Still on the fence over a high end P&S vs...?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by lex_jenkins, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. If you're looking for a great value in a P&S digicam don't wait too much longer to check this out. B&H still has the black V1 and 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6VR zoom deal for $299, with free shipping, through the end of December 2012. I received one as a Christmas gift and am very pleased*.
    If you're thinking of something like the Coolpix P7700, reconsider the V1 before deciding. And forget all of that stuff about "Oh, the Nikon Series 1 won't last" blah-blah-blah. Think of it as a top notch compact/P&S and don't worry about the "system". Best value anywhere in the compact/P&S niche. Seriously. Even at the $349 price elsewhere online for the J1 and V1 it's still an outstanding value.
    While the P7700 is a very appealing compact digicam the V1 offers the larger CX sensor (it really matters above ISO 400) and blistering speed. The P7700 offers a much better set of external control features and a pop-up flash. (Nikon: put the two together. The P7700 form factor plus the CX sensor and V1 speed would be a killer compact.)
    My needs and wish list was fairly short and specific:
    • Must be quick. I cannot tolerate slowpoke AF or shutter response.
    • Must have some form of stabilization to offset my increasingly shaky hands.
    • Should weigh no more than 1 lb.
    Other than that I wasn't particular about sensor format, flash capability or even size and weight. Any P&S or compact digicam is small and light enough to suit my needs, and the V1 slides in jussst barely under the weight limit, with lens and battery.
    By any standard for the P&S or compact digicam class, the V1 is rip snortin' fast. AF and shutter response are excellent, even compared with some dSLRs. Frame rate and buffer lag is acceptable - it's not on par with my D2H, but still good enough for a P&S/compact digicam.
    The lens-based Nikkor VR works great. I absolutely need this now for available light photography to offset my wobbly paws. I also have a Ricoh GX100 P&S digicam with sensor-based anti-shake and, much as I like the little Ricohs, the sensor-based stabilization is useless in my paws. I had a 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR Nikkor for my D2H and stupidly sold the lens. Dumb. For shutter speeds under 1/125th, VR is a blessing to me. Now I can shoot as slow as 1/4 sec. and still get reasonably sharp pix, as long as the subject doesn't move.
    The V1 is no pocket camera - no way, unless you wear one of those shoplifter trench coats. It feels kinda chunky and funky. I'll probably add one of those aftermarket stick-on finger grip doodads. But I'm content with the GX100 as a pocket camera. The V1 fills the niche formerly occupied by my D2H, which I haven't carried in more than two years due to chronic back and neck pain and weakness. And the CX sensor produces better files than the D2H DX sensor - far better at ISO 1600-3200.
    If you don't mind sacrificing total control to the V1's very good auto-everything mode, it's the world's best bargain in a P&S digicam at $300. Or if you don't mind menu surfing and odd controls to get fully manual exposure control, it's still a darned good buy.
    Also, the shutter release button feels great. Despite being nearly flush mounted, it has a great two-stage feel for take-up and follow through. Works well even with thin gloves. The secondary button for movie mode may be a little more difficult to manage with thin gloves.
    *The one and only concern I had was the packaging from B&H. Unusual for B&H, the Nikon box containing the kit was placed loosely inside a UPS shipping carton with about 1 inch of play all around - no padding to cushion the Nikon product box. It slid around loosely with rather alarming thunks. Also, the V1 body was cushioned only by an envelope of that very thin white flexible foam. The lens was better padded in the same type of thin white foam plus a good layer of bubble wrap. However the Nikon box was undamaged and the camera and lens were fine, so it's moot. The V1 feels like a very tough camera. But I'll admit I'd have felt better if they'd just stuffed a couple of wads of newspaper inside the UPS shipping carton. Again, this is atypical for B&H, which in the past has always shipped my stuff with plenty of padding. Maybe the holiday rush was a factor - it was ordered on Friday the 21st (too late for next day delivery) and arrived Monday midday.
  2. Nice post Lex. The V1 is an interesting camera and the price is certainly right at the moment.
  3. Well, all the technical reviews have been in for a year so there's nothing much new to say.
    But much of the continuing debate seems to be along the lines of "Nikon Series 1 vs. dSLRs" or "Nikon Series 1 vs. other mirrorless models". From my perspective, those "versus" debates are mostly misplaced.
