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Performance

Overall Performance

The Nikon 1 J1 and V1 are generally fast and responsive cameras - very fast in some respects - that won't keep you waiting in day-to-day photography. Both cameras offer an astonishingly fast framerate of 60 fps at full resolution (and even in RAW+JPEG mode) and both feature an innovative, adaptive 'Hybrid' AF system that incorporates contrast-detection AF with faster phase-detection technology. Menu operations and navigation are very quick, and the same is true when adjusting exposure settings such as aperture and shutter speed.

Thanks to their CMOS sensors and electronic shutters, both cameras offer a truly impressive maximum framerate of 60fps in electronic shutter mode (the only mode available on the J1, which lacks the V1's mechanical shutter) and up to 10fps with focus tracking engaged (although keep in mind that in these modes you are limited to around 30 frames in one burst).

Thanks to the lightweight elements inside their lenses, the J1 and V1 focus very swiftly in good lighting using phase-detection AF. In poor light, autofocus switches to contrast-detection, but although still reasonably responsive, both cameras struggle much more to get an accurate focus 'lock'.

Continuous Shooting and Buffering

Nikon makes great claims for the J1 and V1's continuous capture modes and for good reason. On the V1, pressing the 'F' button in still image mode allows you to choose from three shutter modes: Mechanical, Electronic and Electronic-Hi (the J1 does not offer 'mechanical' since its shutter is electronic only).

In the Electronic-Hi shutter mode of the J1 and V1 you can choose between 10, 30 or 60fps continuous shooting. You can shoot in raw mode, but exposure is fully automatic and face detection AF is not available. At 30 and 60 fps focus and exposure are fixed at the values of the first fame. In the case of the V1, the number of frames in a burst is limited to 34 at 10 fps and 30 at 30 fps and 60 fps respectively which means that, depending on the selected framerate, you can capture between roughly 1 and 3 seconds of subject action.

The J1's buffer is a little smaller than the V1's, allowing you to record 19, 13 and 12 frames respectively (JPEG, RAW, and JPEG+RAW) in a burst. Depending on the framerate this means that you can cover between 0.2 and 2 seconds of action, approximately.

Write times can be very long (up to 85 sec when shooting RAW+JPEG, and that's with our fast card) but the good news is that you can start shooting at high speed again as soon as a few images have been transferred out of the buffer onto the memory card. The current number of frames which fits into the buffer at any given time is displayed in the bottom right corner of the LCD while you are pressing the shutter button in continuous mode.

Nikon 1 V1 continuous shooting:

Continuous shooting

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 5.0 fps 5.0 fps 5.0 fps
Number of frames 56 43 41
Buffer full rate 1.1 fps 1.1 fps 0.7 fps
Write complete 37 sec 55 sec 85 sec

Continuous shooting (Electronic-Hi - 10 fps)

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 10.0 fps 10.0 fps 10 .0 fps
Number of frames 34 34 34
Buffer full rate - - -
Write complete 30 sec 53 sec 86 sec

Continuous shooting (Electronic-Hi - 30 fps)

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 30.0 fps 30.0 fps 30.0 fps
Number of frames 30 30 30
Buffer full rate - - -
Write complete 24 sec 45 sec 67 sec

Continuous shooting (Electronic-Hi - 60 fps)

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 60.0 fps 60.0 fps 60.0 fps
Number of frames 30 30 30
Buffer full rate - - -
Write complete 23 sec 47 sec 68 sec

All timings performed using a 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC card (45MB/s)

Nikon 1 J1 continuous shooting:

Continuous shooting

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 5.0 fps 5.0 fps 5.0 fps
Number of frames 19 19 19
Buffer full rate 0.5 fps 0.3 fps 0.2 fps
Write complete 25 sec 32 sec 55 sec

Continuous shooting (Electronic-Hi - 10 fps)

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 10.0 fps 10.0 fps 10 .0 fps
Number of frames 13 13 13
Buffer full rate - - -
Write complete 8 sec 18 sec 31 sec

Continuous shooting (Electronic-Hi - 30 fps)

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 30.0 fps 30.0 fps 30.0 fps
Number of frames 12 12 12
Buffer full rate - - -
Write complete 8 sec 15 sec 28 sec

Continuous shooting (Electronic-Hi - 60 fps)

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
RAW
RAW+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 60.0 fps 60.0 fps 60.0 fps
Number of frames 12 12 12
Buffer full rate - - -
Write complete 8 sec 17 sec 29 sec

All timings performed using a 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC card (45MB/s)

Autofocus speed / accuracy

The J1 and V1 feature an all-new adaptive AF system that Nikon is calling 'Hybrid' AF. Hybrid AF incorporates both contrast-detection and phase-detection focus technology - the latter being used when the cameras detect favorable lighting conditions. Assuming that the light level is high enough, then the J1 and V1 switch to a 73-point focal-plane phase-detection AF system that offers fast and responsive 'single-shot' AF and impressive continuous AF tracking performance.

