Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

Nikon, $1399 ★★★

NIKON’S new V1 snap­per is adorable. The 383g cam­era is barely a hand­ful; its lenses as small as shot glasses. There’s no mis­tak­ing the com­pany’s first com­pact sys­tem cam­era — the V1 is eas­ily the small­est in­ter­change­able lens Nikon you’ll see. Un­less you spy its more ba­sic sib­ling, the J1, that is.

Like other cam­eras of the cat­e­gory, the V1 packs a lot into its small frame. It is con­structed around a 10.1-megapixel CMOS sen­sor and of­fers a 3-inch screen and a high­res­o­lu­tion, built-in elec­tronic viewfinder that starts when you put your eye to it.

The V1’s small body is also pleas­ingly rugged, thanks to a mag­ne­sium al­loy build.

Nikon has gone to great lengths to en­sure sim­plic­ity. A shut­ter but­ton and video trig­ger sit atop the cam­era, and, in­stead of a reg­u­lar PASM con­trol dial, it gives users just four op­tions: still or mov­ing im­ages, Mo­tion Snapshot or Smart Photo Se­lec­tor.

Mo­tion Snapshot records a photo and a sec­ond of video played back in slow-mo­tion. Smart Photo Se­lec­tor chooses four of the sharpest, best-ex­posed shots from a se­ries, short­en­ing the edit­ing process and sav­ing mem­ory card space.

Also in­cluded in the Nikon V1’s swag is vi­bra­tion re­duc­tion, a cus­tomis­able func­tion but­ton, and con­tract­ing lenses.

De­spite these ad­di­tions, Nikon’s first com­pact sys­tem cam­era has been strongly crit­i­cised for its small im­age sen­sor. While big­ger than the chip you’d find in a pock­etable cam­era, the V1’s 13.2 x 8.8mm sen­sor is sig­nif­i­cantly smaller than ri­vals’, mean­ing it of­fers a lower-res­o­lu­tion, higher im­age crop (2.7x) and smaller depth of field.

De­spite these flaws, the Nikon V1 is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing sharp, well-ex­posed, nat­u­ral-look­ing im­ages that ap­pear to have come from a larger cam­era. Happy snap­pers look­ing for an in­ter­me­di­ate step be­tween a pocket shooter and an SLR may have met their match.


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