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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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