Nikon’s V range of compact system cameras were introduced for a rather serious group of photographers. The responses from serious photographers led Nikon into introducing the all new V3 camera.
Reincarnated from the V2, is the new almost DSLR look-alike is the V3 from Nikon’s 1 series.
Let’s delve into the 1 series range and take an in-depth look at the Nikon V3.
The V3 from Nikon has been built with a slightly different approach than its predecessors. The V3 has been built with a little twist, the viewfinder has been removed and the overall design has been made more stylish.
As with all other Nikon 1 series cameras, the V3 also has a one-inch type sensor. This is smaller than most other compact system cameras, which generally feature a Micro Four Thirds or APS-C sized sensor. This however, does allow the overall size of the 1 system to be very small. The V3's sensor has 18.4 million pixels, an upgrade from the V2's 14.2 million. Nikon has removed the sensor’s optical low pass filter that interestingly increases the details in resolutions.
Also, the V3 has been given a new and improved processor. The new Expeed 4A processor from Nikon is an upgrade from the 3A that was found on the V2. The new processor will facilitate improved low-light shooting. The V3 also has an extended ISO sensitivity that ranges up to ISO 12800. Shooting in low light is pretty easy with this camera.
Nikon has also continues with its hybrid auto focusing system for the V3. There are 171 AF points in the V3, previously there were 135 points. Out of the 171 points, 105 are phase-detection points, for quick focusing. The remaining is contrast detection, which are used for accuracy.
Nikon has also stuck onto the unique functions found previously on the Nikon 1 series cameras. The camera also features Best Moment Capture, which now features a new Active Selection Function that takes up to 40 full resolution images in less than a second and lets you choose the one to keep.
The camera has manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic modes to choose from. There's also a good range of lenses available for the Nikon 1 system, and it seems that Nikon is investing fairly heavily in developing the system. At the time of the V3 launch, Nikon also introduced a 70-300mm lens. The V3 comes as standard with a new retractable "power zoom" kit lens.
Nikon's 1 range of cameras have a 2.7x crop factor, meaning that the 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens offers an equivalent of roughly 27-80mm in 35mm terms. The lens automatically retracts when not in use to keep the overall size of the camera down for transportation. You can also attach existing Nikon F mount lenses via an adapter if you wish - which could make this an appealing prospect as a second camera for Nikon DSLR owners. The V3 is a pretty interesting camera that aims at a more serious approach when it comes to photography. The features are aligned according to the usage. Fortunately, Nikon has also included Wi-Fi into this camera that is a big advantage to the users.
Design and Display:
The V3 has a flatter appearance than the V2 and lacks an angular and deep grip. It has a textured portion that makes it feel quite secure when held. Unfortunately, you cannot get a good grip on the camera when held in one hand. The camera has a power switch on the top plate and requires a gentle touch to operate. Occasionally, when the camera is placed in a bag, it might accidentally turn on/off.
There is a mode dial placed on the camera’s top plate that switches between various types of modes such as manual, semi-automatic (aperture priority and shutter priority) as well as video, creative and the Nikon 1 unique modes, such as Best Moment Capture.
The camera also has a small dial that controls different functions depending on the shooting mode you're in. There is a different range of buttons located on the rear side of the camera. The camera works best with both hands, since the buttons are spread across and grouped on both sides. The menu and play back button are juxtaposed and hence shooting with right hand is generally preferred.
On the right hand side is a scrolling dial that surrounds a standard four-way navigational pad, with each directional key having its own function to include AF mode for the up directional key, exposure compensation for the right key and timer/drive mode for the left directional key.
The camera also has a touch screen display that is quite responsive and great to use. Settings can be changed quite easily and scrolling through images in playback is pretty simple.
There is a creative mode that can be used to access different Picture Styles in any of the semi-automatic or manual modes. Picture Styles include Vivid or Monochrome, and can be customized (such as by increasing the contrast), and also have the benefit of being able to be shot in raw format. This is a pretty good camera to operate if you like to play a little with creativity and maintain a professional balance too.
The Nikon 1 series cameras have been reasonably popular amongst consumers. The camera remains consistent with the amount of detail even though the camera has a 1 inch sensor. The colors are bright and punchy without displaying a lot of saturation or vibrancy. Overall, the images have a very good focus towards the detail, but when you zoom in 100%, the images show a loss in detail. The camera’s new processor, the Expeed 4A is a great improvement when it comes to noise performance than its predecessor.
The camera has a range of creative options to experiment with. The Picture Styles can be altered and they can be shot in raw format. You can customize the styles on this camera to boost the contrast and such settings. There are different digital filters available in Creative Mode that are worth experimenting, but you cannot shoot raw files with them.
The V3 is Nikon’s smart departure from the V2, thereby adapting to a more sleek and sophisticated look. An interesting addition is the tilting touch screen that is responsive and easy to use. Functions like pinch too zoom are similar to smart phone functions. The various buttons and dials are a great addition too. The built in Wi-Fi is a great addition too.
This camera does not have a viewfinder. This is a loss of a unique feature in the V series cameras. Getting an additional one would cost more, and enthusiastic photographers will have to manage accordingly. This is a great camera that is a little different from the other V series cameras from Nikon. It is definitely worth using.
Nikon 1 V3 Rivals:
Sony Cybershot DSC RX100 3
Sony Alpha A6000