The Nikon 1 V1 is one of the two cameras launched at the release of the new 1 system, promising headline performance in a compact mirrorless body. How does the Nikon V1 fair in relation to its CSC peers?

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Nikon 1 V1

Overall score:83%
Image Quality:85%


  • Some impressive tricks, fast burst shooting and focusing, good EVF, retractable lenses


  • Too basic for hobbyists, too expensive for everyone else.


Nikon 1 V1 Review


Price as reviewed:


Performance and value

Nikon 1 V1 review – Performance

The V1 performs its party tricks very well and is
impressive in these modes. Focusing is fast and accurate,and its ability
to lock onto moving subjects is probably better than any other CSC
we’ve used. The addition of the electronic viewfinder makes it so much
easier to follow action than the J1 too. The EVF, which offers 100%
coverage, switches on automatically as you put your eye to it and the
resolution is among the best we’ve seen, with a good refresh rate too,
though it isn’t in the same league as the new 2.4m-dot Sony OLED as
found in the NEX-7.

Where the V1 starts to fall down is when
you want to take more control of the settings, at which point the need
to keep plunging into the menus becomes a nuisance. The lack of any
quick access to even the ISO or white balance is disappointing, and many
of the other features that many serious hobbyists would expect are
missing too – for example, there’s no auto-bracketing (which would be
very useful with that fast burst mode), no control over the dynamic
range other than D-Lighting on/off and no highlight clipping display.

are some annoying operational quirks too, such as the camera’s
inability to shoot video in any mode other than movie mode, despite the
presence of a separate movie record button implying that it should.

troubling for many will be the fact that the smallish sensor makes it
harder to create shallow depth of field effects than with almost any
other system camera, except for the Pentax Q.

While the accessory
shoe gives the V1 potential for expansion there is currently only a
small (if brilliantly designed) flashgun and GPS unit available, and as
it’s different to the ubiquitous hotshoe mount on most other cameras,
forget using your existing speedlights. The omission of a built in flash
would be more forgiveable if the external SB-N5 flashgun was included
in the box, but having to fork out another £130 for it when you’ve
already paid over £800 for the camera is a bit of an ask.

The V1’s
use of a larger DSLR battery (the same as the one used in the D7000)
may make the camera bigger but at least the battery life is a
respectable 400 or so shots, double that of the J1.

Nikon 1 V1 review – Value

V1 is likeable enough but its £829 price tag is extremely high for a
camera with a small sensor, no flash, and (so far) a very limited range
of additional lenses and accessories – unless you particularly want
those unique features. NA

Images from the V1 are very good
considering the size of its sensor, but not compared with other cameras
of a similar cost, all of which have much bigger sensors. Although
exposure and white balance are generally accurate, and colours vibrant,
the sharpness, noise and dynamic range are bettered by most other
cameras at this price, and they can produce shallower depth of field at
the same field of view and aperture. That said, high quality A3 prints
at ISO 1600 are entirely possible. The lenses are sharp but the 10-30mm
zoom suffers pronounced barrel distortion at 10mm, as does the 30-110mm
at 30mm to a lesser extent. The 10mm f/2.8 pancake is the best of the
trio we tried.

  1. 1. Nikon 1 review - Features
  2. 2. Performance and value
  3. 3. Image quality and verdict
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