Nikon 1: the little camera that could

Nikon 1 - the little camera that could by Thomas Stirr (check out also his ebook with the same title):

After using Nikon APS-C and full frame DSLRs in the past, I’ve been using the Nikon 1 system exclusively for my client video business and for my still photography needs for the past two and a half years.

While many people are assuming the worst, no official announcement regarding the future of Nikon 1 has been made by Nikon. I regularly hear from other Nikon 1 owners who enjoy their cameras and are planning to continue shooting with them in the years to come, even if the system is eventually discontinued by Nikon.

As an owner of Nikon DSLRs, I was certainly spoiled by the dynamic range and colour depth of the sensors in those cameras. My D800 was a superb camera that I could point at just about anything and know I’d get a good quality image for my clients. Through a couple of years of experimentation I discovered that the Nikon 1 system best met my needs, so I sold my D800 and all of my FX Nikkor glass in the summer of 2015, and have never regretted that decision.

Even though I shoot with Nikon 1 exclusively I don’t consider myself a ‘fan-boy’. I know that the Nikon 1 system has many warts, and I understand those shortcomings as well as anyone.

The intent of this article is to share some photographs covering a range of subject matter, all of which were captured with Nikon 1 gear. Hopefully this will help demonstrate some of the system’s capability, in spite of those bedeviled, 1” CX sensors

Obviously the sensor performance of Nikon full frame cameras blows Nikon 1 units out of the water. It is interesting that the dynamic range of the J5 (as measured in DxO tests) is on par or better than some Canon cameras like the 760D and 6D Mark II.

Some photographers have recognized that a V-Series Nikon 1 body, coupled with the CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom, is quite a good birding kit especially in good light. Shooting in continuous auto-focus at up to 20fps, and up to 60fps with the first frame locking focus in full resolution, has been a Nikon 1 capability enjoyed by many users. The osprey image above was captured with a Nikon 1 V3, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-250, 272mm, efov 734mm.

The hummingbird above was captured with a Nikon 1 V2, f/5.6, 1/5000, ISO-1600, 300mm, efov 810mm.

The V-Series/CX 70-300mm combination also works well when capturing perched, static or captive bird specimen. The duck photograph below was shot with a V3, f/5.6, 1/50, ISO-3200, 300mm, efov 810mm.

The egret image was also captured with a V3, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-3200, 212mm, efov 572mm.

Since the Nikon 1 system does not have a native macro lens, many owners use their macro lenses by way of the Nikon 1 FT-1 adapter. I tried this in the past with a Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 micro lens and never liked that combination. I much prefer using Nikon 1 gear with extension tubes. Here are a few images of a bee (V3), a butterfly (J5) and a flower (J5) all captured using extension tubes.

One of the shortcomings of the Nikon 1 system is low light performance, and given its small sensor this is understandable. I’ve found shooting in RAW and using software with a good noise reduction function helps quite a bit. I regularly shoot my Nikon 1 gear at ISO-3200 without any hesitation. The first two images that follow were captured at ISO-3200, the third one was at ISO-4500.

In a pinch I’ve also shot at ISO-6400, often with certain subject matter like captive birds or reptiles like the turtle below.

On very rare occasions I’ve pushed this to ISO-12800. These photographs, like the snake below, tend to be more of an experiment than anything else.

I’ve found that Nikon 1 equipment can do a pretty decent job with flower photography.

It also has become my trusted companion as a travel photography system. I travel with a pair of J5’s, fitted with the 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 and 10-100mm f/4-5.6 zoom lenses. These give me an equivalent field-of-view of 18mm to 270mm. The third Nikon 1 body I use for travel is a V3 with the CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom. This adds an equivalent field-of-view of 189mm-810mm to my kit.

Depending on the destination and the purpose of my travel I’ll sometimes pack the 30-110mm zoom with a set of extension tubes for close-up photography, as well as the 18.5mm f/1.8 and 32mm f/1.2 primes for low light situations, or for occasions when I’d like more shallow depth-of-field.

It’s unclear what the future holds for the Nikon 1 system as no official announcement has been made by Nikon. Like many other Nikon 1 owners I plan on using my Nikon 1 gear for many years to come. Despite its warts, I haven’t found anything else that meets my needs as well as does the Nikon 1 system.

My experiences with the Nikon 1 system are chronicled in an eBook I recently published, The Little Camera That Could. It is available on my web site:

All of the photographs in this article were captured hand-held using Nikon 1 gear. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

Article Copyright 2017, all images Copyright 2015-2017 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, adaptation or reproduction is allowed without written consent. Nikon Rumors is the only approved user of this article. If you see it reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use.

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.

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  • Mehdi R

    CX system was a mistake..

    • Plug

      No, not inherently. The mistake was in the way it was implemented: the high cost, lack of primes, the feature lists, etc.. It could have been an excellent concept.

      • Mehdi R

        I tested as it entered to market, but 1″ sensor is too much compromise. It’s IQ and details is far behind what you expect from Nikon. They should put APSC sensor inside instead of 1″ sensor. I tested Canon G7X that time also, there were no significant IQ difference between two systems. This is why Canon is successful in G series.
        When I saw first images of Nikon DL series, I was quite impressed with specs and portability of it but unfortunately they cancel it.

        • Antonio Sánchez

          The DL was basically a Nikon 1 with a lens that collapsed into the body. Better lenses perhaps, but the same sensor.

        • Plug

          The early CX sensors were clearly less capable than DX but that was Aptina and a few years ago. A modern 1″ sensor would be a far different concept and I agree that the DL series would have been interesting.

          • BlueBomberTurbo

            Basically the J5 sensor. The RX100 V sensor is the most modern, though IQ isn’t noticeably better, just AF performance and data transfer speed. I was very interested in the 18-50. Not interested in buying more native lenses for my J5, though.

            • Thom Hogan

              The Sony 1″ sensor isn’t particularly noticeably better because it packs more pixels into the same size and uses both the Aptina advantages (through an IP license). The newest Sony 1″ sensors are BSI and that helped improve them by about a third of a stop.

              Personally, the RX100’s are mostly limited by the lens, not the sensor. They perform much more like 14mp cameras because of the lens/sensor combo. The Nikon J5 has a slight advantage over the RX100 because of that, as many of the lenses are better.

