First Report on V1

Started Nov 16, 2011 | Discussions
HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
First Report on V1

First Report on V1 – the objections

As a D300/200/100 and D2H user, I was 'surprised' by the N1 specifications. But, I decided to take a positive attitude. Yes, the cameras of 2011 are designed for soccer moms and dads. Is it also useful for enthusiasts?

The list of objections is long.

DOF is indeed too wide for many applications. The small cameras are hard to handle. The slimline design means that buttons can't be used while wearing gloves. The lack of dials and body controls is daunting. You may have to take your eyes off the subject in order to change settings.

Diffraction is a problem. F/8 is poor on some lenses. For the 10mm pancake, the sweet spot is 3.2 to 4.5. f/10 is useless. So, slow lenses (like the 10-100) have a very narrow useable range in aperture.

Not good for video users. You will have to use fader filters (not ND filters) to open up the aperture.

For D300/D3 users, the VF is puny and slow. The lenses are limited. The proprietary accessory port means that all the DSLR flashguns can't be fired. The SB-5N is an inadequate substitute.

Indeed, you need a cold shoe (AS-N1000) just to attach the Nikon MK1 microphone.

You can mount large lenses. But, there may not be enough clearance on a tripod. Nikon has a tripod adapter (TA-N100) to create enough clearance.

In the long term, there are doubts about how far the small sensor can be pushed. When will it reach 16mp? Will M43 sensors pull too far ahead? Can Fuji's 2012 entry hit the bulls-eye?

For video users, the 20 minute limit is annoying. The battery life (120 minutes of video) is decent. But, how quickly will the small cameras overheat?

Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D2H Nikon D300
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OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
User report

In the end, I pulled the trigger for a V1 and 10-30 plus 10mm whilst waiting for the D400/800. The PDAF technology is interesting. Nikon seems to have thought it through carefully as a BRIDGE system.

Nikon has made a major commitment. N1 won't fold like some other MILC brands.

Hopefully, Nikon will have a hot shoe adapter (like the SC-28) that will at least allow the DSLR flashguns to be fired off camera.

This is a post I made about the problem of too much DOF.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=39832848&refresh=1151

Above all, 2.7x crop is a killer app for wildlife. A 105mm 2.8 macro is equivalent (in reach but not in DOF) to a 300mm 2.8 on a FF camera. Any cheap decent zoom lens becomes a champion if only the center is used.

My advise is to use Auto Area AF, Progam exposure and adjust EV as needed. The camera seems to run smoothly in auto mode.

After 600 shots, my conclusion is that the V1 system is useful. But, you have to be realistic.

This is a tiny sensor. RAW IQ is surprisingly good in daylight. No smearing etc in NEF. Highlights (possibly even 2 EV in Standard picture control) can be recovered from NEF files.

With the 10mm pancake, center sharpness is good at f/3.2. My impression (comparing with D200) is that V1 10mp is credible for 1st Generation and $200 lenses. But, N1 really needs better and faster lenses.

In interior shots, noise is unfortunately always waiting in the shadows even at low ISO. It should be noted that black is very good (like D5100). It's the grays that have noticeable color noise. Worse than Pany GH1 at low ISO.

For decent and even lighting, ISO 3200 is usable. Otherwise, N1 ISO 800 is like D5100 at ISO 6400. Pany GH1 is worse at ISO 1600 because of the noise stains.

The D5100 shadows can be pushed hard. N1 cannot be pushed (turn off D-lighting). Indeed, some blocking may be desirable in interior incandescent light. But, N1 is still far superior to the Pany LX3 etc.

This is my advise. Turn off High ISO NR. The default setting is too strong. Shoot NEF and use a small amount of NR in PP. N1 Auto WB is not perfect. Manual WB may be necessary in artificial light..

In terms of operating speed, the V1 has its quirks. But, it's a speed demon compared to the Pany GH1 etc. As I have repeatedly said in the M43 forum, the M43 cameras are just not competitive in terms of electronics.

