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First Impressions: Nikon 1 V2 (and a Quick Glimpse of the Nikon 70-200mm f4 G ED VR)

by G Servo on 10/28/2012

Still small, still nimble, and with a better grip; the Nikon 1 v2 was recently announced. At Photo Plus Expo 2012 I got a ‘hands on’.  The V2 has had some new features added beyond the ergonomics like slow view and a popup flash. I did not get to put a memory card into the camera as it was still a test unit. I did a hands on with the Nikon 1 J1 or V1 last year and we never took it beyond that. I also was able to get some brief playtime with the newly announced Nikon 70-200mm f4 G ED VR.

 

Product Highlights

Tech specs taken from B&H

  • 14.2MP 13.2 x 8.8mm CMOS CX Image Sensor
  • Nikon 1 Lens Mount
  • 3.0″ LCD Display
  • 60fps Burst Shooting at Full Resolution
  • Electronic Viewfinder
  • Wireless-Capable
  • 1920 x 1080/60i Movie Capture
  • Advanced Hybrid AF
  • i-TTL Hot Shoe for Optional Speedlight

 

Ergonomics

The build quality was solid in the hand. The camera does not feel cheap even though it looks like a toy or a superzoom point and shoot.  Conversely, the feel of the camera has been improved over its predecessor. Overall, the Nikon 1 V1 was slightly awkward in big hands like mine, the V2 with and its new grip made the camera much better to hold. However, the buttons are still a tad too small for my liking.

The View finder was pretty much the same as the V1 in my opinion. I don’t mind using EVFs. The V2s viewfinder had approximately 100% coverage.

The Nikon 1 v2 had a nice gimmick mode called Slow view: It allowed the user to point the camera at a subject, hold the shutter down, putting the scene into slow motion. Think of it as bullet time from the Max Payne video games or like the Matrix. This allowed for the user to pick the shot. The shutter is still insanely fast; so the technology in this little powerhouse is really quite impressive. The menus and screens were easy to use similar to the V1. The screen itself was still bright and sharp.

Nevertheless, the camera buttons were slightly more intuitive. I could figure out and use the buttons with one hand; so the muscle memory came quick. Manual mode was easier to adjust also due to the new design. The top buttons where mode dial is place is small but could be used easily enough.

 

The camera ports are the typical HDM,I USB, and an Audio jack.

Autofocus

The Nikon 1 V2 has a decent autofocus. I did not get to use it much but it was very quick. It focused on the points pretty well. The camera was set to Auto-area AF. The v2 has 41 focus points. What was funny about them were that they seemed more spread out than the Nikon D600. This is because it is much easier for a DSLR to attain focus near the center area than a camera with contrast AF like the V2. I would need to shoot with it more though to really know how well it works.

Accessories

The Nikon 1 V2 uses all the same accessories that the V1 could use. The Nikon Ft1 can still be used as an adapter for F-mount lenses. The external flash can still be used also.

Who is the Nikon 1 V2 for

This camera is less for those wanting to move from point and shoot and more for those leaning to be an enthusiast. The J2 fits better for those wanting to moves from point and shoots. The cameras seem usable for any situation.

Price

The Nikon 1 V2 is too expensive at just under $900. I can see paying for it at that price. As I told the Nikon rep, Yes the camera is small, and convenient to put in my pocket but at its cost I can buy a D3200 and a few lenses used or new. The Nikon D3200 is bigger, yes, but it’s still light and has better image quality. If the Nikon 1 V2 was priced around $400 I would consider it. The V1 dropped below 400, body only and that seemed more attractive. Hell, I may even get one for travel when and if a V3 comes out.

Nikon 70-200mm f4 G ED VR

I did not get too thorough of a hands on with this lens. I was not allowed to put it on my camera, but we will surely be calling it in for review. First off, for its size this lens is light. It weighs about 30 oz. I was very surprised at this; and it makes total sense as to why one wouldn’t need a tripod collar with this lens. But the RT-1 Tripod collar ring is an extra accessory to the lens, that can be purchased separately if you want it. This was done to keep the price down and get the lens into more people’s hands. I got to test this lens on a D600 and it was nice and totally worth it for the price of around $1,399.95.

Specifications from Nikon

  •  Mount Type Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal Length Range 70-200mm
  • Zoom Ratio 2.9x
  • Maximum Aperturef/4
  • Minimum Aperturef/32
  • Format FX/35mm
  • Maximum Angle of View (DX-format) 22°50′
  • Minimum Angle of View (DX-format) 8°
  • Maximum Angle of View (FX-format) 34°20′
  • Minimum Angle of View (FX-format) 12°20′
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1.36x
  • Lens Elements 20
  • Lens Groups 14
  • High Refractive Index Elements 1
  • Compatible Format(s) FX DX
  • VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization Yes
  • Diaphragm Blades 9
  • Distance Information Yes
  • Nano Crystal Coat Yes
  • ED Glass Elements 3
  • Super Integrated Coating Yes
  • Autofocus Yes
  • AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) Yes
  • Internal Focusing Yes
  • Minimum Focus Distance 3.28 ft.
  • Focus Mode AF, Manual
  • G-type Yes
  • Filter Size 67mm
  • Accepts Filter Type Screw-on
  • Dimensions (Approx.) 3.1×7.0 in. (Diameter x Length) 78.0×178.5mm (Diameter x Length)
  • Weight (Approx.) 30.0 oz. (850g)

Supplied Accessories

  • LC-67 Snap-on Front Lens Cap 67mm
  • HB-60 Bayonet Hood
  • LF-4 Rear Lens Cap
  • CL-1225 Semi-Soft Case

First Impressions

The Nikon 1 V2 is a decent camera if you look at it objectively. From my experience every camera is not for everyone. To understand this camera you have to step out of your DSLR shell, somewhat, and accept that it’s supposed to be somewhat dumbed down, to put it bluntly. The Nikon 1 series is meant to bridge the gap between point and shoot and DSLR. It may never be an alternative to DSLR’s like a Micro 4/3 camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

I was bewildered and underwhelmed by the Nikon 70-200mm f4 G ED VR. This year Tamron came out with a 70-200mm f2.8 lens, and it was priced around $769. It does not have VR however it’s much faster, cheaper and comes with a tripod collar. I would choose that over the Nikon honestly. But my mind may change after both review units have left my hands.

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