back to article Nikon 1 V1 interchangeable lens compact camera

The V1 is the flagship model of Nikon’s newborn mirrorless, interchangeable lenses camera system simply called 1 that currently has only two models, the cheapest, being the smaller and less sophisticated J1 reviewed recently. Yet having entered the Compact System Camera’s (CSC) scene with some considerable delay, can Nikon …


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  1. Mage Silver badge

    Full HD 1080p video recording at 30fps or 60fps

    OK for USA or Japan.

    But the rest of us need 25fps / 50fps. Does it do it?

    Macro distances?

    viewfinder resolution?

    Otherwise sounds interesting. Esp if more lenses etc become available. Or are there other lenses and accessories that work?

    (Tele converters, fisheye, ultra macro/microscope, bellows for offset lenses whatever)

    Mine's the one with a camera in the pocket.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    What on earth...

    are those 3 paragraphs on the 2nd page starting from "The decision not to make the PASM settings..." for???

    The lack of the direct PASM thingy works for you? Well hooray, but please don't assume it means everyone else will be happy to live with it, that's not really expected from a review.

    Sure the reviewer should always state his/ her opinions but they need to be balanced against the requirements of the target customers. Attempting to airbrush it like so is just sad...

  3. Alex Rose

    Catherine Monfils

    At least this review is by a professional photographer, so I don't feel quite so bad that the sample shots she's just tossed off for a review put anything I do to shame.

    1. RubberJohnny


      The seascapes would be better if the horizon was straight.

  4. smiddlehurst

    Gotta say there's a couple of things I really disagree with here:

    1) "Also to Nikon’s credit is the complete departure, in designing the controls layout of this new system" - sorry but I'm the exact opposite. While Nikon should design the controls to be as good as possible considering the restrictions of the camera body they've effectively ensured any existing customer has to learn everything all over again. Particularly annoying for anyone who owns a Nikon DSLR and wants to use a V1 as a more portable second camera (there's an F mount adaptor now after all) as they have to totally change their mindset when using the V1.

    2) The lack of PASM modes on the dial strikes me as a major black mark as well. It's not as if there isn't room there for it and let's not forget this camera is easily playing in the same price territory as DSLR's. Surely a decent chunk of users are going to get curious about what they can do if they get creative and not having those options to hand can only discourage them.

    That being said I do think that, price aside, Nikon have come up with something good here. Interesting design choices, properly good performance and seemingly a good halfway house between compact cameras and DSLR's. It's going to be interesting to see how this system does and, for that matter, what the second gen of units will look like.

  5. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    "At the heart of the new system lies a newly designed 10.1Mp sensor, which Nikon calls CX and is significantly smaller than both the Micro Four Thirds and the APS-C formats currently employed in most Compact System Camera models"

    Two things about that sentence.

    1. You say it's smaller as if this is a good thing. It isn't, for all sorts of reasons. The main two being DoF control and low light noise.

    2. It's a bit strange to say it's "smaller than both the Micro Four Thirds and the APS-C formats". MFT is itself significantly smaller than APS-C, so if the CX is significantly smaller than MFT it stands to reason that it's a hell of a lot smaller than APS-C.

    1. Mark 65

      Also, 2.7 crop factor is really shit when m4/3rds is 2 and this introduces yet another lens system. Surely they'd have been better off making some quality m4/3rds kit under license. Yes it may have cost a license fee but given the quality of their lenses they'd pick up money in sales their if not also in the cameras. Here's hoping Canon see sense before embarking on a mirrorless system range.

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        As you say MFT has a crop factor of 2.7, but that is equally weak compared to the 1.5 of the NEX. That happens to be the same as the majority of DSLRs.

        I can't understand why Nikon went for such a small sensor, but equally there's no reason for them to go MFT either. It would have made more sense for them to stick with the APS-C sized sensor of their DSLRs, just like Sony did with the NEX.

