Till a few years ago, the market was swamped with interchangeable lens cameras of the DSLR type, coming mainly from brands such as Nikon and Canon, who dominated the DSLR segment and continue to do so, not giving much room to other brands to really flourish. So around that time, a new breed of cameras emerged called mirrorless compact cameras. These type of cameras were started by the likes of Olympus and Panasonic. Over the course of the last three years, other brands began making their presence felt in this segment, and these were brands such as Sony and Samsung. The two brands that have dominated the DSLR segment are the only ones that are missing from this segment of cameras. Things continued to be that way till a year ago, and it was then that Nikon announced their range of mirrorless compact cameras from their 1 series. The brand has so far launched the Nikon 1 J1 and a higher end V1. Let us take a look at the latter and see if Nikon can make place for themselves in this segment, too.
With wide zoom lens
Design and Build Quality
Compact system cameras are generally a lot smaller than DSLR cameras, and are hence turning out to be a good option to carry around. Keeping this in mind, these compact system cameras, like the V1 use a mirrorless lens, as opposed to the reflex lens, which helps in reducing the bulk that comes along with DSLR cameras. Nikon has realized that the trend of compact system cameras are beginning to gather steam and have launched the 1 series of interchangeable lens compact cameras.
Nikon has a way of adding a touch of class to their cameras and they haven't gone on to create an exception with this model. The Nikon 1 V1 is available in two colour options - black and white. The option we received in our test centre was of the matte black variety. The brand has not deviated from the styling concept of these cameras and has given this model a retro style design as well. The finish of it is rich and it feels classy and expensive. The body of the camera is made of magnesium alloy, which is similar to that of the J1. There are a very few differences between these two cameras and the most noticeable one is that the higher end model features an Electronic view finder. Hence the hump at the top of the V1, which is not present on the J1.The only other feature found on the face of this camera is an AF assist. The front of the camera has minimalistic design, which is really appealing.
The controls located at the back
The rear of this compact system camera features a 3-inch display with a resolution of approximately 921,000 dots. This is a high resolution display and only a handful of cameras in the market feature it. The back is loaded with different controls and dials and at first sight it may scare off a consumer who is upgrading from a regular point and shoot camera to an option that is more advanced. These buttons, though they may be plenty, are designed in such a way that users can get accustomed to it fairly quickly and they help in the easy handling of the camera. The controls located at the back include a dial, which features four modes, a multi-function scroll wheel, a display, playback, menu, trash and a trigger at the back, which can be used to adjust the various settings as well as zoom in and out of photographs while reviewing.
Buttons that adorn the top of the camera, include a shutter release button, a dedicated video recording button, power switch and an electronic viewfinder. This camera does not feature a flash, but comes with a hotshoe for attaching an external flash, instead. Connectivity options located at the side are covered by a flap that flushes along the body of the camera. These options include a proprietary USB port, a mini HDMI port and a jack for attaching a mic. The battery bay is located at the bottom and this area houses the memory card as well. The sides of the camera feature eyelets, which allow one to attach a strap, so it can be easily carried around. Though it may not appear so from the images, the body of this camera, alone weighs approximately 294g. So after attaching the lens, the weight goes up. One is forced to use both hands to handle the camera as using a single hand becomes difficult, but by no means impossible.
Paired with a Nikkor 1 10-30mm lens
The brand has bundled up two lens in the package - one a 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm lens with a focal range of f/3.5-5.6 and a 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm lens with a focal range of f/3.8-5.6. The lenses are sturdy and the zoom rings on both appear to be of great quality and can withstand the wear and tear of daily usage. These lens are collapsible and overall feel very sturdy.