Should Nikon 1 owners dump their gear and move to Nikon DL?

The rumoured Nikon premium compact cameras are now a reality with the release of the DL18-50, DL24-85 and DL24-500 models. The big question for many folks is should Nikon 1 owners dump their gear and move to Nikon DL? The answer really depends on the individual needs of the photographer and whether one, or more, of the new Nikon DL models is worth the money to them.

NOTE: I’ve added a few images to create some visual relief rather than having this article be straight type. Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100 f/4-5.6mm @ 19mm, efov 51mm, f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-200
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100 f/4-5.6mm @ 19mm, efov 51mm, f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-200

These new cameras do address a range of issues that many Nikon 1 owners have been wanting for some time:

  • compatibility with a range of Nikon Speedlights
  • faster zoom lenses for more flexibility shooting in low light conditions
  • EVF capability, either built in with the DL-24-500, or as an add on with the other models
  • use of standard SD cards
  • the ability to shoot 4K video at 25p and 30p
  • Bluetooth SnapBridge
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/60, ISO-1250
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/60, ISO-1250

By incorporating the 20.8MP BSI sensor used in the Nikon 1 J5 the range of Nikon DL cameras do offer buyers improved image performance when compared to previous Nikon 1 models that had Aptina sensors. And, for many users the performance of the new BSI sensor is now close enough to M4/3 that it is acceptable for their needs.

All things considered there is much to like with the new line-up of Nikon DL cameras. So, is it a slam-dunk that Nikon 1 owners will get rid of their gear and move over to the DL line up of premium compact cameras? I don’t think so.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 138mm, efov 373mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-560
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 138mm, efov 373mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-560

It will really depend on the individual needs of a photographer and whether they are willing to sell their Nikon 1 gear, or cost justify adding another body, or two, or three, to their existing arsenal of camera gear.

Many pro shooters may very well see the Nikon DL as the perfect compromise for their ‘shoot smaller with acceptable quality’ needs, especially if their work requires the use of flashes and/or faster glass. The Nikon DL’s will allow them to use their existing Speedlights, plus they can do away with the finicky micro-SD cards that they were forced to use with Nikon 1 J4/J5/V3 models. So there could be a lot of motivation for some pros and enthusiasts to transition away from Nikon 1 and over to the Nikon DL range.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 12mm, efov 32mm, f/6.3, 1.6 sec, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 12mm, efov 32mm, f/6.3, 1.6 sec, ISO-160

It is always good to remember that the ‘pro shooter’ segment of the market, while lucrative for camera makers, is quite small in size. Many times we forget that fact and as bloggers/reviewers we make assumptions about consumer behaviour as if everyone had the same needs as professional shooters. Truth is, most camera owners don’t.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO-220
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO-220

So, if you currently own Nikon 1 gear I think it is important to ask yourself some simple questions to determine if a Nikon DL premium compact camera makes sense for you.