That's why M43 is still selling the old cameras at $299/$399. Even the GF3 (announced June 2011) is selling at $469 (launch $699).

The AF speed is amazing even in Auto Area mode and low light. Beats the D5100 (particularly in low light), and sometimes better than D300. Kudos Nikon.

The EVF has to be small because its a small camera. Unfortunately, the VF/LCD freezes/blanks briefly after a shot. As long as 3s after 20 NEF+JPY shots. Frustrating for sports and wildlife shooting.

OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Samples

Samples

Shot at Occupy Vancouver. The real Occupiers are cleaning and restructuring the camp. The bums have disappeared for the moment. The movement is against corporate greed. But, the real enemy of the poor is the consumer society.

ISO 100 10mm f/3.2. The original sky was completely blown. Saved some of it with highlight recovery.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1538920/_dsc0087

Worst sample in artificial light. ISO 800 F/2.8. Notice the colorful half shadows on the wall. Fortunately, the grain is very fine. Will convert well to b&w.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1538919/_dsc0150r

Generated from NEF file after PP. ISO 200 f/4.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1538923/_dsc0092

Following samples show crop (from top left) with original settings, and after minus 2 EV.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1538921/_dsc0092o

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1538922/_dsc0092-minus-2ev

JP Scherrer
JP Scherrer Forum Pro • Posts: 10,664
So WHAT ?

I will have only 2 words: BRA...VO !

So... what did you prove or showed ?

We've allready seen the worse and the best coming out out of Nikon 1 cameras, with the 4 available lens !

One thing is certain: like ANY other camera, it mostly depends on WHO's behing the camera !

IMO, as long as you "know" its LIMITS, this thing does it's job ! Nobody expect the Nikon 1 -be it J1 or V1- to do miracles...

Just wondering if it's still worth reading posts in DPReview....... however I'm one of the older user !?!?!


J-P.

Photo Galeries at http://www.pbase.com/scherrer
Spherical Panoramas (360x180°) at http://www.360cities.net/profile/jps
Equipment list in profile

 JP Scherrer's gear list:JP Scherrer's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D810 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 +7 more
SHood Veteran Member • Posts: 5,430
Re: First Report on V1

Your analysis is very close to the conclusions I have come to on the Nikon 1. I have decided to skip it for now and take another look when faster primes are available. Hopefully by then they will introduce a body with better external controls.

I am using a G1 with 100-300 for birding (obviously not in-flight). The 2.7x crop sounded interesting but after considering the resolution advantage of say the G3 (16mp vs 10mp) then most of the crop advantage is lost and without a long native CX mount lens you would end up with something much heavier. But the faster AF would sure help.

 SHood's gear list:SHood's gear list
Sony RX100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Olympus E-M1 II Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS Pro
OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
So WHAT ?????

JP Scherrer wrote:

Just wondering if it's still worth reading posts in DPReview....... however I'm one of the older user !?!?!

What has age got to do with it? Completely irrelevant if you ask me, unless senility is the issue.

Anyway, I have tried to be as precise as possible. Comparing with other cameras in quantitative terms. Hope it helps someone make a buying decision.

For example, I did a stress test on D5100 high ISO.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=38407403

Just by looking at Nikon initial samples, I pretty much knew what N1 was capable of. And, I spend some time debunking the trolls who had never even handled a N1 camera.

peterclark55 Senior Member • Posts: 2,379
Re: So WHAT ?

JP Scherrer wrote:
I will have only 2 words: BRA...VO !


J-P.

Photo Galeries at http://www.pbase.com/scherrer
Spherical Panoramas (360x180°) at http://www.360cities.net/profile/jps
Equipment list in profile

Another "bravo" here, that makes for 3,Peter
--
http://www.pbase.com/peter55/galleries

marike6 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,088
Re: First Report on V1

Not good for video users. You will have to use fader filters (not ND filters) to open up the aperture.

