The J1 and V1 share much of the same hardware for still image and video production, along with menus, shooting modes and almost every other quantifiable feature. Both produce good still and video image quality, with decent high ISO noise performance considering the diminutive sensor size. Shutter lag and autofocus acquisition times are good and the cameras can shoot in JPEG or NEF (RAW) format. Combined with Nikon 1 lenses the cameras are relatively compact and light. For users intending to mount only the Nikon 1 lenses either camera will serve admirably and, in terms of output, equally well. Menus on either camera make changing camera shooting settings somewhat tedious for folks who like to shift settings on-the-fly.
Both the J1 and V1 can accept the FT-1 F-mount adapter that permits the cameras to utilize a wide variety of Nikon F-mount lenses including 65 current models along with older legacy glass. While both cameras can accept the FT-1 the V1 makes the best possible use of these additional lens options by virtue of its viewfinder. Hand holding shorter lenses steadily is more viable with the V1 and the viewfinder offers prospects for easier composition and capture when bright outdoor days make monitors hard to use. If you’re considering a Nikon 1 as a force multiplier for your existing cache of lenses over and above that afforded by your DSLR, the V1 is the way to go.
When I reviewed the J1 back in October it proved to be a nice little camera with a crop factor that was interesting based on the existence of two long telephotos in my lens arsenal. With the approach of the annular eclipse that crop factor proved to be decisive and two of the V1s have come to live with us in anticipation of the May event (not to mention a return to Alaska where a V1 would’ve made those Dall rams on that hillside 1000 yards away a lot closer than the D300 did).
But while we’re practicing with the big lenses, the smaller glass is proving the V1 to be a pretty good little everyday walking around camera, and what we once envisioned as a fairly singular purpose instrument is already getting a broader range of work than we originally intended. Hang around a Nikon 1 too much and it may start to grow on you too.
- Good still image and video quality
- Good shutter lag and AF acquisition time
- RAW shooting capability
- Improved battery capacity over J1
- Built-in Viewfinder
- FT-1 Adapter for multiple lenses
- Optional grip blocks memory card and battery access
- FT-1 Adapter loses continuous AF capability, some shooting modes