Nikon 1 V1 vs. Olympus PEN EP-3: Image and video comparison

Nikon 1 V1 Vs. Olympus PEN EP-3

This is a follow up to the Nikon 1 V1 review. In this post we will show comparison images and video taken with the Nikon V1 w/ 10mm f/2.8 (two lens kit price: $996.95) and  Olympus PEN EP-3 w/ 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens (one lens kit price: $899.99).

Still Image Comparisons

In the first half of the article, we discussed still image quality and compared the Nikon V1 and Olympus PEN EP-3 on paper. DR, SnR and Color Sensitivity numbers only tell half the story. How did the Nikon V1 fare against the Olympus PEN EP-3 with its larger µ 4/3rd sensor in real-life shooting?

NOTE: There is a difference in resolution between the Nikon V1 and the Olympus PEN EP-3. The Nikon V1 is 10.1 MP vs. Olympus EP-3's 12.3 MP. There is also a difference in focal lengths in this test. The Nikon 1-Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 pancake is mounted on the V1 (35mm equivalent: 27mm) and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 pancake is mounted on the EP-3 (35mm equivalent: 34mm). I could have used a zoom lens on the V1 for this test to obtain the same equivalent focal length, but I didn't want to stop the cameras down in this low-light shooting environment. This would of meant longer exposure times, which would introduce more noise into each shot and Long Exposure NR would of tainted the test results even more. So, I opted to deal with the differences in focal lengths in favor of a more "true" test.

All images were shot @ f/2.8, in Aperture Priority mode. This was to insure each camera properly metered each shot itself; shooting in any other exposure mode would of tainted the results. These are JPEG images straight from the cameras - NO editing was performed on any of the images, just opened in Photoshop to re-size the images (bicubic) for web publication. The full-resolution images can be examined on Flickr.

Again, we are comparing JPEG test shots from each camera in Aperture Priority mode. The Olympus PEN EP-3 is under-exposing each shot. It's important to remember we are comparing each camera's ability to shoot this scene properly and are analyzing the results (i.e. noise, DR, proper exposure..etc). We did not "help" the EP-3 or the Nikon V1 in any way, the output you're seeing in these tests are exactly how they came out of the cameras. With that said, the loss of detail at higher ISOs in the EP-3 shots suggests more aggressive noise reduction. The under-exposure from the EP-3 would not effect the smearing of detail at high-ISO. Again, this is due to aggressive noise reduction.

High-ISO Noise

Full image comparison at different ISO settings (click on image for larger view):

Olympus PEN EP-3 Nikon 1 V1

EP-3 ISO-200 Full Image

Nikon V1 ISO-200 Full Image

EP-3 ISO-400 Full Image

Nikon V1 ISO-400 Full Image

EP-3 ISO-800 Full Image

Nikon V1 ISO-800 Full Image

EP-3 ISO-1600 Full Image

Nikon V1 ISO-1600 Full Image

EP-3 ISO-3200 Full Image

Nikon V1 ISO-3200 Full Image

EP-3 ISO-6400 Full Image

Nikon V1 ISO-6400 Full Image

100% center crop image comparison at different ISO settings (click on image for larger view):

Olympus PEN EP-3 Nikon 1 V1

EP-3 ISO-200 100% Center Crop

Nikon V1 ISO-200 100% Center Crop

EP-3 ISO-400 100% Center Crop

Nikon V1 ISO-400 100% Center Crop

EP-3 ISO-800 100% Center Crop

Nikon V1 ISO-800 100% Center Crop

EP-3 ISO-1600 100% Center Crop

Nikon V1 ISO-1600 100% Center Crop

EP-3 ISO-3200 100% Center Crop

Nikon V1 ISO-3200 100% Center Crop

EP-3 ISO-6400 100% Center Crop

Nikon V1 ISO-6400 100% Center Crop

Even though the Nikon V1 has a wider focal length, the V1 still retains more detail at high-ISOs and has much better Dynamic Range.

 Video Comparisons | Rolling Shutter example

This entry was posted in Nikon 1, [NR] Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Gareth

    woh those ep3 shots are not sharp

    • SojIrOu

      Yeah the 17mm f/2.8 isn’t a particularly sharp lens. The Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 is a much better lens and more ideal focal length to compare to the 10mm f/2.8.

      • Charles

        Agreed, running this test with m4/3s weakest lens kind of invalidates the results to begin with. If you are looking at sharpness each should be stopped down to their best aperture. About f4 for the N1 and f5.6 for the m4/3s lenses.

        • Steve

          Agreed. Interesting comparison but not what I would call a good test at all.

          But then I think both cameras are poor and only the G3 and NEX are decent milc.

          Still, this is Nikon rumors, not Nikon sucks, so what do you expect ?

          • Dakota

            He tested an Olympus camera with an OLYMPUS LENS.

            It is really sad how many apologists there are for Olympus on this forum.

            Before you say that he should have then tried it with the Olympus 12 F/2, please remember that that lens is 3 times more expensive.

            If the Olympus is inferior, don’t blame the reviewer, blame Olympus.

    • pepito

      shot at f2.8 . DOF very thinner in the E-P3.

      • Gareth


      • pepito is correct – that at the same aperture the larger sensor obviously has less DOF which can be interpreted as less sharpness on a flat screen…

        • How do you explain the sharpness at ISO-200?? You’re not seeing loss of sharpness, you’re seeing a serious loss in detail from over-aggressive noise reduction in the EP-3

    • fRANk

      The test was rigged!

      • Hhom Togan

        That’s enough if they rig reviews then I’m switching to BenQ!!!! >:3

    • Andrew

      Finally, Nikon rules in high ISO performance. The Nikon 1 rivals and outperforms many DSLR cameras at ISO-6400. The results are so awesome that it is hard to believe that Nikon engineers have far exceeded what is generally expected from a packet sized camera. This is my next camera!

  • Worminator

    Ok, point taken with the rolling shutter video. I’m not interested in video but if I was that would make me sit up and take notice. Ouch!

    I know that m43 cameras do a lot of in-camera corrections, I mean a LOT, so that the Nikon 1, which supposedly does a lot less, should be cleaner and sharper does not surprise me so much, but no way is the E-P3 image quality as poor as those test shots make it out to be.

    • iamlucky13

      Yeah, I’m not a video guy either, but that was startling.

      I’ve seen some samples from other cameras and found it mildly concerning, but none really seemed to give nearly such an impression of Jello as the EP-3 sample above.

      Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with the EP-3 still samples. The ISO 200 sample looks great, although focus is behind most of the pens. Definitely more of the water color look at the higher ISO’s, but overall quality looks fine.

      It’s not fair to try to compare dynamic range when the exposures clearly aren’t equivalent. I don’t doubt the test results, but the images simply aren’t close enough in exposure to compare…in the highlights, the midtones, and the shadows, the EP-3 samples are all darker, and you can see it in the histograms, too. The EP-3 samples’ white balance is also a little bit reddish.

    • fs

      Well, at a minimum, the EP-3 gives you the option to turn the noise reduction down or off in jpeg mode, so the over-aggressive noise reduction should not be considered a factor in which to choose.

  • What? The EP3 are clearly lower grain, and it’s also more grainy, not blocky color noise like in the Nikon. Also, the images are wrongly exposed, which makes this comparison useless. Nikon is nearly one stop more exposed, this is what makes the shadow areas more detailed, not magic sensor capabilities.

    • What you’re seeing is more Dynamic Range, even though the EP-3 is slightly underexposing the scene in every shot. The numbers don’t lie. What you’re seeing is confirmation that the lab testing of these two sensors is true – the Nikon V1 has more DR at every point, over the EP-3. Look at the DxO Labs testing I linked to in the first part of this article in the “Dynamic Range” category.