  • How often do you actually use or need a flash? If you already own a compatible Nikon Speedlight and it is an integral piece of gear for you that you use all the time then a DL body may certainly make sense. Other folks may find that the built in flashes on their Nikon 1 bodies are sufficient for their needs, or perhaps one of the affordable Nikon 1 flashes is all they really need. On a personal basis I no longer even own a flash and I don’t need one for the client work I do. I bring studio lights when required for my video work. But…that’s just me.
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, -0.7 step, 1/1000, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, -0.7 step, 1/1000, ISO-160
  • How often would you actually shoot at f/1.8 to f/2.8?  For many photographers being able to shoot at more open apertures is a key factor for the work they do as subject separation and bokeh are critical for them. And, if that’s the case many of them likely shoot with full frame gear anyway. Choosing a Nikon 1 or DL camera when a person’s primary photographic need is to achieve image separation and bokeh seems very counter-intuitive to me.
  • Some folks may need to shoot at a more open aperture so they can use a faster shutter speed to capture action indoors or under low light conditions. If that’s the case then a DL body like the DL24-85 could make a lot of sense. It strikes me that an equivalent focal range of 24-85mm is still shorter than many folks would need for that type of shooting so I don’t know how much practical use the DL24-85 would actually deliver.
  • One of the advantages of shooting with a smaller sensor format like Nikon 1 or DL is the deeper depth-of-field that comes from being able to use wider angle lenses to achieve similar angles of view at identical apertures when compared to using a larger sensor camera. Personally, I almost never shoot anything at more open apertures like f/1.8 to f/2.8 unless I’m doing client video work and lighting conditions dictate it. For the still photography I do I find that I am shooting my Nikon 1 gear at f/8 far more than I did in the past…and I almost never shoot at anything less than f/5.6…but again…that’s just me.
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6mm @ 14mm, efov 36mm, f/8, 1/60, ISO-280, -0.7 step
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6mm @ 14mm, efov 36mm, f/8, 1/60, ISO-280, -0.7 step
  • Do you really need 4K video capability? While it is always exciting to be using more technically advanced gear the most important questions to ask ourselves are: do we really need it, and if we had it we would actually use it? I fell into this trap last year when I sold my D800 and all of my FX lenses and bought a Panasonic GH4 with some pro Panasonic glass, mainly because of the camera’s greater video capability. Once I realized that my business really didn’t need 4K video capability I came to my senses and returned the Panasonic gear for a small restocking charge, and put the cash back into my business.
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100 f/4-5.6mm @ 34mm, efov 90mm, f/5.6, 1/50, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100 f/4-5.6mm @ 34mm, efov 90mm, f/5.6, 1/50, ISO-400
  • What’s the best use of your available budget? Another key consideration for the vast majority of photographers is budget. If a photographer doesn’t need to shoot at faster apertures, and they don’t care about being able to use a Nikon Speedlight, is buying a Nikon DL24-85 really a better use of their money than buying a Nikon 1 J5 with the 10-30mm PD zoom?
  • In Canada the DL24-85 costs $830 compared to $550 for the J5 kit, a difference of $280.00. If someone wanted to be able to add wide angle capability it would cost an extra $1,030 in Canada to buy the DL18-50 for a total investment of $1,860 for the two DL bodies. The Nikon 1 J5 owner could add the 6.7-13mm lens for $550 for a total investment of $1,100. That’s a difference of $760.
  • It’s fine for a pro shooter to ‘poo poo’ a cost difference of $280 or even $760 because of faster glass and Speedlight compatibility. For a lot of regular folks the difference in price is a serious consideration, especially since both cameras likely use the identical sensor, and for many of them the J5 would be a much better choice.
  • Based on some of the published specifications for the lenses that are incorporated in the DL-series cameras it appears that the optics should be quite good. Even if we assume that the DL-series produces somewhat better image quality with the DL18-50 and DL24-85 than would a J5 with kit lenses that difference still may not be as relevant as price for many buyers, especially if they don’t print their images at large sizes.
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-4500
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-4500

So, while I think that the Nikon DL series of cameras have got some great features that will appeal to a lot of photographers, I’ve already decided that buying any of them makes absolutely no sense at all for my business. I’ll just continue using my Nikon 1 gear and keep my clients happy doing what I’ve been doing for them.

The Nikon 1 system has always attracted a lot of naysayers and negativity and Nikon has not done itself any favours with some of the strange decisions that the company made with the product line. Many folks who already dislike the Nikon 1 system will look at the DL-series of cameras as the ‘last nail in the coffin’ for Nikon 1. To me this overlooks important market segmentation and strategy considerations.

I see the DL-series as being targeted against other premium compact cameras from manufacturers like Sony and others. Truth is, if anyone wanted to leave the Nikon 1 system for a CX-based compact zoom camera they could have already done so by switching to another manufacturer. And, they still might. Nikon was missing the CX compact camera market niche completely and the DL-series fills a large hole in Nikon’s overall product mix.

From a marketing strategy perspective it makes no sense to me that Nikon would try to compete against interchangeable lens M4/3 cameras with the DL-series. These are different product formats aimed at different buyers. Enhancing the Nikon 1 system is the best way for Nikon to take on M4/3 ILC. The J5 is now better positioned on the lower end of the price scale, and Nikon needs a true flagship V-series model to take on the best from Olympus and Panasonic.

