An afternoon of the V3, hands-on review

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Aspenz
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An afternoon of the V3, hands-on review
3 months ago

Kinda late to the party, but anyways...

Even though I got my V3 several days back, I was only just done with uni assignments and this is actually my first walk out of the house with it! The photos here are not representative of what I usually would take and most are intended to demonstrate the rendering of details in the V3 across as many 'genres' of photography as possible, so I do apologize if some of them are crap. Also, since I don't downsample my images, as with all higher resolution cameras, they might not always look their best when viewed at 100%. I'm sadly not able to review the EVF since I got my V3 without one (mainly to avoid import tax, waiting and having to sell more stuff than I already need to) and thought I'd just add one if necessary. It's definitely shaping out to be a necessity; lost count of the times I lowered my eyes to the screen instinctively...

Unfortunately, the autumnal weather was not by my side and it was drizzly and cloudy throughout the day but if I wanted to wait for a sunny day for the review I'd have to wait a week!

Digression: Melbourne has got to be the windiest place ever! You get gales all the time and walls have collapsed before, and the morning after a huge storm, you can actually see undergarments and what not strewn across the streets from laundry hanged out to dry. And I thought I've seen it all in the year in Guildford (UK). Of course it doesn't get quite as cold/foggy/rainy here but it's definitely not what most people associate with Australian weather.

Things to note:

As with any new camera, I'd advise people do various tweaks to their liking. Colour is one of them. The V1 and V2 both render images very differently and the white balance shifts I set for them were different as well. The V3 was the most complex as I found just setting the white balance shifts did not yield a colour scheme that I liked, so after playing with the hue setting under picture controls I finally got what I wanted. Also, I've realised that shutter speeds that could be pulled off in the V1/V2 would at times cause blur here, one downside of having higher resolution. Finally, for those already with the V3, AFAIK diffraction sets in even earlier with more MPs so it's even more crucial to stay within f/5.6 as much as possible.

Things I liked:

The thing I immediately noticed was how much more detail there was! It's not like the increase in the V2 over the V1 where not that noticeable until cropping was involved. The 18 MPs and lack of AA filter seems to be doing a really good job of resolving finer details.

The touchscreen... just wow... I know the lucky MFT people have had it for a while now but it's finally here and it's implemented well! It just speeds up photography so much, be it for a shot or changing the focus box (which is finally implemented well with tracking!) and I've already found the tilting very useful for being discreet/taking photos of shorter subjects (ducks).

The menu system has improved too, with more sub-menus, each shorter and more dedicated, so faster for making changes. The two function buttons make changes even easier, can't believe Nikon waited till now for these =.= Mine's set to Fn1 ISO and Fn2 Autofocus Area.

While I don't usually care about the 'creative' options, I could see myself using miniature and colour selection mode once in a while. Or not...

The NR6400 and NR12800 are pretty good! I don't know what Nikon did but 4 shots (?) at minimally 1/30 you still can get results that don't blur! Too bad it's jpeg only, but I'd definitely consider using NR6400 at night.

The virtual level is very useful, easily toggled (DISP) and saves me from cropping good compositions that are slanted.

Autofocus! Well, nothing much to talk about for daylight autofocus, all 3 cameras are pretty much instantaneous anyway. For AF-C, basically if you can track it the V1/V2/V3 will get it. You might get more keepers with the V3 though since it goes 20fps. Low light autofocus is a different story. I made a video days ago to compare the 3 in lowlight autofocus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s9jsRHyDF4

With the 18.5, I've tested the V1 to have AF sensitivity from 0eV, and -1eV for both V2 and V3. The V1 differs from the V2 and V3 in that when it hunts when light levels become too low or contrast is poor and this can take a while. The V2 and V3 instead will slow down and try to 'gather' focus. This means that at very low light levels (0~eV) the V1 will be slower than the V2/V3. V3 is around as fast or maybe just a bit faster than the V2, the difference being it's surer (less likely to encounter subjects that cause problems). All 3 cameras are instantaneous down to 4eV, beyond which the V2/V3 will stay fast till about 1-2eV while the V1 declines rapidly. In any case, I've used the V1/V2 in AF-C for low light situations before (night race, performances, bars..) and haven't been let down yet.

Things that are just... things:

For some reason, I've always been disinterested in the handling aspect of the N1 cameras. To me, all three are good in their own ways, and I really don't prefer any one over the other. The V1 had no grip, a simplistic minimal bump- I had no problem holding it, and the lack of an obstruction was comfortable at times. The V2 had a huge grip, which made changing lenses very easy, and I never felt there was a risk of dropping it. The V3 sans grip is essentially the V1, but now the bump is deeper, with more friction as well, so I might even say it's the best in handling since I hold it with my middle finger resting along it.

The built-in flash can bounce, but kinda pitiful in the sense it's range is already so short... meh..

Things I hated:

The f*!&ing microSD. It's small, it's annoying, and I feel like something is gonna break when I insert or remove (especially!) it from the slot. Also I can no longer just insert it into the laptop, gonna have a adapter first zzz...

The shutter button is kinda flimsy, not as bad as the OMD-EM1's but definitely not as solid as V1/V2's.

The battery life is short, no shorter than the V2's, but point here is that V1 has a battery that could last twice as long!! Why change that at all...!?

The lens mount no longer clicks audibly. There were a few times lens error was displayed simply because I under/over-tightened the lens onto the camera. What gives!?

With all those said, here are the photos:

Unfortunately, I don't know all these models... what can I say, I'm 23...

A new mall that opened up. Very sophisticated in design.

It's not easy to get BIF without the EVF zz...

Cloudy or sunny, take aim and AF-C will work. 1/500 at ISO 800, the weather was pretty awful.

I'm neither good or interested in street photography, but thought I'd test it out in this area for those who might be interested. I was seated and found the tilting touchscreen very impressive here, allowing me to be discreet and man is it fast in operation! Seriously, this might be one of the only cameras that you don't have to worry about zone focussing and deep apertures for street shots because the shot is there the instance you tap, anywhere on the screen, the shutter lag is that short.

Again, but tapped on the extreme left this time.

A NR12800 shot SOOC without zero contrast, sharpening and stuff. I'm impressed, this means NR6400 is even more usable.

-
https://www.flickr.com/photos/aspenz/

 Aspenz's gear list:Aspenz's gear list
Nikon 1 V3 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 +3 more
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 V3
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