            • I always tell everyone that cares to listen, “It is the lenses that matter. Cameras are just photon detectors.”

              While that is certainly a stretch, in the long run the cameras depreciate and the next iteration solves many of the issues of the prior iteration. I also see cameras converging as the tech becomes perfected. I think that this will make it obvious to more people that it is the lenses that matter.

    • Nemmondom Meg

      No it was a very good idea, and j5 sensor was awesome. My nikon d600 is yes way better in high iso, but d7200 better like a half stop. The system is amazing fast, good focus, and from 18mm till 870 you can squeez it into 2 pockets. What is wrong with the system, j5 should have a big brother with viewfinder.

      • Spy Black

        Yes, it was a very good idea indeed, but it was horribly executed.

        Nikon recently released a patent for a new CX lens, which threw me for a loop, because I had written N1 off. I don’t really know how to read that.

        It will be very interesting (and with incredible balls) if Nikon releases CX, DX, and FX mirrorless cameras when they finally start to announce their mirrorless offerings.

        • Nemmondom Meg

          Would enjoy that. Like I said j5 was there by IQ, I check my old pictures and I don’t see d7200 better. I had j2 and v2 j2 was very bad detailless. V2 has very bad “high” iso here I am talking anything above ISO 400. I don’t know how much V3 was better. But a V4 with j5 sensor would still be really good.

      • Robert Cullers

        I agree with your blurb completely.

    • Will McH

      Nikon One CX system has it’s place; IMO, it’s not being marketed correctly. If we don’t look at it as an mirrorless camera, but as an light-weight, compact ILC, it’s a good camera system. I got my J5 to replace my RX100 mk4 and could not be happier.
      It’s slightly less pocket-able comparing to RX100, but I gain flexibility in lens option, and more importantly, it’s order of magnitude more user-friendly than RX100. It’s my walk-around every day, every hour camera.
      In my opinion, Nikon didn’t need to develop DL line to compete in that market segment, but rather, greater portfolios of lens for Nikon One system. As an Nikon DSLR owner, I am a captive audience when it comes to compact system.

      • Andrew

        The Nikon 1 is not going anywhere (think Nikon 1 J5) just like the Nikon DL was not abandoned by Nikon. Nikon stated that the feature set of the DL had to be improved to make it more competitive upon launch. So the launch of the DL was essentially delayed.

        Nikon was simply regrouping to have a big splash when they release their higher end Mirrorless cameras. I would not be surprised if the Mirrorless launch includes three sensor sizes: CX (i.e. 1″), DX (APS-C), and FX (Full-Frame).

  • animalsbybarry

    Give it 8k video and allow it to take high res stills 36mp
    Make a high res 200-600 F5.6 lens for 1” Sensor

    And most of all give it a viewfinder !!!!!!!!

    The J5 was the only Nikon One that had thier latest sensor and it neither had a viewfinder nor could the V3 viewfinder be used on it…epic failure

    • BlueBomberTurbo

      100%. The J5 was the first 1 that had enough IQ for me, and then they killed off the line without making a V4 with that sensor. -___- That would be a no brainier purchase for me. Making do with an LCD loupe instead…

      • Nemmondom Meg

        Exactly i feel they finished the line when it started to be interesting and delivering IQ.

  • Pinoy InOhio

    What does this article and accompanying photos proved?
    To me, photography is NOT just about the latest and greatest camera and lenses but more on the skill of the person behind the camera.

    • Mehdi R

      Correct, but if these nice shots were taken with bigger size sensor camera then we’ll be amazed with such details..

      • Pinoy InOhio

        Prove it!

        • Amir

          The big difference between Westerners and Easterners is that Westerners mostly enjoy the moment they have/are in with their current equipment.In contrast,Easterners mostly dream that something better in hand could change/improve the moment.I believe this comes from their powerful cultural and literature influences.For instance,I shot with my D750 and I am pretty much satisfied with the results,but my reputable fellow photographer almost always,after looking to my shots, says:’If you take photos with D850,you will regret using D750!’Of course,no offense at all.

          • ZoetMB

            I have to disagree on all points. You think Westerners walk around satisfied? I don’t perceive that at all. I shoot with a D800, but when I look back at photos I took with a D70, many of those old photos shot with a 6.1MP sensor look better to me than what I’m shooting today, especially the color.

            • Joshua Boldt

              My D70 had such great color and it had a certain “character” that I can’t pinpoint. I miss it dearly. I see one for sale right now pretty cheap and I’m thinking of buying it just for fun.

          • Mehdi R

            I disagree with you, it’s completely depends of everyones characteristics regardless of where born or living. I also own and use D750 but when it comes to bulk and weight,I prefer D5500 especially when travelling and I don’t regret using it at all!

          • Proto

            its not about east or west. Maybe its about state of mind — hankering or being satisfied

          • Teko

            Mega generalization.

          • Pinoy InOhio

            Hi Amir – What regions do you consider EAST and what region do you consider WEST?
            Which region or country are you from?

            Are you an Anthropologist?
            How did you arrived at your conclusion on the Eastern and Western behavior?
            Is your statement based on a population and sample of ONE which is yourself?

            Have you live for 10 years or more each in the East and in the West?

            I am eager to learn from your experience.

        • ZoetMB

          I agree with Mehdi. While the photos are extremely impressive for a pocket camera and would be completely acceptable to a majority of photographers, they all seem a bit soft to me and at first, I thought there was something wrong with my vision and I rubbed my eyes and cleaned my glasses.

          I’m also of the opinion that the Nikon 1’s should have been DX or at least micro 4/3, even though it would have meant physically larger lenses, especially at longer focal lengths. Olympus and others have proven that you can still keep everything small and light. Back in the film days, the Olympus OM-1 was a very compact 35mm camera that had full functionality and I preferred it to the Nikon mid-range cameras of the time. If there had been a full-frame digital Olympus OM-1, I’d be shooting with it today.

          Of course as is always said, the best camera to have is the one that’s with you and if you’re more likely to carry a small camera, then that’s the best camera for you. I have to admit: I almost never carry my D800 randomly – I only have my kit with me when I’m going to shoot something specific. In “emergencies”, I use my smartphone, but my smartphone could not have made many of the photos in this set.

