Nikon 1 V2 review: Nikon 1 V2

The Good Control system simple, easy to use. Overall design is appealing. Pop-up flash. Super-fast continuous shooting performance.

The Bad Proprietary hotshoe. Tendency to overexpose highlights in automatic modes. Best results with F-mount lenses rather than Nikon 1 lenses.

The Bottom Line The Nikon 1 V2 is the camera its predecessor should have been. With a comfortable shooting design and plenty of features, the V2 is an appealing buy.

8.3 Overall

The Nikon 1 V2 is the second-generation flagship interchangeable lens camera (ILC) from the company, and the spec sheet has improved considerably from the earlier device.

Design and features

While the Nikon 1 V1 looked like it could have stepped out of the pages of a 1960s designer home wares spread, the V2 looks like a leaner, meaner camera that sports a more traditional design.

The sensor is a 14.2-megapixel CX-sized CMOS model, rather than 10 megapixels found on both the V1 and J1 cameras — a small boost that may satisfy those photographers who found the previous resolution lacking for large prints. The electronic viewfinder has a resolution of 1.44-million dots and offers 100 per cent coverage.

A comparison of the different sensor sizes in compact and interchangeable lens cameras.
(Credit: CNET)

Nikon's V1 had a rather annoying design quirk in its confusing mode dial. In fact, it wasn't really a mode dial per se, but a mysterious set of icons assigned to a range of camera controls. Fortunately, the V2 resolves this and offers a more classically-designed dial at the top of the camera. It gives quick access to full PASM controls, as well as automatic mode, movie mode and motion snapshot. Also on the dial is a little square symbol with a plus inside. This gives access to a slow mode; when the shutter button is half-pressed, it slows down the action displayed on the screen. Smart Photo Selector is also available in this mode (by pressing the F button at the back), which takes 20 photos and then chooses the best five.

At the back, a 3-inch screen with 920,000 dots sits alongside simple, easy-to-understand buttons that give access to playback, menu, display and trash options. A small four-way directional pad and control wheel sit to the screen's right, with access to exposure lock, compensation, timer and flash options.

Overall, the camera is nice, compact and easy to hold in the hand. Thanks to the protruding, textured hand grip, the V2 won't be slipping out of your hand easily. A proprietary hotshoe, carried over from the V1, sits atop the viewfinder, and there is now (hurrah!) a pop-up flash available.

Do be aware that using an F-mount adapter with this camera will make certain controls inaccessible (for example, no automatic modes can be accessed).

Connectivity is provided through a mini-HDMI and USB port, as well as a 3.5mm external microphone jack. An optional wireless adapter lets users transfer photos and videos to other devices.

Compared to

Sony NEX F3 Nikon 1 V2 Canon EOS M Olympus E-PL5
16.1-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor (APS-C) 14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor (CX size) 18-megapixel CMOS sensor (APS-C) 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor (Four Thirds)
3-inch, 921,600-dot flip-up LCD 3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD 3-inch, 1.04 million-dot touchscreen LCD 3-inch, 460,000-dot flip-up, touchscreen LCD
25-area AF 135-area hybrid AF 31-area AF 35-area AF
Full HD video (AVCHD/MP4, 1080i) Full HD video (MPEG-4, 1080p) Full HD video (MPEG-4, 1080p) Full HD video (MPEG-4, 1080i)


General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Start-up to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
    Olympus Pen Lite E-PL5
    Panasonic Lumix GF5
    Sony NEX-F3
    Canon EOS M
    Nikon 1 V2

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting speed (in frames per second)

  • 15
    Nikon 1 V2
  • 7
    Olympus Pen Lite E-PL5
  • 5.5
    Sony NEX-F3
  • 4.8
    Panasonic Lumix GF5
  • 4.3
    Canon EOS M

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting on the Nikon 1 V1 can reach 15 frames per second when using the mechanical shutter, or 60fps with the electronic shutter. The V2 is efficient and accurate when shooting in these continuous modes and maintains focus pretty accurately throughout its burst.

Nikon rates the battery of the V2 at 310 shots. Like the V1, this camera can simultaneously capture images and full HD video.

Unlike many cameras from 2012, the V2 does not come with Wi-Fi connectivity built in. An optional wireless adapter lets users transfer photos and videos to other devices.

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