Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
LifeIsOnTheWire
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Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
8 months ago

Hey everyone. I am really intrigued by the effect of using the Nikon 1 + FT1 adapter, and a long/fast lens to achieve really long focal lengths, using lower-cost (and faster) lenses.

I had a chance to play with a Nikon V1, with a 50mm 1.8g lens, and it was fantastic having a 135mm f/1.8. I cant help but think how nice an 85mm, or 70-200 2.8 would be. A 35mm 1.8g DX would be a great portrait lens (considering you are only using the centre of the frame anyways)

Are there any other cameras that use a common lens mount, with a small sensor? I'm a Nikon fan, but I don't want to have to use a lens mount adapter, and the Nikon V1/V2 don't have good enough manual controls for my taste.

I know the only people that are going to agree with me are bird-watchers, and private detectives... but I think it would be great if Nikon would make a camera with a CX sensor, and an F-mount (instead of having to use an adapter), and give it some decent manual controls.

Nikon 1 V1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 (Lumix DMC-FT1)
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drj3
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to LifeIsOnTheWire, 8 months ago

LifeIsOnTheWire wrote:

Are there any other cameras that use a common lens mount, with a small sensor? I'm a Nikon fan, but I don't want to have to use a lens mount adapter, and the Nikon V1/V2 don't have good enough manual controls for my taste.

I know the only people that are going to agree with me are bird-watchers, and private detectives... but I think it would be great if Nikon would make a camera with a CX sensor, and an F-mount (instead of having to use an adapter), and give it some decent manual controls.

The only ones I am familiar with that have common lens mounts are the Olympus/Panasonic micro Four thirds cameras (2X equivalent focal length instead of the 2.7X of the Nikon). The Olympus have IBIS in the camera bodies, all the Panasonic except the GX7 need lens OIS for stabilization. All lenses are interchangeable. Unfortunately there are no really fast long telephoto lenses yet (Olympus is supposed to have a 40-150-2.8 sometime this spring). Currently the only fast long telephoto lenses are the DSLR four thirds Olympus lenses which require an adaptor (they are fully automatic) and work on all micro four thirds cameras, but only focus quickly on the Olympus E-M1. While you can get reasonably long (and sharp) with the 50-200 - 2.8-3.5 with the EC14 (283mmn - 566 equivalent at f5) or very long with the slower 70-300-4-5.6 with the EC14 (425mm - equivalent - 850 at f8), this would be far more expensive than the Nikon 1 with its lenses. You could use any of the less expensive micro four thirds cameras with an adaptor and almost any lens which has mechanical focus and aperture controls in a manual only mode. The Olympus IBIS works with legacy lenses.

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Greg A A
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to LifeIsOnTheWire, 8 months ago

You give up a great deal in IQ with a Nikon 1 with any lens. The 18-140 is almost twice as sharp on the D7100 than any prime you could put on a Nikon 1. Put a Nikon 1 zoom on the camera and you are not even one third as sharp as the above mentioned D7100 kit zoom combo.

Nikon 1 looks to be small and handy, but not a choice for good image quality.

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mosswings
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to LifeIsOnTheWire, 8 months ago

f-mount lenses are designed for a large registration distance between the mount and the sensor. CX and other mirrorless lenses don't have to reserve space for the flipping mirror, so they have a rather short registration distance. Even if you created an f-mount CX camera body, it would still have to employ a 30mm or so adapter to alllow existing f-mount lenses to work - plus it would have to include an aperture stopdown solenoid.  And boom, you're right back to an FT-1.

Take a look at Thom Hogan's or Jason Odell's websites (bythom.com, luminescentphoto.com). They have used the V2 with super long lenses for wildlife work and have some opinions based on extensive use. They actually like the arrangement and the excellent IQ in good light that this arrangement offers, but note the penalties you pay in AF flexibility.

Other than the Series 1 cameras, there are no superlong zoom possibilities in the u43 world to my knowledge - but you can get a 300mm lens that is a 600mm equivalent in FF.

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John Sheehy
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to LifeIsOnTheWire, 8 months ago

LifeIsOnTheWire wrote:

Are there any other cameras that use a common lens mount, with a small sensor? I'm a Nikon fan, but I don't want to have to use a lens mount adapter, and the Nikon V1/V2 don't have good enough manual controls for my taste.

There is also the Pentax Q series, with much smaller sensors (and pixels) than the Nikon 1 series. There are Q adapters for just about every lens format. No control of aperture or focus, of course.

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frank-in-toronto
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to John Sheehy, 8 months ago

i use the v1 along with my d600.  the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine.  for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to LifeIsOnTheWire, 8 months ago

I am very impressed with the image quality of the Nikon 1 cameras. The images look very dull and flat to me. I was considering buying one, but after a day shooting with one I was not happy with the results.

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John Sheehy
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to frank-in-toronto, 8 months ago

frank-in-toronto wrote:

i use the v1 along with my d600. the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine. for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

You know what's really junk? A v1-size crop from a DSLR, compared to the same lens using a v1.

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John Sheehy
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, 8 months ago

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

I am very impressed with the image quality of the Nikon 1 cameras. The images look very dull and flat to me. I was considering buying one, but after a day shooting with one I was not happy with the results.

Sensors have no effect on contrast. Sensors are linear light capture devices. You were obviously mistaking default conversion or JPEG styles for a feature of the hardware.

