Nikon V1 Review

 
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Nikon V1 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally excellent performance for a compact system camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.3 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0.8 second

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
16 seconds after 35 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
27 seconds after 35 RAW files*
56 seconds after 35 RAW+ LF JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time was a bit sluggish, but not bad for a CSC. Shutdown time was good. Buffer clearing time depends on the quality and number of shots, and on the speed of the memory card. With a fast 45MB/s UHS-I SDHC card, the Nikon V1's buffer clearing times were quite slow, though buffers were very deep. An even faster card may help here.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.5 second
Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~0.7 second
Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.5 second
Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was pretty fast.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-point AF mode
0.097 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All AF timing performed with the new Nikon 1 10-30mm kit lens.)
Full Autofocus,
Auto-area AF mode
0.234 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Continuous AF
0.100 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.075 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.073 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Nikon V1's full-autofocus shutter lag in single-point AF mode (center AF position) was incredibly fast, at only 0.097 second with the 10-30mm kit lens. That's faster than most professional DSLRs we've tested! In auto-area AF mode, lag more than doubled to 0.234 second, though that's still quite fast for a CSC and competitive with most DSLRs. Continuous AF mode resulted in a shutter lag of 0.100 second, also quite fast, though we can't test tracking ability in the lab. When manually focused, the V1's lag time was 0.075 second, also very fast. The Nikon V1's prefocused lag time of 0.073 second was quite fast as well, though some DSLRs and many point & shoots are faster in this regard.

Overall, Nikon 1's hybrid AF system offers outstanding AF speeds that set a new benchmark for CSCs and consumer DSLRs alike.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/fine JPEG

1.05 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing, 1 second to clear.*

Single Shot mode
RAW

1.19 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing, 1 second to clear.*

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG
1.43 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing, 3 seconds to clear.*

Early shutter
penalty?

Yes

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/fine JPEG

0.21 second (4.74 frames per second);
35 frames total;
16 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 35 shots.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.21 second (4.80 frames per second);
35 frames total;
27 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 35 shots.

Continuous mode
RAW + LF JPEG

0.21 second (4.76 frames per second);
35 frames total;
56 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 35 shots.

High Speed mode
Large/fine JPEG

0.10 second (9.85 frames per second);
34 frames total;
32 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 34 shots.

Flash Recycling

N/A (flash optional)

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were a little sluggish for a CSC, at 1.05 seconds per shot for large/fine JPEGs, 1.19 seconds for RAW, and 1.43 seconds for RAW+JPEG files. The Nikon V1 does penalize you for pressing the shutter button too early after taking a shot.

Default continuous mode speed was quite good at about 4.85 frames per second, but a little shy of Nikon's 5 fps spec. The Nikon V1 also offers an "Electronic Hi" mode which uses its electronic shutter instead of the mechanical one. Options are 10, 30, or 60 frames per second at full resolution. When 10 fps is selected, the V1 is capable of focusing at the center of the frame between shots, but at the higher settings focus and exposure are locked at the first frame of a burst. In 10 fps mode, we managed 9.85 frames per second in our tests, which is quite fast.

Buffer depths were outstanding when shooting in the standard continuous mode, at 35 frames for any file type. In 10 fps mode, buffer depth was just slightly shallower, at 34 frames. Note that our target for this test was designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths should be longer with typical subjects. Buffer clearing was quite slow when shooting maximum burst lengths, though not a complete surprise given their depth.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

5,895 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were good, quick enough that you probably won't feel the need for a separate card reader. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Nikon V1's overall performance was outstanding. Single-area autofocus speed and the "Electronic Hi" burst modes were much faster than any CSC we've tested (other than the Nikon J1), and buffer depths were exceptional as well (and better than the J1's). The only sluggish performance results we got were startup time, single-shot cycle times, and buffer clearing, though the later is mostly due to the unusually deep buffers. Still, the Nikon 1 system truly raises the bar in most performance metrics.

Battery

Battery Life
Slightly above average battery life for a CSC.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard, 50% flash shots)
350
Still Capture,
(Without flash)
400

The Nikon V1 uses a custom EN-EL15 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The rated 350 shots per charge (including 50% of shots with flash using the optional SB-N5 flash unit) is slightly above average for a compact system camera. We strongly recommend getting a second battery for your V1 if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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