Nikon 1 V2 vs V1 vs J2 Comparison – Review Like No Other

November 2, 2012

It’s probably one of the least good looking mirrorless camera on the market, and if you don’t know which camera I’m talking about – it’s the new Nikon V2. In this article I will talk intensively about this camera feature and how it stands against other leading Compact System Cameras.  Nikon 1 cameras have been heavily criticized by the photographer’s community since the first time Nikon launched its J1 and V1 cameras. It seems that people just didn’t like the fact that Nikon, a world’s leader in the digital camera’s business goes have decided to go with a CX sensor, which is much smaller than the Micro Four Thirds.  Does it means that the V2 doesn’t have a change even before it hit the market? – Let’s find out..

I have to admit that when I look at Nikon 1 cameras as a system,  it’s easy for me to get too excited about.Their are some very interesting features, howeverthe all idea of buying a CSC is having a compact camera with large sensor. Does it mean that Nikon 1 cameras have lower image quality?  Nikon 1 cameras are capable of very good image quality, even comparable with what you get with micro four thirds (see dpreview’s conclusion about the J1 and V1), but the sensor size will be a limitation of some sort.

Nikon 1 V2

Nikon 1 V2

Having said that, the fact that this sensor is smaller, this actually help brings some new features that we haven’t seen before, like exceptionally fast 60 fps continuous shooting, slow down mode (found on the V2, I’ll talk about it later on this review), 135-point  contrast-detection and 73-point phase detection Hybrid AF system.  And of course let’s not forget the high quality Nikon optics that you can use with this lens (aka 1 Nikkor lenses). Another advantage is the 2.7x crop factor. This means that a 300 mm lens will give you an image that looks like it was taken with a 800mm lens on a full frame camera.

So we need to look at the whole package, and although Nikon 1 cameras (V1, J1, J2) have been criticized quite a lot, I personally thing that for an amateur photographer, these cameras can be very useful and very fun to use. Nikon certainly takes advantage of this sensor and its capabilities,  introducing new interesting features in every new model, and the V2 is also a very interesting camera as well.


Nikon 1 V2

The Nikon V2 replaces the V1.  The first thing you notice about this camera is its unique design. Some people maybe like it, other don’t. It looks a bit weird because the bump at the top where the viewfinder is. Here, take a look how the Nikon 1 V2 compares to the V1 and Olympus OM-D E-M5, which also has a big bump at the top of the camera.

Nikon 1 V2 vs V1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5

Nikon 1 V2 vs V1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 Size Comparison (via

AS you can see from the image above (via camera comparison), the V1 is indeed a small camera if you ignore the bump at the top. Nikon added a very comfortable grip, something that we don’t get to see every day in CSC. In fact, the Nikon 1 V2 looks very similar to Sony NEX cameras, like the NEX-6 for example, here, take a look..

Nikon 1 V2 vs Sony NEX-6

Nikon 1 V2 alongside Sony NEX-6 Top View (cia

So the overall design is pretty similar to the Sony NEX as you can see from the image above.

The Nikon 1 V2 is aimed towards enthusiasts who want to shoot with an electronic viewfinder and want to have Nikon’s latest and best mirrorless camera to date.


The Nikon 1 V2 features a 14.2MP CS CMOS sensor, 2MP more than the V1’s.  Nikon utilized a 1440K-dot high quality electronic viewfinder, same resolution as the Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic G5 one, but less than the 1,744K-dot OLED that you find on the Panasonic Lumix GH3.

The V2 features both mechanical and electronic shutters, with the Electronic shutter being able to shoot at up to 1/16,000 sec, that what gives the camera such a great advantage and the ability to utilize new features that helps photographers takes better looking photos and unique photos.

The Nikon V2 can shoot Full HD videos at 60i and 30p, so no 60p unfortunately. At the back up can find a 921K-dots high resolution 3-inch Fix LCD display. The V2 also has the accessory port connector as the V1 which allows you to mount various optional accessories like the SB-N5 and SB-N7 flashes.

