Nikon 1 V1 vs V2

In this article, I will show feature differences between the Nikon 1 V1 and the newly announced Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless cameras. Judging by the J2 and V2 updates this year, it seems like Nikon will be refreshing the 1 line fairly often, so I am planning to provide feature comparisons like this to show what has changed between cameras after each announcement. As you may already know, the whole Nikon 1 line has a CX mount with a 2.7x crop factor and the J1/J2 cameras are targeted for photo hobbyists, while the V1/V2 cameras are targeted for more serious shooters. Hence, there is a significant difference in size, feature and performance between the two lines. Please keep in mind that this Nikon 1 V1 vs V2 comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Nikon 1 V2 Review.

Nikon 1 V1 vs V2

Looks like Nikon listened to many of the customer complaints about handling, layout and design of the V1 camera, so they came up with a completely different design this time around. The grip on the V2 resembles the Sony NEX series cameras. As I pointed out in my Sony NEX-5n review, I loved the way Sony designed its grip, so it is nice to see that Nikon borrowed the idea and improved the ergonomics. Another new addition is the dedicated PASM camera mode dial, which Nikon completely omitted on the V1. The rear of the camera also went through significant layout changes – now we have four function buttons on the left side of the LCD, similar to what Nikon DSLRs have. Aside from these ergonomic changes, the V2 comes with some new features and improvements. The sensor on the V2 has more resolution – 14.2 vs 10.1 on the V1. A built-in flash is now included. And despite the new form factor and the built-in flash, the V2 is also slightly lighter. Let’s take a look at how the two cameras stack up against each other in terms of specifications.

Nikon 1 V1 vs V2 Specification Comparison

Camera FeatureNikon 1 V1Nikon 1 V2
Sensor Resolution10.1 Million14.2 Million
Sensor TypeCMOSCMOS
Sensor Size13.2mmx8.8mm13.2mmx8.8mm
Sensor Pixel Size3.40µ2.86µ
Dust Reduction / Sensor CleaningYesYes
Image Size3,872 x 2,5924,608 x 3,072
Image ProcessorEXPEED 3EXPEED 3A
Viewfinder Type0.47″ 1.44m dot EVF0.47″ 1.44m dot EVF
Viewfinder Coverage100%100%
Built-in FlashNoYes
Flash Sync Speed1/60 (Electronic), 1/250 (Mechanical)1/60 (Electronic), 1/250 (Mechanical)
Storage Media1x SD1x SD
Top Continuous Shooting Speed5 frames per second 10, 30 or 60 fps using Electronic (Hi) shutter5 frames per second 10, 15, 30 or 60 fps using Electronic (Hi) shutter
Max Shutter SpeedElectronic Shutter: 1/16,000 sec, Mechanical Shutter: 1/4,000 secElectronic Shutter: 1/16,000 sec, Mechanical Shutter: 1/4,000 sec
Exposure MeteringTTL metering using image sensorTTL metering using image sensor
Base ISOISO 100ISO 160
Native ISO SensitivityISO 100-3,200ISO 160-6,400
Boosted ISO SensitivityISO 6,400N/A
Autofocus SystemHybrid autofocus (phase detection/contrast-detect AF)Hybrid autofocus (phase detection/contrast-detect AF)
Video CapabilityYesYes
Video Maximum Record Time20 min in 1080/60i and 1080/30p, 30 min in 720/60p20 min in 1080/60i and 1080/30p, 30 min in 720/60p
Video Maximum Resolution1920×1080 @ 30p, 60i1920×1080 @ 30p, 60i
Audio RecordingBuilt-in stereo microphone; sensitivity adjustable
Optional external ME-1 microphone
Built-in stereo microphone; sensitivity adjustable
Optional external ME-1 microphone
LCD Size3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD
LCD Resolution921,000 dots921,000 dots
Built-in GPSNoNo
Wi-Fi SupportN/AWU-1B
BatteryEN-EL15 Lithium-ion BatteryEN-EL21 Lithium-ion Battery
Battery Life350 shots (CIPA)310 shots (CIPA)
Battery ChargerMH-25 Battery ChargerMH-28 Battery Charger
Weather Sealed BodyNoNo
USB Version2.02.0
Weight (Body Only)10.4oz. (294g)9.8oz. (278g)
Dimensions113 x 76 x 43.5mm107.8 x 81.6 x 45.9mm
MSRP Price$899.95 (as introduced, now $489)$799.95 (as introduced)