        Going to MFT would be a stupid decision commercially speaking. Why would Nikon want to sell a camera that was compatible with other manufacturers kit? Historically it tends to be the other way around. Plenty of folk have made Nikon compatible bodies over the years.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Price is too high

          ...for a system with such a small sensor. I saw one of these at the shop a while back and was very impressed by the look/feel/styling. Too bad that seems to be all there is to it

          : (

          1. Brian 6

            sensor size

            Why do people always talk such pish about sensor size ? There have been compacts with full size SLR style sensors that sucked because there is so much more to picture quality than sensor size. The reviewer of this camera is a pro photographer. If the photo quality sucked from this camera I think he would have mentioned it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Small sensor

              As mentioned by grease monkey, there are two usual complaints about sensor size:

              Noise - which, as you mention, is not a concrete rule, but as a general rule a smaller photosite on a sensor will be noisier. Or, said another way, all other things being equal including resolution, a smaller sensor will yield lower image quality.

              The other concern - and there's no getting around this one - is depth of field. With a tiny sensor like this to get equivalent coverage to a normal lens (roughly 58mm for a 35mm frame) you're actually using a very short lens (21mm). Longer lens allow for more control with the depth of field, and you can't defocus as much with shorter lenses.

              There are upsides to smaller sensors of course (smaller lenses, smaller/lighter overall kit) but the general rule is the biggest sensor you can get for the job given cost, portability, etc.

              1. Brian 6

                Depth of field

                Actually smaller sensors have better depth of field (not saying u didn't know this), its just a poor depth of field is seen as a good thing. Personally I think blurred backgrounds have been done to death. As for "there's no getting round this one....." well I could blur the background in software so there is easy ways round the depth thing. Anyway u CAN use long lenses on this camera then u have the best of both worlds.

                1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

                  "Actually smaller sensors have better depth of field "

                  Oh dear. How can depth of field be better? The point I was making is that a larger sensor gives you control over DoF. If you want bokeh you can have it by opening up the aperture. If you want greater depth of field you stop down. With a teeny sensor you never have the option of a shallow depth of field which is what you often need shooting portaits, wildlife, nature, sport and other subjects that slip my mind at the moment.

                  As for blurring the background with software, don't talk poo. Faked bokeh is always bloody obvious. I've seen it done with photoshop and I've seen it done in camera by one of those nasty fujifilm bridge cameras and it doesn't convince. However what I fail to see is why you would put in all that effort when you could just do it by having a decent sized sensor and having it right in the first place.

                  1. Brian 6

                    Better depth of field

                    Better as in greater, do I really have to explain English to you ? Of course you can have a better depth of field. "I've seen it done with photoshop and I've seen it done in camera by one of those nasty fujifilm bridge cameras and it doesn't convince." So you have seen some poor examples, and the good examples you have seen you just assumed that the pic was like that to start with. But then that's what your were supposed to think. "However what I fail to see is why you would put in all that effort when you could just do it by having a decent sized sensor and having it right in the first place." Its no effort what so ever. Just cos you suck with Photoshop doesn't mean everyone does. Its amazing how I'm getting flamed for saying I would not choose a camera based solely on sensor size. I'm not gonna lug ma SLR and a selection of lenses around everywhere I go am I. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't be prepared to pay good money for a smaller camera with a smaller sensor.

                2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

                  Re Brian 6 Again

                  "Actually smaller sensors have better depth of field (not saying u didn't know this), its just a poor depth of field is seen as a good thing."

                  Do you have any technical analysis rather than just opinionated value judgements?

                  On a larger sensor you stop down to increase depth of field. To get the same framing and depth of field as that 10/2.8 wide open, you put an 18mm lens on a DX camera and stop it down to f/5. What do you do when you want to emulate the behaviour of a DX camera with a 50/1.4 with the Nikon 1, invent a 28/0.8?

                  "Personally I think blurred backgrounds have been done to death."

                  That's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever read on the subject of photography.

