By Request: Nikon V3 vs Nikon J1 – OOC JPEG

By Request: Nikon V3 vs Nikon J1 – OOC JPEG


I had a few ask of you me to post a couple of quick side by side snaps to compare the brand new Nikon V3 to the old 1st gen Nikon V1. My son has the V1 with him right now so I used the next best thing, the J1. The J1 has the same IQ as the V1, same sensor, and same IQ.

So how did the old J1 fare against the new V3? For starters, keep in mind that I paid $200 for the J1 with 10mm 2.8 lens, new. The V3 sells for $1200 as a kit with the new kit 10-30. For this test I just wanted to show straight out of camera JPEGS here. Both with the same 10mm 2.8 lens (it does better than the zoom) and both cameras set to their base ISO (100 for the J1 and 160 for the V3).

I can say the EVF makes the V3 more of a joy to use over the J1 that does not have an EVF of any kind but in the hand, they both feel good with the V3 coming in at a little bit smaller of a size.The little $200 J1 feels solid though.

Below are direct straight out of camera JPEGS. Both cameras were also set to “Neutral” color in the setup menu and both cameras were set to matrix metering. Both had the Active D Lighting set to off. What you see is what you get. The V3 has more megapixels but is also rendering the images differently Same lens was used, same spot, same moment.

What are your thoughts? Click on each image for full size file. Right click and open in a new window to see full file on your screen correctly. Each image is labeled with what it is.









The V3 seems to be less harsh and less contrasty but also loses some of the bite of the 1 series. How about high ISO? This is where we should see a huge performance increase as we are going from 1st gen to 3rd gen sensor for the 1 series.



So it is no question that after shooting both that the V3 offers more megapixels and better low light performance. The question you have to ask yourself if you are a 1 series shooter is “is this worth upgrading my current camera for”? Only you can decide. Me, after shooting a teeny bit with the V3, its response is up there with the fastest I have shot with, even faster feeling than the Olympus E-M1. But, for $1200 I will stick with the V1 and J1 for now (for my 1 series shooting). Like I said here, the V3 could have been so much more and using Micro SD cards really killed it for me up front.

The V3 is available HERE.



  1. Really? Some in-camera jpegs taken in difficult light create all this storm in a glass of water. Guys , get a grip. I have both V2 and V3 an take pictures raw. The results, after processing are on par between the cameras, just that the V3 has more resolution.
    As usual, you need to be a bit careful to extract maximum performance from Nikon 1 series, but we already knew that…

  2. J1 is definitely better for my taste.

    I cannot understand everyone spending their time with raw and lightroom / other post tools. Do you all enjoy looking at a computer screen for hours? Learn how to use a camera and spend some time outside. In the darkroom days NO ONE would have ever said, oh let me spend more time processing. You got it right the first time. Why would it be different today?

    • Bravo!!!

      Yes, shoot jpeg and get it right in camera… loads easier!

      I only shoot RAW if I know it’s difficult lighting or I want to apply in camera art filters when I get home.

      Jpegs are so good these days. Many reckon Fuji jpegs are superb!

    • If you know what to do and you have the right filters it does not take more than 1 minute to create a jpg which extracts all the available information from the raw file. It takes me more to sort through the images taken in a 2 weeks trip than to process the pictures selected.

  3. When my NEX came back from repairs it had a massive fingerprint on the sensor. It gave the same hazy results as the V3.

  4. Thanks for making my camera decision a little easier. I wanted a pocketable camera for road trips and was considering the J1 because of the recent sales. Doesn’t look like the 3 is remotely worth the extra cost.

  5. Steve,

    We really need to see V1 Raw vs. V3 Raw.
    Please give us some examples to show how they handle:
    -High Contrast
    -Dynamic range
    -Shooting into the sun
    -Depth of field (hyperfocal)
    -Perfectly exposed scene
    -Low light.

    Huge thanks!
    Also it would really help if you could make some raw files available for download so we can do some development using our own process.

  6. I like the almost “pastel” colors of the V1, the V3 looks to be more natural. As long as you don’t crop the files, 10 mp is enough. I still like my V1, but I think the V3 is the end of the Nikon 1 system.
    In the Netherlands the V3 costs € 1270,- ($1750,-)!!!!!!

    • Rob, if by “the end of the Nikon 1 system” you mean there will be no V4, I agree. I get the feeling that Nikon just hasn’t made the right effort with the 1 system. The pricing is wacky, the “improvements” are too few and too late or just plain wrongheaded, and it’s too bad considering the potential. Look at what Sony has done with the 1 inch sensor!

      As of May 4th the V3/kit lens combo is being sold on Adorama for 1196.95 USD with the EVF and grip included – both necessary to make the camera usable, in my opinion. Still, think of what else is available in that price range!

    • Rob that’s a real good statement, If you don’t crop, 10 mp is enough.

      Did you notice that a 2nd hand V1 with only a 10-30 was sold within one week at a shop in Urk for €350.-? The V1 is becomming a collectors item!

  7. Thanks for this short comparison.

    Imho it looks like the firmware of the V3 has a problem with chromatic aberrations in Jpeg. If both camera’s are shooted raw it would be clear if that’s the problem.

    The V3 is noticable sharper, crispy and does a better job on high ISO.

    So if your son is back with his V1, please retry with for instance the 18mm lens.

  8. I’m from HK, I just bought V3 + 10-30mm @ US$985 two weeks ago. Yes, I agree it is expensive and a l little bit over priced. However, I still find V3 is a great camera to put in my bag everyday. It’s so light in weight and the response is fast. Regarding IQ, I hope Steve dosen’t mind I post a link to a HK forum here:

    Just ignore the Chinese there and take a look at the photos that I took in these two weeks. You will find the rendering of image is outstanding. The feel of the images is great and the user experince is very good too. If you own a V1 or V2, yes, you don’t have to get a V3 in a rush. At least, wait for the price drops a bit. On the other hand, like me, is new to 1 series camera. V3 is really fun to use and a good choice to capture any wonderful moment in your daily life.