With the Nikon V2 its all about the unique features and AF performance. I personally think that if you buy into a compact system camera, you probably going to carry a small bag with you anyway, so I don’t think you should care if the camera is a bit larger or not, all of them are pretty damn compact I say. The main advantage of the Nikon V2 over other mirrorless cameras is the excellent AF performanc, which will appeal to sports and wildlife photographers. The VF will appeal to advanced photographers who want to compose their photos via a viewfinder, not the LCD. Remember that all Olympus PEN cameras don’t have an EVF, you will need to go with more expensive cameras like the Panasonic GH3, Oly E-M5 or Sony NEX-6 to get an EVF. Some offer an EVF as an optional accessory, but I don’t see many of you buying into this stuff, especially if you intend to upgrade to a new advanced model with eVF in the future.


So what’s about the price you ask?

* prices are as for the time of writing this article via (body only) – click the links to view latest prices


All of the mirrorless cameras above have a viewfinder. You can see that the Nikon 1 V2 EVF resolution is among the lowest one, and I am emitting the magnification and panel technology here.  The Sony NEX-6 doesn’t cost much more than the Nikon V2 and offer a higher resolution EVF. Other models like the E-M5, X-E1, GH3 and NEX-7 are of course much more expensive and of course their is more to it than just an EVF comparison.  IT doesn’t mean that the Nikon 1 V2 is bad, but we can see a trend with new cameras having higher resolution electronic viewfinders.  The Nikon 1 V2 is Nikon’s mirrorless flagship, the more expensive model, although their are currently only four models: J1, J2, V1 and V2.  It gives me a feel that Nikon might be working on a new higher flagship model that can compete against the GH3 and E-M5 in their own field.


V2 vs V1 vs J2

Before we continue deeper into learning more about the Nikon 1 V2, let’s take a look at a side by side comparison table which compared the V2 vs V1 vs J2. IT will give you a good overview of the differences between the three models.

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We can see that the Nikon V2 is the first Nikon 1 camera to enjoy the new Expeed 3A image processor, which employs much faster data transfer rates and should improve the overall performance of the camera.

New design (+grip) Higher native ISO, built-in flash, faster burst, brand-new sensor, higher resolution and new image processor.

The Nikon V2 is an overall better camera than the V1 but costs much more than the V1 too. So I can definitely say that the V2 is a well worthy update to the V1 but the higher price might make people think twice before getting this camera, and also look at some of the alternatives. When you buy a new CSC, don’t just look at the body itself, also take a look at the available lenses and optional accessories. As for the time of writing this article, Nikon has 6 1 Nikkor lenses in tis lineup: 18.5mm f/1.8, 11-27mm f/3.5-5.6, VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6, 10mm f/2.8 and VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-Zoom.

This is far away from the selection that you get for a Micro Four Thirds camera, and as for the time of writing this article, it’s still a disadvantage that the Nikon 1 has compare to its competition. We can expect Nikon to expend its lens offering in 2013. Some people call it ‘epic fail’ but I can disagree about that. The mirrorless market evolves really fast, and I assume that most of you will probably own at most three lenses. You have a fast 50mm equiv f/1.8 lens, a wide-angle prime lens and both normal and telephoto zoom lenses.  It’s great to have a large selection of lenses to choose from, but at the end of the day we don’t intend to buy all of those lenses anyway. Some photographers will find it limiting, others will be satisfied with Nikon offers right now.

With Nikon 1 cameras it’s all about the unique features that those cameras offer. Without unique features, Nikon 1 cameras will have tough time competing against Sony, Olympus and Panasonic. I also want to reminds you that for $850 you can get the Sony NEX-6  which is in my opinion a better overall camera, with its 2.3M OLED EVF, APS-C size sensor, Wi-Fi connectivity, Electronic First Curtain shutter and 1080p60 progressive Full HD video recording (not interlaced).

Sony already have quite a large selection of interchangeable lenses, 11 of them, including a Fisheye and Ultra wide converters. Image quality it top-notch and its really hard to resist to what Sony has to offer.