                  "As for "there's no getting round this one....." well I could blur the background in software so there is easy ways round the depth thing."

                  Have you seen what this looks like? To get it even close to looking realistic you need to build a depth map, and then it still doesn't look right because you can't simulate a larger entrance pupil captures on the resulting image.

                  "Anyway u CAN use long lenses on this camera then u have the best of both worlds."

                  The only advantage the Nikon 1 has in this situation is a higher pixel density. To put the same number of pixels on a target with the same lens you need a 32MP DX sensor, which after cropping down to 10MP will give you an identical image.

            2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

              Re Brian 6: Pish?

              Which large sensor compacts are you referring to?

              Smaller sensors collect less light, which forces you to use more radical and expensive (compare the Olympus 35-100/2 to the Canon 70-200/4) lens designs to try to get that performance back. Use a 35/1.8 on DX? You need a 19/1.0 on this camera to get the same performance. Use an 18-50/2.8 on DX? Now you need a 10-29/1.6.

              The trade-off is size and weight, but they're still not going in a trouser pocket. You give up a lot for that, including ergonomics.

              1. hazydave

                It's really pixel size, not sensor size

                I think the author's point in mentioning sensor size in megapixels as well is pointing out there they're not pushing this too hard... the pixel sites aren't that much smaller.

                Certainly micro-four-thirds is doing this mostly right. I own both a Canon 60D and an Olympus E-PM1... the 12Mpixel PM1 has ever-so-slightly larger pixel sites than the 60D. For the same level of technology and same aperture, the Canon would be the noisier of the two, per pixel. Certainly, that's smaller noise detail when the whole image is printed, but it does suggest that the smaller sensor isn't THAT much of a compromise.

                Naturally, as they shrink, there are more issues. The Nikon models did shrink the sensor more than they dropped the MPixels, and I'm not sure you'd want many more pixels on one of these sensors.. but you know it's inevitable, just as the M43 cameras are starting to creep up to 16Mpixel.

                The other point of this kind of camera is that's not a replacement for that DSLR necessarily. In my case, I use the Oly when I wouldn't have the Canon. The 60D just doesn't fit in a pocket, and it's pretty obvious to folks around you when you're using it. The smaller M43s, and probably these new Nikons, are nearly invisible on the street.. even if someone notices it, they probably think it's a P&S model (most of which sport 2/3" or thereabout sensors... tragically the size in the Pentax Q as well.. now there's the shrink taken way too far).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Nikon has transformed this camera’s flaws into eccentric but attractive design choices." - seriously?? It is large, butt ugly, has fiddly controls, does not include basics such as a flash or gps (if you can squeeze this into a mobile phone there really is no excuse here), uses a non-standard flash shoe location and is £200 more than the D90 inc lens! Dont get me wrong here, Im sure it takes lovely pictures but there is no way on gods green earth I want to be spending that amount of money on such a limited package!

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Sorry GPS is one of the basics for a camera. No, GPS in a camera is a gimmick for all but specialist applications.

      And as for a non-standard flash shoe location, so what? The further you can get the flash from the lens the better. I never, ever, use flash on the shoe anyway.

  7. AceRimmer

    How much???

    That is a lot of wedge... Better off with the Sony Nex-5 for half that price

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Based on my experiences with the physically similar J1, this is a very, very poorly designed camera. It seems to have been designed to fit a lifestyle more than a hand. There is no grip (Nikon will sell you a very expensive piece of plastic) and there are far too few physical controls.

    The reviewer's interpretation of this lack of controls as being some kind of differentiator from the SLRs is nonsense; there are many, many reasons why one would choose an SLR over a compact system camera, or vice versa.

    Or maybe it's designed for hipsters who want to take pictures but not understand how to take them? In which case, why not stick with a decent compact like the Fuji X10?

    Thom Hogan, in his review of the J1, raises many of the design flaws in that camera, some of which will apply to the V1 too.

