Anyone using Nikon V2 to cover action?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by robert_roaldi|1, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. The size and weight of the Nikon V2 system are attractive, as is the speed of focus and operation. Is the EVF quick enough to keep up with action or the lag too intrusive? Are the current lenses too slow especially at the 300-400 mm equiv end? Thanks.
     
  2. I've been using a Nikon V1 for several months, but the only autofocus lens I have is the 10-30/3.5-5.6 VR kit zoom. I'm not sure how much difference there may be with the V2 in terms of AF and shutter response. (I've also used manual focus lenses, via a Fotodiox adapter, but you may not be interested in that.) I'd consider it adequate for kids sports and most amateur adult sports in daylight with the variable aperture kit zoom. I haven't tried it with the faster 10/2.8 or 18.5/1.8 so I don't know whether those would be adequately fast for indoor sports or nighttime high school football stadium lighting.
    While not a professional level sports camera, the V1 seems quick enough for some action oriented situations - street photography, kids and live theater. I do mostly candid photography and find the V1 very satisfactory for most fast moving situations - but I don't shoot sports anymore. The shutter response and AF are very quick - entirely comparable to my Nikon D2H dSLR. AF is very quick in daylight with the kit zoom, and remarkably quick and positive in dim room light despite the slowpoke variable aperture zoom.
    Indoors, in approximately EV 6 typical room lighting, the V1 AF is very quick with the 10-30 kit zoom at 10mm to 14mm, where the maximum aperture is around f/3.5 to f/4. But it becomes sluggish beyond the 14mm focal length where the maximum effective aperture is around f/4.5 to f/5.6. Like most AF systems it needs a faster maximum aperture to work well.
    The EVF is quite good but can't match a dSLR optical finder. Still, I've found it adequate for snagging peak action with fast moving kids and live theater. There is a bit of lag in the EVF but I've adapted to it. And I haven't found the slight lag in the time it takes for the EVF to turn on to be a problem, even with candid photography, but some folks find it annoying.
    For most moving subjects I'd probably use the single AF sensor. Auto-area AF doesn't have adjustable or selectable patterns like my D2H, so it might be less useful for picking an individual out of a crowd when using a fast lens and shallow DOF - but this isn't really an issue with the CX sensor. I haven't used subject tracking AF enough to know whether it's really useful. It seems to track action well but activating it is a bit of a kludge so I haven't found much use for it in fast moving situations.
    The main situation where you may notice some speed problem is in the shot-to-shot lag. It's difficult to describe if you haven't handled the camera. If you take a single photo or series of continuous photos, then lift your finger away from the shutter release button, there will be a noticeable lag before the camera *seems* ready to shoot again. However, a half-tap on the shutter release button restores the camera to readiness and the buffering occurs in the background. You can resume shooting fairly quickly - but you do need to remember to give that shutter release a half-press to clear the screen/EVF and get it ready again. It's certainly nowhere near as quick and convenient as my D2H, but it's quicker than other compact and P&S digicams I've owned or used.
    A fast media card will help when taking lots of continuous photos at maximum resolution raw/JPEG (I almost always shoot raw/JPEG simultaneously).
    Overall I'm impressed enough that I'd consider the V2 at a lower price, but not at the current retail price. For that money I'd look at either a mirrorless model with 4:3 or APS-C sensor, or a small dSLR. But the V1 and kit zoom were only $299 when I got them and at that price it's the best P&S digicam on steroids ever, bar none.
     
  3. Incidentally, Nikon produced a few "V2 Speed Project" promotional videos to emphasis how quick these cameras are. Here's one from a motor sports photographer who seemed pretty impressed with the V1 and V2.
    There's also a video of Nina Berman on using the V2 in NYC for street photography; and another on fashion photography. And much as I enjoy street photography and appreciate a nimble camera for that, photographing active kids and pets is more demanding. I've used the V1 to photograph active kids in my family and found it equal to my D2H for snagging peak action and fleeting gestures and expressions.
    I'd liked to have seen Nikon produce "speed" videos for active kids, pets and school sports, but I suspect they were wary of confirming the early derogatory press about the Nikon 1 series as being strictly for "soccer moms" or whatever that means. They're simply very quick, capable cameras that - in the earliest incarnations, J1 and V1 - were best suited to either complete newbies using full auto, or very experienced photographers who were comfortable digging through the menu to get to the advanced settings. The V2 seemed to have addressed the concerns of the intermediate photographers who weren't comfortable sorting through the menus to access advanced features, and preferred familiarly placed external controls.
     
  4. Just noticed I never thanked you Lex. Sorry, brain fade, thought I had.
    I watched that guy who covered rally racing with interest, as that's something I like to do myself. I need to go to a shop and try a V2 to see if the EVF lag is noticeable or distracting. Camcorders don't seem to have that problem, I don't understand why.
    Nikon doesn't have fast (f2.8 say) lenses yet either. They would be relatively bigger and heavier than current offerings of course, but not really that big or heavy.
     
  5. As I just bought a V2 with 10-3 and 30-110, I'll answer my own question.
    I took my Nikon V2 to a bicycle race on last evening to test out the high-speed AF and FPS shooting. I am blown away. At 5 fps (mechanical shutter) and 15 fps (e-shutter), it finds the time to re-focus in between frames, only rarely missing any and those were probably my fault. The long zoom (80-290 mm equiv) is not fast, was set at f5.6 a lot, and it was dusk, but it still focused all the time. And it weighs nothing.
    There's too much menu fiddling, I'd prefer buttons, but it's not that bad either. I looked at normal jpgs shot at 800 on the computer screen and they're fine. Maybe not National Geographic standards, but I don't work for them. It's not weather-proofed either, so not good enough for some pro requirements, but I can live with plastic covers for my purposes.
    While you're firing away, the screen freezes up with each shot, but it's no worse than the mirror blackout on a D-SLR, it's no harder to track the movement, just different.
    The online reviews say that it eats batteries, only 300 shots to a charge. If that's the worst problem, I'm happy.
     

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