The Nikon 1 V1 at a glance:

  • 10.1 million pixels
  • 383g body weight with battery fitted
  • 2.7x focal length magnification
  • 1440k-dot LCD electronic viewfinder screen
  • ISO 100-6400
  • Phase and contrast-detection AF systems
  • Choice of mechanical and electronic shutter
  • Max frame rate of 60fps at full resolution
  • Full HD movie
  • New powered hotshoe for battery-less external flash unit

Not all Nikon users will admit to wanting a compact system camera, but most acknowledge that a small model with plenty of control, good optics and excellent image quality would be tempting. They have had to endure a decade of being slightly jealous of Canon’s PowerShot G series, while Nikon’s Coolpix models have failed, until recently, to match up.

It depends how you view these things, of course, but you might see the new Nikon 1-series models, the J1 and V1, as cameras to compete with those super compacts rather than the lower end of the F-mount DSLR range. On the other hand, you might just feel a bit let down that while Samsung and Sony manage small bodies with DSLR controls and densely packed APS-C sensors, your favourite brand seems to have stepped backwards instead of forwards. However good the lenses are and however nicely the 1 cameras are made, they will only be as good as that compact-sized, 10-million-pixel sensor – and 10-million-pixel sensors seem more than a little out of date.

It is quite difficult to get it straight in my head quite who the V1 is aimed at. Nikon claims it targets young couples and early adopters, which rather excludes the traditional AP reader. However, as always, we can ignore what the marketing men say and decide for ourselves whether these tiny cameras have anything to offer those who take their photography a bit more seriously. Nikon says the camera is about the features, not the sensor, but we’ll have to see how those features fit with our requirements.

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