    My immediate impression upon handling the V1 is that it's an amazing P&S in the "compact" class (i.e., not pocket sized). While there are several compact digicams around with IQ that would satisfy many dSLR users, they usually either cost a heckuva lot or are sluggish performers. That's the real niche for the 1 Series. The interchangeable lens feature is just a bonus, and still a better solution than the usual filter thread mount add-on wide and tele lenses offered for most P&S compacts.
    I'm not sure where the V2 fits since it's a significant redesign over the V1. It seems to be closer to the mirrorless category now, although some folks will still consider it less appealing than the larger sensor Micro 4:3 and a few APS sensor cameras in that genre.
    The V1 and V2 may suit only a subset of the mirrorless class fans: those who appreciate speed and an eye level finder. Despite the slight lag in the V1 finder after each single shot, I'm still finding it better suited to my preferences than any rear LCD screen.
  4. "But, Lex, what about the slow lens?"
  5. Any personal gut-check thoughts on using it for video, Lex. Sleeping cats, that sort of thing?

    Seriously thinking about one of these just for some reverse-angle and backup shots, and letting it do my wife-wants-a-camera-for-the-day stuff for the rest of its more useful life. The price is in the no brainer category.
  6. Very tempted. But like Parv said, the slow lens negates the ~1.5 stop the larger sensor has on 1 1/7 compacts. Too bad the 1 primes don't come with IS. That might had swayed me...
  7. What is this 45x eyepiece this flickr photographer is using? Looks almost too good to be true. Link
  8. Double post for some reason; apologies, and please see below.
  9. The V1 was certainly tempting, after its price drop. But I've been unwilling to pawn off my X10 for it, even though the X10 sensor is smaller. The f/2-2.8 zoom and EXR low-light performance has won me over for now.
  10. What aperture and ISO where you using, Howard? A great photo, for sure.
  11. Yup, the slowpoke variable aperture zoom is a legitimate concern for some folks. I'm hoping for an f/2.8 midrange zoom but I'm not really going to worry about it, especially if it's not a VR. For my personal needs VR is more essential than a faster lens. Folks with steadier hands will probably prefer something else.
    Matt, so far I've tried only the quickie video option, which records in 4:3 aspect ratio. I know very little about digital video and wouldn't have any basis for comparison. I can only say it's better than the video on the 2007 era Ricoh GX100, which is very slightly better than an animated GIF, only less funny.
  12. "What is this 45x eyepiece this flickr photographer is using?"​
    Check the digiscoping and birding websites. They're more oriented toward that type of equipment. For some reason has never really developed much activity or interest in that type of equipment. Many enthusiasts find it an affordable way to get into bird photography.
  13. The V1 resale is dropping like a waterfall. Its Nikons fault. When the D300 or D7000 replacement is announced it will have to be less than the D600. That puts it at $12-1400. The the V1 price will have to be below $700 including a fast lens to interest me and at that price point, the market is flooded.
  14. I really, really want a hot shoe to place my CyberSync flash triggers in, so I guess the best current fit for me is the J. I've been holding back on buying anything though, despite the great temptation. I am traveling more than I used to and the compact and flexible camera systems have great appeal to me. I also see them as an everyday carry around system. I'm waiting for the high ISO quality to improve just a bit more though, and also a few more lenses made available. Besides the compact size, another big attraction is the ability to use vintage lenses such as Leica L39 and uncoated Contax etc. While waitng, I'm using a 1940s vintage Leica IIIc & 1940s vintage lenses (35, 50, 90) for my compact system, often shooting Fomapan (a classic formulation.) I love the Leica!
    Kent in SD
  15. Ann, Thank you! The aperture was f/2. The ISO was 400 (complete EXIF info can be found in my full-size gallery version)
  16. "I really, really want a hot shoe to place my CyberSync flash triggers in..."​
    That may rule out the Nikon 1 Series completely. Neither J model has an accessory shoe and the V1 has a non-standard accessory shoe that appears to be compatible only with proprietary Nikon accessories. That's an unfortunate choice, comparable to the decision made by Olympus a decade ago with their proprietary flash shoe on their iS-series ZLRs, and carried over into their earlier compact digital cameras.