  9. i’d stay with my V1, because it’s still a great systemcamera, 10 MP is enough, but i’ve had never shot jpegs with it, only RAW. The J1 samples here have more “punch” than the V3…they look more flat, lifeless to my eyes.

    Apart from this, the lens distortion onto the brick shots here is clearly visible from the Nikkor 1 10mm/2.8,
    i thought this would be corrected automatically inside the body, but i never shot jpegs with my V1, as i wrote before.


  10. Are you shure the J1 Pictures look better? Compared to the V3? No, don´t think so. The J1 looks a bit like an over saturated, high contrasty pic of a Mobile Phone.
    The V3 seems to have a lot more potential for post processing. The Pics look like having a bigger dynamic range and not by a small margin. That looks good to me.
    The flare is disturbing on the other hand, seems the lens has not enough resolving power? Might be the 32mm could be a better match to the sensor.
    And yes, i like the V1 especially for it´s fine BW-Pictures and it´s good out-of-cam pics. But if i had to work with the files i probably would prefer the V3.

  11. I prefer the J1 files. They are more vibrant. And that was before I checked to see what came from what camera!!!!

  12. I love my V1, and I just don’t get it. Most of the issues with the V1 (apart from the ergonomic issues) could have been “fixed” with firmware updates, which when they came never seemed to address the menu oddities, and other issues like making the “F” button assignable etc. Still, I prefer the V1 to the V2, and from what has been said here probably will prefer it to the V3, as well.

    The V1 uses the widely available EN E-15 battery, it has a beautiful built in EVF, electronic shutter options, great styling, fun slo-mo effects, and it’s built like a tank. If you enjoy photography, and don’t worry about anything but the photos, it’s a great second or third camera. And, thanks to the premature and rather unfair trashing it took on the blogsphere, the current pricing makes it at least a “must try”.

    So, Steve, thanks for the photo comparison here, and keeping us up to date on what we like to know about.

    • 100% agreement with David Grossi.
      The V1 in these OOC jpegs is obviously superior in its rendering.
      Nice punchy contrast.
      Good color saturation.
      Excellent detail.

      The V3 looks like it is broken.
      Faded, blurry shots.
      Even on the noise test I can see all the fingerprint ridge lines with the V1 but the V3 is just blurry.

      I have been holding back from some world trips and waiting to see if the V3 would be the upgrade I was looking for. I want to travel and shoot world monuments with the 6.7-13mm lens and the infinite depth of field of the V1, and I can now see that both the V2 and V3 are downgrades, not upgrades.

      Aptina has made horrible sensors for both these cameras (V2, V3), and if the post above by Yannick Khong is correct, the orginal 10mp Sony sensor in the V1 was, and is, a much better sensor than the Aptina replacement.

      Now i am really excited by Sony’s A7s!

      The V1 cannot be replaced!

      I invite all to see what the V1 and 6.7-13mm lens can do here:

      Thank you Steve for your comparison. I would love to see more comparisons just to know more.

  13. Very interesting real world comparison. The only difference I see is more chroma noise in the J1, which can easily be dealt with in LR, and which is irrelevant when shooting raw.
    I see no reason to upgrade from my V1 to the V3. The only worthwhile upgrade in the Nikon 1 series is to the Nikon AW camera, in my humble opinion, for the obvious reason.

    I just double checked in my extensive drive full of V1 jpegs, and I must tell you my V1 jpegs have no chroma noise at all at base iso, while yours all have it, even those in the sun – check the shadow areas. I’m not sure what the settings of your cameras were, or if perhaps the image quality of the J1 and V1 is different after all, but my V1 jpegs are better than what you posted here today! No offence intended, of course!

  14. Wow, horrible IQ and a large price tag.

    Biggest rip-off since the Hasselblad Lunar – but at least that one has good IQ.

  15. Steve,

    This is not a camera system that personally interests me, but what is interesting in looking at your admittedly, quick images, is that the older model does for the most part seem to be producing slightly better images. The flare that has already been noted in the arm of the garden bench is obvious by its absence in the older model and, interestingly, through the overhanging branches of the tree where a similar flare can be seen on each individual twig. On the face of it, then, perhaps the new lens design or coating, or even the sensor itself is not so tolerant when shooting against the light.

    Difficult to tell just looking at my screen, but is the V3 marginally better with barrel distortion on your garden wall? Is it not correctable by in-camera software?

  16. Interesting I don’t like the flare so much from the V3, but that may be to do with the greater resolving power perhaps?? You can certainly see the difference in size/detail of the jpegs. The lower noise looks good, better than I expected I thought the V3 would be about the same as the original sensor given the increase in pixels. That is certainly something in it’s favour, though to be honest I have no problem with the noise on the V1, yes it is pushing it to go to 1600 or above but the grain is quite pleasant as noise goes certainly better than my older DSLR’s were.

    I think the responsiveness of the 1 system cameras goes a long way to making them such a pleasure to use. I’d rather shoot with my V1 than a slow entry level DSLR for sure any day. I;ve just come back from a shoot where I was shooting with D800, D7000 and V1 in parallel and I think the V1’s files look soo good SOOC with the 32mm.

      • You used the same lens, so lens flare, right? Doesn’t that mean tiny changes in angle and placement would fix it?

        It could also be that the J1 is playing games with saturation to cut down on haze. Lots of cameras do that, so maybe Nikon does it more on their “foot soldier” cameras than on their “flagship” cameras.

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