Nikon 1 V2 - Still Fast, Handles Better



Like with the Nikon 1 V1, we struggle to define just who the Nikon 1 V2 is for. It offers a few advantages over the V1, like increased resolution from 10MP to 14MP, increased clarity in its images, a built-in flash, an improved grip and better manual handling. But none of these strike us as particularly enticing for owners of the V1 to upgrade, especially since the V1 is only about a year old. Of course, Nikon is merely improving the proposition of the V-series and is likely targeting users who haven't yet made the jump to a mirrorless camera system.

The V2 is not a bad camera, in fact it offers quite a few features unique to the Nikon 1 mirrorless series. Its auto-focus is, in our opinion, the best among mirrorless cameras today. Not only is it fast and accurate, but it's able to keep up with moving subjects when shooting in bursts, something most other mirrorless cameras still struggle with. 

Its quick, multiple frame-rates are useful for capturing those fast moments, something parents with active children might find useful. Yet, those bursts will cost you a second or so of the camera locking up after each burst, and the camera AF does hesitate a bit in low-light (something other mirrorless cameras also struggle with). These points make the V2 still not quite ready for serious sports photography.

The handling is much improved over the V1, the V2 gives you quicker physical access to manual controls, but its Function digital menu still needs some work. While resolution has been improved, the V2 suffers from image noise which can be seen even at low ISO settings. It doesn't compare with the brilliant ISO performance of the latest generation of Micro Four Thirds sensors found in the Olympus E-M5 and E-PL5, not to mention the APS-C sensors found in the Sony NEX and Canon EOS M cameras. 

And compared to the Nikon 1 J2 which has a dismal battery life of 220 shots, the V2 has a longer battery life of 310 shots (but it is still 40 shots less than the V1's battery life).

But if you're not missing shots due to quick moving subjects, or don't know what 15 fps in AF-C means and you're still nailing most shots in focus, then you might not need the insane frame-rates that the V2 is capable of. In other words, the camera as a tool should fit the kind of photography you do, for instance if all you're shooting are landscapes, then you won't need to capture multiple bursts of one (unless your mountain moves). If that's the case, then other cameras in the same price bracket can offer you better image quality, especially those with larger image sensors.

Nikon 1 V2 vs. Competing Mirrorless System Cameras
  Canon EOS M Nikon 1 V2 Olympus E-PL5 Panasonic GX1 Samsung NX210 Sony NEX-6
Lens Mount Canon EF-M Nikon 1 Micro Four Thirds Micro Four Thirds Samsung NX Sony E
Effective Pixels 18MP 14.2MP 16.5MP 16MP 20.3MP 16.1MP
Image Sensor 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS 13.2 x 8.8mm CMOS 17.3 x 13mm Live MOS 17.3 x 13mm Live MOS 23.5 x 15.7mm APS-C CMOS 23.5 x 15.6mm APS-C CMOS
Max. Frame-rates 4.3 fps 5, 15, 30 or 60 fps 8 fps (with I.S. off), 3 fps (with I.S. on) SH: 20 fps, H: 4.2 fps, M: 3 fps, L: 2 fps 8, 3 fps 10, 3 fps
ISO Sensitivity ISO 100-12800 ISO 160-6400 ISO 200-25600 ISO 160-12800 ISO 100-12800 ISO 100-25600
Auto-focus Phase/contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator Phase/contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator Contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator Contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator Contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator Phase/contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator
Image Stabilization Depends on lens Depends on lens Built-in Depends on lens Depends on lens Depends on lens
Built-in Flash External Approx. 5m (ISO 100) External Approx. 6m (ISO 100) External Approx. 6m (ISO 100)
Max. Movie Resolution 1080/25p with stereo 1080/60i with stereo 1080/30p with stereo 1080/60i with stereo 1080/30 with stereo 1080/50p with stereo
Monitor 3" 1.04 million dots, touch-screen LCD 3" 921k dots LCD 3" 460k dots, touch-screen, swivel LCD 3" 460k dots, touch-screen LCD 3" 614k dots, AMOLED 3" 921k dots, swivel LCD
Battery 230 images 310 shots 360 images 300 images 330 images 360 images
Dimensions 108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm 107.8 x 81.6 x 45.9mm 110.5 x 63.7 x 38.2mm 116.3 x 67.8 x 39.4mm 117 x 63 x 37mm 119.9 x 66.9 x 42.6mm
Weight (with battery and memory card) 298g 337g 325g 318g 222g 345g
  • S$1149 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
  • S$1219 (with 22mm kit lens & EF-EOS M mount adapter)
  • S$1349 (with 18-55mm & 22mm kit lenses, Speedlite 90EX)
  • S$1299 (with 10-30mm lens)
  • S$1549 (with 10-30mm & 30-110mm lenses)
  • S$1098 (with 14-42mm kit lens)
  • S$1348 (with 14-42mm & 40-150mm kit lenses)
  • S$1299 (with 14-42mm power-zoom lens)
  • S$1299 (with 14mm & 14-42mm lens)
  • S$1299 (with 18-55mm lens)
  • S$1399 (with 16-50mm lens)
  • S$1699 (with 16-50mm & 55-210mm lens)


The Good
Fast, dependable auto-focus
Quick multiple frame-rates for action
Improved grip and handling over V1
Increased image detail over V1
The Bad
Image noise seen from low ISO settings
Auto-focus hesitant in low-light
Camera blacks out after shooting bursts
Confusing Function digital menu

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