Nikon V1 Review

By on July 25, 2012
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A great first entry, but needs improvements.

Good: Solid build, excellent EVF, Motion Snapshot mode is gimmicky but a nice feature, Smart Photo Selector is great for fast moving scenes, Continuous shooting at 60fps provides exceptional speed for novice users, both mechanical and (silent) electronic shutters available, and very fast AF system.
Bad: No manual focus ring on lens and digitally manually zooming is cumbersome, rear LCD doesn't accurately represent exposure compensation in Live View, some basic options are hidden in sub-menus and no special 'art filter' effects.
Price: AED 4,600
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Image Quality

The Advanced Hybrid AF system in the Nikon 1 uses both phase-detection and contrast-detection to lock onto the subject. During day time and well lit places the former method is used, resulting in extremely fast AF, whereas in low light condition the contrast-detection mode kicks in, resulting in slow (but not Canon slow) autofocus. Manual focus is, however, horrendously slow and irritating to use because of the small sensor size and lack of fine quality captured; I would have much preferred a manual focus ring on the lens themselves.

The JPEG file output is sharp, with the Nikon 1 taking care of unwanted vignetting and fringing effects on pictures. The built-in option for Active D-Light control, in conjunction with the Noise Reduction allows for well-lit pictures without heavy shadows and noise at high ISO.


Movie recording at 1080p (in 60i and 30p) as well as 720p (at 60p) is fairly decent, with a good amount of detail being captured. What’s amazing, however, is how smooth and relatively fast the continuous AF system works. Not only that, but while recording a movie you can take 16:9 framed images by pressing the shutter release, and because of the electronic shutter in use, the pictures are taken silently and without interrupting the movie.


The Nikon 1 cameras are a great first effort by Nikon in the world of mirrorless cameras, with some great features. Great image quality, fast AF (including continuous shooting up to 60fps), and an impressive EVF are a few things that make the Nikon 1 amazing. However, for every useful feature, there’s an unnecessary layer of menu options to go through, making an otherwise enjoyable and quick experience something cumbersome.

If you stick with the basic options and don’t go into full manual controls, you’ll enjoy the Nikon 1 for what it is, a decent upgrade for point & shoot users, but enthusiasts will be left wanting due to the lack of some very basic features.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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