          • Claude Mayonnaise

            Maybe it would be different if M4/3 did not exist. I tried both and the detail I get with an Olympus 45mm is quite amazing. I bailed on the Nikon system. I bought it on fire sale so it was not an expensive loss. I think a ton of people want a smaller system to run along side a more serious one. It seems like Nikon misjudged the market.

          • Stephan

            I’m with you. A Olympus full frame body with the spirit of the OM would have been my first choice back in 2009 when I entered the DSLR world. The Olympus OM System was not only significant smaller than other SLRs in 1972. They started with a complete system right from the beginning. Lots of lenses, flash and even todays exotics like a bellow for serious macro work and cable release. This should be an example for Nikon how to introduce their new mirrorless system. I would be happy (and very surprised!) if they could just manage that for just the new lenses…

          • Pinoy InOhio

            My post on the article is the adequacy of Nikon N1 with emphasis on the skill of the user. Medhi’s agreed with me on that point but added that a larger sensor would be better. Is that what you are agreeing to?

            Please note that I never compared the N1 to any other camera nor claimed the IQ is better than any camera. I never endorsed one camera format over others nor one brand over another, nor one camera model over other models from the same company.

            I respect your choice on how you practice photography but it is not my business and not interested. We all have individual preferences and I do not expect universal conformity. I respect each person’s individual preferences. Medhi is entitled to his preference and opinion and he is free to express those. No need to piggy-back on someone’s post. Photographer’s skill and larger sensor are exclusive. Had Medhi posted his sensor size comment elsewhere, I would not have bothered responding.

            While I own Nikon stock, I am not second guessing Nikon Management for their decisions.

        • Mehdi R
          • Mehdi R

            DX: 24mp

            • Pinoy InOhio

              Is that your proof? Taken with a Nikon DX camera?
              Sorry Charlie, to me, neither of those shot even come close to any of the N1 samples in this article. What your two photographs show are heavily post-processed shots, IMHO.

              I stand by my original post.

            • Mehdi R

              What do you mean by “heavily post-processed”?

            • Mehdi R

              Those Nikon 1 series shots are awesome. My point is 1″ sensor’s weakness in capturing details and crop capabilities regardless of composition and/or post processing. I even tested Canon G1X II with 1.5″ sensor that time..

              BTW these are untouched out of camera images you mentioned.
              Just resized to under 5MB for upload rules.

              D5500 + Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 ATX PRO DX

            • whisky

              ‘1″ sensor’s weakness ‘

              small sensors have weaknesses, as do larger camera systems. if the premise is a camera only complements the ‘story-telling’, then there are many ways to express it.

              if the premise is only ‘the photo’ is the story, then we’re forced to chase unicorns. JMO. 🙂

            • dikiz

              It’s not “heavily” post-processed at all

          • Proto

            Great photos! – and they charge too much for pasta at that location in Venice : ) tourist gouging

            • Mehdi R

              Thank you. Italy is great..

            • Mehdi R

              D5500 + Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 ATX PRO

      • BlueBomberTurbo

        +1. Small web size images are possible with almost any camera these days. But high res images, or images capable of being well cropped into and still looking good, are still limited to APS-C and larger sensors.

        • I bought a Casio 2MP camera years ago. I used it to shoot stuff I wanted to sell on Ebay. I was still using film for my serious photography. The 2MP camera was perfectly great for web stuff. I went to an airshow and shot the WWII planes on display (not in flight). The images were remarkable. I have no idea what the sensor size was. The camera is long gone.

          • Paul Willy Brown

            Me too, great pics. My first digital…

        • Thom Hogan

          What’s going to happen is that when we get 8K displays and start trying to use them as big picture frames when not showing video, you’re going to need better input. The smartphones aren’t quite going to keep up with the curve, I think. Even on my 4K display and Apple’s 4K TV I can see the plastic pixel problem from optimized iPhone shots.

          In the video world, everyone is trying to make their products “future proof” by shooting at higher rez because of this. One distributor I’m trying to get to pick up my first big video project insists I have to shoot it in at least 6K (and in raw, at that). They’d prefer 8K.

          • whisky

            does this mean your Olympus TG-5 recommendation should be completely disregarded ? 😉

            i think not. publishers always want the best IQ possible — but a good storyteller finds ways to share their stories with high fidelity and at lower resolutions. 🙂

            • Thom Hogan

              The TG-5 is a special case. When I’m in a kayak there isn’t really a better solution available. Even the AW1 starts to be too bulky (and not versatile enough with that wimpy zoom). Cameras in wet suits (cases) need not apply for the same reason: bulk.

            • whisky

              fortunately there are plenty of special cases, for which the N1 or TG-5 does fit much better than a general purpose solution.

              horses for courses. 🙂

          • Ugh…it’s always annoying when you get a client that somebody (who they probably didn’t hire) has miseducated before they got to you. I’m guessing that’s the case here?

            • Thom Hogan

              I don’t think they’ve been miseducated. I think they’re being overeager to try to future proof themselves, though. Basically, their premise is that if my project is good enough to support today, that they want to be able to use it to demonstrate that they’re “with it” when 8K hits mainstream, too. Because the project should be as relevant to view five years from now as today, they’ve got a point.

            • I’m sure you can’t say, but I can’t imagine anything benefiting from 8k over 4k, unless it’s something people are going to bury their noses in.

      • Thom Hogan

        Sorry—and apologies to Thomas Stirr—but I don’t see “amazing” details here compared to what I get with the D850/A7R3. What I see is that Thomas is very good at composition and post processing with what he’s got.

        As I wrote many years ago, the original Nikon 1 at its best and processed well was about at D200 level (see,Nikon%20D200 for verification). The current J5 is better, more akin to the D300’s capabilities.

        There was nothing wrong with those cameras, and for many, perhaps even most uses, they still deliver. The problem is as Susan Sontag suggested: we have to stand on the shoulders of what came before us to excel now.

        You can do that compositionally—which I think that Thomas often achieves—and you can do that technically, which the Nikon 1 now doesn’t do. Preferably, you do both.

