Nikon V1 Modifications

Started Sep 17, 2013 | Photos
UtahN8
UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Nikon V1 Modifications
3

Greetings all,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster here, and I want to share the modifications I’ve made to my V1. Shortly after buying my first V1 I ran into many of the odd design “decisions” that Nikon made. While patiently waiting for Nikon to update the firmware, I started working on the hardware side of things.

I’ve thoroughly tested my mods over the course of about a year and 15K+ photos and I’m quite happy with all of them. Detailed in the photos below are my hacks, using Sugru (sugru.com) involving things like:

- A collar around the control dial. This doesn’t cause friction with the dial, rather it causes friction with my finger while spinning the dial, making it much less prone to jump around and miss the setting I’m going for.

- Raised “OK” and “MENU” buttons, makes ‘em easier to find when the camera is to my eye, and makes me less likely to move the control dial when hitting the “OK” button.

- A collar around the mode dial. Again, this mod doesn’t create friction on the dial itself, but creates a recess that the dial sits in. Gentle pressure with the pad of the thumb is more than enough to change the dial (as so many of us have found) and the collar makes it impossible to change accidentally.

- A thumb rest below the “F” button to prevent accidentally pressing it. It’s not like the button does anything anyway

- A slightly raised shutter release, making it easier to “squeeze” the shutter with little added camera motion.

- A bead around the edge of the screen protector, keeps the edges from snagging on things and lifting off.

- A few small blobs on the hotshoe cover to keep it in place.

- Ridges above and below the eyepiece for a removable DK-19 eyecup

- and finally a small ridge on the Franiec stick-on grip

I have a 2nd V1 that I’m modifying even more heavily and I’ll post some pics of it if it survives testing . . .

Oh, also, the tape over the logo is just my attempt to channel some of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s timing for that Decisive Moment.

Feedback is always appreciated.

- N8

P.S. I forgot to mention, the hand-strap is hand sewn from an original neck-strap.

Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Seedeich Senior Member • Posts: 2,082
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Great job, not pretty, but I like it.
Most of it makes sense to me.

Except the GGS screen protector. I find it makes seeing the LCD more difficult. The coating isn’t good enough. The V1’s LCD seems to be pretty tough, I’ve used mine for two years soon and it’s still like new. I’m careful, but I don’t baby my V1.

I’ve made a grip of leather instead of the Franiec grip and a strip of thick leather at the side to add volume.
Furthermore a small silicone dot on the thumbrest.
And the course the killer feature, the best way to improve your photography - black tape over the logo.

Zoran K Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Two thumbs up for these modifications!

olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

UtahN8 wrote:

- A few small blobs on the hotshoe cover to keep it in place.

This isn't a very good idea. Your flash contacts will get dirty from it and will cause flash issues. Those contacts are hard to clean, so I'd remove the blob and move it to some other place if I were you. I notice you have two small blobs on the left and right also, those two might be enough to hold it securely, but even those come in contact with the metal surface, so I'd remove those as well. Why not just heat it up and bend it out a little? I think that should work better.

myzel Senior Member • Posts: 2,075
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Seedeich wrote:

And the course the killer feature, the best way to improve your photography - black tape over the logo.

That's the most important modification! I use that to and my photography has improved so much, I can almost feel the decisive moment before it happens 

 myzel's gear list:myzel's gear list
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2
anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,024
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

My main question is why you have a screen protector, is that to ensure the camera retains its resale value?

JL Salvignol
JL Salvignol Senior Member • Posts: 1,610
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

"I can almost feel the decisive moment before it happens"

But it is the only way to grasp this elusive moment! When it has already occurred it's too late, the photo never go back in time.

-- hide signature --

JLS

 JL Salvignol's gear list:JL Salvignol's gear list
Sigma DP2 Merrill Nikon Coolpix A Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 J1 Pentax K-01 +16 more
olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications
1

anthony mazzeri wrote:

My main question is why you have a screen protector, is that to ensure the camera retains its resale value?

The reason I have it is that the display retains it's clarity. I mean, it is easy to change a scratched plastic sheet if necessary, but not so easy to replace the LCD. It also protects the screen from breaking. Of course, only to a certain level, and in my opinion, the best is plastic sheet, not glass protectors.

Anyway, regardless of reasons, the LCD is not used to anything other than chimping and composition, so using a screen protector makes sense. It doesn't exactly degrade the IQ, does it?

Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Veteran Member • Posts: 8,649
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

My own mod is increasing friction of the mode wheel (dental floss, of course), and adding a leather flap on top of the thumb grip, that also reaches over most of the mode wheel - your mod might work as well ;-)!

I added a finger grip on the front side made out of hot glue, making it similar in size to the one seen on the new AW1 (slightly bigger, & much uglier, though). My hot shoe protector is metal, by the way, held in place by a bit of black tape. A piece of metal I found, accidentally, that fits like a glove! I think it comes from a picture frame, but not sure.