As you can see from the above comparison table, aside from the basics that I already covered on the top of the article, there is not much difference between the two cameras. What I find to be very interesting here, is that the V2 has a pixel pitch of 2.86µ. If the image quality of the V2 is as good as on the V1, then imagine what kind of a DSLR Nikon could potentially create. Putting some math into work, if we had a DSLR with this kind of pixel pitch, we would have a 105 MP full-frame sensor! So when someone talks about a 50 MP+ resolution on a 35mm sensor, this is more than doable, today.


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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Mike Hammon

    Nasim,

    One thing that popped out for me was the improved ISO performance of the V2. Could that also imply greater dynamic range?

    Since the D700, each FX DSLR Nikon’s come out with has improved on low-light performance and, at least with the D800, improved dynamic range.

    I see EV compensation, but no exposure bracketing, so I guess HDR will be manual.

    All in all, an interesting improvement over the J1 and I’m looking forward to your detailed review.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    • Mike, it is hard to say if the V2 has improved ISO performance, since its resolution got higher and pixels got smaller. I will put it against the V1 when it arrives and we will see how it fares :)

  2. 2
    ) Mike Hammon

    Oops, I meant improvement over the V1.

  3. 3
    ) SVRK Prabhakar

    V1 was a complete toy looking camera and didnt attract much attention, and it was inadequate in ergonomics too. V2 definitely builds on it in looks at least. However, Nikon and Canon are still way behind other players in this segment and I wonder where does the years of professional photography experience and expertise got lost…Nikon should have stick to F mount lenses for this segment too instead of creating a separate line of lenses, at least nikon owners would have considered buying over Sony Nex….

    • SVRK, I don’t think it would be smart to stick to the F mount – simply because it would mean that CX would offer no size/weight advantages. Where I think Nikon is missing out, is on several factors:
      1) Size of sensor. Nikon has superb sensor technology, no doubt the best in the world. Can you imagine what a Nikon mirrorless camera would look like with a bigger sensor? Nikon should have kept the size either the same or slightly bigger than M43 with at least 2x crop factor.
      2) Instead of trying to make extra money selling their Nikon 1 speedlights, Nikon should have used a standard hot shoe on the V1/V2 cameras. It would be nice if I could use my speedlights and radio triggers with it.
      3) Instead of making a bunch of useless zooms, Nikon should have started with one or two kit zooms and fast primes.

      Nikon is very strong with its hybrid AF, it works very well. If the sensor was a little bigger, I would have bought the V1 when it came out without looking at anything else. The V2 offers great ergonomics and some interesting features, but the system lacks good lenses and I just do not see it surviving among APS-C sized mirrorless cameras. As of now, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony seem to be doing things right. I really wish Nikon understood this before coming up with the CX mount. Or they should have waited a little more to see what people really need.

      • 13
        ) Art

        Thank you for another great article. I really enjoy all the wonderful articles and equipment reviews that all of you at Photographylife share with us on your web site. I personally think you have hit the nail on the head on what Nikon is doing wrong with the 1 system especially when it comes to lenses. The only thing I might add IMHO is the price of the camera. Nikon is charging premium prices for cameras that have a less than premium feature set (i.e. no auto exposure bracketing, no way to set minimum shutter speed on the auto ISO feature, etc.). This was proven true of the V1 as seen with the recent price reductions. If the camera appealed to its customer base Nikon would have not discounted the camera as much as it did. Hopefully Nikon will wake up and start producing a camera system that appeals to its existing customer base instead of only trying to lure in new customers. But I am not going to hold my breath on this since the DX format has been out now for 12 years or so and Nikon still has not come out with fast wide primes or a fast 70-200 equivalent zoom lens and to top it all off the 17-55 has no VR and is outdated. To me Nikon’s DX and 1 series systems are only geared to hook people in to buying Nikon but the barb on the hook is missing and whatever was caught has a good chance of getting away. I am now seriously thinking of dumping all of my Nikon DX and 1 series equipment which I use for travel, long camping trips, and long hikes and picking up the Olympus OM-D with the 12mm, 45mm, and 75mm primes and maybe throw in the 12-35 and 100-300mm zooms and I would be all set. I would lose a little in the AF performance department and maybe a little image quality against DX but I would have a pretty complete system that would suit my needs.
        Regards
        Art

      • 15
        ) SVRK Prabhakar

        Yes, weight consideration is there, there is no point in carrying heavy lenses with small bodies…

    • 26
      ) Robert

      No, the V1 is not a complete toy. Have you ever used one? It’s a great little camera. More then most of us need.