        • Spy Black

          Yeah, but when you’re walking down the street, is the D5 in your pocket? Sure, you can grab something decent off a cellphone, but it’s no match for what you can get from an N1, RX100, GX9, or any of the other decent 1-inch offerings. Other than the Panasonic GM5. The 1-inch camaras make the best cameras to have on you, because you can.

          • Thom Hogan

            A Nikon 1 doesn’t fit in my pocket ;~). A Sony RX100 does. The Sony has a faster lens, too.

            Look, situational photography requires dedicated products for the situation. It’s why all of us were upset when Nikon abandoned the DL. The DL18-50 would have opened up new territory.

            The point I was trying to make applies to someone claiming that the Nikon 1 has amazing details. A J5 basically is a D300 with a weaker lens in terms of image quality. That’s 2007 quality. I’m competing with guys shooting 2017 quality.

            Everyone should know at this point that I have an RX100 V with me most of the time. I also bemoan the fact that it’s not enough camera when something really magical happens, but it’s certainly better than the iPhone X, particularly in versatility.

            • Spy Black

              “A Nikon 1 doesn’t fit in my pocket ;~). A Sony RX100 does.”
              Perhaps not a pants pocket, but as I write this, a J4, 10-30 and 30-110 are in my jacket pocket.

              “The Sony has a faster lens, too.”
              …but the Nikon lens is better. I have an RX100 III, which has the same lens as your V.

              ” The point I was trying to make applies to someone claiming that the Nikon 1 has amazing details. A J5 basically is a D300 with a weaker lens in terms of image quality.”

              This comment makes no sense whatsoever.

        • decentrist

          Name another industry where a fully competent product is panned because it is technically incapable of delivering the same results as top tier gear.

          • Thom Hogan

            Actually that’s true of many industries. Look at the car magazines/enthusiasts and see what they think of the Toyota Yaris or pretty much any of the sub $20k vehicles.

    • fanboy fagz

      not with detail but more options. low light, more blur. I dont believe
      in the statement “its not the gear, its the photographer” shitty gear
      limits my capabilities.

    • Teko

      Spot on Pinoy in Ohio!

  • Mehdi R

    These great shots.. What if you captured them with at least an APS-C sensor size camera..

    • Allen_Wentz

      I thought the same thing. Great photography limited by the tiny sensor.

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Nikon better think twice before releasing their FF mirrorless … They can recover after failing in 1″ inch sensor system .. but FF is another story

    • ZoetMB

      I have two thoughts of mind on this: one is that they should release a DX mirrorless first. I think the market for mirrorless, especially if they can do it in a smaller body, is going to be comprised of those people who bought DX…typical but serious shooters who want smaller and lighter. And I think that target market is less critical than pros and other high-end shooters who will look for any flaws and weaknesses and rip Nikon apart for them. Then they can make any changes needed for the followup FX mirrorless body.

      However, the problem with that is that it doesn’t effectively compete with Sony and it counters Nikon’s supposed strategy of trying to get everyone to move to FX. And it also means they have to produce more lenses if it’s the new mount. So that suggests it should be FX.

      Assuming it’s a good camera and not unreasonable priced (and I can use my current lenses), I could live with either DX or FX. I see the mirrorless as a travel, second and backup camera. I do a lot of music shoots and I can see setting up the mirrorless to shoot a wide shot video so I have something to cut to when editing. Or, a wide lens on one body and a long lens on the other. Etc. If it’s DX, I get the advantage of extra reach (and yes, I know I can crop FX and get the same thing). If it’s FX, everything is consistent with what I have. (And if Nikon fools us all and it’s another 1″, say goodbye to Nikon.)

      • Thom Hogan

        I have a simple way of looking at things. By my calculations Nikon is going to have to sell well more than 1m mirrorless units in a twelve month period soon. Whether that’s their upcoming fiscal year, or shifted a quarter or two doesn’t matter.

        They aren’t going to get that from FX. They absolutely have to have an EOS M5 competitor (DX). That’s because the M5/SL2 really are eating the D3400, despite the D3400 being far less expensive to the customer. That’s both an indictment of Nikon’s marketing as well as their product planning.

        Sony is the lessor of Nikon’s problems. ILC market share comes first, while retaining margin. Otherwise Nikon shrinks even more and what happens at that point is that they start taking additional writedowns and letting assets go. They are dangerously close to that as it is (and that’s taking into account the China plant shutdown).

        It’s not that Sony GROWS fast enough to supplant Nikon as #2. It’s that Nikon SHRINKS fast enough to allow Sony to be #2 without increasing their volume much.

        • Mehdi R

          True, M5 and SL2 are selling better than D3400 because simply there is no comparable camera in Nikon’s line up currently and I hope they’ll come up with at least two DX mirrorless bodies. Even Rebel T7i is eating D5600 because of inclusion 45 cross type focus points and DualPixel AF.

        • ZoetMB

          They’re only predicting a total of 2.6 million DSLRs for this fiscal. So if they’re going to sell a million mirrorless units “soon”, that essentially means 38.5% of the units have to be mirrorless. I don’t see how they get there even if the mirrorless offering is “perfect” unless they vastly underprice the camera (obviously unlikely). In 2-3 years, maybe. (Of course I only know the total DSLRs Nikon has sold and is projecting. I have no idea what the breakdowns are for each model.) Especially considering that they won’t have a lot of native lenses at launch (assuming new mount).

          The upcoming 3rd quarter numbers should tell the tale about sales of the D850 as well as their final fiscal year projection. But we won’t know those numbers for another three weeks or so.

          If the mirrorless is DX, as you state it should be, at least Nikon wouldn’t presumably have the alleged manufacturing problems they’re having with the D850. (Although they still haven’t gotten out the 100th anniversary 3-lens set and didn’t they just postpone the remote control?)

          • Thom Hogan

            You’ve indeed hit on Nikon’s problem. My point is that they need to hit that 1m mirrorless unit mark quickly or they will continue to lose ILC market share in significant chunks, which has broader implications on their business, as they’re already overstaffed and assetted in Imaging for their sales volume.

            They can try to sell more DSLRs, but the D3400 at US$350 wasn’t exactly a product rushing out the door of stores, and Nikon is still losing DSLR market share against Canon, which indicates that there’s more than just a “low pressure” indicator on for the tires, they may be falling off the bearings completely.

