Nikon 1 V2 Review
The Nikon 1 V2 is the flagship model in the Nikon 1 system of Mirrorless cameras. The system comprises of a new electric lens-mount paired with a 3:2 aspect ratio sensor having a 2.7X crop factor. This makes it possible to shrink Nikon 1 cameras and lenses compared to all but one Mirrorless system.
Nikon developed a new 14 megapixels high-speed CMOS sensor, shared between the V2 and J3. The sensor features built-in Phase-Detect autofocus at 73 points and reads 135 points for Contrast-Detect autofocus, just like the original Nikon 1 sensor.
This high-speed CMOS sensor can shoot continuously at full-resolution up to 60 FPS, when using single-shot AF, or 15 FPS with continuous AF. This is combined with an electronic-shutter which allows shutter-speeds up to 1/16000s.
The Nikon 1 V2 is relatively compact for a mirrorless camera. It features an ultra-sharp EVF with 1.4 megapixels and an Eye-Start sensor. It offers complete manual-controls, including electronically-controlled manual-focus, custom white-balance and external lighting via a proprietary accessory port.
This detailed digital camera review takes a close look at the Nikon 1 V2's features, ergonomics, usability, image quality, performance and video recording features.
Nikon 1 V2 Major Features
- 14 Megapixels High-Speed CMOS sensor
- 2.7X Crop factor, 3:2 aspect-ratio
- Nikon 1 lens mount
- ISO range from 160 to 6400
- Auto ISO with 800, 3200 or 6400 maximum
- 1/16000One sixteenth thousandth of a second. Electronic shutter only. - 30s Shutter-Speed, plus Bulb mode
- Multi-Segment, Center-Weighed and Spot metering
- PASM exposure modes, with Program-Shift
- Automatic Scene Selection mode
- Exposure-Compensation: ±3 EV in 1/3 EV steps
- Automatic, 6 presetIncandescent, Fluorescent, Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade and custom white-balance.
- WB fine-tuning, 2 axis, 13 steps, except for Custom WB
- Customizable sharpness, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue
- Single-Shot, Continuous, Manual and Auto focus-drives
- 73-Point Phase-Detect autofocus system
- 135-Point Contrast-Detect autofocus
- Autofocus assist lamp
- 60 FPS Continuous drive
- 15 FPS Drive with continuous autofocus
- 5 FPS Drive with mechanical shutter
- Self-Timer: 2s or 10s delay
- Remote: Instant or 2s delay
- 100% Coverage 0.47" EVF with 1.4 Megapixels and Eye-Start sensor
- 3” LCD with 920K Pixels
- 1920x1080 @ 30 FPS 1080p HD video
- 1280x720 @ 60 FPS 720p HD video
- 640x240 @ 400 FPS High-Speed video
- 320x120 @ 1200 FPS High-Speed video
- 1920x1080 @ 60 FPS Motion-Snapshot
- Internal stereo microphone
- Stereo sound input mini-jack
- JPEG and RAW modes
- Optional High-ISO noise reduction
- Optional Long-Exposure noise-reduction
- Optional Adaptive D-Lighting
- Sensor Dust-Reduction
- Dual Control-Dials
- Traditional Mode-Dial
- Dual IR Remote sensors
- Lithium-ion battery
- SDXC Memory slot
- Proprietary Hot-Shoe
Suitability - What is it good for?
The Nikon 1 V2 features photographic controls similar to advanced compact digital cameras. Those include full manual controls, including manual focus, custom white-balance and detailed image parameters. This camera can record JPEG images, RAW files or both. This gives precise control over the creative aspect of photography.
The major difference between this model and advanced compacts is that the Nikon 1 V2 is an Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC). This provides tremendous versatility at the cost of new lenses.
Since the Nikon 1 system is new, current native offerings are limited to a handful of basic lenses. There is an adapter which allows the use of F-mount lenses. Lenses with a built-in focus motor (AF-S for Nikkor ones) are able to autofocus using that adapter.
One must consider that the size and weight advantage of a mirrorless like the V2 disappears while using non-native lenses. In contrast, compact cameras have completely retractable lenses with over 10X optical zoom and protruding ones up to 50X.
The Nikon 1 V2 uses a proprietary hot-shoe for external lighting instead of a standard hot-shoe. It supports a limited number of flashes and accessories. These include 2 Speedlights, a stereo microphone and GPS unit. Devices from other manufacturers, even non-flash ones like a bubble-level, cannot be attached to this camera.
