Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nikon 1 V1 CX-format EVIL camera

Last year, Nikon introduced the Nikon 1 system.  I was skeptical of a camera offering yet another format, and trending away from larger sensors. The Nikon 1 J1 that I tried out in the store turned me off with only a rear LCD for composing. However, after my wife returned from her Florida vacation in February, she told me she wasn't happy using the Coolpix L100 I had loaned her, as it lacked an eye-level viewfinder.  Already aware of the fire sale going on with the first generation of Nikon 1 cameras, I ordered a 2 lens 1V1 kit from B&H for $399 with free shipping.  That included the 10-30mm lens, and the 30-110mm lens.  With a 2.7 crop factor, that meant 27-80mm and 80-300mm range for the two zooms.  Both are quite decent VR lenses, by the way.  Oh, so you really think I bought it for myself, right?  Well, not really.  It seemed like a perfect lightweight camera for her with an electronic eye-level viewfinder (which turns on as soon as you put your eye to it.), FAST AF, and the ability to use different lenses.   Unfortunately, my wife fell and broke her hip a month ago, so she has not had the opportunity to use the camera, and I figured that I should run it through its paces as much as I could.

Impressions
1. The camera is very solid, and has a good feel in the hands -- an important thing to me.
2. The EVF is excellent, focusing is blazing fast and accurate.
3. Color rendition is very good, and exposures are excellent.
4. Battery life is excellent -- far better than my Olympus EPL-1.
5. Quiet operation
6. It does not look threatening.
7. It has a 40.5mm filter ring that I already have various adapters for, from using my Olympus EPL-1.
8. It takes a while getting to know the menu system and the many options, but whether I shot in full auto mode or in aperture-priority, it was easy to adjust exposures with the  exposure compensation adjustment.
9. I especially liked using in monochrome mode, and am happy with the image sharpness and contrast.
10. Like the other "amateur" Nikons, this one does not meter with non-electronically-coupled adapters.  For instance, I purchased a C-mount to Nikon 1 adapter, and had to use manual mode only, unlike the Olympus, which allows A and M mode for non-coupled lenses.  However, it worked very well with the same C-mount lenses that I had been using on my EPL-1, with no vignetting.  The 75mm 1.9 Kern-Palliard Switar looked like it belonged on the camera.
11. When you unlock the lens, the camera turns on -- excellent!
12. If you want to see what a real pro can do with this camera, look here!

Annoyances
1. Unlike some people who have bashed this camera from the get-go, I have no hate agenda going on here.  The fact is, the menu system does work and it takes a little getting used to -- Nikon aimed this camera for the crowd coming form a P&S, where menu choices proliferate.  Yes, us advanced photographers like wheels and buttons that are physical, and Nikon could have put the PSAM dial right on top of the camera top deck like it does with most of its other models. I understand that the Nikon 1V2 fixes that problem.

2. The lack of a regular flash shoe.  Really?  Is that so hard to include?  I suppose I'll have to buy an adapter to use my other flashes. No built-in flash in included in the 1V1, either.
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That's basically it.  I would like to add the 10mm 2.8 lens or the 18.5mm 1.8 lens to the kit.  I think this is a very under-rated camera and it takes images that are better than my old Nikon D70.  It weighs a lot less than my D90, and realistically, would be a far better camera on a trip with a couple of lenses.  I have yet to mount the camera in a tripod for night shots, etc., but will do so soon.  It has been too cold at night for that stuff.  I may just have to find a used 1V1 for myself, unless my wife decides that she doesn't want it.  If so, I'll probably sell off my M4/3 gear and stick with the Nikon systems.   Oh, and my wife is recuperating well from her broken hip.  She'll want to use this camera soon, I suppose...

By the way, EVIL means -Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens camera.



March Madness
I used a +2 series 6 diopter on the 10-30 zoom for this one.
the old school house
Ingalls Mall

1 comment:

Nicole Burgoz said...

Thanks for the review and hoping that your wife's recovering fast and good!