      • 27
        ) KSPGM

        You answer your own question Robert! Anyone who has used a V1, or even better a V2, would never describe it as ‘a toy’ !

        by the way . . . it may be ‘small’ but not ‘little’.! I would describe it as a grea ‘minaturised’ camera. Bit like the iPod when compared to my old CD player in a huge box.

  4. 4
    ) Heshan

    not really a fan of this one either. looks to be pretty much the same on paper, with a slightly slower base ISO and 4 million pixels added. apart from the redesigned body – and to be honest, i find this new body incredibly ugly. Sony and Fuji are the guys to go to for mirrorless – even if they cost more

    • Heshan, I agree, the V2 does not look very appealing, although it is a matter of taste.

  5. 5
    ) Techmine

    Nikon hardly did anything to improve V1 experience after its release. They had a chance to do it with firmware tweaks, especially customizing the Fn button or building a quick menu system like Fuji. With limited V1 fan base Nikon again didn’t do enough to catch everybody’s attention. The mode dial is basic stuff that should have been in first generation also. On the other hand, they are doing good with lens lineup. 4 new lenses recently is a good indication of their commitment. I am fairly happy with my V1 performance although I hate the flimsy mode dial and menus. Oh well V3 may be :-)

    • I agree, Nikon is very bad with going back and making an existing product better via firmware updates. Their current Auto ISO capability in the new DSLRs could be easily pushed to older DSLRs, but they are not willing to do it, because they don’t care. They want people to upgrade to new cameras to get basic firmware functionality…

  6. Equal sensor size, higher resolution but smaller pixel size, lets see what the image comparison says.

    I like the built in flash, the lighter weight, the built in wifi (not quite sure how this will work, can I transfer files with wifi to my new Samsung Note 2 with android?) but am not sure about the esthetics since the V1 seems to intrude less. The ergonomics seem to be improved nicely. Will have to handle the new box… Nikon has surprised us again! Peter

  7. 11
    ) Christian

    Looking forward to your reviews. Are you considering testing V2 with new 70-200 for wildlife? On paper it look like a dream team, good AF, f4 and 5 stops VR at an amazing 200-600 mm.

  8. 12
    ) KSPGM

    Christian,

    I would second your request. I have been using my V1 with a 70-200VR for some time now – with amazing results – but the muscles on my arm are weakening with age (!) . . . so a 70-200 weighing well under 1kg would be a godsend.

    Nasim,

    So please Nasim, give this camera a fair chance and just compare what it can do at near 600 mm for under £2000 and include a V2+FT1+70-200F/4 test !

    Thankyou (in hope!)

    KSPGM

    • 18
      ) PAUL TIRAJOH

      Christian & KSPGM,

      Please browse this page of Brad Hill’s website, see the images in chapter II, III and IV,
      Nikon 1 + FT1 + AFS Nikkkor lenses

      http://www.naturalart.ca/artist/fieldtests/fieldtest_NikonV1.html

      • 19
        ) KSPGM

        Thanks Paul! I do know this site and Brad gives one of the best overall reviews of the Nikon1 V1 + FT1 system antwhere on the net. I have been using this combination for nearly a year now and can confirm that I have the same overall impression. What I was hoping Nasim would review is the new 70-200F/4 with the FT1. I would hapily trade my 70-200f/2.8 VI for the new lens if the IQ and AF performance were as good. The added stop to f/2.8 is not so useful to me as saving 500 or 600 grams in weight!

  9. 14
    ) dino

    Hi Nasim

    I’m following your posts more and more, recently.
    Actually, I think the V2 has a great potential – probably its real limit is that within 12 months the V3 will come out and it will lose value very quickly.