The switch to phase-detection AF depends on the amount of light falling onto the cameras' sensors, which is dependant on lens aperture as well as ambient light levels. In our testing, at the long end of the 10-30mm kit zoom (which has a maximum aperture of 5.6 at 30mm) the switch happens at brightness levels between 9-10EV, which is roughly equivalent to a dull overcast day. At f/5.6, if the light is lower than 9EV (approx) AF is driven using a contrast-detection system, and at roughly 10EV and above, phase-detection AF is used. With the 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens (currently the fastest lens available for the 1 System) phase-detection AF is available in lower light - down to approximately 3EV by our measurements (equivalent to dull interior artificial lighting).

Phase-detection AF is a particular gift for the 'soccer mom' and indeed anyone who finds themselves regularly needing to capture moving subjects outdoors, albeit one of the many aspects of the cameras' feature set which cannot be manually controlled. This sequence of images shows a 10-frame burst at 10fps, shot on the V1 in AF-C mode using the 1 NIKKOR VR PD-Zoom 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6. As you can see, the camera's hit rate is impressive.

Frame 1 Frame 10
Frame 2 Frame 9
Frame 3 Frame 8
Frame 4 Frame 7
Frame 5 Frame 6

The intended audience of the J1 and V1 are unlikely to take them to any major sporting events, but this doesn't mean that their innovative hybrid AF system is pointless. The J1 and V1 are the first mirrorless cameras that we'd be truly be confident about using to capture moving subjects, and potentially this means anything from boisterous children and pets to school sports days and weekend soccer games. The naturally deeper depth of field provided by their 1-inch sensor format and correspondingly short focal length lenses helps of course, but even taking this into account, we're genuinely impressed, especially by tracking accuracy with phase-detection AF.

The J1 and V1's contrast-detection AF systems, which take over when light levels are too low for effective phase-detection AF (and remember that this is the camera's decision, not the photographer's) are less impressive. Focussing is less positive (AF wobbles quickly around the target rather than locking straight on it) but impressively accurate when it gets a 'lock'. The problem is that even in average interior room light, both cameras struggle to find that lock. They rarely give up completely (and built-in AF illuminators are on hand in both cameras) but we've been surprised by how frequently they falter.

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Comments

Total comments: 4
CHEAW HON MING

I have 2 V1s — one bought in USA and one in Malaysia (last year in January and April 2014) and my wife and I used it mainly for travel and nature photography (actually my wife "hijacked" my V1+FT mount+70-300mm combo so I got another mainly using the FT+80-400mm). We were quite happy with its performance as we had to travel light and quickly shoot whatever that we liked until the beginning of this year — the LCD monitor completely went off both cameras. Repairing it would be expensive and I will continue to use it with the EVF until it too goes off. The plastic ring that holds the filter/cap has also cracked and needed some superglue. This is the main complain of most of my Nikon friends — unreliability of parts and expensive repair. Maybe it only happens in this country.

0 upvotes
BobFoster

This is the most thorough in depth review of the Nikon 1 system . Wish I had seen it before I bought the V1...but it doesn't matter...I use my V1 for 2 purposes...for street photography I use the V1 with the 10mm 2.8 and I set the shutter to silent mode turn off the autofocus assist lamp...and I can be 2 feet from a subject and they are totally unaware that I am photographing them...it is a very unobtrusive setup ...and I also like to shoot rugby...the v1 with the 30-110 on it is amazing in freezing the action...I bought this when the price really dropped...I feel very fortunate that I was able to get one...I have another mirrorless camera...the E-PM2...which I use to shoot indoor ice hockey...it is another phenominal camera...I did have a nex 6 but sent it back...I just did not like the softness of the images...better lenses are coming which is what the nex system needs...but I am happy with the V1...and my Olympus Pen -mini2

1 upvote
Solar Ben

I love the nose hair in the 50mm f1.8 sample pic.

2 upvotes
Duncan Dimanche

Correction : it does not allow full shutter control in video... it is stopped at 100/1 so shooting in low light is a pain

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 4