      Noise: Look at the massive loss of detail in the EP-3 files, compared to the V1. Noise means nothing when all the detail is smeared out from noise reduction. The Nikon 1 controls noise very well and still maintains a lot of detail. This means better post-production de-noising, which will lead to more detail and better IQ.

      • Steve

        For a more informative comparison ppl should check dpreview comparison tool of their studio shots.

        • The test at dpreview actually confirms the testing we’ve done here. The Nikon V1 retains more detail at high ISO and has more DR. When you look at the RAW samples, it’s even more telling! You didn’t see it in those sample shots in the dpreview comparison tool? Have a look again. No wonder the EP-3 has insane amounts of noise reduction, look at the ISO-3200 RAW comparison shots.

          • Cass Roads

            It depends where you look. In the shadows I’d give it to the Nikon. But in the midtones, you can really see the effects of the Nikon’s built in RAW noise reduction – something you seem to be ignoring. The Nikon has NR in RAW in all ISOs above 400, and it is clearly visible in the dpreview samples. Many of the details in midtones and above are more smeared in the Nikon than the Olympus. I’m not an Olympus shooter, and don’t really care which does better. The new CX sensor looks very impressive for its size, and I’d put it on par with the Olympus, each having the advantage in different areas. That being said, it is quite difficult to compare the Nikon’s actual RAW performance to the Olympus when one has built in NR that can’t be turned off.

          • Cass Roads

            Well, they confirm the DR, but the high iso is a bit more ambiguous. In the shadows, I’d give the Nikon the advantage, but in the midtones and above I’d give the advantage to the Olympus. The apparent difference in noise levels in the RAW comparison isn’t due to lower inherent noise levels in the Nikon, but to noise reduction that is implemented in RAW at all ISOs above 400 by the Nikon. This NR is clearly visible in the dpreview samples. Looking at the ISO 3200 comparison shots you can clearly see the loss of detail due to NR in the Nikon in the midtones as compared to the Olmypus. All in all, I think the Nikon punches above its sensor size, but you seem to be discounting the Nikon’s built-in NR when comparing to the Olympus in RAW.

            • Cass Roads

              oops, two replies. I thought I accidentally deleted one, but I guess I posted it….

            • It’s important to understand the “built-in noise reduction” in Nikon’s V1 RAWs. If the RAW file was developed with a third party RAW converter (i.e. Lightroom, Aperture…etc.), the “built-in” noise reduction is not present in the conversion – unless you add noise reduction during post-processing of the RAW in the third party converter. You have no way of knowing how those Nikon 1 RAW files were processed and with what program, unless the EXIF data is present. The only time the “built-in” noise reduction is present is if you use Nikon software to process the RAW file. We’re talking a very minimal amount of noise reduction, too. It’s minuscule.

            • Cass Roads

              No, the Nikon has NR implemented in the RAW file no matter which converter you use. This is why DXOmark uses “smoothed” ISOs above 400.
              “One bad piece of news is that Nikon is cooking raw files above ISO 400. There’s some form of noise reduction happening above that ISO value in raw data that can’t be turned off”
              – Thom Hogan

              This NR is in the RAW data, implemented before conversion. There is no way to avoid it.

            • The information I received with regards to NR in the Nikon 1 RAW was that it was only there if the RAW was converted with Nikon’s software. If a third party conversion is used, it’s not present in the file. Where is everybody getting their info from? Can you point me to a link that explains this in detail (not Thom Hogan’s site)? Obviously, there is a lot of conflicting info out there.

            • Cass Roads

              This is one instance where I would prefer to wrong, and very well could be. The dxomark review said “One last thing about the Nikon 1 line: we have detected some smoothing on RAW files —a first for Nikon, though a somewhat regular occurrence for Sony and Pentax cameras.”
              They mention nothing about it being converter specific, and DXO’s entire purpose in using RAW is to “report on the image quality of the photographic hardware irrespective of the RAW converter.” this led me to believe that the RAW smoothing was not converter specific. Believe me, I hope I’m reading it wrong. Being able to completely control NR would make Nikon 1 system just that much more attractive for me.

            • The info I’ve been given from a very good and reliable source, state that the low-level RAW noise reduction in question can be negated by converting the RAW with a third-party RAW converter and that the NR in question is not very heavy handed at all. I’ve tested this and I can BARELY see a difference. There are fellow photographers out there that agree with me. Just google “nikon v1 RAW noise reduction”.

              Honestly, I have ZERO reason to “cook the books” in favor of the Nikon 1 V1. I’m an honest photographer/reviewer that has written many gear review articles that have been published on this great site. I’m not paid by Nikon, nor did they have a hand whatsoever in this review. My goal with all my articles is to give my fellow photographers a detailed review from a professional perspective. I really was a skeptic, but was very optimistic at the same time about the Nikon 1 system. Nikon has done an excellent job with the Nikon 1 system, although it’s not without it’s flaws. As the system matures, it will be even better.

          • Andrew

            I find the responses to your review amusing. It shows that there are trolls who care more for their positions and biases than about the facts. When a competitor cannot refute the facts, they cry out “foul play.” This shows me that they are really shocked and impressed by the performance of the Nikon 1 system. The fact of the matter is that the “pictures” from the Nikon 1 camera do not lie. Taken by itself, without considering the dismal performance of the Olympus camera, the images from the Nikon 1 are stunning! Good job.

            • Cass Roads

              I was not crying “foul play” or trolling. I never once said I thought Cary was paid by Nikon or being dishonest. I just thought that he may have missed something.
              What I find amusing is you calling me a “competitor.” What? What competition are you referring to?

              I started photography with Nikon and own more Nikon cameras and lenses than any other system. I’m no Olympus fanboy: the only time I’ve even used an Olympus camera was once in a store. I didn’t like the control interface and didn’t buy it.
              I agree that the Nikon 1 looks like an attractive system for many reasons. I really like the idea of the af system for example. If anything I want the Nikon 1 system to be a successful system that is expanded upon in the future.

  • Chimphappyhour

    Whoa! Holy smokes! I’ve never actually seen the rolling shutter effect before now. So when you started with the V1, I was thinking, so? Then the second camera just freaked me out.

    • Trevor

      Same thing here! I had heard a lot of people talk about the “jello effect” and had never seen it. Now, whoa.

  • Color noise…a.k.a. Chroma Noise is a lot less on the EP-3 because of very aggressive noise reduction. The Nikon 1 actually has very little Chroma Noise. What you’re seeing is a more complex noise reduction algorithm which is creating larger “blocks” of Luminance Noise patterns, while still maintaining good detail. The noise quality in the V1 is very easy to de-noise in post production, while still maintaining a lot of detail. I’ve done this many times in testing. I was surprised how easy it was to get rid of, without loosing detail.

    • Calibrator

      > The noise quality in the V1 is very easy to de-noise in post production, while still maintaining a lot of detail. I’ve done this many times in testing. I was surprised how easy it was to get rid of, without loosing detail.

      What software do you use for this? I use Lightroom which is very capable at this, even when feeding it old images from my compact.


      > Even though the Nikon V1 has a wider focal length, the V1 still retains more detail at high-ISOs and has much better Dynamic Range.

      I don’t quite get this. How is focal lenght relevant to ISO and DR?

  • The Nikon cameras may indeed have better dynamic range, but the previous comments about the difference in exposure between the two cameras are still accurate. The Nikon photos are brighter everywhere than the other photos. Maybe the Nikon overexposes, or maybe the other camera underexposes, but you would need to compare equivalent exposures to get a more meaningful comparison of dynamic range.

    • Say what you wish, but you can’t deny that the V1 samples retain more detail across the board. Everything else is really irrelevant. There is better DR and less loss of detail in the V1 samples, which is resulting in better IQ. Even if the EP-3 is underexposing the scene, this doesn’t effect the dramatic loss of detail you’re seeing in the EP-3 samples.

