Friday, November 22, 2013

Nikon V1 & why I probably won't need to re-purchase a Leica X1

The red 30-110mm zoom is mounted here.
 Because I am a certified camera nut, I had to buy a Nikon V1 [w/10-30mm lens kit] when the camera basically failed in the marketplace and Nikon dumped the J1 & V1 at bargain prices. That was nearly a year ago. Since then I've kept the camera and used it for this and that but never "seriously" as a go-to camera. It was more of a curiosity. Its user interface is challenging, its controls are sub-standard. It doesn't shoot auto-bracketed shots [note: If you shoot a lot of HDR, it's not the camera for you - also note it doesn't have a built in flash and will only take proprietary flash systems from Nikon]. BTW I don't use a flash much. Once you figure out how to set it (I have it set up internally to shoot in Aperture Priority mode (there is no real mode dial - it is electronic, internal), [Fine JPG with normal color setting and ISO to float up to 400 on demand (always shooting wide open), auto white balance], however, it takes great photos. Let me say that again, because it's important. The camera just plain takes great photos. Oh yeah, and it's lightening quick. Its focus is very, very quick and it is a very responsive camera. The lenses are tack sharp.
Baby hawk floundering around when I got home from the grocery. The V1 with 30-110 @ 110, obtained focus quickly and nailed the shots in low light, winter-like weather like a pro.
More so than any point and shoot I've ever owned. It is quick. Point and shoots don't have decent viewfinders. This one does. The built in viewfinder is very competent. All metal. Mechanical shutter. (unlike the J1, which is plastic, has an electronic shutter and no viewfinder) Because it's a pain to use the menu system (it is not like Nikon's better point and shoots or their DSLRs, it is dumbed down) I figured it would fail for me, however, just like it did in the marketplace.

The 10-30mm kit lens
This is a crop. With poor lighting and fairly low ISO the stabilization did a great job.
 But as I took more photos with it and well, after I had it set where I wanted it, I didn't need to change it much because it always seemed to take great photos. Well saturated, sharp, noise free and very useable right out of the very quick and very responsive camera. Often I'll have to shoot raw and post process to get a useable photo even with good cameras but I noticed everything I shot with the V1 came out outstanding. Because it's a consumer camera and not a pro, it's colors are sharp and jacked up a bit already. The photos pop even at standard setting, which is kinda normal for low end Nikons. One of my all time favorites is the D40 and it had a lot of pop. That can be bad but in this case, like the Leica guys, the Nikon guys and I agree on what a photo should look like. More and more I used it for my everyday needs. I then found a zoom [30-110mm (x 2.7 crop factor)] really cheap (it was red and my camera was black, so?) and began shooting with it and now it is my favorite lens. It renders colors amazingly well. I've now ordered a couple of used or refurbished primes and I'm not only going to enjoy keeping the V1, but it's going to be one of my "go-to's" for photography outings.
 I moaned and groaned when I had to sell my X1 to finance a major camera purchase and always thought that one day, when the price continued to drop, I'd get another. Now I doubt I will. The output from the V1 is as good as the output I was getting from the X1.
Feets don't fail me now, this camera guy will not leave me alone and I can't fly real well yet.
No flash, indoors, ambient lighting with kit lens.
 Right out of the camera. It's a personal thing. I like the look of the shots. I loved the X1 but comparing shots out of the camera, this is (for me) just as good. I always shot the X1 in aperture mode and when a shot wasn't exposed properly, I'd use the shutter dial. The Leica's controls and menus are head and shoulders better.
This would normally be pretty washed out with the fog and lack of sunlight but the colors still pop and the scene is rendered sharply with really good detail.

I can tell a lot about how a camera's sensor and lens works together with an ambient light selfie. Skin tones, detail sharpness, and especially auto white balance. This camera just takes great shots.

The above stereo selfie shows the 30-110mm @ 30mm on the left and the 10-30mm @ 30mm on the right. Both shot with the same settings, just swapped the lens on the fly [in a matter of a couple seconds] (changing nothing but the lens). The longer zoom's color rendering shows more true reds, the small lens is more yellow (what my eyes perceive). I find the camera's auto white balance to be outstanding. With electronics you never know but I think it's the len's statement here. I like the 30-100mm rendering better. [after a bit of reflection here (duh) the 30-110 is f3.8 at it's short end and the 10-30 is f5.6 at it's long end, so of course, it's (the 30-110) letting in more light wide open and that's likely why the shot is a bit brighter and shows better color. And of course if you're shooting 61mm (30 x 2.7) you're better off with the longer zoom's wider native aperture. Perhaps why I like it better, especially at that focal setting. Ain't science grand?

Bottom line? I will not be parting with the V1 any time soon and I will be shooting with it a lot. I won't be re-obtaining an X1. This camera will be used when I would have grabbed the Leica because it's out of camera jpg's render in a very similar manner. The reason I liked the X1 was it was a no-brainer to shoot great OOC and it gave me pitch perfect photos. I feel the same way about the V1 and of course, I will now have a view finder and can swap lenses for different focal lengths and situations and oh yeah, the focus is lightening quick. Wow. A real win, win, win.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, what a average photographer would like to know, I agree with all your points.