            You can look at serial numbers to see D850 sales. In the US, has anyone gotten higher than 15,000? (3015000). In a quarter. So a back of envelope calculation would be 15k*3*4, or <200k units a year. Where are the other 2.4m units coming from?

        • L8rNik

          The people think they want FF mirrorless… Nikon will continue their decline if they can’t hold onto the entry level customers -Nikon needs DX mirroless to keep those $… FF mirrorless better be done right, their core customers expect it.

      • Allen_Wentz

        Actually you cannot crop FX to DX and get the same thing unless you have the 45+ MP of the D850 to start from.

        • ZoetMB

          It depends upon what you’re comparing. Before the D800, I had a D200 which was 10.2MP. The D800 is 36.3FX, 15.7 crop. Obviously, the newer and even bottom of the line DX bodies are 24.2MP. The question is what sensor would Nikon use in an FX mirrorless if they indeed produced one?

      • Kenneth O. Soto

        Nikon is doing the right thing here by releasing a FX mirrorless first.

        First, it’ll place Nikon ahead of Canon in the full frame mirrorless race. This will help bring folks from other brands that do not have a full frame mirrorless and are not willing to switch to Sony. Second, Existing Nikon FX shooters will pick up FX mirrorless cameras for work, travel, ect. without having to get ‘smaller” DX bodies, which will undoubtedly boost FX mirrorless sales.

        Either way you look at it it’s a sin win for Nikon, especially after their failure with the Nikon 1 series, it doesn’t make sense to go into the consumer market again but with a DX mirrorless, they need to go all out and and showcase what Nikon can do.

      • Eric Lee Overton

        I just wrote the same sentiment in a much shorter form above but you articulated it fully and extensively and I have no idea why Nikon doesn’t seem to realize any of this.

  • Martin L

    I previously owned a Nikon V2 and I thought that it’s performance (image quality) was mediocre. In light of it’s high price and small sensor, it and the entire Nikon 1 series was destined for failure.

  • Antonio Sánchez

    I think it is an incredible system for travel, hiking and macro. However, it should also be great for street photography, but it is missing a fast and wide lens (a 9mm f1.8, or a 13mm f1.8).

    Yes, there are moments where I would rather have a camera with a bigger sensor, but this one I always carry with me, and I dont think I would do that with a bigger camera.

  • Claude Mayonnaise

    The downfall of CX:
    1. Price.
    2. Sensor snobs.

    • Frank Yuwono

      I agree with all points. I still use the V1 but balked at spending more than $1000 for a 70-300mm for it!

  • Diogo Correia

    Peter admin, Amazon in Europe still don’t sell the D850. Even pre-order…

    • This is strange, Amazon DE has it:

      • Mehdi R

        You can also buy as many as you want here in Tehran 🙂

        • Allan

          Out of curiosity, how much does a D850 cost in Tehran?

          • Mehdi R

            Roughly $3600

            • Farhad H.

              That’s not that bad (not considering the median income for sure), but how about the warranty? Is it covered?

          • Mehdi R

            Canon 5Dm4 $2800
            Nikon D750 $1500
            Nikon D7500 $1050
            Nikon D810 $2200
            Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 $1200

            • Allan

              Your taxes on photographic equipment are not that high? { Hey Brazil, take note. 🙂 }

            • Mehdi R

              Correct. Not only photography eq. But also most of electronic devices, Like Macs and Surfaces..
              But for cars it’s ridiculously high. Almost 3.3 times of US prices.

            • Not bad at all.

            • Eric Calabros

              Not really, because they’re actually gray market, mostly imported or smuggled from south east Asia. There’s no official warranty service in that country.

            • Mehdi R

              And also luxury watches, Rolex, AP, Patek, Hublot.. 🙂

        • Jebagi Erol Paker

          What’s the price of D850 in Tehran in USD

          • Allan

            Reminds me of the expression: great minds think alike (small minds find little to differ on). 🙂

          • Mehdi R

            Roughly $3600.

  • animalsbybarry

    Nikon should never have built the Nikon One system !!!!
    Instead they should have joined the Micro 4/3 system !!!

    • Frank Yuwono

      They have a good base system in Nikon 1. Like Thom said, they just don’t know what to do with it!

    • Eric Lee Overton

      No, they should’ve started the Nikon 1 system with dx sensors to begin with. Let them take the place of the d3xxx line and let the d5xxx be the entry level DSLR. They were too afraid to cut into their own sales to let the system succeed. And I am afraid they will do the same thing with the new mirrorless line this year…..

      • animalsbybarry

        They fear of cutting into thier DSLR sales is a foolish irrational fear !!!!!
        If a customer buys a Nikon Mirrorless camera instead of of a Nikon DSLR THEY ARE STILL BUYING A NIKON CAMERA, and they have not lost a sale !!!!

        And customers are more likely to buy a new Nikon camera if Nikon builds them a camera differrent camera than they already have

        There are some real advantages to mirrorless and more and more people are realizing those advantages

        For now Nikon definitely needs to have Both DSLR and mirrorless…. otherwise they are not offering a full camera system ant will continue to bleed market share

        Nikon does not need to choose between Mirrorless and DSLR …. they need to build both and let the customer decide which Nikon product they want to buy

        For the same reason Nikon must not hold back on the quality of thier mirrorless to preserve DSLR sales, they must build the very best mirrorless system they can, even if it is better than thier DSLR…. and in fact if they can do it they definitely should build a Mirrorless system that is better than thier DSLR !!!

  • Gerrit van Buuren

    On trips I carry (next to my D750 with a bunch of lenses) a J5 with a 10-30 and a 6.7-13 with me. Sometimes I even leave the D750 at home. Nikon 1 camera’s are really easy walk around cameras, better compared to a lot of the current mirrorless and DSLR’s. For low light I trust my D750, but in broad daylight the Nikon 1 is a great friend.

  • saywhatuwill

    Just a quick note, you don’t need to spell out “copyright” on the pictures. A copyright symbol or (c) will suffice.

  • Proto

    Eagle and fish have same eye expression! : )

  • Shutterbug

    Always enjoyed Thomas’ blogs! Marvellous images. Thank you!