So I can really understand your dilemma, choosing the V2 isn’t such an easy choice after all.


So Why Should I But the Nikon V2 After All Said and Done?

Nikon 1 cameras were built for speed. Nikon certainly took advantage of the fact that its camera sensors are smaller in order to boost some of its features and take it to a higher level.  One of the most interesting features of the Nikon 1 V2 is the Slow View mode.

Using the Slow View Mode you can capture moments that you certainly might miss during shooting with a ‘regular’ camera.When pressing the V2 shutter button half-way down, the camera captures a series of 40 frames in a row. Than the camera replays that moment for you repetitively in a slow motion on either the EVF or LED, once you decide on a specific frame, press the button all the way down to capture that image. So all the other photos are delete from the buffer and you stay only with that specific image of your choice.

This is very useful when shooting fast moving subjects and capture a specific moment in time that is very hard to capture with other cameras. Of you also have the option to shoot at fast continuous shooting (burst mode), but that feels your memory card with lots of images and takes space. So this feature is very useful for getting that specific moment without shooting tons of photos just to get it right.


This is an excellent feature and it’s possible due to the ultra fast electronic shutter speed. As you can see, Nikon certainly takes advantages of the new processor speed and the electronic shutter to bring new innovative ideas that are both useful and fun to use.

I really like that idea, and I think that we should see more innovative ideas with CSC. Many people who buy those type of cameras want to have some WOW features, and it can really help sell more cameras. Some people might ignore it completely and only focus on AF performance, image quality and lens selection. I am not saying that it’s less important, don’t get me wrong here, just I want you to look at the whole picture and make a better decision that is right for you. Tomorrow Canon might come with a new CSC camera that will put all of those camera to shame (ok, maybe not). The thing is that the mirrorless market evolves fast, so you better buy a camera that you will enjoy shooting with, rather than just buy a camera that everyone else say its better. Everyone makes its own choices, you should make you own choice too.


Another cool and fun feature is the super-slow video at 400fps and 1200 fps. This is a feature that you can get very creative with and post some amazing videos to facebook and impress your friends. Just imagine what you can do with it!

There are tons of slow motion videos on YouTube, just search for “Nikon 1 slow motion” and you will find plenty, here is one shot with the Nikon 1 V1 at both 400/1200 fps. I’ve chosen a V1 sample video because I really like the video itself, but their are some V2 samples as well, not so many, but more will be added soon for sure.


How cool is that!

This is something that you don’t get with other cameras, and it can really can help you do some crazy stuff. Remember, photographer is all about creativity. I saw some amazing images shot with a mobile phone cameras. So it’s all about the camera features and how it helped you get those moments that you want to share with others, open a door for creative people to come up with amazing photos and videos to share with the world. This is what the Nikon 1 cameras are all about, don’t forget that.


Another great feature is the Motion Snapshot and Advanced Movie mode. You can read here more about Motion Snapshot. Here, take a look at this video that explain and demonstrated this feature.

How great is that. When you look at an image,you sometimes wonder what happens before and after, you just want to go back in time in order to revive those moments. With Motion Snapshot you can! – Just imaging shooting those romantic moments you can view an image but also get a glimpse at that point in time, 10 seconds of reviving those fun and emotional moments. The possibilities are endless, and you will appreciate it maybe in the future, when you viewing those moments again and getting a chance to view a 10 sec video off what happens before the image was taken – like a behind the scenes for every photo. The camera also add background music to so you don’t have to be a video editing pro to get results that will trigger emotions.


As you can see, Nikon 1 cameras, including the V2, gives anyone to capture the moment in different ways. With image its all about how a specific image triggers some kind of emotion. With the Nikon V2 its just don’t get better than that. I personally really appreciate what Nikon has done here with its Nikon 1 cameras. We sometime get lost with all of the tech stuff, and all of the marketing stuff jsut doesn’t help us make a better decision. Sometimes we buy a camera but get bored pretty fast. Nikon 1 cameras suppose to be fund to use an unleash your creativity. I wanted to say that it’s not about the camera, but its actually is. At the end of the day you will be looking at photos and videos. You want those ti impress, to leave an impression and trigger an emotion – I have no doubt taht you can do it with the Nikon V2.