Am I worried that the Nikon 1 series will just wither away and die? Not really. If anything the specifications of the Nikon DL bodies make me even more optimistic about what a future V5 (I think Nikon will skip the V4 name) may look like in the future . Unlike many people I think there is real potential for a V5 to be significantly differentiated from both the J5 and the Nikon DL series, and become a true flagship model aimed at more professional shooters. Some of those thoughts were included in an earlier article that I wrote on where the Nikon 1 system may fit in the future.

Chances are I could be completely wrong of course. And, if I am I’m still not worried. I have a sufficient amount of Nikon 1 gear to last me for at least three years or so. After that I may stop doing client work anyway and I’d need to rethink my camera needs at that time.

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61 thoughts on “Should Nikon 1 owners dump their gear and move to Nikon DL?”

  1. Dear Thomas,
    Thank you for your good information for Nikon 1, and very nice pictures which inspire me to continue working my photo on Nikon 1.
    I experience for Nikon 1 V3 and J5. And, I observe my bird pictures from J5 mostly better result than V3 for detail and sharpness. What is your opinion? I find a good price on V2; however I would like your thouht to compare V2 and V3 for quality of picture.

    1. Hi Komsan,

      The images from the 1 J5 are the best of any Nikon 1 body. The sensor is noticeably better in terms of dynamic range and colour depth especially when shooting landscapes. I’ve found that I process my J5 files a bit differently than V2 or V3 files…for example I do not apply any sharpening with J5 files. I use the J5 for the vast majority of my still photography.

      In terms of V2 versus V3 image quality I have not noticed any material difference in terms of dynamic range and colour depth and I process files from both identically. I use the V2 presets I created in OpticsPro also with V3 files.

      Using the V2 versus the V3 for bird photography really depends on your specific needs and budget considerations. The V3 files are slightly sharper out of camera and I’m finding the additional resolution a bonus with bird photography as it allows more latitude for cropping. I haven’t noticed any meaningful difference between the cameras when photographing static birds. When photographing birds-in-flight (BIF) under dull light the V2’s auto-focus is slightly faster than the V3. When shooting BIF in good light there is no meaningful difference between the cameras.

      The only time that I use any of my V2s for still photography now is if I specifically need to shoot with a flash while using an EVF. Other than that my V2s are reserved for client video work.


  2. I seem to have the same problem money; as most of us; i need a small nikon wirh interchangable lenses but; nikon dont make one that really sets it appart from others. Cheap gear at a mad high cost, considering that most small camaras are made in China theres days bothing wrong with that but why the over pricing, the cost if an old car that will last quite some time cost. It seems there is a price war , who can get the most cost out of a none professional camera with the least amount of effort. I would like to see a small professional fx camera but the cost would be too high for some reason that no one can quite work out. A lens i would like a 20-85f1.8 of a cheaper f2.8 both are possible to make, if you can make a 18-70 an sure a 20-85 can be made. I always use Nikon as others dont quite stand up , but that seems missed out on new cameras. Cheap to make and sting you with the price. There just too higher priced to be justified. May as well wait and see what comes next rather then rushing out and spending hard earnt cash .people as i have , should write to nikon and air are views, its the only way as most if us may have the same ideas as to what we really want from a small interchangable lens camera. If we dont say we wont get the changes we would like.

  3. I have 2 J4 I use for underwater photography with the housing.
    I used to have the V1.

    My guess is that Nikon 1 system is being phased out. closed out.

    Nikon may come out with a DX or FX mirrorless system.

    DL may be here to stay. I wish they all had an EVF.
    I sold my Nikon DSLRs and got Sony A7ii and A6000 and shoot job with them. More fun to use, although menu system is so convoluted.
    I miss from Nikon;
    – better speedlights (drop a sony compatible flash and the foot plastic tabs will break even with a minor fall)
    – better interface
    – cheaper lenses.

    Nikon priced the N1 system way too high, I always bought camera / lenses at closeout bargain prices.

    The new DL are more in line with the competition, price wise.

    But a Sony A6000 is a better value than a J5 (although the price of the A6300 is way too expensive).

    Anyway my feeling is that N1 is dead.

    1. Hi Stefano,
      Thanks for sharing your perspectives! I agree that at least some of Nikon’s problems with the Nikon 1 system was marketing. Whether the system survives or not is anyone’s guess at this point.

