Hands-on with Nikon V2

Buy on GearShopFrom $746.959 deals

Nikon announced two major products at this year's Photo Plus Expo tradeshow in New York - a new constant-aperture F4 70-200mm zoom for its range of DX and FX-format DSLRs, and the V2, which replaces the V1 as the flagship in Nikon's 1 System. The CX-format V2 features an all-new 14MP CMOS sensor and a built-in flash, a proper exposure mode dial (oh, happy day...) but retains the same innovative Hybrid AF system and 1.4 million-dot EVF as its predecessor.

We caught up with Nikon on the first morning of the show, and managed to get some time alone with its new high-end 1 series camera and 18.5mm F1.8 prime - the fastest lens in the system (making it equivalent to a 50mm lens in terms of field-of-view and F4.9 in terms of depth-of-field). 

Our first impressions, seeing the camera 'in the flesh' for the first time, are that it isn't as ugly as it looks in photographs. Yes, it looks like a Sony NEX with mumps. But the lumps and bumps that characterize its external design are much less objectionable when you actually pick the camera up and start using it. We know this might be controversial, but we might actually prefer how the V2 looks compared to the V1...

This view shows the V2 without a lens mounted, and its 1" (13.2 x 8.8mm) CX sensor exposed for all the world to see. Much more businesslike in appearance than the J2 and even its predecessor the V1, the V2's lumps and bumps are functional, if not terribly attractive.

The protruding grip allows for an unusually firm hold (by MILC standards) and the faux-prism hump above the lens houses an EVF and a pop-up flash. 

Another thing that isn't all that apparent from press photographs is how small the V2 is. We didn't have competitive mirrorless cameras nearby to compare it to directly, but it's about the same size as the Olympus PEN Mini, if you ignore the viewfinder hump. The view of the exposed 1-inch CX sensor, above, should give you some idea. In terms of how it feels in the hand, the V2 reminded us of a slightly miniaturized Sony NEX-7, more than anything else. The same super-thin body, similarly nice metal construction, and a deep, rubberized handgrip.

Other than the pronounced hump, the 14MP V2 is one of the smaller mirrorless ILCs. Our model has pretty dainty hands (and charming nail varnish) and as you can see from this view, the V2 isn't much of a handful, even for her. Viewed from the back, the V2 is very different to its predecessor, The control layout has been overhauled, and enthusiasts will appreciate the exposure mode dial on the top-plate, and the control dial at upper-right. 

The rear of the V2 is quite different from the V1, and actually, rather NEX-like as well. It's dominated by a large LCD screen and integrated control dial/four-way controller, but unlike many of its competitors, the V2's rear LCD screen is fixed rather than articulated. New to the V2 is the vertical strip of buttons on the left of the screen, replacing the dense cluster of control points which surround the 4-way controller on the V1.

The V1's rear-plate mode dial has been deleted completely, to be replaced by a 'proper' exposure mode dial, complete with PASM positions, which can be found on the top of the camera - exactly where an enthusiast would expect to find it. Even better than this, the V1's sharp little control toggle has also been removed, and replaced by a more traditional control dial. 

The V2 is Nikon's most DSLR-like 1 System camera yet, and features about the most generously-proportioned hand grip that we can remember seeing outside of the realm of DSLRs.   The control layout of the V2 has been completely overhauled compared to its predecessor the V1. There's an exposure mode dial on the top, and to the right, a control dial which replaces the fiddly up/down toggle on the V1.

The V2 still has a proprietary 'multi accessory port' connector, limiting flash choice to the SB-N5 or new, more powerful, bounce-able SB-N7.

With the camera held to the eye, there's no novelty. The view is the same as you'll get through the EVF on the older V1, because it's the same viewfinder. That's no bad thing though. Although not class-leading, the 1.4 million dot display (800 x 600 RGB pixels) built into the V2 is bright, contrasty and detailed. There's a diopter wheel on the left, for those of us with less than perfect eyesight. 

The model that we handled is unfinished - Nikon reps were keen to stress that it might not perform quite as well as the final shipping cameras, but we're happy to report that with the fast 18.5mm prime attached, autofocus seems extremely fast and positive, even in the poor light of a tradeshow meeting room. The bigger the aperture, the more effective the V2's Hybrid AF system (which uses fast on-sensor phase-detection in good light, falling back on contrast-detection when illumination gets low) should be, and that certainly seems to hold true for this new prime. We should have a production sample of both camera and lens soon, and look forward to doing some real-world shooting. 