    • Thomas Stirr

      Thanks Shutterbug!

  • roqz

    For light travelling purposes, I had a Nikon 1 J4 and got a few lenses (10-30, 30-110, 18.5, 10) and tube adaptors for macro… It was my first interchangeable lens system, coming from a Nikon P300, in which I learned the manual basics (That line of P3x0 cameras were pretty great, I had it in my pockets at all times, I was hoping the DL line would be the successor of them).

    However, the Nikon 1 system presented what in my subjective opinion were, very lousy images, I was very disappointed, to me my phone of the time (LG G4) and the Nikon P300 produced better results all the time.

    I sold that system at a considerable loss (The death of the system was already presumed), and moved to MFT with a heavier GX85 and now I even have a macro lens. The pictures are fantastic, and I don’t think I became a better (actually, less-worse, hehe) casual/amateur/newbie photographer, I just changed systems.

    I don’t like DSLRs because I usually travel with just a carry-on, even for more than a month. So, I thought the Nikon 1 system were a nice option. It wasn’t. A little bit more of weight and the MFT produces images with an IQ 700% better (again, subjective, and I’m not a pixel peeper, I just like my pictures to look nice in the screen).

    I’m waiting for Nikon to release a new mirrorless lightweight system, hopefully so.

    • I’ve used a J4 for both professional and hobby work for 3 years now. It has limitations but look at the picture I posted above – It can do the ting.
      In all seriousness I have had video shot with my J4 broadcast nationwide on major networks, pictures taken from it used in posters, corporate websites, promotional materials, etc. It’s a 3rd camera for my both my bodies, very small.

      It’s not a perfect tool but any photographer who can put effort into taking things to the limit can get results even with a piece of garbage.

    • AKH

      If you only got images as good as your phone and P300 then you should seriously practice your skills.

  • Thom Hogan

    A couple of the Nikon 1 bodies and a few of the lenses are going to become clear collector’s items after Nikon discontinues the line. That’s because they are highly competent small products that have no real competitor.

    Yes, they’re limited in what they can do. But within that—and some of Nikon’s frustrating ergonomic/control/feature choices—they aren’t matched by anything. Throw in the AW and it’s easier to see.

    Still, Nikon really didn’t understand what they had, configure it right, price it right, or market it right.

    • They didn’t. Results when used to the limits could be remarkable. Here is one of the best shots I ever got with the 70-300mm CX, during a wildfire, those are ash specks lit by the sun. Snagged that lens for $450 one year ago and very happy with what it can do despite the limitations at the price I paid.

    • Markus

      What I don’t understand is why Canon is doing so much better despite delivering slightly weaker Cams.

      Ps I love my V3, with all its shortcomings.

      • TurtleCat

        It’s not always about the product abilities. It’s also the marketing, support, and name recognition. Canon does that better than the others. Also, outside of the people that frequent boards here, the people out there don’t really care that much about the differences. Most likely couldn’t spot the differences anyway in real life.

    • Cranky Observer

      The sensor/processor in the V1 had excellent color and unmatched handling of reflections (without needed a polarizing filter). Too bad Nikon didn’t understand the concept of iteration – as Fujiflim clearly does – rather than a “jack up the radiator cap” model line change every 18 months.

    • L8rNik

      The product was doomed from the launch, a good trivia question would be “how many different people held the position of Nikon 1 Product Manager for Nikon USA?”

    • WorldWiseWeb

      I wonder what’s the max sensor size Nikon 1 mount allows

      • Thom Hogan

        We’ve been down that discussion before. Not quite DX seems to be the correct answer.

  • Proto
  • David Ridgley

    Thank you Thomas, wonderful images. I wonder if the Nikon 1 system will be discontinued, or are they waiting for a significant advancement. Many people, ( I believe including you Thom Hogan, ) thought the Dxxx series was going to be, they swore by it.

    • Thomas Stirr

      Thanks David, I’m glad you enjoyed the images. At the time of writing the eBook the future of Nikon 1 is unclear. I have ‘future proofed’ my system the past couple of years by adding additional bodies. Whether it ends up being discontinued or not, I’ll be shooting with my gear for quite a few more years.

  • TurtleCat

    The images don’t do a lot for me but I do think the Nikon 1 has a great deal of squandered potential. Back when everyone was wondering what MX might mean for Nikon back in 2010 I think it was a code for the 1.

    Smaller sensor, yes, but hobbled and crippled by poor product decisions. I enjoyed the V1 I had. If Nikon has developed it and made the bodies into first class citizens we might not even have seen Fuji re-enter the market.

    I actually think it’s not too late if they made all the right choices and executed well. Unfortunately that usually means it’s doomed as Nikon isn’t good at making the right choices and executing well.

    It’s the little camera that “should have” but ultimately didn’t live up to its fullest potential.

    • I agree. They haven’t made good decisions or executed well for at least 60 years now. I don’t know what keeps them around.

      • TurtleCat

        Usually the products themselves are great. Sometimes companies survive in spite of themselves but management thinks it is because of themselves.

        • It just seems to me like you’re bashing them pretty hard when, in fact, Nikon continues to make landmark products. To be sure, Nikon 1, KeyMission and some missteps on the likes of the D600 don’t shine a flattering light on them. But they’re more than offset by cameras like the D500, D850 and lenses like the new 105mm f/1.4, the 19mm PC and others. They are still around while many others have bit the dust. Implying they usually don’t execute well while at the same time saying that usually the products themselves are great is a contradiction. Or are you getting at something else? I would add that, in many endeavors, if you aren’t making mistakes, you are reaching far enough.

          • TurtleCat

            What I’m ultimately saying is Nikon makes great products (most of the time) but Nikon thinks it is due to their management when I say it’s in spite of their management.

      • decentrist

        nice…that time of the month?

      • ZoetMB

        Either my sarcasm detector is broken or this is a ridiculous statement. Nikon hasn’t executed well since BEFORE the original Nikon F and hasn’t done anything right since? Why are you even here?

    • Spy Black

      What I don’t get is why Nikon just recently released a patent for a CX zoom. Is N1 dead, or not? I don’t know how to read that.

