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Nikon 1 V2 is Nikon 1 V with a complete makeover

While the Nikon 1 J2 has only minor updates from its little brother the J1, the Nikon 1 V2 really is version 2 of this interchangeable-lens camera.

Lori Grunin

Lori Grunin

Senior Editor / Advice

I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.

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4 min read

Shop for Nikon 1 V2 (Body Only, Black)

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The Nikon 1 V2 is bulkier than the Nikon 1 V1. Nikon

Mode dial, now on top and PASM-complete. Nikon

The entry-level J model in the Nikon 1 series of interchangeable-lens cameras may have received some ho-hum tweaks, but Nikon has completely revamped the higher-end V model -- likely in response to criticisms of some odd design choices in the Nikon 1 V1. Let's just say that in the press release for the V2 the words "friendly" and "familiar" popped up several times.

On one hand, it's got a huge grip versus the no-grip body of the V1, and it's got a flash built in, both of which definitely help. But I find the new design clunky-looking, and of necessity it's gotten bigger (though I'm not yet sure how much bigger). The mode dial has moved to the top of the camera, but more importantly it now has the usual set of manual and semimanual exposure modes (PASM) right there where they belong, as well as a real adjustment dial.

Of course, it still incorporates the small CX-size sensor, but at a higher resolution than before; that breaks parity with the J2, which probably helps Nikon differentiate better between the two models. As a reminder, here's how the CX sensor compares with those in other cameras:

The back, a little more austere-looking. Nikon

Enhanced capabilities include a two-shot HDR mode; the ability to save only one shot (rather than five) in its Smart Photo Selector mode; and an extended Motion Snapshot mode, increased to 4 seconds (10 seconds if you forgo the embedded JPEG) with the ability to string multiple clips together in-camera. There's also a new and somewhat intriguing Best Moment Capture Mode, an alternative to burst shooting, which buffers the last 1.3 seconds of a shutter press so that you can play it back slowly and choose the desired frame to save.

Here are some comparative specs:

  Nikon 1 J2 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 V2 Sony Alpha NEX-6
Sensor (effective resolution) 10MP CMOS 10MP CMOS 14.2MP CMOS 16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS
13.2mm x 8.8mm 13.2mm x 8.8mm 13.2mm x 8.8mm 23.5mm x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x 1.5x
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded) ISO 160 - ISO 6400 ISO 100 - ISO 25600
Continuous shooting 5fps
(60fps with fixed AF and electronic shutter)
(60fps with fixed AF and electronic shutter)
45 JPEG/n/a
11 raw/15 JPEG
(10fps with fixed exposure)
Viewfinder None 0.47-inch TFT EVF
1.44 million dots
100% coverage
0.47-inch TFT EVF
1.44 million dots
100% coverage
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
Autofocus 73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 1/3 - 1/16,000; bulb; 1/60 sec x-sync 30 - 1/16,000; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync n/a 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync
Metering n/a n/a n/a 1,200 zones
Metering range n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV
Flash Yes Included optional Yes Yes
Image stabilization Optical Optical Optical Optical
Video 1080/60i/30p, 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV 1080/60i/30p; 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p; 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28, 24Mbps, 1080/ 24p @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/60i @ 17Mbps; H.264 MPEG-4 1,440x1,080/ 30p @ 12Mbps
Audio Stereo Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input
LCD size 3-inch fixed 920,000 dots 3-inch fixed
921,000 dots
3-inch fixed 920,000 dots 3-inch tilting touch screen
921,600 dots
Wireless file upload None None Optional
(via WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter)
Battery life (CIPA rating) 230 shots 350 shots n/a 270 shots
Dimensions (inches, WHD) 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.2 4.4 x 3.0 x 1.7 n/a 4.8 x 2.8 x 1.1
Body operating weight (ounces) 9.7 (est) 12 (est) n/a 10.1 (est)
Mfr. price n/a n/a $799.95 (body only) $849.99 (body only)
$549.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $899.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $899.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $999.99 (with 15-60mm PZ lens)
n/a $1,149.95 (with 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses) $1,149.95 (with 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses) n/a
Ship date September 2012 October 2011 November 2012 October 2012

Nikon's new 1 series flash. Nikon

The V1 doesn't have any direct competitors at its price; most models with a built-in EVF are more expensive, but they all have larger sensors. The V2 does have that speedy burst shooting going for it, but the Sony Alpha NEX-6 also has a hybrid AF system, a denser EVF, built-in Wi-Fi, and a tilting touch-screen LCD for only about $100 more, making the V2 seem overpriced, at least based on specs.

In conjunction with the V2 launch, Nikon introduced a new accessory-shoe flash for use with the series, the Nikon 1 SB-N7 ($159.95). It's a necessary addition to the 1 series accessory line, since the older SB-N5 was designed to wrap around the EVF hump on the V1, which doesn't exist on the V2. It specs with a Guide Number of 18m/59ft at ISO 100 and adds the ability to tilt for bouncing, but it loses the LED video light. The SB-N7 won't be available until January.

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