  4. I really don’t see these two lines as mutually exclusive. I think there is plenty of room for both lines. I have a hard time imagining Nikon will abandon the Nikon 1 if for no other reason that they need to keep their toe in the mirror-less market while figuring out an overall strategy.
    I still think the Nikon line will eventually be all mirrorless with various sensor sizes – FX, DX, and CX. That would cover all the major needs and satisfy many DSLR users that crave the features of mirror-less. Like so many, I am convinced mirror-less is the future. This is especially true after so much use of Olympus for professional use. Truth is, about 80% of my professional shots are taken with Olympus instead of Nikon. I prefer the lower weight and all the focusing advantages of mirror-less – plus the results are spectacular. It is now the DSLR that is the special use camera – action mostly.

    1. Hi sceptical1,

      Many current Nikon 1 owners are fearful that the CX interchangeable lens system will be dropped by Nikon. Perhaps the two of us are in a minority…but I also do not see the Nikon DL line as a replacement for Nikon 1. From a marketing perspective I see high end compact cameras as a market niche unto themselves and addressing specific user needs. No doubt some Nikon 1 owners will add a DL body to their kit to take advantage of the faster zoom lenses, 4K video, flash compatibility and all-in-one convenience.

      The future may very well be in mirrorless technology. I know you have had excellent results with your Olympus gear as have many other pros with their mirrorless cameras, and I regularly hear about pros making the switch for at least part of their photography needs.

      Always good to hear from you!

    1. Hi Grin,
      Like you, I would love to see a DSLR-like shooting experience with a future V4/V5 with a host of easily accessible dials and buttons. For my needs a DL24-500 body would be too large and bulky.

  5. After thinking about it for a while, I believe that Nikon should have made the following for the DL line:

    1) DL18-70 with a constant f/1.4 (not a problem, since the 32 f/1.2 is a 86.4 AoV).

    2) DL70-200 (or maybe even 300?) with a constant f/2, or variable f/2 through f/2.8 (if out to the 300 range).

    The above would be a killer combo, especially for low light.

    Not certain about the longer, third model.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

    1. Hi WEJ,
      I’d love to have access to the market research that Nikon uses to determine models and the specifications. I imagine much of this has to do with competitive offerings as well as which lenses are their big sellers.

  6. Hi Thomas,
    Opportunity to say thanks for your interesting articles and beautiful pictures which
    makes me want to buy Nikon 1 system instead of my D5200, maybe in the future.
    Even sometimes I can’t understand Nikon’s decisions I think the DL is not 1 system
    replacement but a high quality P&S camera for pros when they are out of work and
    don’t want to carry their FX equipment all the time or as a backup camera for others.
    Do somebody really thinks that fixed lens camera can be an interchangeable camera replacement ?
    Its completely different thing.
    I also believe and estimate that the 1 system as the Dx system is not dead and the silence
    only shows that Nikon is busy working on newer models.
    As customers we only see the final product but don’t always know the story and difficulties
    behind the development and production problems.

    1. Hi Moshe,
      You’re most welcome – I’m glad you’ve being enjoying my blog! I agree with your position that the DL line is not a replacement for the Nikon 1 system. Nikon had a large hole in its product line-up and did not have any premium compact zoom cameras to compete with cameras in this niche from Sony, Panasonic and Canon. I’m also very hopeful that the time lag to bring out a new V-series Nikon 1 camera has more to do with a major product upgrade, than abandoning the Nikon 1 system.

  7. I have both V3 and J5 as well as the 70-300mm/32mm/18mm/6.3-13mm. It is my most used camera kit, mostly because of the small size and the good enough quality of the pictures. I printed 6 feet stitched panoramas made with J5/32mm which look stunning.

    That being said, I am upset at all the inconsistencies showing up in the Nikon 1 lineup. They could not even keep the same battery size between the two cameras! Even though the V3 charger works just fine with the J5 battery, if I put in a paper shim to keep the battery pressed against the contacts.

    I also bet that the GPS/viewfinder units from Nikon 1 will not work on the new DL cameras. I am a big user of multiple camera bodies, as I do not like changing lenses. I would have bought a DL camera to supplement my Nikon 1 equipment, but I am growing tired of aimlessly aiding new accessories to the kit.

    Fortunately, it looks like someone is awake in the Nikon design department and at least the EL cameras are using the EN-EL24 batteries as the J5.

