Nikon 1 V1 / J1 Review
Body and Design: Nikon 1 V1
The V1 is a relatively bulky camera very similar in size to the Olympus PEN E-P3. It has a rather utilitarian shape, largely free of tonal or textural contrasts. Its excellent electronic viewfinder provides sufficient eye relief for users wearing glasses and because of this relief, we haven't had a problem with nose-induced smears on the rear LCD.
Like the J1, the V1 offers relatively large, easy to press buttons on the rear plate as well as a rear mode dial, which allows you to switch between still image capture mode, movie capture mode, Smart Photo Selector mode and Motion Snapshot mode. Enthusiasts should note that PASM exposure modes must be accessed via the onscreen menu.
Unusually, the V1's rear four-way controller lacks either a WB and ISO setting, instead providing access for AF/AE lock and AF mode. Setting WB and ISO sensitivity again requires a trip to the menu screen. An 'F' (Features) button sits within easy reach of the thumb when your hand is in the shooting position. Yet this non-customizeable control point is only capable of triggering a total of three separate mode-dependant options, and is completely inactive in Smart Photo Selector mode.
|The optional Speedlight SB-N5 flash unit attaches to the V1's accessory port. The head can be tilted up to 90 degrees and swivels 180 degrees in both directions. It's quite pricey, though, for what many users will consider an essential accessory.|
Compared to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 and Sony NEX-C3
The V1 represents a rather unique interpretation of the needs of would-be point and shoot upgraders by Nikon. While the camera body is physically larger than nearly every other mirrorless competitor, it of course houses a sensor smaller than the Micro Four Thirds offerings. It falls in a similar price range to the more enthusiast-oriented Panasonic GX1 and we've chosen the Sony NEX-C3 to represent the most closely comparable APS-C performer in terms of resolution. The V1 is the only model with a built-in viewfinder but offers much less in the way of customizeable options than either of the other two cameras.
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