      • TurtleCat

        Yeah, I remember that. No idea. It could be a defensive patent or one that was provisionally filed years ago that they went ahead and finalized.

  • whisky

    thanks Thomas. as usual, an excellent representation of what the N1 can do in the right hands and circumstances. 🙂

    i’d like to see Nikon continue to develop this line too — but if not, it will still complement my larger systems for some time to come.

    • Thomas Stirr

      Thanks whisky – I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • MY OB

    Nikon 1 is a good line! It’s the way Nikon handles it that’s at fault.

    It’s over priced and it should be fully compatible with fix lenses!

    The 2.6x magnification is amazing!

    They should all have had EVs!! Another mistake.

    I own two, I like them. As you can see, it does take awesome images in the right hands.

    • Markus

      Yes the prices were way too high. They should have been in competition to the Pen series imho. I got the V3 Bundle incl. the 18,5 mm for close to 700 €. Which is still high but acceptable.

  • Nobody Knows

    I think that the product itself had some fantastic features and they are very speedy cameras in use. The pricing and marketing have been its downfall. As sensor tech advances the “good enough” sensor size inevitably decreases.

    At low ISO the latest Sony 1″ sensors are close to the larger m43 sensor size,thanks in part to m43 sensors having a 200ISO base. A 1″ sensor with a true 50 base ISO { even if it was at the expense of the highest ISO settings which are pretty woeful anyway} could easily close the gap.

  • Michael Hesley

    I think EVERYONE who made comments about Nikon 1 should also post if they have ever owned one, much less used one. Using them one time or two doesn’t make anyone an expert on the N1, nor does it really make them qualified to judge. Granted, camera knowledge is good to have, but after owning two v1’s, 3 v2’s, and 3 v3’s, and have used them since 2011, I pretty much agree with the author with his assessment. But, I didn’t sell all my DSLR gear. However, it pretty much just looks good on the shelf these days.

    I pretty much just use the v3. I travel extensively as an airline pilot, and I can take the v3 with: the N1 GPS, a 10mm prime, a 6.7-13mm, the 18.5 prime, 11-27mm, 10-100mm, 32mm f/1.2, 70-300mm and SB-N5 or SB-N7 flashes, all in a Lowepro Photo Runner which is about 14 in x 6 in x 8 in in dimensions. If you bought ALL of the N1 stuff new I as occasionally did the cost would be $3-4k. And my wife and me have three sets of the above and the 10-100 PD-Zoom. The FT-1 adapter lets me shoot birds with my v3/700-200 f/2.8/TC-1.4 III at 763mm at f/4. It has its limits, but how many of us really need to shoot f/2.8 at 3200-12,800 ISO on a D850? Yes, it would be nice, but I do pretty darn good with the N1 system.

    Try carrying all the equivalent of the above with a DX or Full-frame sensor camera. What does a 800mm full-frame lens alone cost? $18-20k new? Since most of us commenting here are not professional photogs, why be so critical. And for those who are so critical of the system, where are all your National Geographic awards, photo magazine covers, or other award winning photos you got with all the most expensive, near cutting-edge camera specs?

    If you want to pixel-peep, yes, my D850, D800, and D500 all run circles around the N1 system. Comparing those to the N1 system isn’t even fair. I’m still waiting for my flying car, and Dick Tracy two-way video watch. I still almost always carry my N1 system because it is just there, and I don’t have to rupture lower lumbar disks, or make a major emotional commitment for carrying another 30-50lb.

    For me, the most limiting factor was the N1 flash system. I use the N1 SB-N5 set to lowest manual flash setting of 1/32, and use the pulse to fire all 16 of my SB-5000, SB-910, SB-900, and SB-800 flashes in SU-4 mode. This is fun. In fact, I don’t worry about low dynamic range like this. All of that is kind of like shooting my D700 with the flashes above. In fact, the quality of the photos from the D700 (which I just cannot part with) compared to the N1 system shooting similar lighting is about the same.

    So who gives a hoot about all the specs of the most advanced cameras? I use the N1, and I feel I can make them bark like trained circus dogs. Most of us couldn’t tell the difference between shots from a D500 compared to a N1 anyways. And, N1 is way better than any flipping iPhone.

    Video with the N1 series is just superb.

    I believe Chase Jarvis said it best, “the best camera you have is the one you have with you.” And I always have the N1 system with me.

  • Harrison WONG

    I am using J5, and D500 at the same time. Of course, in a full way, D500 is perfect. But, I want to say that J5 is “not that bad”. When I use the Ft-1 adaptor with my Sigma 18-35 art, I have no doubt the outlook is quite strange (Lens is long and body is small), but shooting focus is fast, and the photo quality is good in this small size camera, these are advantages. Except translation system (Camera to iPhone/Android devices) is not that friendly (Compare with Snapbridge).

    Anyway, I am not a professional photography, in my experiences, J5 is convenience, special about the events of hiking or snap shot. When I using D500 in formal shooting, J5 is my supporting camera to take a quick shot in my daily life. At least, this camera shooting quality is better than all smart phone, and the price is really really competitive in this level product, right?

    But, in this competitive environment, I also believe Nikon 1 series will complete her mission, although I don’t want to see this day come..

  • My 12 year old boy has this system with the 10mm and 18mm lens. It is a competent system.

    When I bought my D800 IO also bought a Coolpix A. That was, and still is, a great little camera, as long as autofocus is not being pushed. For me, if I am going to carry a camera around, it should be of at least the quality that is available from DX. The CX format doesn’t quite cut if for me.

  • Teko

    Why would you ever sell all your full frame Nikon lens?? Does not compute.

    • Thomas Stirr

      Hi Teko,
      This is explained in the book. It really came down to increased efficiency for video work. Full frame was simply not the best gear for my specific needs.

  • Teko

    Very beautiful photos. And I would credit a large proportion of the result to the subject and photographer. Whatever equipment chosen has to be at the right time and place in the photographers hands.

  • Riley Escobar

    As much as I loved my V1 and liked m V2, the system did not grow (still waiting for that 13mm…). I’ve since moved on, but still miss the convenience and DSL-quick AF that has yet to be matched by any other mirrorless that I’ve used.

  • mink thomas

    Thanks to Trump.

