Nikon

I am pleased every time I shoot with Nikon 1 V1

Nikon 1 V1 is already quite old camera but it is clearly the fastest focusing camera I own. And that is a big asset in many situations, especially with lively children. Another asset is the wider DoF the 1” sensor offers. That combined with a nice (and inexpensive) 18.5mm/1.8 lens (50mm equivalent) gives a perfect DoF/background blur compromise. Actually that lens produces quite nice bokeh and is very sharp wide open.

I think I would have sold my V1 if I had not got the 18.5mm prime. It is so good lens that I think everyone having Nikon 1 series camera should buy it. I promise it will open a new world for your Nikon 1 photography.

Here are two latest shots with my Nikon 1 V1 equipped with the 18.5mm prime. Both shot wide open (f/1.8).

Clover flowers Summer fun
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The camera I really underestimated

I almost sold this camera (well, some of my friends will ask now that is there any camera I would not have sold and then bought back) but I am happy that I decided to keep it. That camera is the Nikon 1 V1. I have learned to use it, at least partially. When I bought this camera I was having “problems” with high-ISO shots. Too much noise and everything. V1’s noise is actually not any big question even with ISO 1600. I have got some very good results with that high ISO because the camera focuses so precisely and fastly.

Outdoors this camera shines if you have to shoot moving subjects. Focus is really fast and usually I use sigle shots but of course you can utilize multiple shots or even the decent focus tracking. I have to admit that I have never before got so many keepers when shooting fast subjects, not with any camera I have owned (there are quite many). When you shoot with ISO 100-200 the image quality is very good indeed.

Below are some latest examples shot with the Nikon 1 V1. I have to say that I am very happy about all of them

1 prime

Yesterday I bought a prime lens for my Nikon 1 V1. That was a little bit of a surprise even to myself because I have not written very positively about V1 here in my blog. I would like to give a chance for that camera though. I looked through Ivan Radic’s Flickr stream which is full of great shots with V1 and Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 prime. Superb stuff and lots of high ISO shots too. So, I went to a local camera store and bought the 18.5/1.8 prime.

The lens is solidly build (plastic with a metal bajonet), light-weighted, and just right in size. It is not any pancake lens which I find good because you can get grip from lens barrel easily and stabilize the camera better in that way. This lens has no image stabilization which I find a pity because it is 50mm equivalent and IS would have been nice for a “normal” lens. I have to say this lens is very sharp wide open. This is very nice because f/1.8 lets lots of light in and provides just nice DoF. And you can get quite nice background blur and bokeh with it too. I think I am going to use it mainly wide open. This will be possible with Nikon 1 V1 also in outdoor use in good lighting because V1 has an electronic shutter option which allows you to use shutter speeds of 1/16 000 s.

In my earlier posts here I complained about the poor ISO performance of Nikon 1 V1. Now I shot many photos with the 18.5/1.8 prime lens wide open with ISO 800 and was very pleased actually. So, what happened? I think the answer is that I was able to use shutter speeds in the range of 1/125 – 1/250 s indoors which provide sharper shots much easier than slower shutter speeds (with same ISOs) with my 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The noise grain is (at least with ISO 800) quite pleasing looking actually. If there is even a slight camera shake (because of too slow shutter speed), it tends to exaggerate the noise and make the noise grain “mushy” looking. Indoor shooting was one of the reasons I decided to get this prime lens and it seems it performs well. Next I will test it at ISO 1600 (and even 3200).

Now that I have V1 with the two lenses (18.5mm and 10-30mm) it seems more possible that I will take this combo with me for our forthcoming vacation. I have no problems with 10-30mm zoom outdoors in good light and 18.5mm will cover indoor shooting (and of course it will be used outdoors too).

Here are few test shots from yesterday. All at ISO 800, wide open, and shutter speeds 1/125 – 1/250 s.

Ivy Thinker Headphones on a stand

Four latest shots with four different cameras

I have four cameras at the moment. It seems to be too much as I do not have time to use each of them as much as I would like. And it is fall time again. We are turning into the dark side.

Darth Pirate

This “Darth Pirate” shot was taken with my Leica Digilux 2. It is like a dinosaur of the cameras. Like a huge slow sauropod. I have quite mixed feelings about it. Some day I love it some other day I hate it. Today I will say that it is an interesting relic.

A lamp

An IKEA lamp. Oh my, I really am out of ideas. Shot with my Ricoh GR. This is in-camera JPEG with bleach bypass effect. It actually turned out quite nice. GR is a very capable camera limited only with its 28mm field of view. So small and easy to take with you but I am every time wondering if it will fulfill my photographic needs. You should read this that if I am able to utilize the 28mm properly. I’m never sure.

Speed

Fast AF. And that’s about it. V1. I am irritated already at ISO 400. Too much noise. I actually like the freedom the 10-30mm zoom offers but you have to go into the menu to change many basic things. That’s why Nikon 1 V1 really feels like ver. 1.0.

I'm number one!

What a fantastic IQ. And that’s about it. The AF still hunts and hunts and hunts. It was pure luck that I nailed the above expression. Usually it is frustration what I will get. But sometimes I am rewarded lavishly by the IQ. That’s the Fuji X-Pro1.

What a peculiar camera collection I have.

