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

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