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Straight out of the box I have to say the Nikon 1 V2 is the sexiest camera I’ve ever wrapped my mitts around.
In ivory, with a finish reminiscent of a highly polished car’s enamel, the camera is a stand out. Unlike most other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC) the Nikon 1 V2 has a pronounced speed grip that is so effective it rivals even that of high end DLRs. The body is possibly pocketable but maybe not so easily with a lens mounted, but overall the body is quite small. And there’s a black body if your dress style is more modest.
The body is quite a departure from the launch Nikon 1 model which also was less endowed pixel-wise at 10.1 million pixels capture; unlike the newcomer, it had no internal flash while the new model also now offers a command dial.
The latter, set into the top deck right next to the electronic turret viewfinder, offers access to auto plus PASM exposure modes; to the right are the power toggle, shutter button, video record and command dial.
The rear surface presents four buttons that take you to replay, menu, display options and trash. Off to the right is the four way jog dial that has options to apply exposure compensation, continuous shooting and self timer plus flash options. Note: to the rear of the flash is a Nikon 1 i-TTL hot shoe port, allowing the use of optional lighting and camera accessories.
The CMOS captures 14.2 million pixels and a maximum image size of 4608×3072 or 39x26cm as a print.
MPEG4 video can be recorded at Full HD res of 1920×1080 pixels. You can’t capture stills while in movie mode and I found also in movie mode the auto focus does not track while you’re recording … so you have to tap the shutter button occasionally to bring it to heel! Perhaps the Nikon 1 lenses designed specifically for this camera behave differently.
The camera is fairly feature full and indicates that Nikon is dead serious in pursuing the MILC portion of the market.
For one thing, the hybrid auto focus system relies on a 73 point AF array to deliver accuracy and very precise focus, even on moving subjects.
Continuous shooting is a stand out: photographers can capture approximately 15 up to 45 fps; you can also shoot a run of 40 frames at approximately 60 fps. Taking it further, you can shot at 400 or 120 fps with a size limitation of 640×240 or 320×120 pixels respectively. The camera’s internal memory can store up to 100 successive images.
A novel mode is the Enhanced Motion Snapshot Mode which saves a four second movie file plus a separate JPEG image; alternatively you can save a 10 second movie file without a separate JPEG image.
And there’s Best Moment Capture Mode, an advanced creative mode that allows you to ‘slow down’ a moment while you are shooting. By pressing the shutter button halfway down when focused, photographers can capture approximately 1.33 seconds of live action, while the subject is displayed at five times slower than real time. Helps you catch that instant when things are happening real fast.
Then there’s Smart Photo Selector, where you can capture up to 20 shots with a single tap on the shutter button: the camera will then automatically select the five best images, based on optimum exposure, focus and facial recognition. You can also shoot simultaneous Full HD video and high res stills of a subject.
Viewing is via a turret finder and the rear 7.5cm LCD screen: I found the top finder to be useful only as a sighting tool, with the image quality very poor. Rear screen? FIne!
The camera was supplied with an AF-S Nikkor f1.8/50mm lens that was fixed to the camera with the FT1 optional adaptor: the end result was a somewhat bulky piece of kit but at least the adaptor did provide a secondary tripod mount in its base. This 50mm translated to a 135mm optic in 35 SLR terms, so it was far from ideal.
As it was not a VR lens, it provided no vibration reduction, which made video shooting a tricky challenge. To find out exactly what lenses can be used: http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/acil/accessories/mount_adapter_ft1/compatibility.htm
When purchasing the V2 you can get a twin lens kit with a 10-30mm and a 30-110mm. More info on Nikon 1 compatible lenses can be found here.
All the way up to ISO 3200 I considered the camera to be on top of its game. By ISO 6400 noise and lack of definition to be past a useful level.
Why you’d buy the V1: access to Nikkor lenses; small form factor.
Why you wouldn’t: no vari-angle finder.
There’s a lot to like in this model. It will please many Nikon fans. A classic Nikon.
Image Sensor: 14.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Matrix, centre-weighted and spot.
Lens Mount: Nikon 1 mount.
Exposure Modes: Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Effective Sensor Size: 13.2×8.8mm CMOS.
35 SLR Lens Factor: 2.7x.
Shutter Speed (stills): 30 to 1/4000 sec (mechanical) or 30-1/16,000 sec (electronic) plus Bulb and Time (with optional remote). Flash sync: 1/250 sec (mechanical shutter) or 1/60 sec (electronic).
Continuous Shooting: 5 fps as well as 10, 30 or 60 fps using the Electronic (Hi) shutter.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4608×3072 to 2304×1536.
Movies: 1920×1080/60i and 30p; 1280×720, 640×240, 320×120.
Viewfinder: 12mm (1,440,00 million pixels); 7.5cm LCD screen (921,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, NEF (RAW), JPEG+NEF, MPEG4.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 160 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, audio input, accessories.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 107.8×81.6×45.9 WHDmm.
Weight: 337 g (inc battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Nikon 1 V2 Body Only or Nikon 1 V2 with a 10-30mm VR 1 NIKKOR Lens or Nikon 1 V2 with a 10-30mm & 30-110 VR 1 NIKKOR Lens.