    I love my 32mm and the 70-300mm. I will continue to use my kit until the cameras will die or until the quality differential between V3/J5 and the new sensors becomes too big.

    But if Nikon abandons the Nikon 1 users my next small and light camera kit will be from a different vendor, as a matter of principle. I do not like to be swindled…

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Nikon 1 system! Like you, I really hope Nikon starts to standardize batteries for Nikon 1 cameras so we don’t have to buy multiple battery types. I took a pass on the V3 as I sometimes need to use the viewfinder and an external mic at the same time when shooting video and that is not possible with the V3. I was tempted by the J5 but I don’t like using cameras without an EVF…so I’m patiently waiting for a future V4/V5. Hopefully Nikon will really do some creative things with it to differentiate it from the V3 and J5 as well as the DL series. I’m using three V2’s and also love the 70-300. I only use my primes for video work but they do a good job when I need them.

      Since the sizes of the shoes appear to be different between the V-series and DL bodies you’re probably right that the accessories will not work interchangeably.


      1. The J5 sensor has about 1 stop extra dynamic range over the V3 sensor. This is not as big as it sounds – out of 6000 pictures I took during our vacation last summer, barely a handful had the histogram bumping against the edges. I prefer the J5 for large landscapes, but for everything else, including urban photography, there is no real difference.

        I ended up buying the V3 evf so that I can use it with the 70-300mm. Lots of money for a few use cases, the main reason why I hesitate to sell my V3 body.

        Nikon proved a total lack of direction and vision over the past few years. I am not holding my breath for the V4/V5. If they come with another $1000 camera body, I will skip it anyway. Too much money that I already poured into a marginal system, with little chance of surviving the coming camera market consolidation.

        1. Hi Dan,
          I really scratched my head with the V3 and it was an easy decision to stick with my V2’s. I’m hoping that a V4/V5 will have an integrated grip and EVF, a better sensor (perhaps 16MP BSI with much better dynamic range, colour depth and low light performance), and maybe a return to standard SD cards. Given that the J5 sells for about $550 with the kit 10-30mm PD zoom I’m thinking that a body only price for a V4/V5 should be in the $700-$800 range. All of this is all conjecture of course!

  8. Many have the opinion with the arrival of the DL line that the N1 line is dead, but I don’t see it this way. I believe the DL line is in competition with other compacts and not a replacement to the N1. Although they share the same sensor as the J5, this does not mean its a direct replacement for the N1 series. Also, the silence of the N1 line by Nikon should not be considered a prelude to its demise. It seems folks are making irrational assumptions about the future of the N1 line based upon other products within Nikon. The N1 line fits a purpose in my life and I’m happy with my J5 and the 18mm and 32mm lens. I shoot very little video and am more content in becoming more efficient and proficient with what I own than chasing new tech. To each their own but if you are happy with what you have news of the DL line will have no adverse affect on your photography. I guarantee your N1 gear will not suddenly degrade nor mysteriously erode into its original metal ingots. Go out, shoot some photos, and enjoy what you have..what will come, will com.

  9. I am looking to replace my DX 5100 and F4 300mm & macro lens with a lighter combo. Because of the non availability of a V4, I have just reviewed the M4/3 range again, hoping that there might be a light weight long reach lens. Unfortunately all the recent lens are even heavier than the Nikon full frame alternatives, so I have just bought a used V2 to experiment with.

    While the DL18-50 and DL24-85 are lightweight and pocketable and look like a good alternative to carrying an FX lens, the DL24-500 weighs almost a kg.

    Hopefully a V4/V5 or alternative will come along in a year.

    1. Hi Graham,
      I know that many Nikon 1 owners are quite negative about the future of the Nikon 1 product line with the launch of the DL series of cameras…but I’m certainly not one of them. While the DL premium compact cameras will appeal to quite a few people, they really represent a large hole that was in Nikon’s product portfolio and allows Nikon to take on competitors like Sony and Panasonic directly with their compact zoom cameras. I think we’ll see a V5 likely in September. I have no ‘inside’ info but my gut tells me it will represent a significant step forward from the V3. I also think there is a good chance that Nikon will use a different BSI sensor in it that will produce many better IQ than the J5 and DL series cameras. Time will tell of course!

