Nikon 1 V2
Excellence in a compact box.
First, this is camera that takes excellent photographs. The compact size and light weight are two more attributes that make this camera desirable to someone who wants flexibility without bulk. The V2 provides multiple options for capturing subjects as you imagine them turning out.
Although I take more than 98% still images the video works better than expected.
Using the GPS option is a treat. The GP N100 unit is quite quick to lock on and ready to go with excellent accuracy.
The built in flash is adequate for more modest work, but I am looking forward to using the new Nikon flash when available
January 2, 2013
Great to pair with FT-1 for nature and birding
My main intent with buying the Nikon 1 V2 is to use this camera to get an increased equivalent field of view and use it for nature and bird photography when my regular gear just doesn’t have the reach. My main set up is the Nikon 1 V2 with FT-1 adapter...70-200 f/4 VR and TC-17E II teleconverter. The equivalent field of view with this set up is 918mm at f/6.7
Here are some initial thoughts after shooting several hundred bird shots the past couple of days:
1) Pairing the V2 with the 70-200 f/4 and TC-17E II is simply awesome. The EFOV is 918mm at f/6.7. The VR on the 70-200 is so good that I have been able to get good, sharp images hand-held at 1/200 and 1/250 without any problems….as long as the subject isn’t moving around obviously. Focus is very fast and accurate. I’ve never shot with an EFOV this long before and I’ve not been able to get birds in flight….at least not yet….likely my skill level….and lack of familiarity with the camera. With the FT-1 you are limited to one centre focus point…but for birds I don’t think this is an issue. Also, no burst shooting with the FT-1 either. When the V2 misses focus it misses it completely and hunts for quite a while to lock on….so I think its usefulness for birds in flight is extremely limited.
2) ISO performance from the CX sensor is good to 400 then it starts to get grainy at ISO800 and quite noisy at ISO1600. Even lower ISO shots do have a bit of a film-like grain to them….but not in a distracting way. Nik’s Define 2 does a nice job with RAW files from the V2. If people can keep their shots at 400 and under they should be very happy with the performance…..and going up to ISO800 is certainly OK. Personally I would not go to ISO1600 or higher unless it was a really special shot and I had no choice.
3) Jpegs are noisy even at base ISO and I find them unusable for any kind of enlargement. They just seem to clog up in the shadow areas. The RAW files are considerably better and hold up quite well in post. I found that DxOMark Optics Pro8 is better than Photoshop for my initial processing….the RAW files just seem to react better to the Optics Pro8 presets. After running the RAW files through Optics Pro8 I tweak them a bit further in Photoshop and then Nik. You can get pretty decent final images but it does take some time in post.
4) The dynamic range obviously falls far short of my D7000 and D800 so highlights are very easy to clip with the V2. I tried to underexpose by -1/3 and it’s not enough. I have a feeling that on bright days going to -1 may be needed to try and hold onto the highlights. The shadows hold some detail….not nearly as much as a DX or FX sensor and you can only push them so far before noise is a real issue….so high contrast scenes will cause some loss that is inescapable.
5) The FT-1 adapter is solid and very easy to use. It is an amazing feat of engineering since you get a 2.7X crop factor with NO LOSS OF LIGHT on the V2! Using my 70-200 on it gives me an EFOV of 189-540 at f/4! And…with the TC-17E II it is 321 to 918 at f/6.7. As long as you shoot at ISO400 or under the RAW files are quite good. Think of the V2 as a 2.7X teleconverter for you FX lenses.
6) While the body may look a little ‘lumpy’ with the kit lens….it actually looks like a mini dslr when used with the FT-1 and I find it quite appealing visually.
7) The viewfinder is quite good and as you put it up to your eye it automatically shuts off the LCD screen. It feels like I’m shooting with a mini dslr and is very comfortable. The new hand grip is a great feature since the camera is a flyweight and some extra gripping area is needed especially with a zoom and the FT-1 mounted on it.
8) The AF on your FX and DX lenses will continually hunt when the V2 is turned on….even when you are not trying to take a pic….so I find that I click the AF and VR off between shots…or just turn off the camera since the battery life is quite limited…..a little over 300 shots. A spare battery is a must. The camera boots back up very quickly so I typically turn it off between shots.
9) The manual mode dial works well and anyone familiar with shooting a Nikon dslr will feel at home.
10) I think as more nature and bird photographers investigate the V2 with the FT-1 they will find it to be a very practical and well performing combination when shooting in good light where a longer EFOV is required…as long as they understand the camera’s limitations. This is where the CX sensor and its 2.7X crop factor is a huge advantage. The bump up to 14MP from 10MP on the V1 really helps with finished image size. I took a few hundred shots this weekend and played around with a few dozen of the best ones. My smallest useable image ended up being 4.3MP after cropping….another one was 6.5MP and all the rest were over 8mp…with over 80% being 10Mp or larger. Almost all the shots I took were at 918mm EFOV….it was so much easier than trying to get up too close and scaring subjects away.
