What went wrong with Nikon 1 V1?

Bad product? Bad marketing? Predatory pricing? A simple act of desperation? Or all of the above? Nikon has just slashed the price of the Nikon 1 V1 kit (with the 10-30mm VR lens) again, down to $299. A product that sold for $899 exactly one year ago when I reviewed it. Wait, there is more – the Nikon 1 J1 camera, which has far less impressive specifications sells for $100 more. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Nikon 1 V1

How can a product get 3 times cheaper in less than a year? Usually, you don’t see a 66% discount on an electronics product in a 12 month period after its launch. That just doesn’t happen…typically. And when it does happen, there is usually something wrong with the product, or the product fails to sell due to lack of mass adoption. Like Betamax versus VHS or HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray wars. Or many other similar stories. Nikon came a little late to the mirrorless market with its Nikon 1 system. The Micro 4/3 alliance already matured by then, with excellent lens choices, bigger sensor and lots of built-in features. Sony also gathered a big fanbase around its tiny cameras with big APS-C size sensors. Others were pushing hard with innovative designs, great lens choices and more. While Nikon wanted to capture the hearts and minds of many photographers, the product did not get the stamp of approval from the mirrorless community, mostly due to its high price tag. Many reviewers praised the Nikon 1 V1 camera, but could not justify its high price when compared to the competition. Not when Sony was selling its excellent mirrorless cameras like Sony NEX-5N for several hundred dollars less. And with Canon also adopting APS-C sensor size for its new EOS M mirrorless system, it was getting clear that Nikon would have a hard time competing in the mirrorless market. And now here we are – the Nikon 1 V1 is the cheapest of them all (in the high-end mirrorless category).

[Read more...]

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

[Read more...]

Nikon 1 J1 and V1 Firmware v1.2 Released

Today, Nikon released a firmware update for their popular Nikon 1 J1 and V1 compact system cameras. Updates bring minor improvements to camera operation and fix a couple of bugs previously affecting some of the cameras. Here is the list of changes for both J1 and V1:

  1. The exposure control program used with shooting in Smart Photo Selector mode, or still image shooting mode with Exposure mode set to P Programmed auto or Scene auto selector, has been revised for faster shutter speeds to prevent blurred subjects.
  2. Auto white balance performance has been increased.
  3. Exposure accuracy with ISO sensitivity set to Auto 100–3200, Auto 100–800, or Auto 100–400 has been increased with shooting using the optional Speedlight SB-N5 (built-in flash for for J1 owners) to photograph subjects at close distances.

Also, the following issues have been resolved:

  1. An error message was sometimes displayed during interval timer shooting, preventing capture of the specified number of shots.
  2. When the camera was turned on by releasing the retractable lens barrel lock on applicable lenses, there was sometimes a slight delay before the shutter could be released.

Nikon 1 J1

You can download the new firmware for your J1 from the official Nikon Support website by following this link, and if you have the V1, this link is where you need to go.

If you are currently thinking about buying either of these great little cameras, maybe our review of the V1 will help you decide?

Nikon 1 V1 Review

« »

This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera that came out on September 21, 2011 along with the Nikon 1 J1 camera and three 1 Nikkor lenses. The Nikon 1 V1 and J1 cameras are Nikon’s first attempt to produce a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, which took 5 years of careful design and development by Nikon’s engineers. Why did Nikon decide to enter the mirrorless market and where is the mirrorless technology positioned relative to the DSLR and point and shoot market? How does the Nikon 1 mirrorless system compare against the competition? In this review, I will provide answers to these questions, along with comparisons of the Nikon 1 V1 against the Sony NEX-5n and the Olympus E-PL3 mirrorless cameras.

Nikon 1 V1

[Read more...]

Nikon 1 V1 Mini-Review

Update: A full and detailed Nikon 1 V1 Review has been posted.

Before I take off to another trip to continue testing the Nikon 1 V1 / J1 and other cameras, I decided to post a quick mini-review of the Nikon 1 V1 camera, along with some image samples + a short bonus time lapse video. I have had the camera for about two weeks now and I have a few things to report about. Let me start off with some general impressions and notes.

Nikon V1

First of all, the Nikon 1 system is not as bad as I thought it would be. When compared to the competition, and I am simultaneously shooting with the Sony NEX-5n and Olympus E-PL3 (Samsung NX200 is on the way), the Nikon 1 cameras actually perform really well in many ways. The first major advantage I want to point out is Autofocus – it is very fast and accurate. I am reviewing over 2 thousand images from my past trip to Utah and I have not yet seen a single image with bad/incorrect focus. Granted I have been primarily shooting at apertures between f/5.6 and f/11 and many of the shots are focused at infinity, it is still pretty darn impressive. Took some images of the kiddos at largest apertures and close distances and all images came out tack sharp. Nothing like the problems I had with the Fuji X100 before.

Another huge plus is the menu system that Nikon has incorporated into the V1/J1 firmware. It is simplistic, intuitive, elegant, slick and puts all current Nikon DSLR menu systems to shame. It is really that different and that much more better! As you switch from one mode to another, the firmware presents different options, making it super easy to use the camera. Just put the battery in, set the date/time and timezone and you are ready to go. I specifically did not touch any of the mirrorless camera manuals. I wanted to see which camera is the easiest to use and whether I need to invest time in learning the cameras before I use them. So far, the Nikon V1/J1 cameras are the easiest ones to use and operate, followed by the Sony NEX-5n and lastly by the horrendous Olympus E-PL3.

[Read more...]