      • Andrew

        For those that do not know, as I once did not know, IQ means “Image Quality”.

  • NoFunBen

    Thank you for taking the time to do this. The Nikon 1 does much better then i thought it would. If this gets scaled up to DX or FX the rest of the nikon line will be really amazing.

    also i had no idea Olympus users were so angry and insecure. There is more angry hate posts here then any Nikon Canon comparison. Very sad.

    keep up the great reviews.

  • Dakota

    WOW; the m43 whiners are out in full force. I am surprised one of you haven’t started with “it’s an old sensor” whine.
    News flash; if Olympus is still using it on their cameras, and charging you for it, DONT BLAME NIKON! The review shows exactly what a purchaser of this camera needs to know.

    1. Performs as well, if not better than your EP3 in higher ISO
    2. Video on the V1 smokes the EP3
    3. Focus and Frame rate smokes the EP3

    For all those idiots that keep posting that the Nikon 1 is overpriced, please compare the V1 Kit with 1.4M EVF against the same kit with the EP3 and VF2; of course you will have to ad the flash cost to the V1, but it still comes out to less with OVERALL better performance.

    • Cass Roads

      hmmm I won’t quibble about the IQ comments, but I’m not sure I’d call people “idiots” for thinking it’s overpriced. It all depends on your personal priorities. For example, you can get a D5100 for cheaper, so if IQ per $ is what you want and you don’t care about size, the 1 system would seem overpriced. It doesn’t matter that the Olympus also gets you lower IQ per $ spent than a D5100.
      I bought an X100, so I’m not prone to making pure IQ per $ decisions. When other people are, though, I can respect that, and don’t call them “idiots.”

      • Dakota

        Fair enough, maybe idiots was too strong a word.

        Olympus apologists is probably a more appropriate name…

        No one is denying that there are some very good values in DSLR systems out there.
        But this review was the Olympus vs. Nikon 1. And based on those test parameters the Nikon has an appropriate value to dollar against its competitor.

  • Thomas

    These are JPEG images straight from the cameras – NO editing was performed on any of the images, just opened in Photoshop to re-size the images (bicubic) for web publication.

    Stopped reading here. You seriously are comparing out-of-cam jpgs? Where is the sense in this kind of testing? Shoot RAW, expose RIGHT (those shots are not exposed right) and then make another comparison.

    • I didn’t shoot these in RAW for several reasons.

      1. RAW converters can taint the results
      2. This comparison is meant to show how the cameras perform in every way, not just in “noise”. Shooting in RAW is not the way you compare images in a test like this.
      3. Most novice photographers don’t shoot RAW. They want to know how the images look, straight out of the camera.
      4. You can’t get an accurate judge of noise reduction algorithms if you shoot RAW.
      5. If these images are improperly exposed, blame the camera. The EP-3 has metering issues and WB problems – I’m not going to “fix” that, as that would be unfair. People want to see how these cameras perform, in every way. IF the EP-3 is underexposing a scene in every shot, that’s the EP-3’s problem.

      • Steve

        “5. If these images are improperly exposed, blame the camera. The EP-3 has metering issues and WB problems – I’m not going to “fix” that, as that would be unfair. People want to see how these cameras perform, in every way. IF the EP-3 is underexposing a scene in every shot, that’s the EP-3′s problem.

        So you didn’t use the best settings (no shadow adjustment for example) and think that it is fine to blame the camera because you deliberately didn’t do your best for each camera ?

        I’m afraid you have zero credibility now.

        You’re basically saying “if you’re a complete noob with a camera, the Nikon 1 is for you”. Really ? Kiss of death here.

        • MJr

          I think you’re overreacting steve. He’s certainly right by using JPG (even tho i despise JPG myself). And he’s right that he shouldn’t have to ‘help’ the camera much or any at all. This apparently is where your money goes for the Nikon. You might’ve read about it or not, but they started developing this camera before the first m43 camera was released. And right here, right now, all that R&D pays off by beating the E-P3 in many ways, even with so much less (sensor) to work with. There’s more to making a camera than just plain image quality in numbers, and Nikon understand that. Don’t get me wrong tho, i still take m43 over the Nikon, and i’m no Nikon ‘fan’ at all, but it’s obvious that the market they were aiming for with this is a direct hit. Even if ‘advanced’ users won’t understand it.

          • Calibrator

            > He’s certainly right by using JPG (even tho i despise JPG myself).

            I agree here!
            Also: If I analyze images I always want to judge original images (JPGs) and not cropped/scaled/edited ones – especially with heavy vignetting. This is why I think that the edited RAWs in the main review are completely unnecessary. They mostly show off what the photographer/image editor can (or can’t…) do.

            > And he’s right that he shouldn’t have to ‘help’ the camera much or any at all.

            I can’t agree here. If the camera has controls for specific situations the review has to at least test them and report the results. Potential buyers should know what the camera can do
            Neither the Nikon 1 nor the Olys are $99 point&shoots but CSCs with several optional lenses etc.
            As we have already seen lots of “real photographers” ar buying these to get as much individualism with these little boxes as with their heavy duty equipment.
            If you want a camera without controls then buy accordingly and learn to live with the results.

            • Steve

              Come on… he’ll be leaving the lens cap on and saying it’s the camera’s fault for not providing a warning… and then sue. Do we really want to encourage people to be stupid ? Exposure is a basic, focus is a basic. Colors and wb can be argued to be a matter of taste. No excuse for claiming one camera is better than another without exploring the BASICS and related options to improve it.

              Interesting, but invalid as a test and thus no valid conclusions, except educate the tester.

            • MJr

              Amateurs are not stupid for not knowing about exposure compensation, or the value of-, but that is how it is. Looking at it this way tho, comparing the advanced E-P3 with the novice Nikon1 is something to question in the first place. The cameras are meant for completely different people imo, so all this comparison shows is that they can basically forget about their worries for image quality (because they’re getting it with either) and focus on the more important facts. Yes i said it, more important than image quality. A lot of trouble for a comparison that doesn’t actually grasp the real difference between the two that truly matters.

            • MJr

              Like how does it perform on automatic, do i care to try harder/customize, and do i need DoF control plus a huge lens line-up to choose from, or not. It’s really isn’t difficult to answer if someone just thinks to ask it. The problem is that even if the reviewer gets it, most people skip to the image comparisons anyway.

            • Toecutter


    • dpnsan

      As Steve said above, you can check the DPReview review for raw comparisons, but they pretty much show the same differennces as the JPEG comparison. The dynamic range in the V1 blows away the EP-3.

      • Have a look at the small, dark box of thread spools at the bottom of the frame. Set it up for JPEG @ ISO-1600. Now, jack it up to ISO-3200, then 6400. Now, switch to RAW and repeat. Look at the noise profile and DR from the EP-3 in those RAW files, compared to the V1. Now, pull up the Nikon D7000 in one of the comparison tool windows and compare all three. That’s impressive and totally validates our testing on the V1 vs. EP-3.

        • Cass Roads

          Yeah, I agree the new CX sensor has some impressive dynamic range. The shadow detail is impressive even when you figure in the built-in NR above ISO-400 in RAW – beats the EP-3 in shadow detail even though the EP-3 has no NR. Midtones are another story, but still close enough that I’d call the CX sensor a win for its size. It really highlights how Olympus needs to move to a newer sensor to keep competitive.

    • fs

      Well, I think both RAW and jpeg performance is interesting. Generally, I shoot everything RAW, so I like to see IQ results from that — particularly if converted in Lightroom like I use. In this case, however, I’m looking at getting my wife a J1 for Christmas — so this was perfect info for me.

