When the first Nikon 1 V series camera, the V1, was introduced in October, 2011, photo enthusiasts as well as serious Nikon shooters saw good reasons to own one: here was a versatile, ultra-compact, ultra-quiet interchangeable lens camera capable of producing superior quality still and video images, a camera with features that made it ideal for everyday active-lifestyle shooting plus the small size and versatility that made it a perfect traveling companion.
One of the pro shooters who quickly latched on to the V1 was Mark Alberhasky, but it wouldn't be until two months later, with the introduction of the FT-1 mount adapter, that he began to realize that he was going to like this camera a whole lot more than he'd expected. With the FT-1, his Nikon 1 would now accept AF-S NIKKOR lenses, and that meant he could take advantage of the Nikon 1's 2.7x crop factor and effectively increase the reach of his NIKKOR lenses.
Crop factor is the Nikon 1 camera's added attraction. Here's how it works:
A lens transmits a circular view of a scene to a camera's rectangular sensor, which records the image. In a Nikon FX D-SLR, the sensor is the 36x24mm size we're familiar with from the days of 35mm film. Sensors in Nikon DX and Nikon 1 cameras are smaller, and thus they capture a smaller portion of the scene; in effect, they "crop" the scene and narrow the angle of view of the lens attached, creating the appearance of a magnification of the image. With DX cameras, the lens you use will appear to have 1.5 times greater magnification; with Nikon 1 cameras, 2.7 times. It's important to understand that this is not true magnification; rather, it is the equivalent effect of the image being cropped relative to the size of the image sensor.
So what Mark was anticipating was the 2.7x "magnification" of any image he shot using a D-SLR lens on the Nikon 1. For example, at its maximum focal length of 200mm, a 70-200mm NIKKOR on the Nikon 1 would provide the equivalent of a 540mm angle of view. The lens isn't really becoming a longer telephoto; rather, when the captured image is viewed on an LCD, a monitor or as a print, what's being seen is an automatically magnified image.
"The Nikon 1 was going to blow away a lot of boundaries that previously existed," Mark says. "Thinking about a 540mm view with a 70-200mm on a V1, I realized that there were going to be a lot of Nikon photographers who were going to want a Nikon 1 camera for just that reason."