Nikon 1 V3 Initial Impressions and Sample Images

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.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/500, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/500, f/5.6

It is sometimes hard not to be perceived as a ‘fan boy’, especially when people reading my blog can see by the volume of Nikon 1 related articles that I shoot with this system extensively. To do my best to present a balanced viewpoint this article identifies some of the trade-offs that I feel people should consider in their buying decision.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/100, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/100, f/5.6

The Nikon 1 V3’s lack of an anti-aliasing (low pass) filter is noticeable in terms of image quality and allows the camera to render fine details a bit better than the V2.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/15, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/15, f/5.6

The higher megapixel CX sensor in the Nikon 1 V3 (18.4 MP) provides photographers with more cropping potential than the V1 (10.2 MP) or V2 models (14.2 MP). The trade-off is that the increased pixel density has increased noise levels somewhat. This can be addressed in post of course.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/60, f/5.6

Over the past few months I’ve started applying noise reduction to all of my Nikon 1 V2 RAW files regardless of the ISO at which they were taken, and I’d recommend doing this with files from the V3 as well.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 282.7mm, ISO 1600, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 282.7mm, ISO 1600, 1/60, f/5.6

As with previous Nikon 1 cameras focusing in good light is quite fast with the Nikon 1 V3. I did find that it wasn’t quite as fast as my V2 in challenging, low light conditions. I’m likely not a typical Nikon 1 user as I tend to push things beyond where most folks do, so this may not be an issue for other people.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 287.2mm, ISO 1600, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 287.2mm, ISO 1600, 1/60, f/5.6

The removable EVF is a bit of a mixed blessing. It provides a decently bright image and it can be set so that the rear display on the camera is not used. This helps to extend battery life.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 291.4mm, ISO 3200, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 291.4mm, ISO 3200, 1/60, f/5.6

The downside is that once the EVF is in place the hot shoe cannot be used for accessories like a flash or microphone. This may be a significant issue for some photographers while others will find it has little or no impact on them.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 159.8mm, ISO 1600, 1/125, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 159.8mm, ISO 1600, 1/125, f/5.6

There also is a removable grip. Again, there is a trade-off involved with this feature. It does provide an additional control button allowing the Nikon 1 V3 to operate closer to a DSLR in terms of convenience. The downside is that it must be removed every time the battery in the camera needs to be replaced.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 287.2mm, ISO 6400, 1/160, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 287.2mm, ISO 6400, 1/160, f/5.6

From a durability standpoint I wonder if the continual installation and removal of the EVF and grip may cause wear down the road and potential issues with the electrical connections. Personally I would have preferred that the camera maintained the integrated EVF and grip of the Nikon 1 V2.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 129.4mm, ISO 12800, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 129.4mm, ISO 12800, 1/60, f/5.6

The Nikon 1 V3 uses micro-SD cards. Their small size may be a concern to some photographers in terms of being easy to lose. I didn’t find any performance issues with the SanDisk Extreme PLUS UHS-I card provided with the V3 review unit.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, ISO 1600, 1/50, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, ISO 1600, 1/50, f/5.6

The Nikon 1 V3 comes with a new 10-30 mm PD power zoom. To be honest I didn’t bother trying this lens. It does not accept filters, which for my business rules it out from a functionality standpoint.

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 282.7mm, ISO 6400, 1/125, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 282.7mm, ISO 6400, 1/125, f/5.6

Every camera, regardless of price, comes with trade-offs of some kind and the Nikon 1 V3 is no exception. Whether a photographer chooses the Nikon 1 V3 and likes it will depend on what’s most important to them. The V3 is capable of producing very nice images, especially when matched up with some of the better Nikon 1 lenses like the CX 70-300.

If buyers can see past some of the quirky design choices that Nikon made with the V3 (removable EVF and grip, micro-SD cards, no-filter 10-30 PD zoom) they may find that they really enjoy shooting with it. For others, these design choices may be deal breakers.

