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Nikon raises the bar again

The V2 camera is a quantum jump from its predecessor, crisper and more adaptable



Nikon 1 V2 is a new flagship mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a compact body, good performance and excellent image quality. Compared to its predecessor the V1, there are several improvements.

First it has 42 per cent more resolution. It uses Nikon CX format sensor with 14.2 million pixel resolution, compared to 10 MP resolution of V1. And V2 has a built-in flash, which is useful for taking indoor shots, while the V1 needs an external flash.

The V2 also has higher light sensitivity of ISO 6400, compared to the maximum ISO 3200 of the V1.

And the V2 is about 10 per cent lighter with 278 grams of weight compared to 294g of the V1.

The V2 has very good performance. It was instantly ready to snap the first shot when it was turned or in just about 1.2 seconds. The camera can be turned on automatically when you release the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm lens from its locked position.

During the test, I don't feel shutter lag at all as its shutter lag was timed at 0.2 seconds. And its shot-to-shot time was only 1.6 seconds if you don't turn on the HDR (high dynamic range) recording option.

V2 has very fast and swift auto focus thanks to Nikon's original advanced hybrid AF system which automatically selects an appropriate AF system from phase-detection AF or contrast-detect AF according to shooting situations.

The phase-detection AF is good for shooting fast-moving action and contrast-detect AF is very good for capturing details of beautifully lit night portrait. And the hybrid system provides 73 focus areas in phase-detection AF and 135 focus areas in contrast-detect AF, making the auto focus system very accurate and pleasing.

V2's CMOS sensor has the size of 13.2 mm x 8.8 mm and has a crop factor 2.7. So its 1 Nikkor VR 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, which I mostly tested the camera with, has the focal length of 27-81mm in 35mm photography. I also tested the camera on 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens, whose 35mm-equivalence is 81-297mm.

During the test in The Nation newsroom, we were very pleased with the image quality. The 10-30mm lens captured beautiful landscape photos. I tested using the 30-110mm lens to capture close-up shot of animals in the Khao Khiew Open Zoo and could capture a lot of beautiful, sharp and clears of them.

Turning HDR option on, V2 captured scenes in high-contrast light setting very beautiful with good details in both highlighted and shadow areas. The camera captured vibrant colours and sharp and clean details even in low light condition or at night. Portraits could also be captured beautifully.

It's good that the camera has a 0.47-inch colour TFT LCD 1440k-dot high-resolution electronic viewfinder with an approximately 100 per cent frame coverage. The electronic viewfinder is useful in a bright environment where an LCD monitor might normally be harder to view. The sensor next to the viewfinder detects you looking into it, so as to automatically turn off the LCD monitor when you are using the viewfinder and vice versa.

The V2 is intuitive to use but you will need to consult its manual to get familiarised with the symbols used on the display first. I wish the camera came with brief explanation of each function so that the manual might not be needed.

Although it has a compact body, the V2 provides you full control like a DSLR camera.

There is a mode dial for selecting eight modes - Auto mode, Programmed auto, Shutter-priority auto, Aperture-priority, Manual, Advanced movie mode, Motion Snapshot mode and Best moment capture mode.

To make it easier to access functions of each mode, the V2 has an F (Feature) button. It works together with a command dial next to it to select available features of specific mode.

This is very useful for the Live image control feature of Auto mode. You can use the Feature button to control brightness, control contrast or "D-lighting", depth of field or "Background softening or freeze or blur motion while previewing the effects on the monitor live.

As a result, when you let the camera select various parameters to suit the lighting condition, you can also have control by using various effects.

You can also use the F button access parameters in the P, S, A and M modes, such as metering, white balance, ISO sensitivity and Focus mode.

Motion Snapshot is an interesting mode. Under this mode, when the shutter is released, the camera records a still image and about 1.6 s of movie footage.

When the resulting "Motion Snapshot" is viewed on the camera, the movie will play back in slow motion over approximately 4 s, followed by the still image.

The Best moment capture mode is very useful. It has two sub-modes - Slow view and Smart Photo Selector.

In Slow view mode, the camera rapidly captures a series of 40 frames. While the shutter-release button is half-pressed, the camera shows you each frame in slow motion on the electronic viewfinder or the LCD monitor continuously, so you can choose the best moment to extract for a still image by pressing the shutter-release button all the way.

In Smart Photo Selector, the camera will capture a sequence of scenes before and after you press the button. Based on the image composition and motion, it will then automatically select the best shot and four reserves.

The V2 also captures good quality Full HD video.

The camera has a good battery life, capable of capturing about 300 shorts per one full charge.

Nikon 1 V2 retails with 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 lens for Bt30,900 and Bt35,900 with an additional 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens.



Key specs

_ Effective angle of view: Approx. 2.7 x lens focal length (35mm format equivalent)

_ Effective pixels: 14.2 million

_ Image sensor: 13.2 mm x 8.8 mm CMOS sensor (Nikon CX format)

_ Media: SD (Secure Digital), SDHC, and SDXC memory

_ Electronic viewfinder: 0.47-in., approx. 1440k-dot colour TFT LCD viewfinder with diopter control and brightness adjustment

_ Monitor: 3-inch, approx. 921k-dot, TFT LCD with brightness

_ Shutter speed: 1/16,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3 EV

_ Focus area: Single-point AF: 135 focus areas; the center 73 areas support phase-detection AF; Auto-area AF: 41 focus areas

_ Movie shooting: 1,920 x 1,080/60i/30p, 1,280 x720/60p/30p, 640 x 240/400 fps in H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding

_ Interface: USB 2.0, mini HDMI

_ Battery: One EN-EL21 Rechargeable Li-ion

Dimensions (W x H x D): Approx. 107.8 x 81.6 x 45.9 mm

_ Weight: Approx. 337 g (11.9 oz) with battery and memory card


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