Review: Nikon V1

By Branko Miletic

I don't know if it’s wrong for a man to fall in love with a camera. I mean, not in a Judeo-Christian ethical sense, but rather in a practical one. However, Nikon's sleek, and dare I say almost sexy, V1 small sensor mirrorless camera certainly comes close to making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So why all the love? Well, it uses10MP CMOS sensors and also features a full magnesium alloy body, which is much better than the plastic that we are seeing in cameras of this caliber these days. Maybe I'm just being too old school, but I think plastic is for toys and not for serious tech gear.

With the ability to shoot 1080i60 or 1080p30 video, and bundled with both10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses, this is the camera for the serious enthusiast – no bones about it, if you want a camera that can mix it with the pros, Nikon's V1 is your ticket to entering prosumer snapper heaven.

I say this because little cameras with interchangeable lenses are the way of the future and coupled with the ability to shoot HD video even in slow motion will make this camera a hero product for the good folks over at Nikon.

Another innovation is the size of the CMOS sensors – these 10MP wonders are smaller than the Micro Four Thirds sensors in most of the V1's competition range but they perform a treat; so much so that after I give this camera back to Nikon, I am unsure as to how I will cope with my APS sensor-driven digital camera that I use on a regular basis.

Weighing in at about 300 gm, the V1 also uses what the company calls a multi-accessory port, which overcomes the need for a massive flash, and the fact that you can take nearly 400 pictures on one full battery charge means that the V1 will appeal to many varying types of digital camera enthusiasts.

Set up for the V1 was simple. Once turned on, the 3.0-inch LCD screen was a bit easier than most when it came to date, time and other parameters – it has what I call a 'One Less Click' setup. In other words, requiring the same stamina to go through the menu tree as David Livingston trekking through the upper Zambezi River is now a thing of the past – the menu was as logical as it was practical.

After taking a few test shots, I played around with the V1 in a variety of settings, including the one that gets most digital cameras unstuck – in low light. Suffice it to say, the V1 provided 10 fps speed in the autofocus mode and 60 fps in manual mode and even when I wanted to capture fast moving objects like screaming six-year old Dervishes, the pictures came out with a high degree of clarity and a focus that was truly amazing.

Getting back to my dodgy lighting, the V1 automatically worked out the optimum settings and with the CMOS sensors hard at work; the pictures I got were nothing short of wonderful. Even if I wanted to take longer range shots in failing light, the camera does have the ability to use the optional and battery-free Nikon 1 SB-N5 Speedlight.

Along with the Expeed 3 dual-image processor and electronic viewfinder, Nikon's V1 digital camera was a pleasure to use. I know that when it comes time to sending it back to Nikon, I will have a little tear in my eye, lump in my throat and perhaps even a small weight on my heart.

Pros: Interchangeable lenses, magnesium alloy body, full electronic viewfinder
Cons: White body makes it looks cheap, some trouble with time stamp set up

4.5 Shacks Out of 5