    I’m wondering if – as you expect – some better zoom (stop those horrible 3.5-5.6 things! If Nikon expects us to use (relatively huge) FF lenses on V2, I’m sure they can do kind of 9-36 F/2.8 VR or 9-50 F/4 VR without too many problems.

    I have one question for you: why FF lenses (which work at their best in the center) are “not so good” (as otherwise expected) on this camera? Because of the very high pixel pitch which demands the best and highest resolving lenses for FF? Have we kind of D800E in little, where everything out of focus, minimal misalignment or other optical issue is emphasized a lot?

    I’ll be waiting for your full review with great pleasure and interest.

  10. 16
    ) UkiHOPper

    Hi everyone, I actually think that the biggest thing that the 1 series has going for it is the 2.7 crop factor CX format. I know everyone wants an APS-C size sensor, but I think that’s too “me-too” and doesn’t distinguish the product from everything else on the market. For the Nikon dSLR shooter, the 1 series has amazing potential in terms of “reach” by using the adapter plus existing DX or FX lenses, especially the fast primes or zooms. If only Nikon would market the CX as the perfect DX or FX companion….

  11. 17
    ) Nikon Lover

    Hi there, I am going to buy Nikon 1, but messed up don’t know which one to buy. Any suggestion for me between V1 and V2? Going on vacation soon and which one more suitable? Thank you :)

  12. 20
    ) John

    Hi Nasim,

    I have the V1 and use it with the FT1 and various Nikon lenses (70-200 f/2.8 especially) for birding. You will know that the V1 cripples more advanced functions when the FT1 is attached. Even so the combination is magic for walking around shooting. The BIG question, to me, is whether or not the V2 allows more creative control with the FT1 attached????????

  13. 21
    ) KSPGM

    I wanted an answer to the same question John. Judging from a read of the V2 manual, the answer seems to be ‘no change’.

    • 22
      ) John

      Well, if that’s the case, no need for me to upgrade . . . Nikon again fails to listen to their customers, and I wrote them direct about the crippling of advanced functions on the V1. No reply then, and obviously, no interest in giving us what we want. Only interested in “iteration”.
      Too bad.

      • 25
        ) Michael Sims

        It is a techninal issue not crippling.

  14. 23
    ) Linda

    I really like my V1 but was not impressed with the manual focusing. Did they do anything to improve the manual focus?

  15. 24
    ) Michael Sims

    I have just ordered a V1. I will also buy the adapter and a Nikon 300mm f4, which will be equivelant to an 800mm f4 on this camera, and with a TC14E it will be an 1100mm f5.6. Perfect for shooting wildlife & birds!

    Around $2000 and total weight less than 4lbs.

    Now a DX (yes better IQ) with 500mm f4 & TC14, around $10000 and over 10lbs.

    Thats right, $8000 more & 6lbs more, and unless you print real big, or pixel peep your screen, you won’t see much difference.

    • 30
      ) Grimbot

      Hi Michael,

      You will find that the increased efov is amazing…but the poor high ISO performance does limit the V1 and V2 to shooting in good light.

      Plan on shooting RAW since the quality of the jpegs is quite poor….at least it is with my V2.

      But….in good light this is an incredibly good, lightweight option….especially when using the 70-200 f/4 VR. My set up with the TC-17E II allows me to shoot hand-held and get good, sharp images at 1/200 and 1/250 of a second at an EFOV of 918mm.

  16. 28
    ) Luciana Ferrero

    My V1 has had a LCD problem. It stopped working and I had it repaired. It worked for a a couple of months and now it does not turn on again. The zoom lens also stopped working. The photographs though are great. I was wondering if the V2 will have the same problem. Has anyone else experienced the same LCD problem?

  17. 29
    ) Grimbot

    Hi Nasim,

    I bought a Nikon 1 V2 on Friday along with the 10-30mm kit lens (I couldn’t buy just the body) and the FT-1 adapter so I can use my DX and FX lenses on the V2. My main intent is to use this camera to get an increased equivalent field of view and use it for nature and bird photography when my regular gear just doesn’t have the reach.

