If you’re like me you probably seldom, if ever, use the small pop-up flash that is on your camera. I’ve had my Nikon 1 V3 for a couple of months now and it has become my dedicated birding and nature camera. My wife and I were recently on a very short vacation in British Columbia and I had an unexpected opportunity to photograph some hummingbirds. Unfortunately the feeders that the birds were frequenting were under permanent canopies that created very dark lighting conditions. After trying to shoot some very high ISO images without any success I decided to put the pop-up flash on my Nikon 1 V3 to the test. Since I had never used this pop-up flash before I shrugged and thought, “Well…either it will work or it won’t.”
Over the past few months I’ve been getting more and more emails from people doing some investigation of smaller sensor, mirrorless camera systems like Micro 4/3 and Nikon 1. Quite a few of them are like me in that they are seniors, or soon-to-be seniors, with an interest in bird photography. Most are looking for a smaller, lighter system that they can use for extended periods of time, rather than having to lug heavy DSLR bodies and lenses around.
Making a change to one’s camera kit is always a good reason to go out to get some practice using it outside and indoors. I went out to Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls Ontario a few days ago with my Nikon 1 V3 and CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens to practice my hand-holding technique photographing birds using slower shutter speeds.
I recently made a couple of changes to my photography gear which resulted in me adding a Nikon 1 V3 to my kit and selling my J4 with WP-N3 waterproof housing. I wanted to put my new acquisition to the test and decided to photograph some water birds. So, I headed off to La Salle Park in Burlington Ontario as I had heard that there was over a thousand birds at that location. While the winter is often drab and dull, photographing birds can still be a very enjoyable outing.
Ever since Nikon announced the introduction of the Nikon 1 V3 back in March of 2014 the camera has been met with mixed reactions. Some of the design choices made with this camera left many photographers scratching their heads wondering what the engineers at Nikon were thinking when they put the concept for the Nikon 1 V3 together. Specifically many people questioned the use of a microSD memory card, making the EVF and grip detachable, introducing yet another new battery, and coupling the Nikon 1 V3 with a new 10-30 PD zoom that does not accept filters. As a result many people simply dismissed the Nikon 1 V3 out-of-hand and did not give it a serious look. That is unfortunate since the Nikon 1 V3 actually is a very good camera that brings a lot of new features and capabilities to the Nikon 1 system. It’s too bad that the camera did it in a three-steps-forward two-steps-back kind of way. Had Nikon not made those rather quirky design choices I think the camera would have been met with a much stronger and more positive reaction from the marketplace.
I’ve been continuing my field work for my hands-on review of the Nikon 1 V3 and spent some time capturing images of birds-in-flight at Grimsby Harbour. This has been a particularly severe winter and some of the Great Lakes have frozen over completely. This is only the fourth time in the past 40 years that this has happened. As you can see from the image below, Grimsby Harbour is frozen solid out past the lighthouse. This made for some interesting captures of birds-in-flight.
This short article has a selection of sample images taken hand-held with the Nikon 1 V3 and Nikon 1 CX 70-300 lens at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls Canada. While I was intending on doing a full review of the Nikon 1 V3 a number of time sensitive client video projects have recently emerged. Unfortunately that means I will not be able to proceed with my planned full review any time soon. Instead I’ll provide a few initial impressions of this camera along with some sample images.
Nikon has just announced the Nikon 1 V3, an update to the existing Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless camera that was released two years ago. Unlike many of the recent camera introductions which have been relatively small improvements over previous versions, the Nikon 1 V3 is a substantial rework and renewal of the Nikon 1 V2 and frankly, the changes appear to be exciting. First, is a new sensor with more resolution (18.4 MP), better ISO sensitivity (12,800) and a new EXPEED 4A processor to accompany it. Second, there is an improved hybrid autofocus system which incorporates 171 autofocus points (171 points for contrast detection and 105 points for phase detection) for fast and accurate focus acquisition and tracking. For comparison, the V2 uses 135 focus points (135 for contrast and 73 for phase-detect). These alone would be nice improvements, but Nikon went further and improved the frame rate to a WHOPPING 20 fps at full resolution AND full autofocus. To put that into perspective, the new D4s which costs $6500 “only” shoots at the rate of 11 fps. Why stop there? How about a new tilting touch screen monitor with higher resolution than the previous V2? Finally, throw in built-in WiFi and you’ve made not just an incremental upgrade, but a totally new camera.