  10. Sorry, but I miss the point of the DL series completely. It’s another small sensor line, and seems like Nikon is competing against itself. For heavens sake, why bring out the Nikon 1 series and not keep updating it? I think it is a perfectly good format and love the V1 and V3, though I am not a fan of the V3 with its separate viewfinder and tiny cards. There is really nothing about the DL line that excites me. To me, it appears as though Nikon can’t make up its mind where to go. This does a disservice to all of us users who have invested good money into their larger and smaller formats.

    I will continue with my Nikon 1 equipment, which includes the wonderful CX 70-300 VR. I am getting wonderful results with it. For even longer focal lengths, I bought a P900 despite the small sensor and JPEG only features. I am getting close up images of hummingbirds in the wild, etc, that I could get no other way.

    I do hope Nikon continues to support those of us who are very happy with the Nikon 1 series. If it hasn’t sold well, it is Nikon’s own fault. They certainly could have priced and marketed it better. But the equipment is of fine quality, and if one wants what it can’t do, then they can go to their FX and DX equipment as I do. I still love what I have in that regard.

    So color me unimpressed with the DL line.


    1. Hi Vern,
      I’m also going to be sticking with my Nikon 1 gear. I think the point that many folks miss with the DL series is that those cameras fill a large hole that was in Nikon’s product line-up, i.e. premium compact zoom cameras. Sony, Panasonic and Canon all have cameras in this market niche. I don’t see the DL as internal competition for the Nikon 1 system…although many other folks see it that way.

    2. Hey Vern, there is a growing recognition that if you don’t cannibalize your own product lines, your competitors will. Sony is doing this a little, maybe too much leaving some mounts in a seeming dead end (like APS-C a-mount).

      This is a really good move for Nikon because you will see 1″ sensor becoming a sweet spot overall in the market. Performance there is on par or slightly better than M 4/3 from when it first came out (~2008/2009). Sony RX has made the statement here is a solid way. Canon is doing hit and miss here with their G7X/G5X, etc. Nikon 1/Jx has some great technical points/abilities. But Nikon 1 is honestly not an attractive camera and has not sold that well outside of Japan. The argument that a 1″ sensor system needs interchangeable lenses is a little weak today. (In that someone who needs multiple lenses may be buying further up into the photography and need capabilities that you won’t find at the 1″ class. Whether that’s really strong lens collections, strong flash systems, high frame rates, or other similar specialized abilities. Seems like M 4/3 is the entry point for interchangeable lenses.)

      To me the target market at 1″ sensor is clearly enthusiast shooters. Provide enough sensor to get really good results, and enough controls to make someone who knows how to use a camera very happy. EVF should generally be build-in but it’s not required for many folks (so long as the LCD screen either flips or fully articulates).

      Beyond 1″ though you either want great results or are likely getting paid for shooting. That’s DX/APS-C and FX/FF are duking it out at the pro level. But seriously, RX 1″ sensor is giving much better results than APS-C 6-8mpx from ten years ago (2006). I really feel that it’s M 4/3 that is getting squeezed in the middle. If you are not getting paid for an assignment, then Nikon DL is a strong argument and a welcome offering. In this worldview, a detachable lens CX system like Nikon 1 would be a really small niche.

  11. DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8 $849.95 -> 1 NIKKOR VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6

    for 350 $ you get a body with a better lens, where you almost can play a bit with the DOF. Basicaly only the 70-300 cx lens is something what those compacts doesn’t cover so I guess dl 18-50 + j5 with the 70-300 should be a good volatile still light equipment. Even a v2 can fit in the bag and we are around the size of a d7200 without lens 🙂

    Maybe for the gourmans there is the 32mm F1.2, but we need no more lens 🙂

  12. Interesting article. I am struggling with whether I am going to continue with the Nikon 1 line or move to another line of cameras. I love the size of the Nikon 1 line and recently bought the CX 70-300 to replace the FT-1 and AF-S 300 F4 lens I was using for birding (on a V1). The size is great but I am still learning how to take good birding shots with it.

    If Nikon releases a CX mount version of the DL 24-500 camera, I would be fine with that as my birding camera with the CX 70-300. I would probably pick up the DL 18-50 as well if it is weatherproof.