The Nikon 1 V2 has both an standard mechanical shutter and an electronic shutter. The latter lets the V2 reach shutter-speeds of up to 1/16000s which is faster than any other ILC. It also enables continuous shooting up to 60 FPS at full resolution with focus locked on the first frame or 15 FPS with continuous autofocus. This makes this camera well-suited for action photography. The electronic shutter also makes the V2 ultra-quiet, which is a tremendous advantage under certain circumstances.
Capability - What can it do?
The Nikon 1 V2 itself is a rather capable camera. Its feature-set includes a good part of what entry-level DSLRs can do, plus it has plenty of unique features of its own. The Nikon 1 system uses the same 3:2 aspect-ratio as most modern DSLRs, providing an exact match for the classic 4"x6" print. The V2 has a 14 megapixels CMOS sensor, good enough for sharp 18"x12" prints at low sensitivities.
There are presently 8 native lenses for the V2, spanning focal-lengths of 6.7 to 110mm. Considering the crop-factor of 2.7X, this covers an ultra-wide 18mm to a telephoto 297mm. This covers a very wide range of subjects from architecture to street shooting. While an F-mount lens can easily provide a longer reach.
The Nikon 1 mount is controls lenses electronically. Traditional mechanical zoom lenses plus power-zoom lenses are available. Autofocus is obviously supported as is manual focus which is performed by the control dial rather than a focus ring. Image stabilization is built into lenses but controlled and activated by the camera.
The standard PASM exposure modes are available for both images and videos. Unlike its predecessor, the V2 has a traditional mode-dial. ±3 EV of EC is available in 1/3 EV steps. All parameters other than ISO are always controlled in thirds.
With a shutter-speed range of 1/16000s-30s, plus Bulb mode, the Nikon 1 V2 is suitable for photography from extremely bright to rather dim lighting. Its ISO sensitivity range goes from 160 to 6400. This is good for general photography and is comparable to entry-level DSLRs.
Continuous shooting speeds are class-leading with up to 60 FPS at full-resolution. A large buffer lets it shoot up to 40 JPEG images or 40 RAW files. Autofocus is locked on the first frame at drives speeds above 15 FPS. At 15 FPS though, continuous autofocus including Subject-Tracking is possible. When the mechanical shutter is used, the continuous drive drops to a respectable 5 FPS.
While the V1 has a unique and genuinely useful approach to integrating video and images, the V2 sadly takes a step back from how most current cameras behave. There is a dedicated Video-Record button that lets users start recording video in any mode. The problem is that in all image mode, the preview shows a 3:2 framing and keeps doing so even while video is being recorded! This not only makes setting framing impossible but also means that one can easily cut-off the top or bottom of a subject while filming. In practice this makes the Video-Record button completely useless.
The high-speed CMOS sensor is used in both Smart Photo Selector and Motion Capture modes. Both these modes buffer from the moment the shutter is pressed halfway. The difference is that the former mode selects the best image based on sharpness and composition, while the latter creates a slow-motion video from the second preceding the shutter-release. Motion Capture mode adds a fixed sound-tracks to the video.
The Nikon 1V2 provides flexible image parameters in the form of 6 predefined Picture Controls, one of which is B&W. Each style can be refined using 10 steps of sharpening, 7 of contrast, 3 of brightness, 7 of saturation and 7 of hue. White-Balance is quite flexible with an Auto mode, 6 presets and a custom setting. All White-Balance settings except Custom are fine-tunable in 13-steps along 2 axis.
Drive modes include self-timers of 2s and 10s, plus both instant or 2s delayed remote trigger. There is no need for MLU on the V2. This camera supports an optional infrared remote and has dual IR receivers to respond from the front and back of the camera.
Nikon V2 Facts
|14 Megapixels Mirrorless||ISO 160-6400|
|Nikon 1 Mount|
Sensor-Size: 13 x 9mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|0.47" Built-in EVF 1.4 Megapixels||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Custom white-balance|
|Built-in Dust Reduction||Spot-Metering|
|60 FPS Drive, 40 Images||Hot-Shoe|
|1920x1080 @ 30 FPS Video Recording||Stereo audio input|
|3" LCD 920K Pixels||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
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