  • pepito

    f2.8 gives very thin DOF in the E-P3 samples. I think the test is biased.

  • Anonymus Maximus

    Thanks Cary
    lot of work went into this.

    I appreciate that you share!

  • R!

    I want an apsc mirorless camera nothing less.

    • then you have to buy sony or wait and see what fuji announces in the spring…

  • Rosinant
    • Yes, have a look at those sample shots in the comparison tool. You’ll see the comparisons we’ve done here confirmed. The Nikon V1 has better high-ISO detail, less noise (better noise reduction algorithms) and more DR. Since a lot of you want to see RAW output, don’t forget to view the RAW samples in that comparison tool….it’s the most telling.

      • Cass Roads

        Yes, you can clearly see how the Nikon implements NR in raw and smears details above ISO 400. Very impressive for its size though. And the dynamic range advantage gives it better shadow detail at all ISOs. It’s just too bad that the high ISO NR can’t be turned off even in RAW to see what the best you could get out of it could look like. All in all doesn’t show the Nikon to better than the Olympus except in the shadows, and shows the m4/3 sensor has a slight advantage in midtones and above. – Again, very impressive for the smaller sensor in the Nikon. I’m not trying to cut down the Nikon, but you have to view the comparisons with a critical eye.

        • Andrew

          Nothing you say here makes sense. The Nikon 1 is superior to the Olympus m4/3 in every way… sharpness, dynamic range, high ISO, etc. etc. The proof is on this page, scroll up and see the comparison images, not that it matters to you!

          • Cass Roads

            I’ll admit I wasn’t referring to the jpeg comparison above, but RAW comparisons elsewhere. I never shoot jpeg, so don’t care about in camera jpeg performance. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nikon could produce a better jpeg out of camera since Nikon consistently has the best jpeg rendering. I agree the Nikon has better DR, but I’d call sharpness more a factor of the lens used, which can vary greatly. High ISO I tend to agree with the DXOmark numbers on viewing RAW files, slight advantage to m4/3. Although the Olympus has more apparent noise, the Nikon 1 is either running high ISO NR in every high ISO RAW file I’ve seen or doing something else to smear midtone detail…
            I don’t plan on buying either of the compared cameras so I have nothing invested in this…

  • Max

    Enough is Enough!

    I dont know if you get money from Nikon or if you just want to increase the number of views and comments on your site (to get more clicks and therefore more ads money)…
    If that is the case, you are doing a good job, because I am here wasting my time and writing this comment…

    What I know for sure is that everything in your review and in your comparison with the EP-3 is irritating biased.

    It does not take much to understand the the nikon 1 is a tool not aimed to serious photographer.. It is mainly a tool marketed (with such high price) to be a cool object to show off for people that do not understand anything about photography (lots of them pretend to be expert in this forum by the way…)…
    The color available (among other, the pink version is a pearl)just confirm that…

    Serious photographer will not consider a camera with the sensor size of a nikon 1…
    They can’t accept not to be able to control depth of field (yes, read again, control… it means you can choose to stop down OR open up actually reducing depth of field, if you need to…) and always shoot with everything in focus…
    But you know this very well, because the only way to isolate the subject in the pictures you posted was to shoot with the sky as background 😉

    As I said, your comparison is irritating biased… here just a few points:
    – the 17 pancake is the worst lens available for the Pen. Have you tried the 12 F2 or the 45 F1.8? Yes, I wrote F1.8 not F18 of the nikon 1 lens 😉
    – the Pen pics are EVIDENTLY underexposed compared to the nikon pics. This is done to artificially increase the noise on the Pen pics.
    – even if the Pen and the nikon 1 had the same iso performance, the light gathering capability of the Pen bigger sensor would provide less noise, everything else equal..
    – EP-3 does not have any metering issue… photographers might have issues using the metering system of cameras they do not know how to use
    – the same F2.8 in cameras with different sensors does not provide a meaningful comparison.
    – many more, but it is time to go to sleep…

    By the way..
    I am a Nikon AND Canon Shooter..
    (often with Nikon lens on Canon Bodies, just to tell you how much a care about brands…)
    I am not an Olympus guy…
    I have extensively used an EP-3 and I think is a nice all around camera for serious photographer…
    But, above all, I am a guy that can’t stand biased opinions sold as objective reviews..

    • fRANk

      It should be “irritating(ly) biased”

      • Max

        Thanks Frank.

        If the if the only grammar/spelling mistake that you found in the post (not written in my native language) you made me happy!

    • Dakota

      Now this is a great post!

      A guy that does not own any of the cameras in the review, but claims he has a better grasp of how the review’s outcome should be.

      Max, you claim bias in the review, yet you state that no serious photographer would ever buy the Nikon 1 (if that is not a biased statement, I don’t know what is).

      The sad thing is, if the EP3 exposed incorrectly that is not the reviewers fault nor is it Nikon’s fault, it is the EP3’s fault.

      You also claim that the Nikon 1 system is strictly a novice camera, so why should the reviewer make specific adjustments to correct the EP3’s incorrect exposure (the novice photographer would not).

      The FACT is that on all accounts the Nikon 1 outperforms the EP3 in all respects.
      Speed of Focus
      Accuracy of focus
      and in low light the Nikon 1 equals if not bests the EP3.

      You also claim that the lens that was used is not the best on the EP3, a lens that is in the same price point as the Nikon 10mm
      Again, who’s fault is that? It is Olympus’ for producing a sub par lens.
      Then you want the reviewer to test the camera with the 12 mm F/2 that is 3 times more expensive than Nikon 10mm F/2.8. LOL

      Come of it mate, you are seriously deluded, calling Cary biased!

      • Max

        I do not own a smart car.
        I do know it is a good city car, not a car I would go offroad with.
        I don’t need to own it to know that.

        As far as the Olympus, I EXTESIVELY used it, since my wife owns it.

        I never said the Nikon 1 has worst AF than Olypums…
        (also because it is hard bad AF when AVERYTHING is in focus 😉

        Nikon 1 is not a camera for serious photographer.. I said that I repeat it and I do not think is a biased opinion… It is just based on Specs…
        The size of the sensor makes this camera the least desirable (generally speaking) in the mirrorles market.

        The EP-3 does not underexpose….

        As far as lens comparison, I just said it is unfair to pick the worst lens in the lineup.. don’t take the 12 F2 either.. there are several nice choise
        (right, several… lens choise another thing serious photographers look at

        • Dakota

          You mention specs. So lets talk about specs.

          Nikon 1
          Focusing = Faster
          Continues Focusing = Much Faster, more accurate
          Frame Rate = 5 or 10 (continuous AF), 30, 60 all at full resolution or RAW.
          Buffer size = much larger
          Viewfinder and Screen = 920k Dot and built in 1.4m EVF
          Video = much better
          Rolling shutter in video = much better
          AF in Video = much better
          Dynamic range = Better
          Available legacy lenses that will give full AF = available
          Image quality = on par or better

          Available lenses = much larger selection (currently)
          Flash = built in

    • Andrew


      This review has convinced me to buy the Nikon 1, not because of the poor performance of the Olympus camera, but because of the excellent image quality of the Nikon 1. It’s performance at ISO-6400 is stunning!

      Everyone was talking about the small sensor, but forgot that the Nikon 1 sensor is 4 times the size of the moderately expensive compact cameras. Nikon’s implementation of Noise Reduction is impressive. And their new Expeed 3 processor shines. I can’t wait to see the results from the D800 and D4 cameras. Nikon once again shows why it is the #1 camera brand. Awesome!

    • Roy

      Max: What do you mean by “serious photographers”? Do you mean people who are willing to spend more than they should for high level DSLR cameras? In that case, I qualify. I have also owned both the E-P3 and the Nikon V1. I still own the Nikon V1. The E-P3 is gone. Does that tell you anything?