    However, it Nikon does not produce a new CX mount V type camera, I will cash out my investment in CX and move over to m4/3.

    Or I could just pick up a couple of V3s and or J5s at the coming fire sale and happily use them for the next few years.

    Or if the focusing and image quality is good enough, but a DL 18-50 for landscapes and a DL 24-500 for birding.

    Too many choices 🙂 .

    1. Hi Paul,

      Yup…lots of choices, even more when you add it some other brands like Sony, Panasonic etc. It will be interesting to see how the DL24-500 performs in terms of buffer size and the time it takes to clear. If it performs like a V-series I imagine a lot of folks will really like it and use it for birding…but if its buffer is limited to 20 shots like the J5 and if it is as slow to clear as a J5 it may not be as good a camera for birding as many people are hoping it will be. Time will tell on that one.

      I may be mistaken, but I haven’t heard anything about the DL series of cameras being weather-sealed.

      The CX 70-300 does take some time to get used to it. I noticed a big difference in my own shooting year-over-year. During my trip to Cuba in 2015 I wasn’t all that proficient with the 70-300 as I had only had it for a few months. This year I was much better with the lens and got a lot more keepers even though I had far fewer shooting opportunities.

      While most folks seem to be writing off Nikon 1 and are assuming that there won’t be another V-series model introduced, I’m going against the crowd and feel that we’ll see a V5 around September 2016.


  13. I think the 25-500 is a very appealing bridge camera option for an aspiring wildlife photographer. Yeah, it’s not nearly as long as the 70-300 for the 1, but’s the same price as just that lens, and apparently the AF for DL is taken from the 1 series, which bodes well for wildlife use. I’m curious how the EVF will perform, along with VR, but it sounds like quite a good deal. Otherwise I think the other two DLs are neat options (I can’t use wide angle for anything but others can) in a fun field of premium compacts – using their 4K and AF (hopefully) to differentiate from their rivals will be pretty compelling.

    1. Hi Sean,

      Many folks will like the DL series of cameras and I think Nikon will give Sony and Panasonic some serious competition with this new line-up of cameras. Until some field tests are actually done with the cameras it will be hard to assess how good they may be for particular applications but based on specs they certainly look very good!

      If the DL24-500 performs like a V-series body it should be a great travel camera and also a pretty good unit for birding and wildlife, especially in good light conditions. On the other hand if it performs like the J5 in terms of buffer size and clearing time it will limit the camera’s appeal a bit (i.e. the J5 has a much smaller buffer than a V-series body and clearing time is very slow). It would also be helpful if the zoom control is manual, rather than using a power zoom like the P900, as a manual zoom would be much more responsive for birding.


      1. Good point about buffer (hello D7100 Achilles’ heel!) and zoom control. I bet it’s a power zoom, unfortunately.

        1. Hi Sean,
          I’ve requested access to review samples for the three DL models…hopefully I’ll get them in the not too distant future so I can put the cameras through their paces.

  14. i have two V1
    one with 10mm, another with 30-110mm. plus sb-n5
    I’m looking for a 3rd one and FT1

    it’s a great hobbyist camera. forward to 2016, the evf, screen, battery availability, continuous performance, full manual in video mode, ft1 versatility makes the V1 a still very current camera.

    Get good compliments from my photos. I purposely set the ISO to 800, or even 1600 during daytime , to get that nice grain.

    so for my case, i don’t see any reason to upgrade or buy another system for many years to come, because the V1 is dirt cheap

  15. May I disagree a bit about wide aperture shooting. As you pointed Nikon 1 system is no light champion even if your high ISO shots are pretty amazing. One would equalise this disadvantage using wider aperture. Another thing is faster shutter speeds for action shots. DL`s 18-50 lens two stops advantage over 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens is significant and as I wrote previously Nikon should make it for 1 system preferably in AW 1 edition.

    1. Hi Stanislaw,

      I certainly agree with you that many photographers would want a better selection of wide aperture 1 Nikon lenses, especially for action-type shooting. I also think that a potential 16MP BSI sensor with improved low light performance would help action shooting for many Nikon 1 owners.