Technical Note: All images were produced from RAW files processed through DxO OpticsPro 10 with PRIME noise reduction. A DNG file was exported into CS6 and Nik Suite for additional adjustments as needed.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about the Nikon 1 system, you may want to have a look at our eBook, The Little Camera That Could. It illustrates the capability of the Nikon 1 system through hundreds of original photographs. There is also commentary and tips about the Nikon 1 system.

 

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As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.

Article and all images are Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation allowed without written consent.

12 thoughts on “Nikon 1 V3 Initial Impressions and Sample Images”

  1. Hi Tom –

    I’ve been quite a fan of the V1 series of cameras, and am really happy whenever you post an article about the cameras of lenses. I only have the V1 at present, and the 70-300mm will arrive tomorrow – looking forward to trying it out. I am considering a used V3 or V2, or just waiting until the V4 comes out. In the meantime, I can work on the V1 and 70-300! I have a number of the other lenses, and like their size and overall image quality.

    What I really like is the fact you take damned good pictures to go along with articles, and the EXIF info is very helpful. Additional articles will always be welcome, as well as hints in post if discover anything especially good.

    For instance, you mentioned you always apply noise reduction in post to all V series images – what is your work flow here?

    Anyway, thanks for the great articles, here and on Photography Life.

    Cheers!

    Naomi

    1. Hi Naomi,
      Thank you so much for your most generous words – very much appreciated! My basic workflow is to process RAW files through DxO OpticsPro 10, then export a DNG file into CS6 and Nik Suite for additional adjustments as needed. This is the same process whether I’m shooting with my V2 or my D800. With the V2 I always run PRIME noise reduction in OpticsPro 10. It does a wonderful job and is a ‘one click’ adjustment. I really like using OpticsPro 10 as my RAW processor as it automatically applies all kinds of file adjustments based on the body and lens used for each image, using DxO Labs test data. I think it really does a nice job, especially on my Nikon 1 files.
      Tom

  2. HI Tom
    Thanks to provide me great help specially when its time to decide if I will buy or not.
    I came so close yesterday to buy a V3 & FT adaptor, but my more rational side of my brain, stopped me to do it before asking you a few questions.
    1- I have no intention to buy any of the serie 1 lenses , and instead only use the FT adaptor with my FX & DX lenses, keeping on it for general photography my Nikon 10-24 DX F3.5-4.5 non VR Nikon lens. Is this a good idea ?
    2- The camera will also be mostly use for long reach with my Tamron 150-600 will it work ?
    3- Is the cheap 18-55 DX, or the 18-105, or my sigma 17-50 F2.8 OS, can be used with their AF functionning ?
    4-Are there any brackets that can attach the camera and lighting gear during video ?
    regards

    1. Hi Luc,

      I have three V2s and none of them recognize my Tamron 150-600 VC at all. The V3 review sample I have also does not recognize the Tamron at all. I know some owners have been able to get their Nikon 1 cameras to work with the Tamron 150-600 but it really is a hit or miss proposition.

      I haven’t had any issues with my Nikkor glass working with my V2s at all so I don’t think you’ll have an issue with any of your Nikkor lenses. You’ll need to keep in mind that the V2/V3 will give you a 2.7X crop factor so all of your existing DX and FX glass will give you a completely different field of view from what you are accustomed. Any third party lenses are a gamble in terms of whether they will actually work with the V2 or V3. You’ll also need to keep in mind that when you use a DX or FX lens with a Nikon 1 you will be limited to a single focus point in the middle of the frame and it cannot be moved. As long as you have the latest firmware on the Nikon 1 there shouldn’t be any issues with AF as well as shooting at 15fps, 30fps or 60 fps with the V2 or 20/30/60 fps with the V3. Only the first frame will be in focus at 30fps or 60 fps, but full AF-C should work at 15fps or 20fps.

      As far as brackets go, I have a Vello CB-510 I got from B&H and I’ve used it with a Genaray LED light for stills and for video.

