Why I love the Nikon 1 system

I have been a Nikon user since the late 1990s; Started with F70 and F90x with a couple of lenses. In 2005, I got my first digital Nikon : the D70. Few years later, I switched to D200, then D700, D300s, … then switched to D3s, D800E and recently Dƒ. I have invested a lot in this wonderful complete system…  and I really love it. You can check my complete gear HERE.

1966672_296395497177036_461036310_nSelf Portrait with Nikon 1 V1, Nikkor 10-100/4-5.6 VR and SB-N7 speedlight

MY PREVIOUS AND CURRENT COMPACT SYSTEMS I was attracted by the compact system invasion since 2008-2009 due to it’s compact size for walk around photography. In 2010 I had my first mirrorless system : a Lumix GF2. At that time, the GF2 was among the most responsive compact systems with excellent Video capabilities. When the Nikon 1 system was introduced in September 2011, it was ferociously attacked by most reviewers along the globe due to its small sensor (1″) to high price ratio; Most of those reviewers didn’t even try the Nikon 1 for more than a couple of hours or even less. Being a Nikon enthusiast I didn’t take those reviewers seriously , so I decided to purchase the Nikon 1 V1 with the 10-30 and 30-100 zooms, 10/2.8, along the FT1 adapter for F mount lenses and a Leica M adapter . I was highly satisfied with its extremely fast performance : 1/16000s shutter speed and 60fps were dream numbers … The very fast AF and excellent video capabilities lend me to sell the GF2 later on. The mirrorless world was highly attacked by improved Lumix , Olympus, and Sony entered the game with the APSC NEX system. I sold my Nikon 1 system then, thinking that the new larger sensor systems would give more responsiveness, so I switched to Fuji X-Pro1 and later Sony NEX-7 and NEX-6. I sold the Sony NEX few months later and kept the Fuji. After trying the excellent Fuji and the NEX, I missed the responsiveness of the 1 system. In 2013, I got the chance to buy a new V1 with 10/2.8 white kit for around 330$. I rebuilt the 1 system very fast purchasing the 10-100mm VR, 6.7-13/3.5-5.6 VR , 18.5/1.8, 32/1.2 with almost all the necessary accessories : FT1, GP-N100 GPS Unit, Nikon 1 SB-N7 Speedlight, GR-N1000 Grip, etc… It was my ‘Point and Shoot’ system. I love the IQ, a film like rendering, the AF speed was still one of the fastest around. I like the ability to take full res still while shooting 1080 video without any interruption. 60fps using the electronic shutter with fixed AF in NEF. Was able to take around 45 continuous RAW files at 60fps !!! No other cam can do this. The 1/16000s using electronic shutter was useful using the very bright 32/1.2 and the 18.5/1.8 at bright light. Last summer I was using the v1 for underwater photography using the excellent German made Ewa Marine D-B underwater housing.

ADVANTAGES OF THE SMALLER SENSOR Nikon 1 has a 1″ sensor with a 2.7x crop factor. Same sensor size as the Sony RX100 and RX10. Larger sensors have the advantages that mostly everybody knows : shallow DOF, low light capabilities, great Dynamic Range, etc… But not everybody sees the advantages of a smaller sensor. Smaller sensors result in very compact lenses and zooms. my Nikkor 1 10-100mm VR (27-270mm equivalent) weights 268g and is 7cm long only ! A smaller sensor gives great amount of DOF … so it’s easier to get everything in Focus. The Dynamic Range of the V1 is better than one might expect from such a tiny sensor. You will lose the low light performance though . The V1 can give clean results at ISO 1600 . anything above that would give some noise. With the introduction of the V3 one week ago, it seems Nikon is improving the low light performance as it can go now to 12800. Still waiting for some real test samples to judge this improvement. The small 1″ sensor of the V1 coupled with the FT1 adapter and Nikkor lenses is a great joy to use. A 50/1.4G lens will give you a 135mm equivalent with AF. An 85/1.8G will give you a 229.5mm equivalent ! Recently Nikon introduced a new 1 super zoom : a compact 70-300/4.5-5.6 VR equivalent to 189-810mm weighting 550 grams only !

THE SUPER FAST PROCESSOR The processor of the V1 is super fast. The V1 can shoot up to 60fps (yes, 60fps) in full resolution RAW, when using the electronic shutter. I was able to shoot 45 consecutive shots in RAW before it stopped for some seconds. You can also shoot full resolution stills while shooting video without any interruption of the video recording, and this is a feature that i really like. The AF is one of the fastest around today : much faster than Sony NEX and Fuji X . The only system than “might”outperform the Nikon 1 V1 AF speed is the Olympus EM-1.

