.

        • B&H Told me it was gone as well about a month ago. I am happy to hear this as the AW1 is nice, I really liked it when I tested it out at B&H Photo and almost bought it but they did not have any at the time (which is when they told me it was discontinued).

          • I’m guessing Nikon USA made a mistake and told retailers that it was discontinued instead of just not having any available.

            B&H and Amazon do have some in stock now. I’ve yet to see it discounted, by the way.

  18. Glad I bought another V1- this time with a white body- when they were remaindered out.

    Steve, quick question. You reference “… the failed AW1 felt like a tank…”

    Why do you describe the AW1 as failed?


  19. I didn’t think you were going to say anything on this one, at all. As your comments towards it has been sour from day one. You did, and good for you. I have been waiting to get honest reviews on the v3, not the Nikon bias articles you find on the web. But chain saw trimming in the garden … if you get my strange metaphor. Maybe in year or two when you find the setup for 449 it will be added as a backup for the already backup v1. But i do think it will appeal to many mothers and fathers for that, who don’t necessarily scan the web for info. I like the idea of the v3. But it seems it came with broken legs even before the race begun. Pity.

  20. With this one being so bad the next model should be much better.. V4

  21. I think it’s a pity you gave up so early on it. I’ve gotten it and feel that the image quality especially in detail rendition has improved dramatically and am really pleased. Also, I definitely disagree with it being cheap, it’s small and polished, and to me easily looks the nicest among the 3 I’ve, the function buttons very useful and the dial at the front a joy to use for changing settings. Too bad you didn’t like it.

  22. I have a V1 and really like it, but the lenses available aren’t to my liking. I also have a D300 and D7000 in DX and the same lens problem applies. In my film days two of my favorite lenses were a 35mm f2.0 and a 24mm f2.8. Nikon has no equivalents in DX or CX. In M4/3 format there are plenty of lenses. I bought an Olympus M10, and really like it. The kit lens is very good, and I got a 75-300mm tele zoom, which also is pretty good, as good as my Nikon 70-300VR. I plan on filling out my lenses with a 12-40mm f2.8 and some fast wide angle lenses. I will then have a kit that is half the weight and volume of my Nikon DX kit, which is a major consideration for me. I don’t see Nikon having anything equivalent in the foreseeable future, a least as far as lenses go.

  23. I thought I might buy it, despite the scandalous price. It has features sports photography, and children can have benefits. But your description of your feelings took me away from thinking it a good option. I think I’ll look for an opportunity to buy V1 sane price and add to that I had and I enjoyed it very much, with prime lenses Nikon took of this series. Thanks for the warning in real time …..

  24. Steve, I have to admit, never saw this one coming 🙂 Kudos for speaking your mind, the context provided certainly forces the honest interpretation. I actually liked the V3 but I can totally identify with some aspects you mention on build and price. I like the size though.

    The V3 is ironically the camera that catches my attention from all the 1’s but by the same token pushes forward that it seems Nikon just does not seem to care.. and it’s a bit scary to invest in a full system+ lenses, that when for all I know the next V1 will be cut in some key features or something.

  25. It´s not that difficult to understand what Nikon decided to do, is it? V1 was sold for less than 400 dollars with kit lens, i think V2 will be same priced in the coming month.
    They where amongst the first who built a small sensor not (only) for size but for speed. People don´t get it when it came out but years later (and with the help of Steve Huff) and with a large price drop they seem to sell lots of the V1. Now, years after developing the camera, it´s reputation is coming better and better, not only the speed but also the image-quality!
    Same way goes with the V2. In my opinion, Nikon builds a Camera with good and not too cheap materials, so they don´t make enough profit selling the system that cheap. It´s that easy i think.
    Nikons reaktion is, as they know the price will be quite low soon, to build an adequate camera which may cost 400-600 dollars in the market.
    So yes, with their financial experience, Nikon just tries to build a cheaper camera. Of course it´s just my opinion.

    • Coule be true but if so they should have released it for $599 out of the gate 😉 Then the response would have been much more positive. Bu I hear what you are saying, and could be true.

      • Hi Steve, yes, i think $599 would have been a smarter step by Nikon. You´re right.
        Sometimes the Japanese seem to have a little bit different view of the world (or how do you call that in english?). Remember the pricing of the original SD1 by Sigma?
        Thanks for your response, Steve.
        And by the way, my V1 is an important companion to my X-E1 or the Leica M8. So if i need something really fast, it´s handy to have such a small system (have three lenses) in your pocket.