      Tom

      1. Thank you very much Tom
        for the infos. It’s received like a bucket of icy water over my head . I knew about the 2.7X factor, but not the single point focusing . Can this AF point able to track a moving object or am I limited to a stationary object such as in AF-S mode on my D7100 ? I am starting to understand why you got the expensive 70-300 serie 1 lens instead of using the same zoom lens built for FX cameras.
        regards

        1. Hi Luc,
          If you go to the ‘birds in flight’ section on the right hand side of my web site and scroll down to the end of the article selection, you’ll come to one fully dedicated to this topic.
          Tom

  3. Thanks for the interesting review. I’ve actually had a V3 for a few months now (silly price at the time of course), and bought the V2 after the V3, at a silly price in the opposite sense (but unfortunately it had to be a white one!). I’ve also got an older J1 and V1 which I have had since they were being sold at fire-sale prices. I’d agree about the evf, grip and card, not to mention another change in battery. Surely a lot of people will buy (or have to buy, if in the USA?) the camera with the grip and evf, and so it would have made the camera cheaper, smaller and lighter, and left the accessory socket free, if they had made these part of the camera, not add-ons? I can live with the tiny cards, but it would have made life easier if they had kept standard SD. But, with the grip, the extra control dial is a great asset. Regarding the sensor, I think that Nikon has chosen different priorities compared with those 1″ sensor cameras that use the Sony sensor, and so it is a question of which priorities suit the user too.

    The 70-300 lens is great – not had mine long (you decided me), and of course I can’t get the results you do, but I’m very pleased with the lens, and how it works with the Nikon 1s as a quite small and light system. Seeing that you use DxO for processing your images, I’ve given that a try as well, and it seems particularly good in handling Nikon 1 conversion.

    I REALLY wish that Nikon would support standard flash too – even if they don’t support their own Speedlight in all its modes, a bracket which would operate a standard flash in manual mode, or a radio trigger, would make the cameras much more useful – surely they could provide an accessory which plugs in to the existing port which would trigger these (or perhaps a third party could do this?).

    Thanks for a great web site.

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for sharing your perspectives on the Nikon 1 V3 – much appreciated! I also love my Nikon 1 CX 70-300! It is a terrific lens and mounted on my V2 makes a light, easy-to-handle telephoto package. I appreciate your positive comment on my photography blog!
      Tom

  4. Thanks Tom – again for an insightful look at the v3. Your timing is perfect! I am impressed with the fine detail and as I have discussed with you before I love the “grain” look of the N1 cameras simulating that film look I so miss from my 35mm days… Looks like the lack of filter and a few more MP’s is helping quality!

    I ran across a good deal and a coupon from eBay and now have a slightly used v3 coming my way! I did a good deal of research on the v3 and while you point out the some good issues for and against the reason I dropped some cash now on the v3 was the articulating touch screen, larger files and the grip with additional Fn buttons and control dial.

    I really like the idea of treating this like my much loved D7100.

    I too will see how the removable EVF lasts, I sure wish it was fixed. I know you use the hot shoe for video/mic stuff but that isn’t a big deal for me. Sure wish they had kept standard SD cards as all of us have a pile of good cards. I also wish Nikon was getting as much out of this 1″ sensor a Sony gets from theirs on the RX100 III.

    We will see if it stays in my stable, but no question I can get what I paid for it easily if I need to sell it. Can’t wait to play with it for a while and it feeds that GAS need!

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike,

      I very pleased that you found the article helpful! It is always difficult not to come across as a ‘fan boy’ especially when folks know that I do a lot of shooting with the Nikon 1 system so I tried to provide a balanced viewpoint on the camera. I think you will enjoy the V3, especially since it appears from your comment that none of the trade-offs noted in my article are of concern to you.

      Tom

      1. Not feeling like you are a fan boy but i sure like the v2. I had very low expectations and got it for use on a business trip. I like it SO MUCH that I sold some Fuji equipment to get more glass. Fuji and I just never got off to the right start and I so wanted to like it.

        Will let you know how I like the v3. My 70-300 will have to wait a bit but that is next. 🙂

        Mike

        1. Hi Mike,
          I know what you mean! I originally got my first V2 as a second video camera for my business and to use it as a teleconverter with my existing FX Nikkor glass. After shooting with it for a while I got addicted to the system I started buying Nikon 1 lenses. Now I have three V2’s and a host of Nikon 1 glass and I reach for this gear first – other than when I’m doing client work.
          Tom

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