      I shoot with kit lenses because they are small, which is the reason I wanted one of these cameras. The V1 is far, far better at ISO3200 than the E-P3. The V1 has a superior focus system, and in fact the V1 competes pretty well with my D7000 in this respect. I would even hesitate to say the D700 has a greatly superior AF system. The E-P3 gives focus indication quickly, considering it is CD only, but often is not actually focused correctly, and if the subject is moving at all you can forget about it.

      Actually, I don’t really know why the reviewer bothered to compare these two cameras, although I appreciate the effort. The E-P3 is fine if all you want to do is shoot static subjects at ISO 100. You know the kind of “serious” and artsy stuff I’m talking about. But if you want to shoot birds, auto races or 3-year-old children you better not get caught holding an E-P3. Of course you probably don’t consider those as “serious photography”.

  • Chris Cullen

    nice & interesting article
    BAD grammar though!

    Prime examples:
    “I could of used a zoom lens”
    “any other exposure mode would of tainted the results”

    I think ‘would HAVE’ and ‘could HAVE’ aer what you meant
    Sorry to be so fussy but standards matter even on the web!

    • Magnus

      Exactly. I speak and understand English relatively well, so I had no big difficulties understanding that the “of” should have been replaced with “have”, but I didn’t react at the that the word “fair”. Thank you LesM for pointing out that so I don’t go and use that word in that context myself.

      Well written text is always easier to read and understand than poorly written. The article isn’t terribly written to my non-english eyes, but the “should of” mistakes pointed out here really annoys me. It interrupts the reading process. Same when people can’t use “their”, “there” and “they’re” correctly.

      Except from the language issues, it’s a nice article.

    • Pixelhunter

      Even worse than grammatical errors or semi-professional photography tests are deficits in politeness. Unless you can proof your argument I would be inclined to suggest that you remain silent.

      A test has been presented, it has been discussed and criticized. Now next step would be a new and better comparison between the cameras that keeps up with everyone’s expectations in terms scientific standards – you want to try? Feel free!

  • I can’t speak for the fan boys of other brands who are angry about the Nikon 1s and their “sparkly good reviews”. Doesn’t matter if Nikon is paying people to write it or if it’s actually all true.

    I think most people are missing one good thing about these cameras. They are keeping DSLRs out of the hands of people who have no business owning a DSLR.

    People who buy a DSLR, never take it off auto, never buy anything more than a kit lens and then think they are a photographer, try and start up a business, under charge, then bring the whole photography industry down.

    Good riddance.

    • Danonino


    • photdog

      If, what you tried to point out, is the decreasing public appreciation of photography -since a lot of people seem to believe everybody can do anything as long as he/she owns a DSLR- I’m with you.
      However, I believe you are hitting the wrong heads. The want-to-be-photographers with kitlenses and full-time automatic are after other subjects the most of the time. They are doing all the me-in-front-of, family and party shots.
      Only if they are going in holidays, they might turn out as real competitors since a) almost every maid is traveling the globe meanwhile and b) according to the laws of statistics among millions of totally unskilled shots there will be “the golden shot” once in a while. By chance. And most of the shooters will already be satisfied seeing their name printed below their shot published. And for what reason should an agency pay a good money, if they can get what they need for (almost) free?

      But one, it is the camera industry who provide all the automatics delivering a good image quality without having any knowledge above where to push the shutter button. And second without many cams being sold to this kind of customers, we probably would have to pay much more for our gear.

      But, based on a comment in a previous Blog here, where someone wrote in a manner, as if pros are miles ahead of amateurs, I need to put out some thoughts. What is the decisive difference to craftsmen who lay tiles in a luxury bathroom for instance? Of course a pro have more specific knowledge about the gear, lighting, photoshop etc. and of course more practice. But what are we really accomplishing if we, e.g. as this guy mentioned do 10,000 wedding shots in a few weeks?
      At the end of the day it’s often enough merely documenting a scene, though on a high level.

      Some amateurs, however, put their private money, time and some serious thoughts into their photography, thinking not only about the How but the Why, about philosophy and artistic aspects apart from just documenting in best quality possible. Pros who are pursuing this avenue hardly can make their living on this kind of photography though I would consider it as the real advancement of the art of photography.

      • Andrew

        You have made some interesting points, and generally agreeable. There are many people who have an eye for quality/exceptional pictures. That is why some people are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for art, because they can see the beauty and can afford it. Nature and the creatures of nature provide the best illustration of art. And a camera is the perfect tool for capturing and preserving those images. The intelligence that is built into the modern camera is astonishing. And thus, the amateur photographer does not need to know how the setup their camera to take the perfect picture in many cases. In addition, the light gathering capabilities of the larger sensor cameras (DSLR and Full Frame cameras) now allows the photographer – professional or amateur to capture the mood without lighting and altering the scene with artificial light. The difference between the professional and the amateur is generally one of knowledge and discipline. The professional may more consistently generate better results, whereas the amateur may shoot at anything that moves; but the amateur – with a little discipline, a little knowledge, and some luck, can produce stunning images. Even the professional, from time to time, may need a little bit of luck to take that award winning picture.

    • rhlpetrus

      Disagree, they are great companions to a good dslrs system, I have both a D7k+6 lenses and V1 + 1-30 and 10 f/2.8. It’s very handy in many situation swhere a dslrs is either not necessary or too large/heavy to take.

  • ibol

    never mind which camera is better, what bothers me is the “could of” and “would of”. Are you sure Nikon paid for such reviewers?

  • Like a lot of people have said, the compared things aren’t comparable and the results are not meaningful to anyone other than to the typical dpreview-like folk.

    This is so poorly executed, it makes the whole thing silly.

  • Ernest

    Dear Nikon,

    Please update your CX-cameras with 24 fps 1080p and PAL-framerates: 25 fps with 1080p & 50 fps 720p.

    Thank You,


  • Warm and smooth tones on EP3. Cool (frost) tones on V1. sharpnesss?
    Well my Canon HF M40 is sharper than my D7000 in video wide shots, smaller sensor area. Huge sensor, smooth pixels.

    And please, stop the V1 topics, the $900 price tag is out of this world.

    Iphone is my compact for web, sharing, short travel 29mm fixed focal lenght.

    If i want serius travel camera, d7000 (without grip), bag and nikkor 18-200.

    • That’s an incorrect conclusion.

      Large sensors or large pixels don’t mean softer images. It’s the other way around.

      Every pixel takes the shape of a pixel on your monitor.

      The reason why you’re observing the differences in sharpness is likely due to the differences in lenses, shooting technique and post processing.

  • I like the built in viewfinder on the Nikon, but that sensor is so small. It’s an option for places that will not allow a DSLR.

  • Quinn

    This video test is somewhat inaccurate.

    The reason we are seeing more that normal “rolling shutter” in the E-P3 is not because it is bad at rolling shutter, but because the image stabilization during video is more or less broken. Most PEN shooters learn very quickly that you need to turn off IS when shooting video because it causes the odd wobble effect in attempting to stabilize that we see in this video.

    If you were to turn off the IS and shoot the same scene again, you’d notice rolling shutter much closer to what the V1 was showing.

    • Dakota

      So your argument is that you should turn off Image stabilization?
      Isn’t that defeating the purpose of having in camera stabilization?
      Or are you proposing that if you shoot video, you should carry a tripod with you?
      If that is the case, the Nikon 1 sure is looking like a compact system.

  • Andrew

    Kind of comical that your review of the still images from the V1 is so different from the ones done by dpreview. They must have faked all the samples they have that make the V1/J1 look like hell compared to every mirrorless but the Q.

