Camera assessment - Part 2 - The Nikon 1 V1


Its pretty clear by now that I really rate this camera. From ignoring it and indeed being very rude about the whole concept I have become a serious fanboy and champion it at every opportunity. I'm actually not the only one. Both Thom Hogan and Steve Huff (Awesome!) have written very complementary pieces about it and both use the system on a regular basis. The combination of build quality, stellar lenses, photographer-friendly features and, at low ISO's, stunning image quality have impressed me no end and continue to do so the more I use the system.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

Construction.
Handling (in the main).
Lens quality, both in terms of build and optical exellence.
Clear and unbloated menu system.
Lack of gimmicks (Apart from a silly slow motion feature)
Really superb video output.
Large depth of field from the small sensor.
Capacity for very long lenses using Nikon F lenses via the adapter.
Top class kit lenses. The 30-110mm is the best lens of its type I've ever used.
Lens / Sensor combination produces incredibly sharp results.
The Aptina sensor also has superb colour depth.
Electronic shutter for totally silent operation.
Long battery life with the same battery as I use in my D800E and D7100.
Surprisingly good high ISO results considering the size of the sensor.
Now after being out for while, the price has tumbled and is excellent value.
Excellent AF in good light.
Small.
Light.
Handles very well with the optional grip.
Sharp bright screen and EVF.
Battery meter shows % of power left.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME

EVF not great with polarised sunglasses. 
Too expensive when released.
Ergonomic problems with the Stills / Video selection dial prone to getting moved unknowingly, ditto for the function wheel and selection switch.
Non standard hotshoe.
Future development of system - see below.

Much as I like the V1, I am concerned as to where the system is going after the release of the V2. More pixels, which from the raw samples I've worked with seems to introduce more noise. The changing of the battery to a less powerful model which requires carrying spares. I also believe that its smaller and lighter, and I'm hoping to have a look at one today to see how it compares. 

Why I like the V1 so much is the 'professional' feel that is unusual in such a small camera. I also feel that the pixel count is well matched to the sensor which results in very 'clean' images that can be upsized quite dramatically. Following on from my previous article on this, I am now upsizing my V1 images to 25MP - 72MB and they are still being accepted by my most fussy picture libraries. I am unsure as to whether the V2 can do the same, and would be interested in the views of anyone who has used both.

Coming to the system late, I'm not that aware of why Nikon made the changes that they have. As can be seen from my lists above, there was not much I would have changed. However pixel count is a great selling point and its no surprise that they have increased this. However it is going to be interesting to see where they go and whether they can get the 14MP sensor performing as well as the 10MP one.

On 10MP, the last camera with this size sensor I used extensively was a Leica M8, and in many ways the V1's output reminds me of that. Apart from the V1 is better. Cleaner and sharper. And indeed cleaner and sharper at its base ISO than any m4/3 or NEX camera I've used. In fact when I blow up my V1 images to 24MP, they look almost identical to what I was getting from my NEX-7. They are that good.

So I continue to rave about the V1 and hope that the V3, if and when it appears will continue with whats been started here. Nikon obviously were serious about the system and I hope they continue to develop it. Otherwise I may have to snap up a few V1's while they are still around.