    This is a very curious camera because it seems to have been designed for someone used to using a compact, but has a thoroughly 'SLR' price tag. It has a sensor smaller than Micro Four Thirds, or Sony's NEX, but the camera and lenses are not really any smaller then either.

    There may be some nice ideas in the camera and it may have an ok kit lens, but I don't see them selling well against the NEX, PEN, GX1, Samsung NX... Nikon brand image or not.

    Nikon are late to the party and they've turned up with a bottle of Blue Nun.

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      I was right with you until you mentioned the X10. Sorry, but there are far too many flaws with that argument. The X10 isn't even vaguely in the same marketplace.

      The X10 isn't a system, IOW does not have an interchangeable lens. Then there's the sensor. To my mind the sensor in the 1 is too small, but the X10 has the teeny, tiny 2/3 sensor found in many snappers. And of course being a Fujifilm it has a huge ISO range, and every time they do that they suffer from horrible purple fringing at almost all ISO settings. It's a Fujifilm achilles heel.

      The X10 is nothing more than a cynical attempt to capitalize on the success of the X100. That camera may be something of a niche product, but it is renowned for its quality. A lot of people look at it and either can't afford it or can't justify the price. The X10 is simply a cynical attempt to snare those punters.

      People buying the 1 are people who like the idea of a camera that is simple to use, pocketable, but part of an expandable system and good quality to boot. As such they are always going to go for an EVIL camera. The problem with the 1 series is that there are other EVIL cameras out there which can do the same things for less. The only USP Nikon really had when they started designing this camera was the high resolution EVF. Unfortunately they took so long getting it to the market that they no longer had that USP when they got there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You missed by point then. The clue was in the words "designed for hipsters".

        If people want a system, they'll probably want better controls than the J1/V1 affords. I suspect many buyers will never use anything but the kit lens, in which case they don't need a system.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "the X10 has the teeny, tiny 2/3 sensor found in many snappers"

        Most "snappers" have the 1/2.3 sensor you're presumably thinking of, not the 2/3 sensor that the X10, various Canon models (G12, I think) and previous Fujifilm models (S200EXR, I think) have. I agree with your other sentiments, though.

        Where Nikon seem to have done well with their CX sensor, which is around twice the size of the X10's sensor but half the size of m4/3, is to make the output closer to the latter than the former. That said, it isn't going to be competitive with APS-C, but then Nikon probably don't want it to be.

  9. hammarbtyp
    Thumb Down

    Nikon schizophrenia

    This camera and the J1 has all the symptoms of a company fighting within itself. It wants people to keep buying its money cow SLR's, however people looking to upgrade from a compact are going to the 4/3 choice rather than DSLR's. Solution make a 4/3 compact but don't give it the features of your DSLR.

    This feels like a choice by marketing dressed up as a technology choice. History has show this to be a short sighted decision. For a camera this price it should have had every technology that Nikon has going.

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Since when were people wanting to upgrade from a compact all going down the MFT route? They're not. Entry level DSLRs are still hugely popular with those customers. According to people in the trade an awful lot of people buying MFT cameras either already have a DSLR or are stepping back from a DSLR as they find them bulky and inconvenient.

      But then you've pretty much shown what you know by describing the 1 series as a 4/3 camera. It isn't. It doesn't use the MFT mount or the 4/3 mount, nor does it have a 4/3 sized sensor. If you meant an EVIL camera why didn't you say so?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Note to self: If a company offers more than one product it's a sympton of company infighting and as such will not be around very long. Remember to only buy from a company which has a single product.

      Your average consumer upgrading from a compact wouldn't know the difference between 4/3 and a poke in the eye. They will see an entry level DSLR at a reasonable price and think, "That's the sort pros use. I will take better pictures with that, no extra effort required."

      Downgrading to one of these from a DSLR to get rid of the bulk and numerous lenses defeats the object of the exercise. Grease Monkey sounds to know more on this but this is simply my point of view.