For video, there is not a single DSLR or mirror-less camera where some form of ND filter or fader ND filter is necessary. In daylight, to get 1/50 for 24p or 1/60 for 60p or 60i in the case of the N1, you simply would need to stop-down the lens too much if you don't have a ND Filter. Diffraction will be a issue on most lenses, not just the Nikon 1 lenses.

This is true on my 5D Mk II, and I suspect it will be true on my new Nikon 1 J1. Fader ND Filters are just a fact of life for anyone using a DSLR for video. I wouldn't say for this reason the N1 is not good for video users. The video from the J1/V1 is surprisingly clear, but the sensor is much larger than those typically found in even pro camcorders so DOF can be shallow enough where it doesn't look like a camcorder.

 marike6's gear list:marike6's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P330 Nikon D800 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +7 more
OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Re: First Report on V1

marike6 wrote:

Not good for video users. You will have to use fader filters (not ND filters) to open up the aperture.

For video, there is not a single DSLR or mirror-less camera where some form of ND filter or fader ND filter is necessary.

My point is that slow lenses with low diffraction limits are a particular problem.

For example, a FF lens may have a diffraction limit of f/16. N1 may be at f/7.1 Therefore, N1 has less flexibility to stop down at base ISO.

This is not a problem in still photography, because you can stop down by increasing the shutter speed. However, it is a problem for video because you would perfer to maintain 1/60s etc.

For slow lenses, there is less flexibility to open up. You might perfer fader filter over common ND filters. You don't have to change filters as the light changes.

OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Sample of bokeh and highlight protection

Took this shot hand held with elbow braced. ISO 100 f/5.6. Camera set to Aperture priority and 0 EV. Background highlight blown.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1553169/_dsc0811a

Rescued it with -1.4 EV and a touch of selected sharpening (20,2,2). Bokeh is very decent once OOF.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1553170/_dsc0811

File downsized 50% to 1800x1204. IMO, can print 18x12 nicely.

Hope this helps.

Everdog Veteran Member • Posts: 4,837
That pretty much stinks

So you had to reduce a picture down to less than my PC screen size to make it look good? This would be useless for me.

You seem to be going out of the way to make Nikon look bad.

Clayton1985 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,664
Re: That pretty much stinks

No kidding, these CX and MFT systems are pretty good for general purpose and supplements to DSLRs but can you imagine someone using these as their main camera system? Take Panasonic for instance, I wouldn't think of trying to build my primary system with their cameras, lenses, etc. Not bad for backup or if camera size is more important than image quality (if you can stand the colors and the jpgs).

LincolnB Veteran Member • Posts: 4,390
Re: That pretty much stinks

Everdog wrote:

So you had to reduce a picture down to less than my PC screen size to make it look good? This would be useless for me.

You seem to be going out of the way to make Nikon look bad.

Yep. 600 shots and no sign of any keepers. My iPhone 3 has a higher hit rate than that.

Maybe Nikon should consider paying HappyVan to not use their products, much like Abercrombie & Fitch was alleged to have asked "The Situation" (Michael Sorrentino) to not wear their clothes.

 LincolnB's gear list:LincolnB's gear list
Olympus PEN E-P1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Fujifilm X-E1 Sony a7 II Sony a7 III +8 more
OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Flash SB-B5 useful

The flash is like a toy and should be selling for $79. Anyway, it does a better job than the typical onboard flash.

Outdoors, it helps up to 70 feet away. Shot at the rained out Grey Cup parade. See Vancouver Sun's samples here.

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Vancouver+Grey+parade+gets+Glee+full/5772687/story.html

My shots at 36mm (97mm equivalent) f/3.8) 1/200s. EV -0.3. Flash at EV 0.

