Best Camera Deal Ever! - Nikon V1 Two Lens Kit

The Nikon V1 with the 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses is on sale for $399!
I thought I'd start off by saying that I don't have the Nikon V1. I'm also not an affiliate of any store (yet), so links are for your benefit only. I do however read incessantly about cameras, and "virtual shop" way too often. 

SO CHECK THIS OUT!!! At B&H, and other retailers, you can get the Nikon 1 V1 camera, with the 10-30mm and 30-110mm (27-81, 81-297 35mm equivalent) lenses for $399.95!!

Anyways, if you're not familiar with the Nikon 1 system, here's what it's about:
  • It's the smallest sensor, at 1" diagonal, of any mirrorless system on the market (with the exception of the Pentax Q, which you're better off ignoring)
  • It has a hybrid autofocus system of phase detection and contrast detection. This boils down to the best autofocus for action of any mirrorless system, and performs as well as many high end dslrs.
  • The lenses are tiny. Small and light. Very.
  • The compromise of a small sensor? Resolution and noise.
The Nikon 1 system raised a lot of hackles when it was first released. Nikon way over-priced it (and the Nikon 1 V2 is following suit in this regard) and the bodies were not much smaller, if at all, than the other mirrorless competitors.

What it has apparently taken time for users to figure out, is that comparing this system to a micro four-thirds system for example, is comparing apples to oranges. The micro four-thirds system will have more resolution and better low light performance. But, if you want an extremely portable high quality system for shooting action and children, it seems nothing can beat the Nikon 1 system.

The Nikon 1 cameras also have super fast shooting speeds, with large buffers, and can even take high quality stills while shooting video. Clearly a great feature for action shooters! Additionally, with an adapter, most Nikon glass can be used. Since the chip is a 1" diagonal, this equates to a crop factor of 2.7.  Thus turning that 75-300 slow lens into a whopping 810mm equivalent.

In the DXOmark.com sensor test, the Nikon 1 V1 beats both a venerable dslr in the Nikon D70 as well as a more expensive, current micro four-thirds camera, the GF5.


Finally, take a look at this screenshot from DXOmark.com. DXOmark rates the quality of sensors in three categories. Dynamic range, color depth, and low light. Dynamic range is basically how many stops the camera can record from it's black to a pure white. Color depth basically is how many gradations of color there is, and low light is based on what the highest iso is where it can pass a test resized to 8mp. (Note that DXOmark does not account for resolution in it's ratings.)

The Nikon 1 camera not only scores better than the Nikon D70 dslr (my first dslr) which was pretty darn good for a while, but it also scores better than the Panasonic GF5, which currently sells on amazon for $470 with the basic kit zoom. The V1 does not do great in low light, but for what it's meant for, it does pretty darn well. And truthfully, none of these cameras are ideal for really low light. In good light, the scores speak for themselves.

I'm sure the Nikon 1 V2 is better than the V1. It has better usability, a pop-up flash, a new 14mp sensor (as compared to the 10mp of the V1) and a better grip among other things. But at twice the price of the V1 kit with two lenses, for just a body. Forget it.

On one final note, I'd like to say that I love my Sony RX-100 camera. It's 1" sensor works amazingly well, and the f/1.8 on the wide end, along with 20mp means I can shoot both images in low light and detailed landscapes with ease. BUT, there's no long telephoto, and I really miss a viewfinder. It's also $250 more than the V1 kit.

So, if you're looking for an inexpensive alternative to step up from a point and shoot, without incurring the weight and size penalties for doing so, and at a price that is less than high end compact cameras, look no further than the December deal on the Nikon 1, V1 package.

Here are a few reviews of the Nikon 1 V1.
DPreview
Cameralabs
Thom Hogan
Photographyblog

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