My logo is also filled with black paint, by the way! May one day replace the finger grip with black hot glue, but as it looks even less impressive with the semitransparent hot glue grip I have now, it does make it look even more like a toy camera! Which is great!

My go serious camera, the D600, has no modifications at all ;-)! Well, the wrist strap is of my own design (so it says Toyota, instead of D600 :-), similar to the one on the V1).

Have you seen an uglier finger grip?! Originally painted over the '1' and the 'V1' as well, but the paint fell off!

The hot shoe protector sticks out a little bit, improving grip, and folds back when you insert the flash! The leather patch is also hotglued on top of the original grip (tried other kinds of glues first, with less success).

The wrist strap has a sliding piece of shrink tube on the end, so you can make a tight loop around the wrist, preventing you from accidentally dropping it, or it easily being snatched from your hand - not theft-proof, of course!

-- hide signature --

tord (at) mindless (dot) com
Mostly Nikon V1, & D600, user

 Tord S Eriksson's gear list:Tord S Eriksson's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Ricoh GR Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D600 Nikon 1 V2 +24 more
UtahN8
OP UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

It's true, the mods lack that clean, factory look; definitely function coming first.  As for the screen cover, it's a new thing I'm trying.  I mostly use the LCD for menus and checking histograms so the clarity isn't that important to me, but I'll see how it goes as the camera ages.

Do you have a photo of the grip you made you could share?

Thanks,

N8

UtahN8
OP UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Yeah, you guys get it! :~)

UtahN8
OP UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

It's hard to know.  Sugru doesn't really shed material, and it's pretty inert in it's cured form.  Basically it's just silicone rubber.  Bending the prongs might work, but many plastics don't retain their physical properties after being heated enough to re-form so they might not provide enough tension.  I might try it with my second V1 though.  I figured any cover was better than none but I guess time will tell.  Nikon seems to have slightly redesigned later versions to stay put better anyway.

Thanks for the feedback!

N8

UtahN8
OP UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Like Olyflyer said, for me it's mostly (hopefully) protection against screen-cracking impacts.  I mostly use the LCD for checking histograms, so long as I can see it.  The LCD covers are a new thing for me, but so far so good.

N8

UtahN8
OP UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Thanks for sharing!  I like the idea of a physical cover for the dials, leather might still allow the buttons built into the control dial to be pressed under it.

Overall I too like the non-threatening look of the N1 cameras, I figure it also helps with theft prevention.  (I suppose the Nikon 1 logo might sadly serve that role too)

Depending on the task at hand, I also shoot with a D90/D7000 pair, but I've hacked both of them a fair bit as well.  I can't help it!

Thanks again,

-N8

UtahN8
OP UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Thanks for all the ideas and feedback everybody!  Questions keep coming up about the LCD screen protector and I thought I should add that I live in the desert of S. Utah which is an incredible dusty and abrasive environment; my hope is that the glass LCD cover will resist scratches and pitting better than what I assume is plastic on the camera.  And it's easier to replace in any case.  Ask me in 2 years how it worked out . . .

-N8

Seedeich Senior Member • Posts: 2,082
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

UtahN8 wrote:

Do you have a photo of the grip you made you could share?

The grip is made of two layers of thick leather, 7-8mm thick.

For the J1 I made a grip of one layer, bent around the corner. There is a lot less space for a grip. Works well enough for one handed operation with a short and light lens.

Unfortunately I don’t think these mods prevent theft. I've been asked several times whether it’s a Leica.

TClair
TClair Veteran Member • Posts: 4,304
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

A great collection of mods, thanks for sharing these.  Now off to my work bench...

Seedeich Senior Member • Posts: 2,082
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

If you want to bend thick, stiff leather, you can soak it with water. It gets really soft and you can bend it into any shape. Let it dry before you cut it to the right dimensions, finish the edges with fine sandpaper and dye it with leather-dye. Wax the outer surfaces a little before you mount it with double-sided tape.

UtahN8
OP UtahN8 Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

Those look pretty great, I like the grip on your J1 in particular.  Tell me about the tape over the pop-up flash; is it to prevent accidental flash use?

-N8

Seedeich Senior Member • Posts: 2,082
Re: Nikon V1 Modifications

UtahN8 wrote:

Those look pretty great, I like the grip on your J1 in particular. Tell me about the tape over the pop-up flash; is it to prevent accidental flash use?

-N8

Thanks.
If I had to redo the grip on the V1 I would probably do it in the J1 style. I just requires some more work to bend two layers of leather around the corner and glue them together. If it would be very advanced they could go around to the mode dial to prevent accidental rotating. It’s doable.

The tape on the flash was just to beer-seal it for festival use. I also had taped the gap between lens and camera.
Then I took the tape off the flash and accidentally released the flash. So now it’s taped up again. I never use direct flash anyway.

And off course as we all know, is tape on the flash is the best way to improve your flash-photography.

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