The Nikon 1 v3 is the latest “high end” of Nikon’s mirrorless point and shoot compact range.
Like all Nikon 1 cameras it has a small 1″ sensor with a 2.7x crop factor and this allows it to have small lenses, particularly at the telephoto range.
The camera body size though is almost identical to Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Olympus PEN EPL5, and is almost twice as heavy as the new Panasonic GM-1 while being bigger with optional EVF added than the very versatile Olympus E-M10.
The Nikon 1 V3 has a just a few advantages over current Micro Four Thirds cameras which may be important to some people:
- fast burst rate of 20fps with much better continuous AF – could be great for parents shooting their kids at sports events – assuming they are allowed to!
- 60p HD video with 120 fps slo-mo at 720p – should give nice video but presumably not as well image stabilised as the Olympus E-M1 and no where near as good a quality as on the Panasonic GH4
- electronic 1/16000th sec shutter – most new cameras will be getting this – the Panasonic GM1 already has it
But that’s about where the advantages over current Micro Four Thirds ends and one can expect these features to be added to Micro Four Thirds soon.
In short, if you just want to take snap shots or fast action shots then the V3 may well be the best for your needs, BUT if you want to LEARN to be a photographer, you are much better off getting a camera with larger sensor so you have more options of control over depth of field, and a camera with a much greater range of wide aperture lenses at affordable prices – and that is what you get with Micro Four Thirds without much increase in weight, size or price.
What you get with Micro Four Thirds which is not available with Nikon 1 is:
- better ability to control depth of field
- better image quality at higher ISO
- better ability to utilise full frame lenses
- an extended range of camera sizes, features and prices from the tiny GM-1, to the E-M10, to the weatherproof pro level cameras, the Olympus E-M1 and Panasonic GH-4 with 4K HD video.
- an extensive range of lenses – nearly all with filter threads so you can attach polarising filters and gradient filters
- an affordable portrait lens – the 1 Nikon 32mm f/1.2 is ~$900 compared to the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 which will give similar imagery at only ~$400 and you get in-camera image stabilisation as well
- shallower DOF standard lens – the 1 Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 gives DOF of a 50mm f/4.9 lens whereas the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 gives DOF of a 50mm f/3.6 lens (you can also resort to f/0.95 lenses), and again you also get in-camera image stabilisation as well
- a wide aperture super compact lens for walking the street at night or indoor part shots – the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7
- an urban night wide angle lens for hand held work with shutter speeds down to 2secs (with the E-M1) – the Olympus 12mm f/2.0
- a beautiful wide aperture telephoto lens – the Olympus 75mm f/1.8
- pro quality lenses such as the f/2.8 pro zoom lenses
- a high quality macro lens – the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro
- a range of fisheye lenses – the Nikon 1 system is yet to have a dedicated fisheye lens
- in-camera image stabilisation for any lens you attach, even legacy manual focus ones (Olympus cameras)
- very nice BULB long exposure modes such as Live BULB, Timed BULB and the new Live Composite Mode which does automatic Time Stacking
- in-built viewfinder – this is essential if you need reading glasses – and also to provide better image stability for sharper photos
- ability to automatically auto-focus on the subject’s closest eye
- a full external flash system including ring flashes, plus remote TTL flash (my understanding is that the 1 Nikon flashes are not compatible with Nikon’s i-TTL flash technology)
See also my blog when the Nikon 1 system was announced.