    • Cass Roads

      Really? You really think they faked it? You probably believe the moon landing was faked as well… I don’t think Cary or dpreview faked any of their images. Different testing conditions and parameters can lead to very different results without anything nefarious going on. It doesn’t need to be so dramatic, with conspiracies and plots to smear the good name of….. a….. camera…….

  • Trevor

    I always appreciate comparisons regardless of their accuracy. I think a lot of people get bent out of shape because they read the reviewer’s conclusions as though they have somehow become canon. Please, exercise some independent thought and critical thinking.

    The question is “what are we evaluating?” In this case, we are evaluating the still shots of default settings in aperture mode of these two cameras and lenses. You can’t take these results and extrapolate that the V1/EP3 is better or worse than the other in other cases. Just take them for what they are.

    What I learned is that in aperture priority at f/2.8 and ISO 200 the V1 for that lighting exposes for 1.3″ versus the EP3 exposing for 0.6″. Whoa! Talk about a difference, especially considering the EP3 has IBIS.

    For the reviewer, you did turn IBIS off since you put the EP3 on a tripod, right?

  • The most important thing to me is, that none of the mirror less systems can focus on moving subjects – except the Nikon. The buck stops right there for me. I’m sure the Sony has better IQ with its big sensor, and the M4/3rds may or may not. Problem is, they won’t get the shot if the shot don’t wait for them 🙂
    As to APS-C DSLRs for compact size, the format is a poor compromise from a time when sensors were in their infancy. The construction of the light path has to conform to the old full frame standard, hence lens architectures are suboptimal, oversized, whatever. It’s an unfortunate error of history that it is sticking around, and maybe with M4/3rds and other mirror less systems it will go away, as many amateur photographers will no longer have the need for a SLR system. One hopes…

  • Nikon Success

    Regardless of which camera has this feature or that.
    Regardless if you don’t like the sensor size.
    Regardless if you think the review is biased.
    Regardless . . .

    Nikon has a hit a home run with the V1. Dealers can’t keep them in stock and consumers love this camera.

    We can argue about the features of Mac vs PC or Canon vs Nikon but the truth is consumers are voting with their pocketbooks. And the one thing no one can argue with is SUCCESS.

  • Ric

    Less filling…

    • TTrerise

      Less filling!

  • ro.bert

    The Olympus 17mm 2,8 is a good choice in my opinion, same picture quality as my panasonic 14.45 mm, it has a comparable pricing to the nikon 10mm and a similar form factor. Where is the reason to test the ep-3 with an expensive 24mm-lens? The pictures of the Oly look not better than the pictures of my old Panasonic GF1 – there is absolutely no reason for an upgrade to a newer Olympus. This is the real disappointment. I would never buy M43 again or a Nikon 1 as a second system, for the same money i can buy wonderful lenses. I expected due to my experiences with m43 that the Nikon has a better image quality. But, this is not a big issue.

    • Cass Roads

      Expensive 24mm? The Panasonic 14 2.5 would have been ideal. It matches the field of view much better, is only $300, and is a better performer than the Olympus 17mm. I guess the intent, though, was more to test “kits” that could be purchased together as one item, instead of having to buy body and lens separately.


    Only an idiot would buy a entry level to mid range DSLR. DSLRS are DYING FAST . Mirrorless cameras are HERE TO STAY AND GETTING BETTER EVERYDAY. NIKON should just be sold out to sony. They use their sensors anyway and nikon is not moving into the future. The D7000 should be $800 new. the GH2 is superior and is only 999 with a kit lens

    • Marko

      Focus system, focus system and focus system again my lord Got it ? No ? Re-read it again. Still not gettin’ it ? Once again. Oh. You still don’t get it ? Sell your equipment. Believe me. This is not for you. And we are talking just about the focus system. Not to ever mention pixel density, resolution, diffraction…

      • Lonnie Utah

        If you don’t think AF’s on mirrorless cams are getting better everyday then you are fooling yourself. Sooner than later, cameras with flipping mirrors are going to go away. So what we will have is mirrorless cameras that will resemble “dslrs” (same size and feel), but the flipping mirror and the prism will cease to exist. The reason is simple. engineering and economics. When you look at how expensive the prism is to manufacture (up to 1/3 the cost of the camera) and you realize how much costs to engineer the mirror and the mirrorbox, it just makes sense. There are serious limitations with using a phase detect autofocus system that must be interrupted when you move the mirror out of the way to take a picture. And none of this even mentions the advantages mirrorless cams have for video recording, which I think is the real driver behind this movement.

        When we get phase detect AF “on the sensor” (and to be fair the v1/j1 give that a bit of a go in bright light), then the whole camera game is going to change (the most likely solution will be PDAF module behind a semi transparent sensor.) What that looks like, I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet that within 10 years, you will have to work hard to find a camera with a prism and flipping mirror.

  • Jason

    I understand that the variables are different (different focal lengths, shooting wide open) but if you head over to Imaging Resource, you can compare the ISO 1600 images between the EP3 and the V1 and you’ll see that the EP3 is both cleaner and sharper than the V1. The difference is quite striking:

    • Lonnie Utah

      Nothing to see here folks, please move along…

      Things that make you go, hummmm…… 😉

    • Cass Roads

      Yeah, the Olympus looks better, but the Nikon also looks to be better than its sensor size would lead one to expect. The two are close enough that, if I were looking to buy either, I wouldn’t make a decision based on high ISO IQ. If anything, looking at all these in camera jpegs makes me appreciate the merits of shooting RAW.

  • Albert

    Okay, let me start with saying that I haven’t used Nikon V1 yet.

    However, I do have Olympus E-PM1 (with the same sensor and technology as E-P3) and I can definitely say that this test has been done in a wrong way.

    First, there’s no way that those E-P3 images are right-out-of-camera JPEGs. If you truly didn’t alter any settings as you mentioned, E-P3 images should have really strong sharpen applied. Olympus default setting has really strong sharpen, and I don’t really notice that in those images.

    Second, you didn’t use correct settings. If you don’t use the best settings on the camera and only use the default settings, the test does not have credibility, because that implies (as someone above said) you’re comparing cameras for someone who don’t know cameras at all.
    To get the best result, you have to choose a lens that has resolution that exceeds the camera, so it can show the true ability of the sensor. Olympus 17mm is one of the the worst m4/3 lenses. When used with Panasonic G 20mm f/1.7 lens, I felt like that Olympus 3rd generation has almost as good resolution as any other cameras I’ve used (such as Nikon D7000 or Sony a900) when using the base ISO.
    Also, you didn’t notice or purposely left out that 3rd generation olympus cameras have two auto WB setting. If you choose not to have “warm” WB setting (which is default), Olympus third generation auto WB is the best auto WB I’ve ever seen. Even in indoor right, I had many occasions during post processing that using the grey point correction actually did not affect color temperature, not even 100K.

    Third, exposure difference. Again, you stated that your purpose was to show which camera is better in terms of the image quality, not to show which camera is better for people who don’t know photography. In that case, to be perfectly fair, you have to use the exactly same exposure.

    So in conclusion, I cannot say and am not saying which one is better, since I haven’t used Nikon V1 yet. But I’m saying that this test is obviously biased against Olympus E-P3. Even the default images should not be like that, so I suspect the writer either does not know how to use camera or purposely used wrong settings to support his claim.

    • Dakota

      If both systems are set to default settings, then there is no bias!
      Can you Olympus nuts get that through your heads?
      You are defending a camera brand that has no long term life expectancy.
      They have already pretty much abandoned the DSLR market, because they could not compete.
      What happens to all the folks that invested in that system?
      They continue to come out with camera models that are using old technology.
      They are in the process of being investigated for illegal accounting practices.
      I would definitely not invest into this system….

