Nikon V3 sample gallery: Can the ultra-speedy mirrorless cam’s new sensor level the playing field? (Updated: Now with raw files, too!)


posted Friday, July 4, 2014 at 2:56 PM EDT


Earlier this year, Nikon's 1-series mirrorless camera line received a new flagship model, the Nikon V3. Although the 1-series cameras had smaller sensors than most compact system cameras, they've made the best of that fact, with unusually compact bodies and lenses, not to mention swift performance and some clever shooting features that rely on the cameras' speed. Still, past 1-series models have been criticized for their image quality in comparison to competitors with larger sensors and chunkier bodies.

The Nikon V3 is even sleeker than its predecessors, thanks to newly-removable electronic viewfinder and grip accessories, but the big news here is a brand-new 18.4-megapixel image sensor that forgoes an optical low-pass filter in the quest for maximum image detail. According to Nikon, this new chip should make for a significant improvement in image quality, especially in low light and at higher sensitivities. It's coupled to a new EXPEED 4A image processor, which should not only allow greater performance, but also improved noise-reduction processing.


And performance is truly epic -- not just for its class, but even when compared to high-end professional DSLRs costing many times more than does the US$1,200 Nikon V3. This little compact system camera can manage 20 full-resolution JPEG or raw frames per second with autofocus adjustment between frames. If you're willing to lock focus, you can boost that to a staggering 60 full-res frames per second. And the autofocus system has also been improved, sporting 105 on-chip phase detection autofocus pixels, and 171 contrast-detection areas. Upgrades abound in other areas, too, as you'll see in our Nikon V3 preview.


We recently put the Nikon V3 through our rigorous lab testing -- you'll find our lab samples here -- and now it's in the hands of camera reviewer Jason Schneider to see how it performs in the real world. Jason's currently working on his first Shooter's Report with the Nikon V3, but he's already turned in his first batch of gallery photos shot with the camera, and we've wasted no time in adding them to our preview. And while it's early days yet, Jason notes that he's definitely noticed an improvement in performance in the new camera, although he's also found a couple of quirks that he'll be discussing in his Shooter's Reports.


Jason's Nikon V3 gallery photos to date were shot with two lenses: the 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 prime and the 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 zoom. They span the gamut from a low of ISO 160 to a high of ISO 4000, and include quite a few portraits so you can judge how the camera renders flesh tones. Take a look at the Nikon V3 gallery to see all 16 initial gallery shots (raws have now been added, as well), and watch this space for more in our ongoing Nikon V3 review!