  26. I really, really like the Nikon V1 and use it as a walk-around camera for street and landscape shooting.

    But if I was spending the cost of the V3? I could buy a Ricoh GR and have cash spare — and the GR is a very good camera.

    Or number of APS-C DSLRs.

    Or a second hand M6.

    The V3 is going to fail.

  27. This camera will be sold for $300 very soon for sure. I agree with the review. Way to go Nikon, that is how you kill a series. What a waste of a new camera.

  28. With both Nikon and Canon being such masters in camera design and production it really does puzzle me why they simply just cannot make a great CSC camera???

    They just don’t get it, yet with their heritage and resource they should be knocking the ball out of the park.

    • It is pretty obvious that both Nikon and Canon do not want to make a Mirrorless camera that competes with their DSLRs. They are going out of their way to do it. I mean putting a MicroSD card slot (only) on a ILMC’s. That takes guts Nikon, guts. Shooting your own product in the foot to save another.

      • Hehe, yes my thoughts exactly. Ii is almost as though they are going out of their way to produce CSC cameras that have such stupid features.

        Internal espionage. 🙂

      • Exactly. If Canon and Nikon are so afraid of cannibalizing their DSLR lines, then why are they even making mirrorless cameras at all? The Nikon 1 V3 is a sharp-looking piece of kit, but the sample images I’ve seen coming from the camera are scandalously poor for a company like Nikon, which up until relatively recently, seemed to pride itself on image quality. The video quality is also nothing to write home about.

        I don’t think any of the manufacturers are doing all that good of a job with mirrorless cameras. I had a Sony NEX-6 and sold it because the AF was slow and the recovery time between shots was also slow. Low-light IQ at higher ISOs wasn’t anything to write home about. Plus, I like to shoot video, and the NEX-6 lacks an external microphone jack (but Sony will sell you an $800 XLR block contraption that slots into the hotshoe, which has contacts that provide for a mic connection and other proprietary peripherals).

        Mirrorless cameras are the future, but none of the manufacturers seem to see this – or understand it. I think a lot of the problem is due to the fact that the manufacturers have a huge amount of money tied up in their lens-making operations

  29. Well, I think you just convinced me to rush out and buy…another V1…!

    What on earth are Nikon thinking with the V3? I love my high quality, ultra compact kit (V1 plus 10/18/32 primes) and would have been a clear candidate to buy a V3 as a backup body. But with the V3 they’ve managed to remove all the reasons I liked the V1 in the first place, taking several huge steps backwards in the process. So I think I’ll be adding another V1 instead. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting where the designers/marketers pitched the V3 concept to management. I can only assume that some or all of them must have been very, very drunk at the time…

      • “Waaay ahead of you”

        Ahhhh….the story of my life! I’m just worried that V1 prices might start to rise again as people realise the V3 is a dud and buy up remaining stocks of the original and best iteration of the breed.

        • Haha. Yes, you never know. I also saw the J1 with the 10mm lens in the UK recently (but can’t remember where) for just 20 quid more than the lens alone. Could be worth trying to look that deal up too? Would fit in a pocket and give you a usable back-up.

  30. It looks good, but small. Is it the size of the RX100? Just judging by the size of it in your hand. At least it is nice they take advantage of the smaller sensor by making the camera smaller, but micro-SD cards? I don’t think you can get them here anymore. Used to be in cheaper cell phones…

    • Its similar, maybe a little larger than the RX100 but the Micro SD killed it for me. Just makes it seem cheap and $1200 is not cheap for the kit. I attached the grip and my J1 still felt better to me. It does focus VERY fast and still offers Nikon 1 IQ with better high ISO over the V2 but a no go for me due to the build, feel, cheap EVF and Micro SD.

      • Why all the hate for the Micro SD. It is just another format. Yes, I will agree it is another format to purchase, but other than that it has no shortcomings I am aware of. There are speedy Micro SD cards, now as well as large capacity ones. Why does an SD card have to be as large as it is? Frankly, it does not, if you ever tore one open you would understand. Sizing was (is) just a design decision. With cameras getting smaller, and you liking the smaller form factor cameras, doesn’t it make sens that recoding media also gets smaller? space is at a premium. Stating that your decision was based on the Micro SD seems a bit petty.