67
I own it
42
I want it
13
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 452
1234
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (Oct 25, 2012)

Apparently Nikon's designers haven't figured out now to draw a curve with their new CAD software.....

16 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 25, 2012)

That I think is good! A square camera is much easier to handle than a round one. Its much easier to hold stable. And it is a much more economic form. All the bulky plastic cameras we see today are ugly and impractical.

5 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Oct 26, 2012)

The very last thing we need is cameras with more random curves!

The world is polluted with bad design. Nikon is trying here, thankfully. And they’re getting some recognition from people who know pointless curves and ‘ergonomic’ finger grooves don’t constitute good design, but rather, very bad design:

http://www.nikon.com/news/2012/0402_reddotaward_01.htm

http://www.g-mark.org/award/describe/38697

0 upvotes
jon404
By jon404 (Oct 25, 2012)

"we might actually prefer how the V2 looks compared to the V1.."

This is somewhat like comparing a Nash to a Hudson.

4 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 25, 2012)

Who? And who?

0 upvotes
jfh1945
By jfh1945 (Oct 25, 2012)

as in Coffee and Explorer.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 25, 2012)

I think he means this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_Metropolitan

Available under both the Nash and Hudson brands.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Oct 26, 2012)

>This is somewhat like comparing a Nash to a Hudson.
>>Who? And who?

You have to be my age to get this. Which is a coupla hundred.

1 upvote
nikvis
By nikvis (Oct 25, 2012)

Oh G! It's too ugly....

11 upvotes
DanCart
By DanCart (Oct 25, 2012)

LOL !!

0 upvotes
Geekapoo
By Geekapoo (Oct 25, 2012)

Style-wise I agree it is NEX-like but I also see Fuji re the left row of buttons in the back

0 upvotes
Igor Fradlis
By Igor Fradlis (Oct 25, 2012)

Looks like old nikon F4. Loved that camera..

6 upvotes
Leiduowen
By Leiduowen (Oct 25, 2012)

I still do :D

0 upvotes
JohnyP
By JohnyP (Oct 25, 2012)

Love the shape, love the controls and flash mount...Hate small sensor, low res EVF.

Something with such a good design and should have had a bigger sensor. Something with such a small sensor should have been a flat pocketable P&S.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 25, 2012)

Low res EVF? There's only one EVF (used in, what, 6 cameras?) that's higher.

3 upvotes
JohnyP
By JohnyP (Oct 25, 2012)

Is that a good excuse to put 800x600 EVF ?

Just because others don't make a good product Nikon also shouldn't raise the bar and do something better? That's what got Motorla almost dead after iPhone came out. Because guys at apple didn't say "Well, no one else is doing this cool stuff, so we shouldn't either"

Sony is doing in cameras what Apple did in phones - innovate. What does Nikon do - same thing Motorola did - change the case, keep sale old parts as everyone else.

2 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Oct 25, 2012)

Larger sensor means larger lenses.

We should be happy that the sensor is good enough to produce great prints while also allowing for small lenses.

This is the whole point of it.

How many people here who think the sensor is too small actually print large? How many complaining that the sensor is small often use an iPad , computer or monitor to view pictures? If you do, then this sensor is plenty big enough.

5 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (Oct 25, 2012)

Yeah I'm puzzled why he thinks it's low res too. Just my 2c but 1" sensor coupled with slow slow lenses giving al most infinite DoF even wide open mean it's DOA unless you like macro and landscapes only. Too bad as otherwise it's got a lot going for it.

0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Oct 25, 2012)

Hopefully the new 50mm equivalent prime they have launched at f1.8 could help produce some DOF manipulation.

The camera does have DOF software in camera with a simple slider on the touchscreen to defocus the background. Will be interesting to see how well it works.

0 upvotes
Dennis Linden
By Dennis Linden (Oct 25, 2012)

what might be more important is the refresh rate. That same viewfinder on the OMD is just fine for it's purpose, bright light framing. The high refresh rate allows sufficient vision of the subject with the drive speed at 10 fps. thats' what I think is more important.

0 upvotes
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (Oct 25, 2012)

Umm, resolution doesn't matter as much as refresh rate. That's why the Olympus VF-2 looks and does better in low light in comparison to the NEX-7.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 25, 2012)

It's interesting they called it V2 and not something else, meaning the V1 styling is likely dead.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Oct 25, 2012)

The slow mode is very cool.