After reading this section you might be convinced that this is it. You already forgot all that boring tech stuff. You just think of what you can achieve with this camera – and that’s a good thing!
Having said that, image quality is still something that many people care about, and you should. Nikon 1 cameras have proven to provide very high image quality across many camera reviews’ websites. So I know you wonder how good the V2 image quality is, how good is the high ISO performance? – High ISO performance is important when you want to shoot in low light. Nikon 1 V2 is compatible with the SB-N5 and SB-N7 external flashes, so you can buy a flash if you do a lot of low light shooting.


Nikon 1 V2 Sample Images

As for the time of writing this article, there aren’t so many V2 sample images on the web. However, some sample images that I’ve seen on Flickr and on Nikon’s website look amazing. Here, take a look..

Nikon 1 V2

Nikon 1 V2

Nikon 1 V2

You can also view some original full size V2 sample images on Nikon’s website here.


I have to admit that I am a pixel peeper myself, always try to find defects in every photo. After some time I camera less obsessive with image quality. Looking at those test shots just made me think: “Who needs more than that.. “.  The image quality is just superb, colors are natural and image looks very sharp.  Those sample images were shot with the 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm and VR 10-30 mm lenses, at least those on the Nikon website. There is not EXIF data on the ones on Nikon’s Flickr page so I can’t tell.

Steve Huff have some high ISO samples taken with the Nikon V1 (the older model) and they really look amazing. I mean just look at the colors and contrast, everything seems to get life even at low light. Steve really loved shooting with the V1, he compliments the AF speed, light metering and sharp images. Even at ISO 3200, image quality is very impressive! Just to let you know, that noise can be almost completely eliminated by using a noise reduction software like NeatImage (best in my opinion), so just try it out. Very simple to use and yield amazing results.



So maybe the Nikon V2 is far from being the best looking camera, but I actually couldn’t care less. I didn’t want to confuse you with so many technical details and bring stuff. I wanted you to really learn to appreciate the good things about Nikon 1 digital cameras. The Nikon V2 is the latest and best of what Nikon has to offer in its CSC range.  You can get the Sony NEX-6, but you won’t have those great features that I’ve mentioned above. If you are obsessive about image quality, you needn’t worry. The Nikon V2 image quality is excellent. It’s AF performance is second-to-none, light metering work great, even at low light.  The V2 has a high-res EVF and LCD screen.  You get 15 fps burst, tons of amazing features to boost your creativity.

The Nikon V2 has a metallic durable body with a secure hand grip. It features many manual controls for enthusiasts, but beginners can start shooting with it right away without worrying of getting lost with all its advanced functionality.  You get full manual control over exposure, can enjoy a nice range of high quality Nikkor optics and can mount additional accessories like a Flash and external microphone. Even considering the relatively small sensor size, Bokeh looks very nice and smooth (depends on the lens used – see example here).

I know its easy to get lost with all the comments out there. I highly recommend buying the Nikon V2, it will really be an amazing camera to shoot with. I can understand why Nikon has decided to go in this path with its CX sensor. I am very anxious to see what Nikon comes with up next. You will have tons of fun with this camera, you will never feel alone when carrying this camera with you. You will bring home amazing moments packed with emotional experiences that you can share with your family, friends and the whole world. If you are just starting out, I recommend starting with the 10-30mm VR Kit lens. In time you will know what other lenses to get. GPS (GP-N100) and Wi-Fi (WU-1b) are available as optional accessories. The camera comes in either White or Black (have matching lens and flash colors as well).

Have you own opinion, just post your comment below. If you enjoy reading this article, please share it with your friends. Thanks for reading.

Click here to buy the Nikon 1 V2  from B&H Photo


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