  31. Awww that sucks… I had such high hopes for the V3! Looks like Nikon has lost the plot in regards to the 1. It’s too bad, all they had to do was gently evolve the design, functionality, and IQ of the sweet V1. Maybe make a couple more super high quality fast primes. They do it with all their DSLR’s, why not with the 1? Instead it appears they devolved it. Fuji at least gives its customers what they ask for, Nikon seems to do the opposite and gives us what we don’t want – ridiculous pricing, micro SD, cheap add-on EVF, crappier battery, re-skinned kit-zoom, and a crummy built-in flash.

  32. My wife’s quite with the V1 that we piurchased from Digital Rev thanks to you Steve. It’s a great asset to take quick pictures of our newborn – it shines where the Fuji X fails, fast AF
    Too bad, Nikon chose to do this with the V3. Even the Df could have been a bit better – as you said, the XT1 manual controls are just superb; Df controls should have been what Fuji did with XT1
    Are these early signs of a huge firm in deterioration or sheer ignorance and arrogance?
    I did some financial valuation on the firm’s assets and it does not look good

  33. wow. this does not bode well for the nikon 1 system. steve H’s contrarian view on the V1 probably induced a lot of folks to give it a shot – including myself. I used that v1 and 30-110mm to take some awesome gosling photos at the lake today. however with that v3 price and even steve bailing the 1 is toast.

  34. If I had one to try I’d take it out for a week, but if it was around $300 I’d definitely buy it.

  35. Gosh…based on your review Nikon has lost much of their bona fides. What are they thinking in Japan?
    Who is in charge there?

    Will Nikon be able to revive their reputation?


    • Elliot,
      IMHO, Nikon’s reputation in general is not affected by this small (pardon the pun) product line. They are much better known (and highly regarded) for their Nikkor optics and their Pro,Semi-Pro, and amateur DSLR lines, of which they make some of the best in their class! And no, I don’t consider myself a Nikon “fanboy” because I’m the first to admire products such as the Leica M9, Leica optics in general,the Zeiss Otus 55, Sony RX1/R, Fuji X100S, and Olympus OM-D EM1 and their stellar optics as well. I just happen to think that NIkon’s expertise lies primarily in their lenses and DSLR’s,

  36. Boy that was a short write up. Looks like it underwhelmed from the box opening. Too bad, I like the looks of the V3 over the 1 & 2. But in the end looks only goes so far.

  37. I am really disappointed too, not for your review, for the V3 Camera. Yes, it looks similar to J1.

    What the hell of Nikon is doing ? Many bought V1 when the price dropped to $400 or lower, and love the V1 high performance. Just do not understand what Nikon tries to do. If it does not care about V1/V2 customers, stop making V3, waste time and resource.

  38. That was also my first thought, but maybe not. V1 was pretty good in many aspects where V3 is now broken plus it’s horribly expensive. One may get used to it, but if you hate mSD cards like some do, and the build doesn’t feel right, and you want a built-in EVF, then there’s not much to like for people who liked the V1 for what it is.

    Yea, Nikon figured V1 and V2 were failures, but didn’t address the main drawback (pricing) and broke what was working.

    On the other hand, this is the first time I hear the V3’s build doesn’t feel good.

  39. Steve,
    Please force yourself to do a full review.

    I am a V1 owner thanks to you and love that camera, its look, feel and IQ.
    I love it for my landscape work with the 6.7-13mm which you can see here:

    But I was very interested to see if the V3 is really a step up from the V1.
    I did not like the V2 as it seemed small and cheap and the IQ was yucky and had a weird orange cast in the raw files.
    Please help us out here and give us some side by side samples with both cameras with the same lens.

    Thank you!

    • If you didn’t like the V2 you will hate the V3. The V3 makes the V2 look like a premo camera. I already boxed it up and will not be reviewing it. NOt worth my time. As I have said for years..I try everything, but only review what I like and what I think others would like. I could never recommend the V3 and feel good about it. Stick with the V1 and V2. Of course, just my opinion. You may want to rent one and see for yourself.

      • Too bad to hear Steve… One of my first introduction with your blog was about when the V1 got introduced. I haven seen or feel the V3, but I trust your words. Nevertheless, many of us hear would love to find out how the real life experience and results are with this V3 camera. You once pointed out with the V1 “the camera I thought I hate”, or similar words.. Yes it might felt cheap and not as well built as everyone is expecting for this price, but it might be a usable camera anyway. I mean does it life in terms of speeds as advertised by Nikon?

