DxOMark dissects Nikon 1 V3, sees no great improvement from previous generations


posted Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM EDT

When Nikon debuted the 1-series V3, a rep told us "The Nikon 1 V-series is going to get its due recognition," sparking hopes that this would finally be the camera that Nikon can be proud of. And while it looks like it's going to be a speed demon, if DxOMark's testing is to be believed, the image quality won't have substantially changed from its predecessors.

In its favor, the testing from DxOMark has shown that adding more pixels to the V3's tiny sensor hasn't substantially degraded quality, with the camera performing virtually on par with both the V1 and V2. But the downside? There's no improvement in raw image quality, either. And with previous 1-series cameras being widely criticized for noisy, low quality photographs, that's not exactly a resounding endorsement.

DxOMark's comparisons don't surprise us with the fact that the V3 is substantially behind Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Panasonic GM1 or the Olympus OM-D E-M5—but what is worrying is how it stacks up to high-end compacts. These tests put the V3 on par with the Nikon P7800 and Canon G16 (even though they have smaller sensors), and substantially behind the Sony RX100 II, which also has a Sony made one-inch sensor. The fact that a Canon G16, which will set you back less than $500, will take the same quality images by these metrics as the $1200 V3 says something.

But always keep in mind that DxOMark tests a very specific set of metrics based on raw sensor data only, and isn't the only story when it comes to how a camera performs. This definitely doesn't take into account the 1-series famously fast autofocus, nor the fact that the V3 can record images at a whopping 60fps.