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TRIODEROB
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, 8 months ago

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

I am very impressed with the image quality of the Nikon 1 cameras. The images look very dull and flat to me. I was considering buying one, but after a day shooting with one I was not happy with the results.

then you did not know how to use it

here are some I took:

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to TRIODEROB, 8 months ago

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

I am very impressed with the image quality of the Nikon 1 cameras. The images look very dull and flat to me. I was considering buying one, but after a day shooting with one I was not happy with the results.

then you did not know how to use it

here are some I took:

Those confirm my conclusion. They look very flat and lifeless.

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TRIODEROB
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, 8 months ago

then go with Sigma foveon - nothing comes close

here are a few of mine:

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Leonard Migliore
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Pictures aren't bad
In reply to TRIODEROB, 8 months ago

But what do these Sigma shots have to do with the discussion?

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to TRIODEROB, 8 months ago

TRIODEROB wrote:

then go with Sigma foveon - nothing comes close

here are a few of mine:

Impressive.

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Greg A A
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to John Sheehy, 8 months ago

John Sheehy wrote:

frank-in-toronto wrote:

i use the v1 along with my d600. the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine. for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

You know what's really junk? A v1-size crop from a DSLR, compared to the same lens using a v1.

Huh? In no circumstance is a Nikon 1 comparable to a D4, D800, D600, D7100, D3S ...

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Greg A A
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Agree, the Sigma DSLR puts the Nikon 1 to shame
In reply to TRIODEROB, 8 months ago

Nice shots!

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John Sheehy
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to Greg A A, 8 months ago

Greg A A wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

frank-in-toronto wrote:

i use the v1 along with my d600. the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine. for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

You know what's really junk? A v1-size crop from a DSLR, compared to the same lens using a v1.

Huh? In no circumstance is a Nikon 1 comparable to a D4, D800, D600, D7100, D3S ...

Wrong. Exactly in the circumstance I described, the larger area of a larger sensor is of ZERO value. Sensors are not like dish antennas, where you get more signal with a bigger antenna. They are bigger surfaces that can capture a larger area of the image projected by the lens.

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nigelht
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to John Sheehy, 8 months ago

John Sheehy wrote:

Greg A A wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

frank-in-toronto wrote:

i use the v1 along with my d600. the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine. for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

You know what's really junk? A v1-size crop from a DSLR, compared to the same lens using a v1.

Huh? In no circumstance is a Nikon 1 comparable to a D4, D800, D600, D7100, D3S ...

Wrong. Exactly in the circumstance I described, the larger area of a larger sensor is of ZERO value. Sensors are not like dish antennas, where you get more signal with a bigger antenna. They are bigger surfaces that can capture a larger area of the image projected by the lens.

What? No. The V1 isn't bad in good light but in low light a larger sensor does get more signal (number of photons) than a smaller one because generally each pixel is individually larger. There are diagrams and articles all over the place to illustrate this even in a crop situation since your scenario doesn't describe the lighting level. A D4, D800, etc x2.7 crop in low light is generally better than a V1 shot especially given the noise our sensor has at higher ISO.

In terms of whether a V1 is better than a D4, D800, etc crop goes in good light depends on the lens.

This chart here:

from this thread by rob_b illustrates the pixel density difference and potential advantages of the V1/V2 for very long shots.

As for the OP, the Nikon 85mm f1.8 reportedly has slow but accurate AF since it's not meant for sports but portraits. The 70-200 f2.8 is reported to be "verra nice" which is to be expected from such a classic lens.

Shooting a 50mm f1.8 G as a 135mm focal length equivalent works reasonably well for when lighting is really bad too. Given that this is a $220 lens and the 105mm f2.8 is a $900 range lens the FT-1 is an economical and effective way to make use of any existing Nikon glass since you are already a Nikon fan (which implies you might have a Nikon already…).

The FT-1 probably impacts the handling of the camera more with the 50mm than any of the bigger lenses which generally would dominate the size equation.

The system does lack for fast native telephotos and zooms. A native 300mm f2.8 would be killer for the N1 birders although it would be expensive. Not as expensive as a 810mm lens would be though...

A native 70-200 f2.8 would be great for indoor sports as would a native 85mm f1.8 with a fast AF.

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John1940
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to Greg A A, 8 months ago

Greg A A wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

frank-in-toronto wrote:

i use the v1 along with my d600. the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine. for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

You know what's really junk? A v1-size crop from a DSLR, compared to the same lens using a v1.

Huh? In no circumstance is a Nikon 1 comparable to a D4, D800, D600, D7100, D3S ...

John Sheehy is right. What really matters is the number of pixels you get on the subject, for example a small bird or squirrel. You can do the proof using arithmetic. No advanced mathematics required.

John1940

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nigelht
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to LifeIsOnTheWire, 8 months ago

As an addendum…I don't think that a CX camera with a native f-mount would be significantly smaller than a V1 with FT-1.  It doesn't strike me that Nikon went out of its way to go "Hey, how fat and heavy can we make the FT-1 to annoy N1 owners?" but made it tough enough to not break while connected to some big lenses.  Plus you need a bit of standoff for the lens to work.

The FT-1 (and originally the EN-EL15 with the V1) was a way for a Nikon owner to be able to pick up the V1 + kit lenses (which are IMHO more decent than most DSLR kit lenses in quality) and have a wide array of glass and spare batteries to use from his or her collection of AF-S lenses.

The CX mount also allows for native lenses to be a bit smaller than their larger counterparts.

The V1 with the grip installed does improve the feel of the camera with the FT-1.

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