        • Did you see my comparison from this morning with the J1? The V3 is not a bad camera, not at all. It is just not enough for the asking price. The V1 was cleared out at $250, the J1 at $200. The V2 is going to be cleared out now and the V3 is $1200 for the kit. After using all three, the V1, V2, J1 and now the V3 I feel the V3 dropped the ball in many areas. Id take an Olympus E-M10 for $700 any day over the V3. It is a superior camera. BUT with that said, if you are a huge Nikon 1 fan and only have that as your system, the V3 is something you may enjoy. It is fast, sleek and VERY small. It can be fun to use but I think I prefer the IQ coming from the V1 and J1 anyway. Add in the teeny Micro Sd card and is not something I would recommend today. But to each his own, some may love it. I’d go for a closeout V2.

          • Thanks! for your very fast reply 🙂 Oct 2012 I sold all my Canon dslr + lenses. I use M4/3 as my main and only system for now and I make a living with my photography. So far so good. First I don’t want to go back to dslr’s. If walked that pad.

            I do have to shoot sports quiet a bit for my work(newspaper) and the E-M5 is ok for volleyball and handball with the fast prime lenses and I can’t predict where the action will take place. But for C-AF it is a real pain. Like shooting soccer duels, bike/cycling races and tracking a biker etc. Almost bought the new E-M1 and I still want. And although it is supposed to be a lot better as the E-M5 I read very different meanings for C-AF.

            As most of these sports take place during daylight the 1-series could fill the gap especially with the new 70-300mm lens maybe. Skipped the V1 because I invested in M4/3 at that moment. The V2 because it looks weird… So I had high hopes for the V3 since I saw the first pics and read the first comments… Hopefully the E-M2 will have near perfect C-AF.

            The E-M10 looks to be a killer camera also.

            Like your blog a lot by the way 🙂

  40. This is really bad! Doesn’t bode well for the future of the 1 system at all.

    I will probably keep shooting my V1 for years to come, but unless I want to seriously expand my collection of 10-30 zoom lenses, my purchasing days are over.

    Mr. Radic: here I thought you were being overly pessimistic. My apologies are in order, you saw this one coming a mile away.

    • Thanks Jan. The moment I learned about the design, features and pricing, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a good camera. At least not at $1300.

  41. Honestly, when I saw the specs, and the DxOMark scores, the first thing I did was order a V2 kit from Canada, where they can be gotten for under $450 USD shipped to the U.S.

  42. Micro SD is a no go. I agree with you Steve. It’s so easily get lost because it’s so small. SD is mall enough. I am a big fan of the J1 also. Got mine with kit lens for $200.

  43. Thanks for the honest appraisal, Steve. Already thought I’d be keeping my V1. Now I know.

  44. Steve you nailed it when you said Nikon doesn’t seem to care about the one system. Who on earth would buy this when you can get a Fuji X T1 body only for $1299 an x100s or any line of M4/3 cameras. My friend just bought a Panasonic GX7 with a panny 20 1.7 for under a $1000… To think you can get that Panny GX7 with a 20 1.7 for almost $300 cheaper makes me want to write a sincere letter to Nikon and ask why????

    • Apples and Oranges in my opinion. For whatever given price you can buy hundreds of different stuff… The Nikon 1-series had or still have an unique selling point and place in the market. Its CX sensor size, yes that is an advantage! and its speed! For any other argument you can buy what you want/need. Resolution like a Sony A7r, best mix and grown-up system M4/3, a great Fuji X system. Myself am using M4/3 as my main system. But I’m funned of the 1-series since the V1. The V3 its price doesn’t even concern me that much. But for that price it should have been weather sealed and the EFV should have been tillable. But otherwise the 1-series has strengths none of the competition has in my opinion. But this is also the other way around!

      • The price doesn’t concern you! Do you like to spend a lot of money and receive garage in return. We are not talking about apples and oranges here we are talking about mirrorless cameras and mirror less cameras!!!! C’mon brother no offence but I just can’t let that slide.

        • Have to point out maybe, I make a living with photography. Sure I don’t want to pay more or extra for a given camera. But if I can make shots with it I can achieve difficult or not at all with another brand/camera I’m willing to pay that extra bit.

      • “But otherwise the 1-series has strengths none of the competition has in my opinion.”

        You may be on to something here.

        I can’t remember where I read this (or if someone “in the know” told me), but my understanding is that the 1-Series cameras are constructed very differently than most other cameras, with a highly simplified and modular interior engineering setup. (Don’t ask me details, I cannot remember right now.)

