Nikon 1 V1
Beautiful photos; great 1080p video
Shooting modes buried in menus; camera doesn’t preview changes to settings on LCD
$999 (10-30mm lens); $1099 (10-30mm & 30-110mm lenses)
Nikon is one of the behemoths in the DSLR market, so expectations were high for the Japanese company’s first foray into the CSC market. The V1 is an interesting first attempt, with real strengths and weaknesses compared to the other models tested.
Nikon has opted for a fairly small CX-size sensor in the V1, which immediately places a question mark over image quality. The good news is that it’s largely unfounded. The quality of Nikon glass and image processing stand up and the quality of the photos is impressive.
However, the controls for the V1 aren’t exactly what you’d expect from a company with Nikon’s heritage. Access to shooting modes is buried deep within menus and mastering the different control mechanisms – an up and down rocker and the scroll wheel – takes a while to get used to.
Also disappointing is the lack of a live indication of your shot on the LCD as you alter the settings, given that it’s become a standard feature for this class of camera.
The LCD screen is sharp and vibrant and the video quality from the 1080p shooting mode is spectacular.
Also striking is the inclusion of a feature called Smart Shot, which takes a stream of 20 photographs and then determines what it believes are the five best for you to choose from.
Another option on the menu dial is a slightly weird Motion Snapshot, which sets a single second of footage alongside a still and some music, in an attempt to stir up some emotion from your photography. It works, but hardly seems practical at all.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
If it weren’t for the great images, the Nikon would be hard to recommend. But as it stands, the images are impressive and it’s an easy camera to use for novices, although experts will become quickly frustrated.