Nikon 1 V2 makes the 1 System "photographer-friendly"
By Simon Crisp
October 25, 2012
Nikon has announced a "photographer-friendly" update to its mirrorless 1 System, the Nikon 1 V2. The new camera features a 14.2-million-pixel sensor, adds command and mode dials on the top, a configurable 'F' button, a built-in flash and a DSLR-like front grip, all of which it's hoped will help it appeal to a slightly more enthusiast market.
When Nikon introduced the 1 System, there were complaints that it didn't meet the needs of enthusiasts, with people bemoaning the 1-inch-type sensor and the lack of manual controls. While the latest incarnation has still got the small sensor, Nikon has addressed enthusiasts' concerns by giving the V2 a full makeover, compared to the minimal update the J2 received.
The Nikon 1 V2 now pairs the 14.2-million-pixel CX-format CMOS sensor with an EXPEED 3A image processing engine to ensure speedy shooting. Continuous burst rates come in at an impressive 15 fps (frames per second) for up to 45 frames with the hybrid AF system – there's a 73-point AF array and 135 contrast-detect focus areas – and a blistering 60 fps (for up to 40 frames) with fixed-point AF.
Sensitivity has also received a bump with the ISO range now going from 160-6400, where it previously peaked at 3200, but it's the physical form of the V2 which has changed the most. Whereas the V1 was all about straight lines, the V2 is designed to look and handle more like an SLR … though if we were being cruel, we might suggest it looks like the ugly relative of a Sony NEX.
Handling should be improved by the DSLR-like front grip, and there's now easier access to manual controls. The mode dial has been relocated to the top of the camera and now offers direct access to PSAM exposure controls. Sitting next to it is a command dial which can be used to adjust settings without taking your eye off the 1.4-million-dot electronic viewfinder or the high-resolution 921,000-dot 3.0-in LCD display.
More experienced photographers will also be glad to see the addition of a configurable 'F' button which gives faster access to settings, and the Nikon 1 i-TTL hot-shoe is joined by a built-in pop-up flash. While there's no built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, the Nikon 1 V2 is compatible with the WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter which allows users to transfer images to smart devices or remotely control the camera from a smartphone or tablet.
The impressive Smart Photo Selector function – which shoots 20 images with the press of the shutter button and then presents the best five to select from – is now part of a Best Moment Capture Mode which also lets users to slow down a moment they're capturing. By half pressing the shutter button when focused, a 1.33 second snippet of action is captured and played back over 6.66 seconds. The photographer can then fully press the shutter during the slow motion replay to get the exact image they were going for.
The Nikon 1 V2 also features a movie mode which allows full manual exposure controls as well as the simultaneous shooting of 1080p Full HD video and high-resolution stills. Slow motion movies can be recorded at both 400 fps and 1200 fps (albeit at much smaller resolutions).
In addition to the new camera, Nikon has announced the launch of a SB-N7 speedlight, a compact and lightweight flash unit with a 120-degree tilting head to allow for bouncing the flash output. Three 1 NIKKOR lenses have also been previewed, including a fast 32mm f/1.2 medium-telephoto (equivalent to 86.4mm in 35mm format) a 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 ultra wide-angle zoom lens (equivalent to 18-35mm in 35mm format) with VR and a 10-100mm f/4-5.6 (equivalent to 27-270mm in 35mm format).
The Nikon 1 V2 camera with the 10-30mm lens will be available in black or white from late November for US$900, while the SB-N7 speedlight will be available in January and set you back $160.