There is a video on YouTube of the launch in the UK and the guy demonstrates it. One press of the shutter and the camera takes loads of pictures at once. It then replays them in animation and you pick the one you want. Perfect for taking pictures of kids or family and making sure everyone has eyes open !

0 upvotes
Geekapoo
By Geekapoo (Oct 25, 2012)

My Sony HX200V (came out 1 year ago) does that....good feature for kids or sports

0 upvotes
YetiYeti
By YetiYeti (Oct 25, 2012)

What I see in this camera is - putting the function in first place. In my book functional is beautiful.

Anyone remembers Nikon F2 Photomic? This was my first association when seeing this camera. (Go check on internet if you don't know about this legendary camera).

I see kind of deliberate retro design here...

3 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 25, 2012)

Does the hotshoe take regular Nikon flash units like the SB700?

Edit: I saw the answer above ... too bad.

"he V2 still has a proprietary 'multi accessory port' connector, limiting flash choice to the SB-N5 or new, more powerful, bounce-able SB-N7."

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 25, 2012)

This shows one of the major problems with flashes today. They are too complicated. I dont exactly know when this madness with flash incompatibility began. But way back when - the camera only triggered the flash. And flash photography was easy. And all flashes worked with all cameras.

0 upvotes
Wally Brooks
By Wally Brooks (Oct 25, 2012)

Thanks for pointing this out. I have pocketwizards for my D 7000 and my wife wants a small portable camera. Since we use off camera flash with the PW's we will buy Sony Nex for my wifes mirrorless camera. I will use Phottix or Pixel King on Nex. Again Nikon did not get the memo!

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 25, 2012)

One thing Nikon could do with this camera is produce a 3-shot into RAW, with DR of about 15EV, more than enough for any application. Colors and noise could also be reduced that way. The processor is so fast, they may do this very soon, at, say 3 images within 1/60s (each at 1/200s), at -2, 0, +2 stops, and making just one RAW out of them.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 25, 2012)

Yeah - thats cool. cant it do bracketing already?

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Oct 25, 2012)

We can only hope this is form following function. But seriously, what is the point of this? do these little toys really fill any sort of gap in the market, it's a mini SLR that takes compact quality photos. Must be wonderful for the marketing department but who buys them? Not serious photgraphers obviously, people upgrading from a compact that want to know what an SLR handles like but don't want the size?

It's a market segment too far I think and I'm sure that the people who buy these and one day trade up to a proper camera will wish they had done so ages ago and that the camera makers stopped trying to divide us up just to make a few extra bucks.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 25, 2012)

Size and weight are big issues when you are traveling and photography is not the main thing, like vacation, hiking, etc.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Oct 25, 2012)

There are tons of as you say "proper cameras" that aren't DSLRs. The market is changing and mirrorless models are growing in popularity each day. And even pros go on vacation, like to have fun, and almost every photographer I know has some sort of small mirrorless body that does most of what a DSLR can do but is only in many cases a third of the weight. And in many ways the technology and performance in this V2 is more advanced in some ways like processing than it is a DSLR higher up the lineup.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Jord
By Jord (Oct 25, 2012)

Well I'd class my self as serious photographer and I'll be buying one. Sometimes a couple of D4s are not what you need!

1 upvote
Donnie G
By Donnie G (Oct 25, 2012)

When I look at this camera I see some Nikon styling cues that remind me of their film era F2 and F4 cameras, but mostly I see a Sony NEX with a 1" sensor and Nikon innards. Maybe I'm wrong, but that sure looks like the new Sony accessary shoe sitting atop the V2's EVF housing. Given the cosy relationship between Sony and Nikon, isn't it possible that they have started to share more than chips during product design and development?

0 upvotes
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Oct 25, 2012)

Seeing as Sony has partnered with Olympus I don't think so.

0 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (Oct 25, 2012)

One can never have too many partners in this market environment.

0 upvotes
DanCart
By DanCart (Oct 25, 2012)

Yeah , but having too many partners sounds promiscuous and can lead to trouble ....

0 upvotes
Robert Morris
By Robert Morris (Oct 25, 2012)

Sony didn't partnered with Olympus it was more like getting a foot in the door before someone else did so when Olympus finally goes belly up they get first pickin's on the tech.

1 upvote
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Oct 26, 2012)

If you think Oly is going belly up you're dreaming.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Oct 25, 2012)

Is that a sensor or a postage stamp in there?!

6 upvotes
DanCart
By DanCart (Oct 25, 2012)

LOL ! That cracked me up badly...