IMAGE QUALITY The 1 V1 produces very decent IQ images, having a film like rendering with excellent Dynamic Range. With the excellent 18.5/1.8 and 32/1.2 lenses, you can get really amazing results. I’m personally very satisfied from the IQ of this system. I actually consider it to be my Point and Shoot System. Below are some sample images taken with different lenses … You can see more Nikon 1 V1 samples on my V1 set on Flickr HERE.


NIKON 1 V1 with 32/1.2IMG_0002

NIKON 1 V1 with 32/1.2 IMG_0009

NIKON 1 V1 with 10/2.8IMG_0020

NIKON 1 V1 with FT-1 and Nikkor 30-110/3.8-5.6 VRIMG_0023

NIKON 1 V1 with FT-1 and Nikkor 85/1.8GIMG_0034

NIKON 1 V1 with Nikkor 10-100/4-5.6 VRIMG_0042

NIKON 1 V1 with Nikkor 6.7-13/3.5-5.6 VRIMG_0048

NIKON 1 V1 with 32/1.2 IMG_0024

NIKON 1 V1 with FT-1 and Nikkor 85/1.8G


  •  Very well built
  •  Compact and lightweight lenses
  •  Very good IQ and DR
  •  Very fast AF
  •  60 fps
  •  1/16000s
  •  Compact and lightweight lenses
  •  Excellent Video quality and features
  •  GPS add on


  •  ISO performance according to today’s standards
  •  Fixed screen (the V3 has a tilt touchscreen)
  •  Can’t disable the EVF eye sensor

my Nikon 1 WISHLIST I was waiting for a compact V3 with Tilt screen , improved ISO, higher MP (16), built in wifi and built in GPS, Standard Hot Shoe with wireless flash Features.  Nikon 1 V3 was introduced last week with almost all the features on my wishlist and much more, except the missing built in GPS that I wanted. I really wished that Nikon gave us the standard Hot Shoe in the V3, I don’t know why they missed this when we see that they have it in the Coolpix P7100, P7700 and P7800 !

List of Nikon 1 lenses I use with my V1:

15 thoughts on “Why I love the Nikon 1 system

  1. Thank you for continuously posting. I enjoy your posts and genuinely believe that they contribute a lot of real worth. I came across this Spotify playlist a while ago and thought it fits posts that you have posted. http://spoti.fi/2v7a0MA I hope the community listen to it!


  2. the nikon j1 ‘s the only camera that I have never sold, it is the’ only one that helps me to shoot the picture I had in mind… and I don’t know why


  3. I own all three Nikon V’s and I can say the image quality of the V1 is my favorite. It has the most character.
    The V2 image quality is not as film-like as the V1.
    The Nikon V3 hardware improvements are great, but I am not a fan of the image quality as much. It seems a little to “washed-out” compare to the V2 and V3.

    I own the 10mm, 18mm, 32mm and 10-100mm. I NEED the 70-300mm!
    I also would like to own an AW1 as you do. I am jealous…

    I shoot exclusively on Nikon 1, so feel free to visit my site for examples of all three V’s or find me on 500px as “Mavritivs”.



      1. AF speed has been considerably faster since the V2 compared to the V1. The V3 continues that tradition of improved AF speed. Although the speed of V3 compared to the V1 is a big jump, the difference of speed between the V2 and V3 is not apparent.

        The High ISO performance is improved, but not by much, in my opinion. The difference is maybe a one stop difference. However, I still prefer the “grainy” look over all 3 cameras. I can do an ISO comparison of all three using JPG if you would like.


      2. Thx for your reply. I noticed the AF improvement in the AW1 , and yes the V1 has this special rendering. I’m considering buying the V3 for the ergonomics , tilt screen , touch screen and wifi and the 18MP. I would love if I can see a direct ISO comparison between the 3 Vs …. Thx again


  4. The first 2 samples seem to be over sharp,the second image is very bad.
    The other pictures really show what the 1 system can do.
    I own a V1 and find it very good when used playing to it,s strengths,fast accurate and well made.
    It is not a multi shot Hassleblad 39 MP,[ my camera of choice before I retired] but with careful raw
    conversion it can hold it,s own against some much bigger cameras.


  5. HM: spot on! You’re the guy who pointed me to the V1 and I have not looked back ever since. I like its utter simplicity. perfect camera? Definitely not! But for AF speed and IQ within a reasonable ISO range (tops at 800) for an amateur techno-dummy like me, I’m only concerned with composition and framing. Many thanks HM. And it looks great too (V1).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. very good overview and detailed review with good examples. I am impressed by some pictures with a surprising DOF for this small lens. I am waiting for the first hands on reviews of the V3,

    Liked by 1 person

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