        Thus, the 1-System may well have been a proof of concept test for Nikon. Not so much in terms of market share, but in terms of technology.

        Point being that Nikon may have introduced this into the market with a smaller sensor intentionally to test other technologies before committing to a truly full-scale mirrorless system.

        Now that those technologies are proven, it’s likely that a future mirrorless camera from Nikon, scaled up in size, will borrow from what’s been learned through the 1-System.

        The popularity in certain quarters of the CX size is thus nothing more than a coincidental side benefit. Certainly the V3 shows nothing remarkable in terms of sensor performance, and in fact comes up short when compared to cameras with other 1″ sensors.

        But the 1-Series have endeared themselves — and been successful — in other ways, as you’ve correctly noted.

        So, yes, this might all be one giant litmus test. It certainly would explain a lot.

      • I have a V1 and when my wife wanted a mirrorless camera for a trip to Thailand we looked over all the small mirrorless offerings and went with a Sony RX100 II over the V1,2,3. This and other cameras (MFT) offer more for the money over Nikon’s inflated price.

  45. After 4-5 years, the mirrorless market is expanding and some of the cameras are REALLY good, mature products. Yet Nikon (and Canon) don’t seem to get it. I don’t know why – are they arrogant or just waiting to see how the market develops. This system could be very good, but Nikon is going to have to get a lot more serious about developing it.

    • Just my opinion, but they can’t design a mirrorless camera small enough to take their current lens line-ups, and they don’t seem to want to risk cannibalizing their own product-line sales… So instead, they put out cheaply made, poorly researched, sub-par mirrorless systems that don’t compete with their DSLRs at all, but are aimed at a different market entirely.

    • Because they look across town at Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony et al knowing that all those guys are losing money in their camera divisions.

      Nikon (and Canon) won’t make a serious foray into mirrorless until it becomes profitable for the other manufacturers and that begins to eat into their DSLR sales.

      It’s a purely business decision.

      Frankly, I think the 1-Series would have been much more successful had it been engineered from the start as an APS-C system. Sure, the whole thing would have ended up a little bit bigger, but Fuji’s X cameras and many of the lenses are fairly small. Leica’s new T lenses are small, too (though chiefly because they’re also very slow).

      Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait a bit longer for Nikon to introduce a “proper” mirrorless system. But it’ll happen eventually.

      • Robert I read your comment before I even looked at who wrote it and at the end I said to myself this must have been written by Robert. You seem to nail my thoughts and many others I’m sure right on the head. Please do not stop commenting on Steve’s site:)

      • “We’ll probably have to wait a bit longer for Nikon to produce a proper mirrorless system, but it will happen” Agreed. Without a doubt it WILL happen as well as Canon.

  46. I’ve been considering the A6000 as a small, pocket street camera. However – I have to say that in some situations I think the shutter sound of the Nikon1 is in fact *better* than that of the A6000,.. at least for Simon & Garfunkel fans who enjoy… “the sound, of silence”. 🙂

    That said, I simply could’t justify the cost of the V3, but did pick-up a nicely discounted ($489 cdn) V2 from Henry’s Canada (get ’em while they last!). I’ll pick-up an Axxx once Sony adds a silent shutter.

    • Ah man yea. If only Sony had an e-shutter option on that A6000…

    • I don’t use the e-shutter often, but when I do, I prefer dos equis.

  47. It’s a pity that this camera turned out like that, it should have been much better. On another note, this is a good example for those who say incorrectly your site only runs positive reviews… This one is definitely not positive!

  48. Let’s start a pool with two slots. I say Steve will love this camera in a few weeks.

        • The question here is bang for the buck. I seem to remember Steve thought the V1 was just OK when it was $700, but when it dropped to $249 with kit lens it had a really good bang for the buck ratio.

          I have no doubt the V3 is a fine camera, just not at the $1200 price point. If the V3 was $350 street, then I’m sure it would get more people’s attention.

  49. You are pushing it Steve. $399 is not realistic for a camera like this. 699 for the full package (Camera, kit, EVF, grip) and I would have bought it. But at €1250, which is what the kit costs where I live, I just went for the OM-D E-M10 instead. I also bought the 45/1.8 and Pana 25/1.4 and everything together cost me just 50 bucks more than the full V3 kit. So yeah, I know how you feel. Nikon botched it with the pricing of the V3 big time.

    I will be keeping my V1, 18.5 and 10-30 however. Maybe some day Nikon will come to its senses.

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