    • Eric Lee Overton

      Make Nikon great again!

  • Tom Taubert

    Prices are pretty reasonable now for used V1, 18.5mm, 10mm, 30-110mm. They fit nicely into my coat pockets. My portly figure helps hide the gear. I don’t try to shoot over ISO 400, but the speed of the 18.5 and 10mm help out a bit. The gear has held up to my poor coordination and various mishaps. Cost less than my smart-phone and has outlasted a few of them. Of course I pine for more expensive and capable gear. The negative reception of the Nikon 1 system has driven down the prices so much I got roped into it. Thank You!

  • Mikycoud

    Hi and congratulations for your very nice pictures indeed. You mention using extension tubes to get macro capabilities. May I please enquire as to what tubes exactly you’re using and how/where you procured them? I must a Nikon 1 system myself for IR work and extension tubes would be a very helpful addition to my kit, however I could never find any…
    Thanx for any info….

    • Thomas Stirr

      Hi Mikycoud,
      I have two different sets of extension tubes, a 2-tube Vello Deluxe set as well as a 3-tube set my MOVO. Vello Deluxe tubes were purchased through B&H, MOVO tubes on Amazon.

  • jibi

    ah ah ah, this guy shoot birds in a zoo.
    i can take the same pics with a decent bridge… ridiculous guest post

    • Markus

      What’s wrong with the post? The Nikon 1 system can deliver in the right hands. And it’s still the photographer that takes the shot.

    • stesk

      I shoot birds live with the V3 and the eqv. 189-810mm CX lens.
      Those with the big guns on tripods don’t catch the moments.
      I still have my D800 + all my Nikkor glass but it’s rare I use it.
      I prefer to walk around with my eqv. 810mm.
      It seems you don’t know the specs for this camera.

    • Bijan Choudhury

      If you have passions for photography … you will never post these kind of statements …
      I regularly follow Thomas Stirr’s site and I have learned many things and ideas … I have temendous respect for Thomas and could not stop myself replying seeing your comments.
      Have a nice day and get well soon.

  • WorldWiseWeb

    Great camera in daylight. Either with Nikon 1 mount lenses or with the F-mount adapter. Perfect to travel. All possible lens range fits in a small bag. Shot Japan twice. Obviously being a cx not best after dusk and handheld pics (noise).
    I pair it with my Nikon FX. And will keep using it until it breaks down. Still have the v1 fully functional but once I tried the v3 that’s the one to go.
    Not too happy that Nikon is planning a mirrorless that is not F-mount to be honest. A third system? Might just update my v3 with Fuji at the point. Sorry Nikon but I have 2 systems already

    • stesk

      IMO you will regret an update to Fuji.

      • TurtleCat

        I wouldn’t think so. Fuji cameras are very good.

        • Markus

          So are the Nikons.

          • TurtleCat

            Absolutely. I think both camera systems are excellent overal.

      • WorldWiseWeb

        I need a small compact one I have a Nikon Fx.
        What do you suggest when my nikon 1 dies gets obsolete..just wait for the New-new Nikon Mirrorless? They already said it will be a z-mount. What if this system dies as Nikon 1 mount?
        I wouldn’t want to use adaptors.

        • stesk

          Yes it can be difficult to trust in a new Nikon system.
          I’m looking in direction of Panasonic like the GH5 system. It seems the AF is getting better and with a 100-400mm zoom it’s possible to capture birds in flight.
          Nikon did a great job with 70-300mm CX lens and I’ll miss it if there will be no CX mount camera in the future. Maybe buy a spare V3 camera.

          • WorldWiseWeb

            v1 was ok but a bit slow to wake up, a bit hard colours (low dynamic range) and battery drainer.
            I still have it fully functioning

  • vwking

    Thomas Stirr, it is amazing what you can do with your Nikon 1. I am a long time Nikon shooter – film, FX, DX and CX. Every format has its place in my photography. What attracted me to the n1v3 system initially was its size and the reach of its 70-300mm lens. I use it mostly for wildlife and birds. I’ve been shooting with it in good lighting and low ISO. It’s obvious you’ve developed some techniques to bring out the best out of your N1 files. Really like to learn how you are able to get those great pictures in low light and high ISO.

    • Thomas Stirr

      Hi vwking,
      Doing a lot of experimentation in post helped quite a bit. I ‘double bump’ highlights and shadows using a combination of three software programs. The PRIME noise reduction in DxO is an important part of my process in post. I apply it to all of my images regardless of the ISO at which they were captured.

      • vwking

        Thanks Thomas

        • Thomas Stirr

          Hi vwking,
          There are a number of articles on my blog dealing with post processing that may be helpful for you.

  • Fry

    I replaced my old J1 + 10-30mm + 30-110mm + 18.5mm with a Sony RX100m3. I don’t miss a single thing about the Nikon 1. The system had a lifespan of 2 years, and became obsolete once “big sensor” point and shoots became common.

  • sexyjon

    The Nikon 1 system is actually the most compact and lightweight camera system with interchangeable lenses. No other manufacturer offers any match to this system. But Nikon has for some reason always crippled the system. I think this article tells us why. Thomas Stirr got rid of his D800 gear and switched to Nikon 1. There is the problem Nikon never found a solution to. If they had added the Nikon 1 V4 with the J5 sensor and a viewfinder and continued developing new lenses for the system they would have killed too much of the sales of more expensive and probably more profitable gear. I think this is the only real reason for Nikon holding back on this system from the start. Maybe that will change when they enter the market with DX and full frame mirrorless cameras. They have spent a lot of time thinking about how they can continue with the 1 system without killing sales of other systems, I hope they figure out a good solution. Baggage restrictions in flight are pressing photographers to travel light. That is in favor of Nikon 1 more than any other camera system.

  • Johnny D in Canada

    Over the years I’ve tried a few different systems, both in the way of DSLRs and MILCs – not to mention a variety of compacts. The Nikon1 is the only system I kept along with my Fuji X-100. This is what works for me and I couldn’t careless about what any pixel peeping hack thinks.

  • Shofia Kimi Izzati

    I think Nikon will be invincible when they use 1″ sensor for all coolpix cameras, APS-C for mirrorless cameras and full frame for all DSLR Cameras 🙂

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