ISO100 and you are all set up

I have been using my Nikon 1 V1 lately to test its features for a vacation camera. What is fantastic is that the AF still amazes me. Truly awesome and fast. I have been using it in multi-point mode (camera will choose the AF points) with face recognition. Works so well and usually knows the right target (I do not know how).

For using this camera for few days I think that the ISO100 is the only usable (at least only un-noisy) ISO with the V1. I am seeing quite much noise already at ISO200. I think, however, ISO100 is totally okay when shooting outdoors in good lighting conditions. I suppose this will be the situation at our trip. I can get fast shutter speeds because I can use the lens wide open or near it to get sharp shots and the DoF I need. I am now using aperture mode and watching out the shutter speeds. At the moment I feel that I want to stay at ISO100, maybe ISO200 in max. It seems to me that for indoor shooting this camera needs a flash. If you go to ISO800-1600 range (which is many times needed indoors) the noise levels increase very much. One cure for this problem could be a faster lens, like Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8. But I think I am not going to buy a new lens yet. I have to learn the camera more first.

I have been very pleased for the outdoor shots by V1. Nice camera for quick snapshots.

Fly-fisher at Viannankoski

SP from mill's window

The dam

Initial feelings on Nikon 1 V1

Nikon 1 V1 arrived yesterday and I had time only for a short shooting session with it but I still decided to share my very initial feelings on it. First thing I noticed when I unpacked the camera was that very solid felling when I was holding it. Beautifully built camera and I think the weight of it is just perfect. Not too heavy but not too light either. I got Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens with the body. The lens is very small and lightweight and still it feel very well built. Both the LCD and the EVF are very crisp and clear, i.e. pleasure to use. All in all the whole package screams quality.

My main reason to get this camera was the fast AF (of course the very low price helped too). And I can say that the AF really is FAST. Much faster than my Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 35mm lens and clearly faster than my Ricoh GR. I noticed that multi-point AF with face recognition is great for casual shooting. Nails the focus fast almost every time. For close-ups I tested single-point AF and it worked nicely and blazingly fast for that kind of shooting. All I can say is that I would like that kind of AF in all my cameras.

I mainly used shutter priority with auto-ISO (up to 3200) because the camera tends to select too slow shutter speeds when you are using e.g. aperture priority connected with auto-ISO. At least for moving subjects, like children or dogs, this is the only way to freeze their motion. To select the shooting mode as well as ISO you have to go to camera’s menu. This is silly and slow process. You have to remember that I am using this camera more or less as a point & shoot substitute. So, I think I can not ask everything to be perfect (and that is not certainly the situation with Nikon 1 V1). But I knew about these things beforehand.

The IQ is very nice for such small sensor. High ISOs (from 800 up) produce some quite noticeable noise but I can deal with that using Lightroom’s tools. And the noise this camera produces is not any horrible mush. Of course it is not any APS-C sensor Fuji X-Pro1 (or even Ricoh GR). You should not expect that kind of a ISO performance. If you take the small sensor into account the ISO performance of the V1 is more than acceptable. It is, however, very clear already now to me that if I want to shoot lots indoors, I have to get a faster lens (or a flash). Luckily Nikon has a great option for this. Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 (about 50mm equiv.). This lens is fast and reasonable prized (about 190 euros as new).

I was really surprised how sharp the 10-30mm zoom is. And it can produce nice DoF and bokeh in close-up shots as you can see from the shot below (shot at 30mm, f/5.6). And I really love the image stabilization (VR) it has. I was able to get sharp shots with 1/10s shutter speeds at 30mm (81mm equiv.).

Nikon 1 V1 close-up test

1 camera approach for the trip

I have been pondering lately which of my cameras to take with me in our forthcoming holiday to Canary Islands. And during few last days I came into a decision which do not include any of my present cameras. Yes, a new one. Again.

First of all I decided to take only one camera with me. You can read my present options from this post. I realized that none of those is good alone for the trip and I really want to keep my camera gear as minimal as possible (in that trip that is). There are some features I would like to have in my “vacation” camera:

– Reasonably small in size. It has to be easy to carry with.

– Fast AF. I will photograph our lively sons a lot during that trip. My present cameras are in mediocre-good level in AF speed.

– A normal zoom lens. From wide to short tele would be okay. I do not want to change lenses all the time. From my present cameras only my Leica Digilux 2 has a zoom lens (28-90mm equiv.) and that camera is quite a special case and I do not feel so that I would like to take it as a sole camera for a vacation. But something like the Leica’s zoom range would be nice.

– A camera body or a lens equipped with IS (image stabilization). I would really like to have this feature (had IS when I owned Olympus OM-D and it was so nice).

– Decent IQ. I would use the camera mainly in daylight situations during the trip but I think it should also manage with higher ISOs (at least up to 1600).

– Viewfinder. I would very much like to have a decent viewfinder. I like to have an option to use LCD or a viewfinder. They both have their uses.

That is quite a list actually. I went through numerous review sites and blogs during my decision process. Then I noticed an used Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm (27-81mm equiv.) VR (IS) zoom lens in a Finnish camera site. Shutter count only 850 and like a new condition and only 200 euros. That is really a bargain I think. This combo will fulfill actually all the above requirements. I think Nikon 1 V1 will be a perfect vacation camera for me.