Pricing Update – 19th October 2011
The Nikon 1 cameras hit the shelves tomorrow (Thursday 20th October) in Singapore. The recommended retail prices in Singapore Dollars are as follows, the prices varies according to the different lens packages.
Nikon 1 V1 w/:
- 10-30mm + 30-110mm : $1,549
- 10-30mm + 10mm: $1,499
- 10mm: $1,369
- 10-30mm: $1,299
Nikon 1 J1 w/:
- 10-30mm + 30-110mm : $1,249
- 10-30mm + 10mm : $1,199
- 10mm: $1,069
- 10-30mm: $999
Nikon have finally entered the mirror-less camera market, although their reps may prefer ‘created a new camera category’, with their new Nikon 1 interchangeable lens camera system. Nikon 1 launches with the J1 and V1 cameras, and sports a new mount with a ‘CX’ 2.7 crop format. The J1 and V1 cameras have 10.1MP CMOS sensors.
While the masses may be more interested in the J1 ‘LCD’ camera, we were more interested in the higher spec V1 with a built-in electronic viewfinder. During the Nikon press conference in Singapore earlier today, we had the opportunity to fiddle with a demo Nikon 1 V1 unit and here are our brief first impressions:
1) The Nikon 1 V1 has a brilliant electronic viewfinder. At 1.44M dot resolution with 100% frame coverage, the v1’s evf seems even better than the Panasonic GH2’s which we felt was one of the best out there. Once again, excellent EVF!
2) Autofocus on the Nikon V1 is very, very fast, and possibly one of it’s key selling points! Not surprising, since superior autofocus technology is Nikon’s calling card in their DSLR system. Nikon claims the Nikon 1 system has ‘the world’s fastest AF’ with its hybrid (phase detection/contrast detect AF) autofocus. At this point, we wouldn’t argue.
3) The Nikon V1 feels good in the hands. Good weight and size, although some might feel the need for better grip. The finish on the black model was very nice, we didn’t care much for the white ipod one. The camera interface and menus felt very responsive too. A solid experience overall.
4) The few images we captured showed decent quality. Images at ISO 3200 were clean, but the small sensor from which they were captured was evident upon closer inspection.
5) The V1 sports a minimal, curvy body design (reminds us of the Samsung NX series, but sleeker and better designed). While this looks great, the lack of more control dials and buttons on the body exterior might prove a little frustrating for some. Most settings have to be changed by digging into the menus. In manual mode, changing the aperture is done via the top toggle switch, while changing the shutter is done via the selector dial located much lower on the camera body – this is not intuitive at all when you’re shooting with your eye on the electronic viewfinder. The V1 could have benefited from an extra front dial for better handling. We’re on the fence about the toggle switch. Custom dial/button function is missing too it seems.
6) There is a FT1 (F Mount Adaptor) available that will allow the mounting and autofocus of Nikon’s DSLR AFS lenses on the Nikon 1 cameras. This may turn existing Nikon DSLR shooters on, or bird- watchers with the 2.7 crop, but using these DSLR lenses on such a small sensor seems a little of an overkill.
7) While we didn’t get to test the video/motion pictures capabilities, they are without doubt one of the key selling points Nikon is pushing. The J1 and V1 boast some impressive burst modes with ‘smart’ features e.g. shoot 20 frames in a burst, the camera picks the best frame based on composition and exposure (Yes, the cameras come with a built-in Photo Editor). The other notable feature is super slow motion video capture (400f/s) at a decent 640×480 resolution.
The Nikon 1 system appears to be the 1st product in Nikon’s so-called ‘hybrid’ imaging cameras ie. still/motion (video)… which likely explains their choice in focusing more on AF speed/burst mode/video performance over sensor size.
8) The V1 shutter feels good and responsive. You can also switch between a mechanical or electronic shutter – mechanical for better still photos, electronic for high speed bursts and video.
However, if you can live with the small sensor and 10.1MP image quality, the Nikon 1 V1 certainly feels like a strong contender for a compelling Street Photography Camera. Why? The Nikkor 10mm F/2.8 lens is the first pancake lense available for the v1. Coupled together, they could make for a very compact, solid and tactile 28mm, deep focus street camera with a very impressive built-in electronic viewfinder to boot.
Some sample images (Nikon 1 V1 with the Nikkor 10mm F/2.8 pancake lens)