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 25, 2012)

Interesting, thanks. Looks like what the V1 should have been ... Well, let's see if Aptina improved on the sensor, they have been developing some nice new tech that provides for better DR and less noise in high ISO. The V1 is already very nice, quite close to my old D80 in IQ terms, let's hope this is better, even if by a small margin. The new primes and the UWA zoom also make for a more complete enthusiast's system, excellent for travel and light family shooting. The 10 f/2.8 is very good, I wished it were a bit faster though.

1 upvote
zapatista
By zapatista (Oct 26, 2012)

If they're truly going for function over form, an articulating screen is needed.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Oct 25, 2012)

Trying to guess what Nikon's trying to do, maybe...(maybe) I got it: they would like to kill the m43 by attracting customer from p&s who might be willing to upgrade.
That's because a more and more successfull m43 risks becoming a threat for the big Nikon's (and Canon's) DSRL...

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
kev777zero
By kev777zero (Oct 25, 2012)

or NEX

0 upvotes
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Oct 25, 2012)

A great system 1 is not a threat for Nikon's FF. The OM D E-M5 and the GH3 are starting to scare Nikon and Canon. So the would like to strangle the m43 sector by taking away from it their future base, therefore M43 manufacturers will not have the risources to do future versions of The OMD and GH3....

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (Oct 25, 2012)

The Olympus E-M5 has a "faux-prism hump" since it's intentionally styled to look like the prism pyramid from any old OM SLR. This narrow finder box doesn't look faux-anything to me. The design is kind of growing on me; sort of like a photographic pug or potbellied pig.

5 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 25, 2012)

Agree ... the OM-D just made me irritated. They make a camera that looks like a retro compact FF camera - containing a m43 sensor and also a fake prism hump.

OK - it is a good camera. But - its looks is 100% fake.

2 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Oct 25, 2012)

I like it.

The main criticism of the V1 for me was the slippery body without a proper grip and the lack of direct controls.

Nikon fixed these problems.

There is a lot to like here. People seem to forget that this camera is in a totally different league for speed and focus compared to a NEX. And the lenses really are very small especially compared to APSC.

I think they missed a trick for the target market in not having built in WiFi.

5 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 25, 2012)

The primes are really small, the V1 with the 10- f/2.8 is a real compact. This looks better, actually, let's see the promised lenses, I need the UWA, I shoot mostly in that range.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
jonikon
By jonikon (Oct 25, 2012)

This V2 has all the improvements I was hoping for over the V1, ( with the possible exception of image quality which is an unknown at this time).
The built-in flash is more compact than the SB-N5 add on flash for the V1 and the large grip will actually make using the FT-1 adapter with DX lenses manageable. Some call the V2 ugly only because of the protruding EVF/flash unit, but from the perspective of a photographer, it as a thing of beauty!

1 upvote
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 25, 2012)

Agreed, I thought at first it was really ugly (even thoigh I don't care about that), not so, it's looking more interesting by the minute.

2 upvotes
tron555
By tron555 (Oct 25, 2012)

Now if it had a 28-200mm/f2-f4 fixed lens, I would have been really impressed! I wonder if Nikon will ever come out with a fixed lens camera with that sensor and "really upgrade" their P7700 :/

2 upvotes
Igor Fradlis
By Igor Fradlis (Oct 25, 2012)

Looks like good old Nikon F4

http://www.thaidphoto.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=147367&stc=1&d=1163738738

1 upvote
DanCart
By DanCart (Oct 25, 2012)

Yeah , you got it spot on ....the resemblance is quite uncanny !

0 upvotes
Retzius
By Retzius (Oct 25, 2012)

I knew this would come out before the Pentax K30 Review!

5 upvotes
hikerdoc
By hikerdoc (Oct 25, 2012)

it is a preview, less extensive than the one done on your K30 in May

0 upvotes
DFPanno
By DFPanno (Oct 25, 2012)

Like the design. Wish it was FF.

(Hey, SONY did it;....... kinda.)

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Oct 25, 2012)

Sony did it with one lens on one camera body.

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Oct 25, 2012)

Erm, D600?

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 25, 2012)

Its FF - 1 inch FF :)

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Oct 25, 2012)

I just don't get this camera. There is nothing about it that makes me want to buy it.

21 upvotes
KAMSA
By KAMSA (Oct 25, 2012)

+1

reg.