Like any photographic tool it’s good to understand the strengths and weaknesses of any piece of gear. This is NOT a camera with good jpegs or to be shot at higher ISOs…or in high contrast situations…but…..I would highly recommend the V2/FT-1 combination for anyone looking for increased EFOV when shooting in good light for their FX or DX lenses. To me….the V2 is perfect for nature and birding shooters…..other people are probably better served with the J series part of the Nikon 1 line.
September 3, 2013
Good upgrade from V1
Four features I really like are fast autofocus, small size, viewfinder ( a must have for me) , and silent shutter. Half of my photography is street or indoor public photos so that silent shutter is great! Wish it had tilt or flip out screen. Hip shooting is awkward as a result. IQ is acceptable IMO. Some reviews on the internet bash the looks of this camera but for me its about function. Overall I think Nikon is on track with this camera.
January 3, 2013
If it ain't broke...
I'm thinking of buying *another* V1 to have forever for when my current one eventually dies. The way the V2 is, it doesn't look good for the V3, so the V1 may indeed be "the last camera" I'll ever want.
Having the V2, here are my problems with it (appearance is not one of them)
1 - switched to the J1 battery
2 - the increase in megapixels wasn't tracked by the processor strength, so the Image Viewer is jittery.
The V1 is so smooth you can't tell you're looking at a display; it looks like you're just "looking at the scene" through glass. The V2 is delayed and you can see it update.
3 - the display, in its attempt to show you a more accurate representation of what the final image will look like, ends up being covered with excessive noise in most cases.
The fact is that "static" noise in a final picture is not so distracting, when compared with the "each frame is different" noise of a live display. This is the result of Nikon's choice to show the actual processed image in the display, instead of simply a raw rendition of the incoming signal. It's a step backward for usability, really, as the static is like watching static on a tv screen - buzzing constantly - and is very very distracting.
4 - The PASM dial is poorly designed.
Rather than give each item an ergonomically-pleasing angular range, they evenly divided the 360 degrees of the wheel amongst the available options. The result is that there is a) absolutely no way to "feel" where you are on the dial (unlike the excellent, if poorly located, dial on the V1), and b) you have to make *massive* movement to switch between each setting. Going all the way from the last to the first setting is a full 360 rotation, which is basically unbearable.
5 - Factual camera terminology like "Aperture" has been replaced by "user-friendly" language like "background softening", which is just strange, counter-intuitive, and ultimately counter-productive.
This is helping one perhaps adjust for a good shot but without understanding the "why" and "how" of what's happening with the device. Maybe I'm just a gearhead, and what I'm arguing essentially amounts to saying cars should say "tire rotations/h*vehicularAdjustmentFactor" instead of "speed" (re: "f-stop" vs "background softening"), but I think it's silly. On the J or S series, maybe this would make sense, but the V is the "pro" line of the 1 series.
6 - Worst of all, Nikon consolidated all the sound options into a single setting called "Silent Photography".
So, if you want to turn off the *inane* "beep beep boop beep" sounds some sound flunkie picked for "this means autofocus is complete", you also have to turn off the physical shutter, and if you want the classic, Nikon shutter sound, you have to listen to all the little fake electronic sounds of pressing buttons and things. Absolutely no thought was given to the fact that a) artificial sounds and real sounds are not the same thing, b) some people want one kind of sound or another, or even (goodness no!) to turn on and off *specific* sounds (as was the case on the V1), but most egregiously c), the fact that the "Nikon shutter" is a marketing point, something they should embrace, considering the J doesn't even *have* a physical shutter. In the movie "The Dilemma", the main characters are getting a huge contract from a car company to put the muscle-car sound and feel *back in* to their electric sports car; Nikon has just removed that asset on purpose, for nothing.
I waited anxiously for months for the V2, because the V1 is so surprisingly good and once battle-tested just needed a few tweaks. Instead, we get a completely new camera which - while it did improve on many points - unfortunately broke things which were excellent before being "fixed".
July 31, 2013
Expensive Toy no match for true DSLR
If these cameras were much less in price I could see some niche for them, however there no match for a comparable real DLSR with a image sensor more than double the size and much better quality photo especially in low light. The ISO topping off at 6400 is just not enough for 800 bucks. Id wait to see if these new mirrorless types make it past the holidays and keep there high pricing before investing in a exclusive venture such as this versus Canon, Nikon and Sony DSLR cameras that have much more to offer for the price.
December 10, 2012