      These CSCs are neither an updgrade from one thing nor a step back from another, they just are. If anything these systems are aimed at first time buyers with more money than sense. The only thing you can accuse Nikon of is jumping on the bandwagon.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony Nex-5N

    Seriously, isn't the Sony Nex-5N with its APS-C sensor a much better camera than this?

    I hope somebody can explain the apparent discrepancy of this Nikon apparently being half as good but the same price (or double!).

  11. Jason Hindle

    Nice review and samples

    As a super happy Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds user, I have no problem with the Nikon 1 and I'm not in the least bit surprised that its image quality is close to that achieved by Olympus and Panasonic with their larger sensors (after all, this is an area where Nikon have had a lead for some time now). The JPEGs alone from Nikon 1 are excellent (as an Olympus snob, I never thought I'd say that about a Nikon).

    The only issue I see is with the price of the thing. Panasonic's G3 (a bit to DSLR like for me) can be had for around £450. An Olympus E-PL3 with external viewfinder costs less and Sony's NEX5n, with it's external viewfinder (the best available at the moment) costs about the same.

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Use your existing Nikkors...

    With the FT1 adapter

    Now you can put all your Nikon Glass on this little body.

    A friend of mine is looking forward to using it with his 200-400mm F4 lens.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great, you can stick a big and expensive lens on a small body and have terrible handling. No thank you.

  13. Jamie Kitson


    Strangely instead Nikon, despite choosing a smaller sensor

    Despite I like to shoot prevalently

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Hybrid mirrorless compact camera with an EVF and mechanical shutter on-board..."

    Can someone explain to me how this works? how can an EVF display an image if it has a shutter which presumably is closed? or is the shutter constantly open for the EVF, in which case what's the point?

    I don't get it.. am I being thick?

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Because sensors with rolling shutters can't be read all at once (hence the "jello" effect in videos), to record a still image a mechanical shutter must still be used. It is held open until the shutter release is engaged, at which point it closes, the sensor is flushed and the shutter exposes the sensor in conventional fashion. The sensor can then be read at the camera's leisure while the shutter is closed. Once the image has been recorded the shutter opens again and returns the live feed to the LCD/EVF.

      Previous incarnations of digital still imaging sensors (e.g. Nikon D70/50) had electronic snap shutters that could be used in place of the mechanical shutter. The snap shutter allowed the entire sensor to be read at once and was a legacy of video camera sensor design. Among other drawbacks the design takes up space on the sensor that is better used to collect light, as every pixel needs additional storage circuitry, so pretty much nobody uses them any more.

  15. Alan Firminger

    Shutter lag is 73 milliseconds.

    Here :

  16. DF118

    3rd sample shot

    OMG we had one of those heaters - in 19 bloody 78. Where on earth did you get a (presumably) working one?

    1. Parax
      Thumb Up

      Same Photo!

      In addition The Robie House model is nice, but the Lego Version is more Fun!

      ( xmas is coming.. )

  17. N13L5

    For a glorified point+shoot camera that costs way too much, has poor lenses, a small sensor, mediocre workmanship and materials. This thing is not even small... the lenses are clunky, given how small glass and sensor is. There's some Olympus without exchangeable lenses, but the lens it has puts Nikon's entire "1" collection to shame, and it has a bigger sensor behind it to boot.

    For less money you can buy a truly great Sony Nex5N or an M4/3 with that excellent new tiny kit zoom

    Does anybody realize that Nikon's whole marketing campaign aims straight at people who know nothing about photography or cameras, trying to pull a big chunk of money out of their pocket based on nothing but the Nikon name and a gimmick?

    You wanna take pictures at your house with indoor lighting? this camera is not it. Might as well buy an $300 Canon or Lumix and just be happy. If you just wanna take daylight pictures when its nice and bright out, this camera will be fine, but so are 50 other snapper models that cost half as much and sometimes less.

    Don't end up with wool over your eyes in photography... The less some company can (or wants to) compete, the more wool they will bring out.

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