Things I like or was pleasantly surprised with Nikon 1 V3

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Raist3d
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Things I like or was pleasantly surprised with Nikon 1 V3
5 months ago

Enumerating the surprises and things I like coming from other cameras, or that I just did not expect on the V3.

- EVF - I have not used/don't use an EVF much but I can see me using it in the sun with a lot of tele shots. I always found it a nice thing to have but not essential, though the Fuji X-e1 at times showed me the value in those situations.

The Nikon 1 V3 EVF is pretty nice. Fast refresh, even when dark, switches from the LCD to the EVF pretty fast actually (fastest I have seen vs other cameras actually). It's not real time but it's fast enough that it feels good. The refresh from EVF to LCD is a notch slower but still fast, and in use-cases, less important than LCD to EVF.

I would put it in the same best in class group of this generation (I have seen the OMD EM1, Fuji XT1, Sony A7, Fuji XE-2).

- FPS/Drive mode Active Best Shot Mode - I can definitively see some street situations when you know something is about to happen but don't know exactly quite when, and sample 2 seconds at 20fps and pick. I would not call this "spray and pray" as you need to pay attention and if you misjudged you missed your 40 fps shots.

I see it as an extra but it's nice, and I can see some situations this may help. Ditto for sports of course.

- JPEG engine turns out seems better than I expected, at least ISO <=1600 and maybe some ISO 3200.

I was never quite a fan of Nikon JPEG color. It seems that there's something off. I see that at night it's not too bad actually. IN day I still don't like some color but I see enough tweaking that for some situations it can still be pretty good to my taste.

Biggest surprise is how well it does tonal gradation avoiding posterization. And the other is the ability to upload custom JPEG curves. As a test I created a very high contrast B&W mode and it works.

I guess I will have to get used to NEF+JPEG shooting if I want to use it due to the lack of an in-camera raw converter.

It also seems to cope with color noise reasonably well.

- Zoom kit lens - Thom may have complained about it subtracting value, but in truth to me it goes with the philosophy of keeping the camera small and seems reasonably sharp for being a kit lens. It has some barrel distortion at wide but having the lens auto-lens cap close is nice and the lens being slightly inside the barrel helps with avoiding a dire need for a hood to some degree I suppose.

It's fly by wire zoom but it responds relatively fast.

- That F button bringing a simplified "Olympus super control panel"- win- easy to see what's going on and what to adjust.

- Overall responsive and very generous RAW buffer - the camera tells you in the UI how many images you can still buffer up when half holding the shutter. Nikon figured out a reasonable enough UI with enough information to give you feedback how that buffer is doing- including when doing the best shot mode, and when writing to the memory card.

It's easy to continue shooting as soon as there's enough buffer cleared up. 40-shot (or is it 42?) RAW buffer of 18 megapixels is quite unique.

- The F1.8 18.5mm 50mm equivalent focal range prime lens - I think the easiest, cheapest way to up the quality of your Nikon 1 body is to buy this lens. It's small, compact, has nice DOF control, can act as a close up lens, and it's reasonably fast for lower light and focuses very fast (I guess all lenses in the system do). But it seems like the best $189-$200 USD you can spend if you don't have it.

- WiFi to iOS/iPhone- it works, and works reasonably fast too. I expected it to work but did not expect it to work as fast as it does, and I am using an iPhone 4S which I am sure would speed up more on an iPhone 5s.

Keep in mind fast is relative, so your mileage may vary here with expectation.

Would definitively wish Nikon allowed transfer to the computer using wifi.

- Small benefit to micro SD cards (vs cons) - they are sturdy! I have had three SD cards now break in the middle of the seams or break their lock/unlock switch on the left. It seems to me the micro sd's are pretty solid, though I am not a fan of having such a small card around that could be eaten by a pet accidentally or just lost and never found.

- The AF speed - that into the night with a fast prime is still there for many shots.

- The articulated LCD - in the V3 specifically for the ability to go all the way down or 180 with ground with the LCD pointing down so you can compose well while holding the camera up over a group of people, etc. Only Fuji does it to that degree afaik on their X-M1/X-A1

- Overall the buttons are better build than previous Nikon 1 bodies I have seen. Believe it or not this could have been a deal breaker for me. I want reasonable tactile feedback while giving back the confidence the camera won't break down in use.

- Creative mode Toy Camera - enough options to adjust vignette and "color affect."  I can see myself using this sometimes for having a particular look and just fun, but still trying to make a photograph.  Most importantly, the JPEG engine does a real good job at graduating the vignette and color with smooth transitions.  Gives a more organic feel than digital.

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Raist3d/Ricardo (Photographer, software dev.)- I photograph black cats in coal mines at night...
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” - George Orwell

Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-M1 Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon 1 V3 Sony Alpha 7
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