0 upvotes
Air Show
By Air Show (Oct 26, 2012)

Just try it before you make any rushed statement :)

4 upvotes
arhmatic
By arhmatic (Oct 26, 2012)

@ Air Show - What if there is nothing about it that makes me want to touch?

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
1 upvote
WalterPaisley
By WalterPaisley (Oct 27, 2012)

I guess Nikon should shut down because they didn't give you whiners a pretty Hello Kitty camera you could love.

2 upvotes
zapatista
By zapatista (Oct 25, 2012)

This is clearly a tour de force in design and aethstetics. Many many camera manufacturers aim to reach the same level of simple elegance of the Nikon V2 but none come close. Well, maybe the Hasselblad Lunar can be considered as lovely.

3 upvotes
Andrew Booth
By Andrew Booth (Oct 25, 2012)

I wasn't sure whether you were serious until you mentioned the Hasselblad. Now I know you're not! :D

3 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Oct 25, 2012)

So what can 15 pps (pics per sec) camera do that 5 pps cam cannot?
That is the question.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 25, 2012)

Give you three times the likelihood of capturing the moment you want?

15 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (Oct 25, 2012)

Image stakcing (macro)? With that DOF it may be easier aswell.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 25, 2012)

Yeah - at 15 FPS its very nice for image stacking. This camera may be a killer macro camera.

1 upvote
DanCart
By DanCart (Oct 25, 2012)

@Roland
Thats exactly what I was thinking !

0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (Oct 26, 2012)

Take more pictures, duh.

1 upvote
OseasMillan
By OseasMillan (Oct 25, 2012)

D5100 body only + 35mm f1.8 is a best option byfar, at the same price.

0 upvotes
andrewparkoo
By andrewparkoo (Oct 25, 2012)

ugly as sin

5 upvotes
Robert Garcia NYC
By Robert Garcia NYC (Oct 25, 2012)

OUCH!!! MY EYES... LOL

6 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Oct 25, 2012)

There may be a number of things that I don't like about the 1 system as a whole, but I have to admit that I am torn between finding this particular model totally ugly or completely adorable.

For some reason it reminds me of a good friend's miniature shnoodle.

0 upvotes
FrankS009
By FrankS009 (Oct 25, 2012)

NOT pocketable.

1 upvote
Philip Corlis
By Philip Corlis (Oct 25, 2012)

I see they still have the LCD glued to the camera back...

2 upvotes
Thoughts
By Thoughts (Oct 25, 2012)

I looked at her finger nails longer than the camera.... sorry...

8 upvotes
jameshamm
By jameshamm (Oct 25, 2012)

Not only it looks cheap, but ugly too.

2 upvotes
kev777zero
By kev777zero (Oct 25, 2012)

the build is nice, but for a smaller size I can get the NEX, NX, or m4/3 with a larger sensor. I don't see any appeal to Nikon 1 system so far other than its successful hybrid AF system (which might also be because of its smaller sensor, giving everything in focus).

but still, it manages to sell well. why? because it's Nikon, which will appeal to the average consumer that doesn't know better. In the same sense, expect the Canon mirrorless to be the next king of mirrorless because it not only has a big camera name, but also a large sensor too

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 25, 2012)

It's just as likely to be about the smaller sensor requiring smaller, lighter lens elements that can be focused faster.

4 upvotes
kev777zero
By kev777zero (Oct 25, 2012)

true. but I highly doubt the average consumer buying into this mirrorless system is even aware of the benefits (AF) & losses (image quality). they're just buying it because it's Nikon. Big props to Nikon's marketing sector for their part.

3 upvotes
privater
By privater (Oct 25, 2012)

Nice, another reason to prank those nikon fanboys.

1 upvote
ulmer
By ulmer (Oct 25, 2012)

That was obviously designed by engineers. It hurts to look at.

10 upvotes
cheddargav
By cheddargav (Oct 25, 2012)

2nded

0 upvotes
Elaka Farmor
By Elaka Farmor (Oct 25, 2012)

Gulp!

3 upvotes
Craig 66
By Craig 66 (Oct 26, 2012)

It is more important to me to spend the time behind the camera looking through the EVF or at the LCD screen and enjoying how the camera handles and performs rather than worrying what it looks like.

1 upvote
ventur
By ventur (Oct 26, 2012)

you could say the same thing about clothing!
its more important to enjoy a well made pants and the good fiting than the way it looks...

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Nov 3, 2012)

@venture: comparing tools to fashion ... very well hahaha

0 upvotes
Total comments: 452
1234