Every now and then a camera comes along that challenges our ability to accept a new concept. The Nikon 1-series V1 is just such a model, says Damien Demolder

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Nikon 1 V1

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Nikon 1 V1 review


Price as reviewed:



It is easy to cite the pixel count of the V1 as a reason not to be impressed, but I have to consider that the 10.1-million population could be the benefit that Nikon claims rather than the disappointment Nikon F users suspect.

In the event I’ve not been especially bothered by the ‘low’ pixel count, and while there is a definite undercutting of absolute detail resolution, those printing not larger than A4 will be happy. If that’s you, the benefits of the small system can be enjoyed – and it is an enjoyable camera. However, there’s a voice in my head whispering that for just a bit more weight and bulk I could be using a camera that allows larger prints, records more fine detail and which will let me crop dramatically if I want to. When I listen to that voice it is much more difficult to remember what the benefits of the V1 are.

It is a fun camera to use, it is truly small and it does have entertaining features, but if image quality is your ultimate aim there are other cameras that will serve your purposes better. Nikon says the camera is about the features, not the sensor, but the high-speed features don’t constitute an enduring reason for me to buy. That just leaves the sensor.

Nikon 1 V1 – Key features


The camera doesn’t have a built-in flash, but via this powered accessory port it accepts the SB-N5 external gun. I suspect the port will be used for other accessories in the future, too

Rear screen

This is a good-sized screen that is easy to view even in bright conditions. Images appear sharp enough that focus can be checked with some degree of certainty

Main menu

The main menu is laid out in almost exactly the way a regular Nikon user would expect. The options are clearly marked and a press to the right takes you to the sub-menus and settings for each feature.

Vibration reduction

The camera offers three vibration reduction modes – normal, active and off. While the normal setting works very well, I found the active mode a little over-enthusiastic and the cause of shake in some cases.

Movie modes

The movie function of the V1 is quite sophisticated, with a range of metering options, as well as frame sizes and frame rates. The maximum clip duration in best quality is 20 minutes.
Information display

Information display

If Nikon is hoping not to scare away the newcomer, let’s hope they don’t press the display button too many times. The full display has all the information for which a DSLR user might hope.

Mode dials

The main features of the camera are controlled from these two dials. The upper dial switches between still, movie and motion snapshot and best shot selector. The lower dial controls more traditional functions

Electronic viewfinder

The V1 has an electronic viewfinder that switches on and off via a sensor at the eyepiece. The screen has a high enough resolution to be very useful, and provides a good idea of colours and contrast


Video:Full HD (1080p), 30fps, MPEG-4
External mic:Yes, 3.5mm socket
White Balance:Auto, 6 presets, custom
Dioptre Adjustment:-3 to +1
Built-in Flash:No, hot shoe fitting
Shutter Type:Electronic and mechanical options
Memory Card:SD/SDHC/SDXC
White Balance Bracket:No
AF Points:135-area, face detection, AF tracking, select, spot
Field of View:100% on LCD and EVF
LCD:3in, 921k-dot LCD
Output Size:3872x25925 pixels
Viewfinder Type:Electronic viewfinder with 1440k dots
Sensor:10.1-millon-pixel, 13.2x8.8mm CMOS
Focal Length Mag:2.7x
Max Flash Sync:1/250sec (1/60sec in electronic shutter mode)
Exposure Modes:Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, auto scene mode selector
Weight:383g with battery and card (294g body only)
Power:Rechargeable Li-Ion EN-EL15
File Format:JPEG, NEF (raw) 12-bit, MPEG-4
Shutter Speeds:30-1/4000sec (1/16000sec in electronic shutter setting)
Drive Mode:Up to 5fps in mechanical mode, 10, 30 or 60fps in Hi
Colour Space:Adobe RGB, sRGB
Lens Mount:Nikon 1 mount
ISO:100-3200, expandable to 6400
DoF Preview:No
Focusing Modes:AF/MF with single shot and continuous AF modes
Metering System:TTL multi-segment, spot, centre
Connectivity / Interface:Mini HDMI, PC/AV
Compression:3-stage JPEG
Exposure Comp:±3EV in 1/3 steps
RRP:Around £829 with 10-30mm lens
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. High-speed capture
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Noise, sensitivity and resolution
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. White balance and colour
  10. 10. LCD and viewfinder
  11. 11. Competition
  12. 12. Verdict
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