      • Albert

        I pointed out first that it is very unlikely that those pictures are taken with default settings. And as I argued afterwards, measuring two difference cameras on their default settings is not a valid way to do such comparison.

        And you’re diverting from the point of my argument by attacking Olympus’s decision that is not related to this review’s argument of Olympus E-P3 having inferior images quality compared to Nikon V1.

        However, just for your misplaced argument’s sake, here’s my response.
        Right now, it is highly unlikely that someone who visits NR considers Olympus as his/her main camera system. I bought E-PM1 and Panasonic 20mm because they are, right now, one of the best compact system that is still small enough to be stored in coat pockets, but provides good image quality and controllable depth of field (which Nikon V1 cannot deliver). Sony NEX is still too big to be stored in a pocket, and anything smaller than M4/3 does not provide enough control over depth of field. As a result, Olympus cameras are the perfect solution for people like me who uses 35mm film, Medium Format, and Digital SLRs for important work, but wants to have a camera that can be carried easily but also has good enough quality and controllable DOF.
        Because it is being used as a sub-camera, Olympus’s policy does not matter. Yes, they arguably abandoned its DSLR lines. But other companies have done so, too. Fuji abandoned its F mount line, but that does not stop people who need its color rendering from buying Fujifilm S5 Pro or even earlier cameras. I don’t disagree with some part of your argument that “committing” yourself completely to Olympus is a bad idea. I’m just saying that for the right reason, Olympus is a good choice. And for people looking for a good camera with IQ and DOF that can fit into a pocket, an Olympus m4/3 camera is a perfect choice.

        • Dakota

          So your saying that the Nikon was set up to perform at it’s best but the Olympus was not?…. I smell a conspiracy !

          Cary has been doing reviews for awhile, and I am sure he is capable of taking images without resorting to fudging the end result, nor would I suspect he did.

          In fact his results coincide with all reviews done by pro photographers (Kirk Tuck, Rob Galbraith, Steve Huff etc…).

          As far as I understand it, no matter how the test is carried out, somebody from the Olympus camp will yell foul.

          Just take a look at all the negative responses all of the other reviewers have gotten when they came to the same conclusion using their OWN methodology to test the cameras.

          Finally you mention that most people on this forum are not using Olympus for His/Her camera.

          So then the only logical question is why are there so many Olympus users on this forum?

          • Albert

            I’m sure that there are many people like me – who uses both Nikon and Olympus.

            I use Nikon for my main works, and Olympus for everyday usage as I mentioned. I love both Nikon and Olympus dearly. Interestingly, I love Nikon for being loyal to its customers by allowing us to use the same lens mount and associated lenses since 1970’s on modern cameras; but I love Olympus for being able to have a courage to abandon what’s dragging it, develop a niche product, and actually able to mass-produce and sell their product effectively.

            So basically, think of a father’s mind who’s being forced to watch other people comparing his two sons whom he equally love.
            I just want them to have a fair competition. Here’s answer to your question: I believe there are many photographers like me, and that’s why it almost seems like there are so many Olympus fanboys here. We don’t think this is a fair comparison, so we just want a fair comparison of two cameras made by our two beloved manufacturers.

            • Dakota

              I understand your sentiment regarding your father analogy.

              That does not change the fact that ALL reviews done to date, comparing the Nikon 1 with different testing methodology by different reviewers; someone from the Olympus camp has yelled foul.

              Using your father analogy; it is like soccer dads getting into a fight in the stands because they did not like the call made on the field against their kid in every game….

  • studio460

    For what it’s worth, of course, it’s always best that you perform your own tests whenever possible. From my own brief time with the Nikon J1, it was capable of producing some very good images. And with the recent $150 Nikon instant rebates, I admit, I was tempted. But, sensor size and lens availability finally won me over, and I went with a Samsung NX200 APS-C sensored ILC. I plan to marry it with the Samsung 16mmf/2.4 pancake when available.

    From my own casual tests, the Samsung performs at or above my expectations. I think its image quality is extremely good. But, Google “Samsung NX200 review” and you will find some wildly differing reports (mostly good, but some completely contradictory). So, I think everyone will have their own criteria (as evidenced by the comments here), whenever given a chance to test any two cameras, side-by-side.

    I plan to do some NX200 vs. Nikon D7000 vs. Sony NEX (my mom’s) tests as soon as I get a chance.

  • Hobo Master

    OK hobos… I know you will likely “debate” to death which one is better and no one will agree with the other for 2 reasons:
    1) you are hobos and having spent so much eating rat soup and living in the street has turned you into silly crazy homeless people…

    2) Depending how much of a fanboy you are of each brand you will never be able to say “OK… I bought the crappiest camera of the two” you will defend your brand even if it means killing your cat, because you simply: refuse to aknowledge something is better than your favorite brand (regardless if you are a Nikon or Olympus fan) and/or you don’t want to look like an idiot.

    So please return to do hobo please.

  • Yap

    Please use same angle to compare with EPL-3.

    • Digifan

      Please not. This is a very distorted review.
      Reviewer should have turned the IS of for video on the E-P3. It’s common knowledge to anybody interrested in camera gear that the rolling shutter effect is caused by the digital IS.
      Also reviewer states the camera’s are tested with settings straight out of the box.
      Well that’s a stupid thing if you consider the E-P3 is not a beginner cam and it has more settings and options available than any Nikon 1 system, hell even the enthousiast DSLR’s of any make.
      If one is looking for a way to compare what the best camera is than a reviewer should make use of the optimum/best settings of each camera.
      This review is junk.

      • Rolling shutter is NOT caused by Image Stabilization, rolling shutter is caused from line scanning the CMOS sensor.

        As for everything else you said, refer back to my first sentence.

  • ATK

    Like other comments, this review has failed since the beginning. If you want to compare Image quality please adjust the right exposure setting. And Please do not blame EP3 for underexposure as you responded in other comments.

    It just make me sad. The real users should know the own equipment well. Each camera behave differently even in the same setting they still give different results.

    I am still prefer EP3 anyway. Thank you review.

  • hendrik Mintarno

    I’m Nikon, Olympus, Leica guy. I think Nikon 1 still belongs to beginners moving up from point and shoot. Why?
    1. Nikon leave out the friggin hot-shoe!
    (goodbye Nikon SBs and CLS system, goodbye studio lights with ebay triggers)
    2. Sensor size: Small?!?
    (DOF is compromised, less control for user especially amateur n pro)

    The last thing that pro / amateur user should think is file quality at high ISO. I used most of my camera with the lowest possible ISO when working or having fun (personal projects). In fact, i shoot using E-P2 with 3 speedlights to shoot a paid Pre-Wedding session (low budget couple). Cant do it with current Nikon1, even tho u
    said that it has the best sensor compared to Olympus.

    At least this is my opinion. Who knows if there are some amazing shooters out there can make money as pro using Nikon1.


  • explorer76

    I have played a bit with Nikon V1 and liked it. However this particular comparison is only relevant for point and shoot users who use the cameras at auto. Cameras vary greatly in terms of default jpeg processing as well as metering mechanism and so on. No experienced photographer lets the camera choose the settings completely by itself and pray that the result would be good. At least I have never used a camera that way. If I compare two cameras I want to know the best that I can get out of each and not whatever default it throws at me.

  • BillM

    Cary, thank you for the review and taking the time to write all that up. After reading a few comments above I’d like to point out to everyone the common YMMV (your mileage may vary) phrase. Seriously, we do these reviews and give our opinions on what we are seeing, I’m sure Cary tried to be as objective as possible, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes we have biases that affect our interpretation of the data (we are human after all).

