The Little Camera that Could
I consider the Nikon V1 one of the most underrated cameras on the market and having used it for 4 weeks I believe that a lot of the bashing its received online is largely unjustified. I have 30 years of amateur / enthusiast experience and have always preferred the direct connection you get from an optical viewfinder, so the early EVFs with their pixelation and lag just put me off EVFs altogether. So point #1, the EVF on the V1 is excellent. Fast refresh rate and enough detail to be a real alternative to optical. As a comparison, my Fuji X100 (hybrid optical/EVF) when set to EVF the refresh rate is only as fast when half pressing. With the V1, the refresh rate is high speed all the time. One small downside is the eye sensor delay (which activates the EVF) is a bit slow, so you get a black viewfinder for a short second while the EVF wakes up. A bit annoying if you want to pull off a quick shot. Point #2, the V1 uses the same battery and charger as my D7000 so I save $ not having to buy more spare batteries and I can share between cameras. (The IR remote is also the same). The battery is also a decent size. Point #3, the AF (phase detection) really is fast - so long as you keep the light good (by using the 10 mm prime indoors or in poor light). The zooms are a little slow so the camera falls back to contrast detection in poor light and you get the familiar hunting delay, although still not bad, just way slower than PD. Point #3 the V1 can pull off 10 fps in electronic shutter mode and still maintain focus! And you can shoot at this rate for over 3 seconds and capture around 34 raw images before the buffer is full. Recovery is about 1 sec/image with a fast card, so this camera really lives for short, repeated bursts (3-5 frames) of continuous shooting. It can even go up to 60 fps. Not much else out there that matches this. Want to to do a water drop/crown movie at 1,200 fps? V1 does 400 & 1,200 fps slow-motion video. Point #4 the CX sensor, while small is still about 4x a typical PAS sensor in size, and it delivers surprisingly good images even at 3200 ISO - quite acceptable for most typical users. Point #5 this camera is small and the lenses are even smaller - especially the zooms. The CX sensor (2.7 crop) really helps here to allow much smaller lenses - even compared to M4/3. Point #6 you can use your existing DX and FX f-mount lenses on your V1 with the optional FT-1 adapter and get crazy tele lengths, although not all 3rd party lenses register. Nikkor CPU lenses with built-in AF motors and VR will work (AF-S only). The 18-200 DX VR lens is a nice match on the V1. To put this all in perspective, by D7000 is now being used only for very wide angle and wildlife use. The V1 is taking over as my general purpose camera and primary system.
No camera problems, but a few shortcomings that annoy me include:
1. Delay as EVF wakes up with the eye sensor.
2. No programable buttons, so ISO, PASM, etc must be menu driven.
3. No minimum shutter selection in Auto ISO, so shutter can get too slow before switching to a higher ISO.
4. Limited lenses (4), especially fast primes and wide angle. Current range limited to 27-300 mm (equivalent).
Nikon could address issues 1-3 via firmware updates, and I'd then raise my rating to 4.5. Lenses will come.
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