Nikon 1 V3: Somethings You May Overlook

The latest model of Nikon’s mirrorless V series camera has been in the market for a while.  However, less-than-expected reviews of Nikon 1 V3 camera have got almost no attention from the market or veteran photographers alike.  When speaking of Nikon’s mirrorless camera, it seems that Nikon doesn’t catch up with other competitors like Olympus or Fuji Film.  From my point of view, Nikon 1 V3 deserves more spotlight than it currently has now.

A Short Introduction

Nikon 1 V3 is the latest model of Nikon’s mirrorless V series camera.  It is developed under the concept of compact size, light weight, and easy-to-carry. More importantly, it has retained most features from the upper-level mirrorless camera.  In fact, Nikon wants to ensure that you will have the same experience of using this camera as other upper-level cameras.

What’s new from Nikon 1 V3?

Nikon 1 V3 has a substantial upgrade from its predecessor, Nikon 1 V2. With a CMOS sensor CX format, Nikon 1 V3 is capable of delivering up to 20 fps continuous shooting with autofocus (AF).  Nikon 1 V3 has emulated a myriad of DSLR features including the whopping hybrid 105 points phase-detect and 171 points contrast-detect AF.  Thus, the performance of Nikon 1 V3 is much closer to that of DSLR, especially when dealing with the moving object. The power of EXPEED 4A provides swift processing capability with ISO sensitivity from 160 to 12,800.

Design and Features 

Nikon 1 V3 is designed to match the need of typical photographers who want to capture a sharp still image as well as record a fine quality video playback.  Like other compact-size mirrorless cameras in the market, Nikon 1 V3 features a tilt touch-screen LCD that enables the user to shoot at various angles. Furthermore, the performance of CMOS CX format sensor is steadily upgraded from that of V2 series with the resolution of 18.4 MP.  The ISO sensitivity can be set from as low as 160 to 6400 (with an option of 12,800).  With the new improved processor, the user may record the full HD 1080 video playback at 60 fps or 720p at 30 fps in slow-motion mode.  On the top of that, a built-in Wi-Fi also helps the user to quickly share images with friends and family through smart devices.

The Key Features    

105 phase-detect and 171 contrast-detect AF

Nikon claims that Nikon 1 V3 has the fastest hybrid AF in the industry.  With 105 phase-detect and 171 contrast-detect auto focus, Nikon 1 V3 can render a high quality still image of the moving object, sports event, or wildlife.

The fastest continuous shooting mode  

Nikon has opted to CX format image sensor over DX format because of its capability to enhance the AF speed on continuous shooting mode.  Nikon has claimed that Nikon 1 V3 is capable of facilitating a continuous shooting at 20 fps with electronic shutter and capturing up 40 images in just 2 seconds.  The manual shutter can shoot at the 6 fps with 50 images in 8 seconds.


Nikon has removed the low-pass filter from the sensor to enhance the details resolution of the image taken.  The new EXPEED 4A processor allows the camera to capture more quality image even in a low-light condition and the ISO sensitivity can reach the maximum level of 12,800 along with enhanced noise reduction system.

Video Playback Mode   

The longest length of video playback in full HD mode (1920×1080 resolution at 60fps) is approximately 10 mins. The vibration reduction system built inside the camera also helps to sharpen the video recording even when the camera is in motion.

Virtual Horizon function

Nikon 1 V3 is the first in the series to be equipped with virtual horizon function which enables the camera to display this mode from both Live-View screen and viewfinder (require viewfinder add-on accessory).  This function will significantly reduce the time to frame the screen level when moving the camera around.  It automatically sets up the appropriate capturing frame whether the camera is being tilted in up-down or left-right angle.  This function can be operated in both portrait and landscape orientation.

Control Panel

With tilting LCD touchscreen, the user is able to take the shot from different angles.  The control panel layout is somewhat identical to other DSLR series from Nikon which mode dial is on the top of the camera.  The small dial in the front has performed different functions depending on the shooting mode.  In aperture mode, it is used to set up aperture level, for instance.  The user can also assign 2 customizable function buttons to handle 7 following functions such as exposure compensation, picture control, white balance, autofocus area, metering system, ISO sensitivity, and video recording.

New 1 Nikkor kit Lens

Nikkor lenses are recognized as one of the highest quality lenses on the market.  Nikon 1 V3 is compatible with a long line of 1 Nikkor lenses and it also supports F-mount lenses via FT1 Mount adapter. The 1 Nikkor VR 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM kit lens is a CX format lens with 3x optical zoom covering up to 10-30 mm of focal length ( an equivalent of 27-81 mm in 35mm format camera). It is the motor-driven power zoom lens with an automatic retractable feature when the camera is in idle mode.

Add-on Accessories    

In order to keep the camera compact in size, Nikon has decided to remove the viewfinder from Nikon 1 V3 and, instead, has offered it as an add-on accessory (DF-N1000).  Additionally, the add-on grip (GR-N1010) is also available for the photographer who prefers DSLR type grip rather than compact-size grip. The add-on grip also is equipped with additional third customizable function button.

The bottom line  

The overall rating of Nikon 1 V3 is much above the average, thanks to its fast continuous AF system that can help effectively capturing sports events, wildlife, or fast moving object.  With the viewfinder and add-on grip accessories, it makes Nikon 1 V3 feel and work almost like DSLR camera.  Additionally, tilting touch screen also enables the user to capture the image in various angles.  On the top of that, the FT-1 adapter has allowed the use of F mount DSLR Nikkor lenses which means more versatile in shooting the image.  The drawback of this camera is the relatively small 1” CX format sensor.  Even though it helps to assist the swift continuous AF during the shooting, a visible shadow noises can be easily detected even in a low ISO 160 sensitivity.  The lack of an optical viewfinder has really forced the user to rely mostly on Live View screen unless the add-on accessory is brought along.  Finally, the price tag of US$ 1,199.95 is considered expensive compared to APS-C sensor Sony A600 camera or micro four third Panasonic Lumix DSC-RX 1000 camera.

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