    Here are some initial thoughts after shooting several hundred bird shots the past couple of days:
    1) Pairing the V2 with the 70-200 f/4 and TC-17E II is simply awesome. The EFOV is 918mm at f/6.7. The VR on the 70-200 is so good that I have been able to get good, sharp images hand-held at 1/200 and 1/250 without any problems….as long as the subject isn’t moving around obviously. Focus is very fast and accurate. I’ve never shot with an EFOV this long before and I’ve not been able to get birds in flight….at least not yet….likely my skill level….and lack of familiarity with the camera. With the FT-1 you are limited to one centre focus point…but for birds I don’t think this is an issue. Also, no burst shooting with the FT-1 either.

    2) ISO performance from the CX sensor is very good to 400 then it starts to get grainy at ISO800 and quite noisy at ISO1600. Even lower ISO shots do have a bit of a film-like grain to them….but not in a distracting way. Nik’s Define 2 does a nice job with RAW files from the V2. If people can keep their shots at 400 and under they should be very happy with the performance…..and going up to ISO800 is certainly OK. Personally I would not go to ISO1600 or higher unless it was a really special shot and I had no choice.

    3) Jpegs are noisy even at base ISO and I find them unusable for any kind of enlargement. They just seem to clog up in the shadow areas. The RAW files are considerably better and hold up quite well in post. I found that DxOMark Optics Pro8 is better than Photoshop for my initial processing….the RAW files just seem to react better to the Optics Pro8 presets. After running the RAW files through Optics Pro8 I tweak them a bit further in Photoshop and then Nik. You can get pretty decent final images but it does take some time in post.

    4) The dynamic range falls far short of my D7000 and D800 so highlights are very easy to clip with the V2. I tried to underexpose by -1/3 and its not enough. I have a feeling that on bright days going to -1 may be needed to try and hold onto the highlights. The shadows hold some detail….not nearly as much as a DX or FX sensor and you can only push them so far before noise is a real issue….so high contrast scenes will cause some loss that is inescapable.

    5) The FT-1 adapter is solid and very easy to use. It is an amazing feat of engineering since you get a 2.7X crop factor with NO LOSS OF LIGHT on the V2! Using my 70-200 on it gives me an EFOV of 189-540 at f/4! And…with the TC-17E II it is 321 to 918 at f/6.7. As long as you shoot at ISO400 or under the RAW files are quite good. Think of the V2 as a 2.7X teleconverter for you FX lenses.

    6) While the body may look a little ‘lumpy’ with the kit lens….it actually looks like a mini dslr when used with the FT-1 and I find it quite appealing visually.

    7) The viewfinder is quite good and as you put it up to your eye it automatically shuts off the LCD screen. It feels like I’m shooting with a mini dslr and is very comfortable. The new hand grip is a great feature since the camera is a flyweight and some extra gripping area is needed especially with a zoom and the FT-1 mounted on it.

    8) The AF on your lens will continually hunt when the V2 is turned on….even when you are not trying to take a pic….so I find that I click the AF and VR off between shots…or just turn off the camera since the battery life is quite limited…..a little over 300 shots. A spare battery is a must. It boots back up very quickly though.

    9) The manual mode dial works well and anyone familiar with shooting a Nikon dslr will feel at home.

    10) I think as more nature and bird photographers investigate the V2 with the FT-1 they will find it to be a very practical and well performing combination when shooting in good light where a longer EFOV is required. This is where the CX sensor and its 2.7X crop factor is a huge advantage. The bump up to 14MP from 10MP on the V1 really helps with finished image size. I took a few hundred shots this weekend and played around with a few dozen of the best ones. My smallest useable image ended up being 4.3MP after cropping….another one was 6.5MP and all the rest were over 8mp…with over 80% being 10Mp or larger. Almost all the shots I took were at 918mm EFOV….it was so much easier than trying to get up too close and scaring subjects away.

    Like any photographic tool its good to understand the strengths and weaknesses of any piece of gear. This is NOT a camera with good jpegs or to be shot at higher ISOs…or in high contrast situations…but…..I would highly recommend the V2/FT-1 combination for anyone looking for increased EFOV when shooting in good light for their FX or DX lenses. To me….the V2 is perfect for nature and birding shooters…..other people are probably better served with the J series part of the Nikon 1 line.

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