Auto ISO 560. About 70' away. The sign Howe St (> 100' away) received some illumination.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1566412/_dsc1253

Auto ISO 800

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1566402/_dsc1250

ISO 2200 about 30' away

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7625069483/photos/1566411/_dsc1252

It is effective indoors in a small room. Yes, the tilt and swivel feature works well.

OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Sharpness and resolution good ...

... with a decent lens and close enough.

This is a 1.1 mp crop from 30-110 at 30mm f6.3. From NEF file. Sharpening at 2/9. No PP sharpening added.

ekaton Contributing Member • Posts: 949
Re: Sharpness and resolution good ...

As the saying goes: the mountain gave birth to a mouse. No idea what you try to demonstrate with your "test", but if I put this much effort into getting a few pictures I could use a 8 year old Sony 1MP camera and produce better outcome. I guess your processes and approach need some serious testing rather than the N1.

 ekaton's gear list:ekaton's gear list
Ricoh GR Digital III Sony RX1R II Leica CL Sony a7R IV Leica Summicron-T 23mm f/2 ASPH +12 more
OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Sample at 2/9 sharpness

ekaton wrote:

As the saying goes: the mountain gave birth to a mouse. No idea what you try to demonstrate with your "test", but if I put this much effort into getting a few pictures I could use a 8 year old Sony 1MP camera and produce better outcome. I guess your processes and approach need some serious testing rather than the N1.

I'm pleased by the real world sharpness at 2/9. I posted a 100% crop, same as DPR and others.

Do you have a different real world method? Please show us?

OP HappyVan Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Some idiosyncrasies

The system has a lot of potential. But, we need to return enough control to the user.

In Motion Snapshot (MS) and Smart Photo Selector (SPS), the user has no control over shutter speed (default 1/60s). Would be nice to dial a slower shutter speed in order to lower ISO.

The AF assist illuminator throws out a strong green light effective to 20 feet. It is available to MS and SPS. But, available in still mode only under Automatic Scene Selection. Not available in video mode.

The SB-N5 flash throws out a niffy LED light (Capture Illuminator). But, its only available in MS and SPS! Not in video!

Etc Etc.

Lots of changes needed. Please give feedback to Nikon.

BrianSaunders Regular Member • Posts: 196
Re: Some idiosyncrasies

Some of us are getting what you say so keep it up. I find your insight helpful and the N1 system needs to be understood, we're all not gear heads. It takes people like you to come up with work arounds until Nikon remedies the problem and that means until a J2 or V2 comes out. I like the N1 over the other manufactures cameras. I can wait on a D800 because I have a D700, D90 and great glass. Getting into the N1 V1 is worth what I will put into it and after using it for over a month and with tips from people like you i'm liking it more and more.

Thanks

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D700
17-35mm f/2.8
28-70mm f/2.8
70-200mm f/2.8 VRII
300mm f/4
200mm Micro f/4
60mm Micro f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
R1C1 + SB-800

Canon 20D
Sigma 50-500mm EX DG HSM
Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

CriticalI Senior Member • Posts: 1,777
Re: Some idiosyncrasies

HappyVan wrote:

The system has a lot of potential. But, we need to return enough control to the user.

In Motion Snapshot (MS) and Smart Photo Selector (SPS), the user has no control over shutter speed (default 1/60s). Would be nice to dial a slower shutter speed in order to lower ISO.

Thw whole point is the speed at which it takes the shots in SPS, lower than 1/60 and it could not take the burst at the right rate.

The AF assist illuminator throws out a strong green light effective to 20 feet. It is available to MS and SPS. But, available in still mode only under Automatic Scene Selection. Not available in video mode.

It is available in all still modes. Why would you want a green light in video mode?

The SB-N5 flash throws out a niffy LED light (Capture Illuminator). But, its only available in MS and SPS! Not in video!

There is AFAIK a continuous mode for video. It lasts a few seconds. But then the battery would drain and the flash would overheat if it were longer.

Lots of changes needed. Please give feedback to Nikon.

Lots of education needed. Please don't.

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Steve

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