  16. For me personally the DL 18-50 paired with a J5 and the 32mm f/1.2 would be a great travel set.

    I very often shoot the 32mm at f/1.2 because the images are still tack sharp at that aperture. Very good for shooting people in almost all kinds of light and very good for general photography. There is no doubt doubt for me, that this is optically the best lens in the Nikon 1 line up.

    I also use the 6.7-13 mm (18-35 mm efov) and it is a great little lens, but sometimes a little too “short” and “slow”, so here I guess the 18-50 mm would be a nice option.

    I also read that the DL 18-50 have perspective control, which would be a very interesting option if it is not just a processing option that can be applied after taking the picture.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Anders! I’ve also read that the DL18-50 has perspective control. My understanding is that it can be applied in camera, although I am unclear if is only to jpegs.

      1. I believe in the J5 that the NEF files are altered by “Auto distortion control”. I am not certain how close that is to “Perspective control” (same thing, different name?).


        1. Hi WEJ,
          If my memory serves ‘auto distortion control’ pertains to corrections that a camera makes to compensate for distortions caused by a lens, but I don’t think it corrects the angles of buildings etc., which can be done with the DL18-50 camera.

          1. Understood, kind of like a tilt/shift lens it would seem. I had missed that in the specs of the DL18-50. It will be interesting to see how that camera compares against a N1 series camera with the CX 6.7-13 (approx. 18-35 range) lens.


            1. The only feasible option for a tilt/shift lens seems to be recently announced VC 10/5,6 lens in m-mount fitted to V mount through a tilt/shift adopter if anybody makes it. Expensive but should work.

  17. I am amateur snapshooter, I like to shoot at 1.8-1.2, and I’ll keep using N1 for that reason – no replacement for 32mm and 18.5mm. For kid pictures I have to use 1/125 or faster anyway, so VR makes no difference to me.

  18. I will still use my V1 & V2, especially if Nikon makes that 18-50 & 24-85 lenses from DL available as Nikkor1 lenses. That will be perfect.

  19. Hard to see the future, this is still true, but I have a sinking feeling for N1 gear. I watch the price of the v3 full kit in Japan now going brand new for under $700 USD makes me really wonder if they are not now clearing that gear out. I think N1 is dead. We shall see.

    While I have enjoyed the v2 and v3 gear no camera is perfect and these are no exception. But the portability and size of the glass is something I have really enjoyed.

    Admitidly I recently grabbed the D7100 (Refurb and uber cheap) and got back into “big” gear land. I must admit the low light capability of this with two fast lenses is quite spectacular. Low light performance of the N1 gear has never been a strong category. And the glass available for DSLR’s is abundant.

    With this DL announcement I am about 95% sure I will sell my v3 get the DL. The issue is there is no replacement in the DSLR game for my small 70-300 lens that many of us so love. Sigh.

    Back to the DL. I am really thrilled with the new 24-85mm. First the price is right. I would have paid that amount for just the fast glass for my N1. So I think Nikon figure out that release price matters.

    Tom – Here is where we split. Fast glass is something I so wanted for N1. The 32mm and 18.5mm were fast, but nothing else really was (the 10mm prime, sorta). I want that for the low light shooting, with the better sensor in the DL and hopes for a very near m4/3 IQ that has me pretty happy when I don’t want to lug the D7100.


    1. Hi Mike,

      We all have different needs when it comes to cameras and lenses and I certainly respect folks like you that need more fast glass options. I always prefer shooting with lenses with VR so the non-VR Nikon 1 primes as well as the full frame Nikkor primes I used to own were never lenses that I enjoyed using at all for still photography. They were always ‘necessary evils’ for my video business. I always found that I could shoot at a lower ISO using a zoom with VR than I could when using an FX or Nikon 1 prime. 🙂 we all like different things!

      I’m still hopeful that we’ll see a Nikon 1 V5 in the fall. You and I have chatted outside of this website about what we’d like to see so I won’t repeat it here. Suffice to say if we both both what we wanted in one body it would be an awesome camera!


  20. I’m staying with Nikon 1.

    I like what I have and I want to be able to change lenses.

    It is annoying that many of the features we have asked for in Nikon 1 have been incorporated in the DL series.

    I’m still hopeful Nikon will produce better Nikon 1 cameras and lenses….. Before too long……

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