    That's why I'm essentially considering the V1 a P&S digicam comparable to a high end Coolpix rather than a mirrorless system camera like the Micro 4:3 or Sony NEX models. Between the J1 or J2 with pop-up flash sync at only 1/60th at the fastest, or the V1's built in EVF and no flash, the V1 made better sense for my purposes. For years I've been comfortable using 35mm film cameras like the Olympus XA series and 35 RC for available light only, no flash. The V1 neatly fits into a niche comparable to the film era's Konica Hexar and Contax G1/G2.
  17. There are too many options in the $3-400 price point. The mentioned V1, various recent M4/3rd cameras, and just about all the 1 1/7 compacts except the newer XZ-2, even the sexy Fuji XF1. Then, the slightly used route, many models including a few APS-C Nexes, such as the 5n...
    All in all, it's a very wonderful time for photographers...
  18. Lex, most of all, enjoy the new camera :)
    In my view, Nikon did some things about the 1 series clever, and one of the most important is focussing on speed. A lot of people wrote them off based on the small sensor, but I think they're interesting options. Personally, as a hyper-compact, I'd be more interested in the J1 with the pancake, though. Unfortunately (or maybe better for me) over here, the price drops on the 1 series are nowhere near as they are in the US - knowing how I treat my compacts, the 1 series is a bit too expensive for that level of maltreatment.
  19. For the record, I also recently took the plunge on a V1, having been pretty critical of them in the past. I have absolutely no interest in building
    a CX system, but the price dropped below that of most of my lenses, so I got one to use as a high frame rate (mostly video - I already have a
    battery grip for my D700) camera. At the original price, I'd no interest; as a pocketable camera, it's too bulky and the ergonomics - especially
    the ability to get at important settings - are useless to me (which is why I bought a GF2) even if I could cope with the lack of depth of field
    control; I don't expect to get a Nikkor adaptor. But for less than the price of a cheap macro lens, I'll take it as a one-trick device. Besides, it
    takes the same batteries as my D800, so I treated it as a spare battery and charger with a camera thrown in...

    Of course, I may fall in love with it when I've had time to use it more.

    Happy new year, everyone.
  20. Andrew, my initial impression of the Nikon 1 Series was similar to yours. It seemed like an overpriced novelty. And the V1 looks and feels like an enthusiastic engineer's prototype in the next-to-final phase before someone higher up in marketing said "Wow, that's fast! And ugly!", and someone with experience in ergonomics sketched out the V2 and said "make it look like this".
    But at the current price range of $299-$349 for the J1 or V1 and kit zoom, it's practically a no brainer. At that price I can regard the quirks as "personality". It's a Coolpix on steroids. Or a Konica Hexar AF or Contax G2 for the digital era -- but now that type of camera is affordable.
    I doubt I'll get seriously invested in the lens system, but there appear to be some interesting optics coming, including a 32mm f/1.2 (approximately equivalent to 86mm on a 35mm/FX format). Not my cup of java, but the 10mm f/2.8 and 18.5mm f/1.8 are up my alley and priced right.
  21. BTW, Wouter, the J1 felt more rugged to me than some reviews indicated. It didn't feel particularly plasticky or flimsy. It might hold up well enough for your needs.
    I'm also partial to Olympus P&S digicams. Those I've owned have held up very well. My 1996-or-so era Oly still works fine - tho' it's almost painfully slow and takes only SmartMedia cards. The XZ-1 can now be found for around $200 or less in the U.S., making it another best buy in the pocket sized class.
  22. Lex, have fun with the V1. I got one when the price was right. I call it "super point & shoot". No match in this sence. Enough has been said about its flaws (mostly controls) so I don't need to repeat them. The 18.5mm f1.8 is fantastic. The V1 allows me to have a kit of "a camera with large enough sensor with a 50mm lens" at the lowest price.
  23. Nice gift, have fun!
    I also bought a "P&S" last Christmas, a micro 4/3rd camera (Panasonic GF2). The model was being replaced by a newer one (GF3 with the same sensor). Also $300 with the very nice 14mm f2.5 prime (m43 is 2x crop so 28mm equivalent).

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