Yet another V1 "Feel Good" thread, but a different angle

Started Jul 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Pangloss
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Yet another V1 "Feel Good" thread, but a different angle
Jul 1, 2013

Hi everybody,

I bought a V1 a couple of months ago because, honestly, it seemed to me like a good deal at its closeout price, then started shooting with it and I really, really liked the handling and the IQ, so much so that I bought a second, identical V1 body a couple of weeks ago. I have started quite a few threads about this, comparing the V1 output to my previous two cameras, the GXR A12 and the Panasonic LX3, as well as my various tests of the V1 with different lenses/filters/settings etc.

I have come to the conclusion that you really need to shoot with a V1 for a few days or even weeks to get a feeling of how good this camera is in terms of handling, build quality, IQ and to put it somehow, in terms of overall "image taking capabilities". I haven't found yet a specific situation in which the V1 would not deliver. On the other hand, I have found many, many occasions in which the V1 would deliver in spades whereas other (very good and sometimes much more expensive) cameras would fail miserably.

Two quick and simple examples:

  1. Skin tones. The V1 output is just perfect, whether one is working with raw files or ooc JPEGs. My LX3, which I love for its Leica-branded zoom and simple, straightforward interface, fails miserably when it comes to skin tones, and I have never managed to get decent skin tones even after spending a lot of time in postprocessing its raw files. Also noteworthy is that after using the V1 for a few weeks and getting used to the excellent EVF and LCD, the LX3's LCD screen feels like a cheap, low-res compact camera screen.
  2. Focus and general camera operation speed. The V1 focuses instantly, we all know that. But it's not only that: it just handles fast, because it's small, and it's not a fussy camera, you don't have to turn many dials or adjust many setting before you take a shot. My GXR, by comparison, is just as small, but feels so sluggish that I know I just cannot "seize the moment".

OK, so these are just two examples but there are many, many other things that the V1 does better or just as well as so many other cameras.

Now, here is the twist in this thread: I bought a used D200 three days ago. Yes, the previous generation of Nikon DX pro body DSLR. Apart from the obvious GAS symptoms, why did I do that? Well, because I often see people here in this forum mentioning their DSLR gear and how they are leaving it at home and using their V1/J1/V2/J2 as their "take anywhere" camera, but almost always there is a hint that the DSLR is the camera they would use for "serious" stuff. So... I kept wondering what that "serious" stuff would be, and I decided to find out for myself.

Now: this is my first DSLR ever. I had never shot with a DSLR before.

And what can I say after using the D200 for the last three days? I like it! Lovely output from the 10MP CCD at base ISO, the exact same beautiful Nikon colors as the V1 (but, as far as I can tell, slightly less dynamic range), and of course it's built like a tank and the OVF is quite nice.

But... well, there is a (long) list of "but"s:

  • CLAC - rrrraaaap - CLAC. The noise this thing makes! It kills me! I mostly use the V1 with its electronic shutter and with all sounds turned off, and of course you only value the silence of the V1 when you switch to a noisy camera like the D200.
  • The OVF? Nice. The V1's EVF? Nice and brighter. And of course the V1's LCD is gorgeous, the D200's LCD doesn't compare.
  • Size? You have to be kidding! The V1 is just the right size for my average sized hands, the D200 is a monster of a camera (yes, with a very comfortable grip, but still...).
  • Build quality? Same. But wait, the D200 is a pro camera, that surely means the V1 is a pro camera too, right?
  • Using MF lenses: well, the D200 is really good at this, it meters even with old AI/AI-S lenses. But the V1 can use lenses from other brands using cheap adapters, and its EVF is so good that I am finding it easier to focus manually on the V1 than on the D200!
  • Controls? Yeah, sure, the D200 as a button for just about everything you can think of that would need it. The V1 doesn't. Why? Because with the V1 you can rely on its automatic modes to do a good job, so you just spend less time fiddling with camera settings and more time thinking about light and composition.

I could go on for quite some time but if you have read so far you get the idea: a guy not used to a DSLR, finds out that he prefers to shoot with a V1, the "lesser" camera. But that's not at all how I feel! I just feel that, for me, coming from compact/mirrorless cameras, I just cannot see how a D200 is an "upgrade" on a V1. To me, the V1 is a more useful tool for creating images than the D200 (or any other DSLR, for that matter) will ever be.

The D200 is an amazing camera and I got it for a good price. I am sure the person I'll pass it on to will be very happy with it.

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Andrew
Novice photographer

 Pangloss's gear list:Pangloss's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Nikon D200 Ricoh GXR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro Ricoh GXR GR Lens A12 28mm F2.5 Nikon 1 V1 +4 more
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
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