    I too have had the Nikon 1 V1, and the Olympus E-P3 and soon the Panasonic GX1 and Sony NEX-7. Guys, comeon, reviews can only get you so far, at some point you’re going to have to bite the bullet and go out and test these yourself. So far, my preference goes towards the Oly because I prefer the control dials over menu options approach and a nice array of glass, especially prime glass, but that is my bias.

    What I have issue with in the review is when Cary says “The controls are all laid out well, but lack the control a professional would prefer. Although that might be an issue for a lot of professional photographers, it is not an issue for the Nikon 1’s current target market.” This begs the question, what is Nikon’s “target market” for the Nikon 1? If the target market is for P&S photographers who want to move up but don’t want DSLR, then their price point really missed it. If the target market is for professional photographers who want a CSC, then once again they missed it because of the lack of control. So who really is their target market, I am not sure, had they put in a 4/3 or larger sensor I think they’d be on to something, but they have crippled themselves with such a tiny sensor, it just doesn’t provide the DOF that a larger sensor provides and thus renders the camera more of an expensive option for photographers who are frightened of the DSLR.

    Cary, you then went on to say that “Even as a professional photographer, I don’t mind its sleek and simple physical interface. For a compact interchangeable lens system, it just needs to be small, fast, reliable, sheik and have excellent image quality; this is all the target market really cares about and is exactly what the Nikon 1 offers.” The issue I have with this statement is that I too am a professional photographer, but I disagree on almost every point above, as I do not find the interface sleek and certainly not “simple” (one of the things I love when I switched to Nikon a few years ago was all their buttons and dials, something the Nikon 1 certainly lacks). In regard to all the CSC target maket “needs” I would add good DOF, easy UI and a great selection of glass, especially fast primes. Granted, Nikon will undoubtedly make more lenses in the future (but only if Nikon 1 sales meets their expectations) but DOF is something they can never overcome given their small sensor and the current laws of physics. For these reasons alone, I have ruled out the Nikon 1 for my purposes (and again, I may not be their target market).

    I would propose that if you (the reader) are in the market for a CSC camera system and you are currently a DSLR shooter, then you will be frustrated with the Nikon 1 (maybe not, but that is my opinion). Right now I am pretty darn happy with my Oly E-P3 and I’m really curious to play with the new NEX-7, as for the Nikon 1 V1, that will be going back because it lacks too many of the features that it ought to have (in my opinion of course 🙂 ).

    • @Bill

      The Current Nikon 1 target market are younger, novice photographers. They include a lot of women from the data I’ve seen. These people want to move up from the P&S, but don’t want the size, bulk and complication of a DSLR. Fact is, the Nikon 1 system is not currently built for professional use. It’s built to be a small and light interchangeable lens camera that delivers image quality very close to entry level DLSR cameras. The target market wants a great performing camera, with great looks. Fact: These cameras are selling VERY well. Everywhere I’ve checked and/or asked, stated they can’t keep these cameras on the shelves. So, if the Nikon 1 is a failure to you, maybe it’s because you really aren’t understanding who the Nikon 1 cameras were built for.

      A professional can use the V1, easily, but shouldn’t really use it professionally. It’s not a professional camera, it’s not tailored to be used in a professional setting. It’s meant to be used as a fun and easy-to-use camera that delivers amazing image quality, with interchangeable lenses, in a small and compact package. The camera may not be simple to you now, because you have an advanced understanding of a professional DSLR camera and it’s hard to shoot a with “simple” camera when you’re looking for the refined control you’re use to. I know, because I felt that way at first. After I spent some time with the V1, I realized I didn’t need to use it as a professional camera – because it’s NOT a professional camera. It can achieve amazing shots with very little input from the photographer. This is why the Nikon 1 is selling like hot-cakes. People that know NOTHING about being a professional photographer can pick this camera up and start shooting, allowing the camera to do the work to produce a great image. I suggest you go back and read my review in it’s full context. There are several instances where I’ve made my points clear.

      With that said, my only real issue with the Nikon 1 system is wide DoF and this is only for portrait photography. Once Nikon releases some fast 1-Nikkor primes (hopefully ƒ/0.95 – ƒ/1.2) and people start using their fast f-mount primes (i.e. 50mm ƒ/1.2 – ƒ/1.4) wide DoF issues will be less of an issue. A 50mm ƒ/0.95 CX lens will have a focal length and DoF of about 135mm ƒ/4 in 35mm equivalency. This should be perfectly fine for most portraits as this would provide decent isolation. They key here: Will Nikon make a super-fast prime like this? Even an Ai-S 50mm f/1.2 mounted via the FT-1 adapter would be a decent 135mm ƒ/5.6 or so. Again, plenty of isolation. An 85mm ƒ/1.4 would be a great telephoto lens @ 229.5mm and would provide excellent isolation. My point – DoF issues for portraits can easily be fixed with the right lenses. Sometimes, you don’t want shallow DoF. In this case, the CX format is perfect – such as landscape photography, amateur architecture….etc, where wide DoF is preferred.

      You may not like the Nikon 1 and that’s totally your prerogative. Everybody has their own take on things and that’s their right. I’ve only offered my opinions, backed up with my own testing of the two systems. If the V1 or J1 isn’t for you, I know there are tons people out there that will gladly take it off your hands and will be happy to shoot great pictures with it. If the EP-3 is the mirrorless you prefer, keep shooting with it and enjoy your investment. Nobody can tell you what you should and shouldn’t shoot with. Only you can make that decision.

  • BillM

    One other thought. Why couldn’t Nikon have incorporated all the dials and features of its top of the line P&S, the P7000 series? So for $425 you can get a P7100 with great dials and simpler to use interface, but for only $400 more you don’t (sarcasm intended)??? This just doesn’t make sense to me, if I were a P7000 shooter but wanted better IQ do I really want to sacrifice the nice manual control to get it? I apologize, I don’t mean to pick on Nikon, but I truly don’t understand their goal with this system, it seems more like an effort to say “yes, we have a CSC” than it was to create a CSC that would put four thirds and possibly even NEX to shame (because they certainly could).

  • Wadeva

    Just blow up the nikon 1, make the photos 1:1. I wanna see which is more grainy now. Anyway if you wanna show how good the nikon 1 series is.. take on the gx1 and the gh2.

  • Mike

    Did you see the checkered pattern in the corners of the dpreview test:
    Interesting postproduction -Maybe too much sharpening?
    But as a (m)FT fan I have to admit: Great work, nikon. Nearly on par with mFT. But you will get the same DOF comments we had to hear the last years unless you bring brighter lenses 🙂

    • Bob B.

      ….or the G3. I have a GF1. All 9 of my lenses are sharper than the one used on the EP3 in this comparison??? Something is fishy there? Also…Lets see how the Nikon V1 compares to one of the G cameras with lets say the Pany/Leica f/1.4 prime in sharpness ..not to mention what a lower ISO it can be shot at because of lens speed. Nikon V1…bokeh..there is none.

      The Nikon does do some things very well…and is to be lauded for its performance for a sensor this size and also mechanically….but there is something off with this comparison.

  • Bob B.

    Sorry kids…this is a totally BOGUS comparison. Nuff said.

  • Boooo!

    As said before, this is a horrible comparison.

    First of all, the m4/3 camera has shallower DOF. In fact, if you look at the centre crops, you can see that the focus is somewhere around the BIC pen in the back. The stuff in the front just isn’t in focus. For that matter, the texture on the background also isn’t visible.

    Second, the exposure difference is absolutely massive, it’s a full stop. You can’t compare photos and lament about dynamic range if you don’t have equal exposure settings, okay?

    Third, the angle of view is different. That alone makes the Nikon shots look sharper, because the objects are smaller.

  • mike

    …don’t really know why I expected anything different on a site called ‘Nikon Rumours’ than a dumb comparison.

    Whichever way – I got it….

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