DxO Mark tests the Nikon 1 V3

DxO Mark has just posted their results after testing the yet to be released Nikon 1 V3 camera. Just like the V2, the V3 is inferior to the V1 in regards to overall image quality. The new 18 Megapixel sensor, provided presumably by Aptina, is nowhere near as good as the 20MP BSI 1” sensor from Sony, found in the RX100 MkII and RX10 cameras. The V3 doesn’t even fair favourably when compared to the Coolpix P7800 compact camera. It is only better in regards to noise performance, but has inferior color depth and dynamic range.

DxO-Mark-test-Nikon-1-V3

As a Nikon V1 user, I was hoping that at the ridiculous price point of almost $1200 Nikon would at least match the image quality of Sony’s 1” sensors. Having worse IQ than Sony’s compacts is very disappointing for a camera costing this much and which is allegedly aimed at enthusiasts and pros looking for a smaller camera to complement their DSLR gear. Add to that the incompatibility in regards to batteries, SD cards, flash guns (no real hot shoe and no CSL support), and what you have is a glorified point and shoot camera at an absurd price point.

I’m out. I will be looking at other MILC manufacturers who take their customers seriously and don’t cripple their cameras intentionally to boost sales of higher-end models.

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12 thoughts on “DxO Mark tests the Nikon 1 V3

  1. I tend to agree with you on this Ivan. Very disappointed. Looks like I was right to re buy the V1.

    • I’m just about to pull the trigger on the E-M10 and 25/1.4 and 45/1.8. I would have maybe ponyed up the €1200 if the V3 had better IQ, a real hot shoe and CLS, compatible battery and SD card with my V1 and focus peaking, bracketing, and so on. But with all these limitations and unchanged IQ, in comparison with the V1, I will not buy it even at fire a sale price. I will skip it altogether.
      The V3 is the opposite of a well rounded camera. It is fast, which is although great the only advantage compared to the competition, while it is vastly inferior in everything else.

  2. Just stumbled across this blog. Its nice, keep up the work.

    The V3 will get a lot cheaper after 3-4 months, just like the v1 and v2 did (not many buyers at the asked price). Operating speed was obviously more important for Nikon, than pure image quality. I definitely think that this camera design goal was just wrong (the v2 is fast enough?!!).

    But I am really curious about the 70-300. I take a lot of bird pictures (including in-flight), so this lens looks perfect, and i might nevertheless get into the nikon 1 system (with a nikon v2, most likely).

    When you get a e-m10, the C-AF will suffer massively. I have a e-m5, so I know what I’m writing. The 45mm, however, is just fantastic: the best value-for-money-lens that I have ever bought.

    • Hi Marcus,

      I don’t think the V3 will be sold at fire sale prices at all. Look at the V2, it is still relatively expensive. I think Nikon made just enough to satisfy the demand and keep the prices up. They are probably pursuing the same strategy with the V3.
      Regarding the native 70-300, I think that it will have excellent IQ, but nowhere near worth the asking price.

      When you get a e-m10, the C-AF will suffer massively. I have a e-m5, so I know what I’m writing. The 45mm, however, is just fantastic: the best value-for-money-lens that I have ever bought.

      I’m keeping my V1 and lenses, so no problems in that department. I bought the E-M10 for higher IQ, better DOF and noise performance. Since I mostly use standard primes, the E-M10 and Pana 25/1.4 combo should give me almost 2 stops compared to the V1 and 18.5mm f/1.8.

  3. Another ‘pay more for less’ eh?

    Nonetheless, I hope Nikon does invest some time and effort in producing better lenses (prime ones if possible) for the Nikon 1 system!

    #keepingmyhopesup

    • Sure looks like it. I hope that the V4, should it ever be made, looks more like a V1 with a Franiec grip, with 2 dials, several Fn buttons and a sensor able to match or even surpass current 1″ sensors from Sony. CLS support, standard hot shoe or adapter, focus peaking and full AF support with the FT1 wouldn’t hurt either. All this at around €600-700 and I’m in. In the meantime I will be using the E-M10, 25/1.4 Pana and 45/1.8 Oly, which I’ve ordered yesterday.

  4. I have enjoyed your Blog.

    For the past couple of weeks, on almost a daily basis, I have been back and forth on a decision to buy the V3.

    The introduction of the V3 has prompted me to get the V1 out and use it more. As usual I grow more attached to it. Frankly, with the exception of the tilting screen, I cannot think of any reason to replace the V1 with the V3. I mean, while the V1 interface is a bit of a pain, once you get used to it, it’s not that bad. The closer I look, it is apparent the V3 offers nothing toward producing superior photos to the V1.

    I’m really trying to justify buying the V3; the more I consider it, the more senseless the proposition becomes.

    I guess the biggest tip that Nikon sees this as a more sophisticated point-and-shoot is the fact that the kit lens does not accept a filter.

    • I know exactly how you feel. I’ve decided to stop waiting for Nikon to figure out how to make a decent non-DSLR camera and have bought the OMD E-M10, Pana 25/1.4 and Oly 45/1.8. Cost me only 100 bucks more than the V3 with the crappy power zoom would.
      And you are right, trying to sell the V3 to enthusiasts and pros, while the kit lens doesn’t have a filter mount is pure nonsense. It shows that Nikon has no clue what it’s doing.

      • Here is one very strange thing about the V3: One of the features of the V1 that I have find useful is the Auto ISO setting that maintains ISO between 100 and 400. Given the way things fall apart above even ISO 200, it is great, even necessary to keep it below 400. With the V3, Nikon has decided to limit your choice to Auto ISO 100-800. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I mean, WHY? Just because they can?

        Like others, I have been trying to convince myself that I want this camera. I had a chance to play with a V3 at a local camera show. I asked the Nikon sales rep. if I could run out to the car and grab an SD card to record some images- completely forgetting about the micro SD choice. You should have seen the rep’s face as he sheepishly explained that my SD card would be useless with the V3.

        I am starting to see my attachment to Nikon as some sort of mental illness.

        • I think I understand what this is all about……Nikon has introduced the V3 in an attempt to create a more favorable reaction to the V1.

        • Here is one very strange thing about the V3: One of the features of the V1 that I have find useful is the Auto ISO setting that maintains ISO between 100 and 400. Given the way things fall apart above even ISO 200, it is great, even necessary to keep it below 400. With the V3, Nikon has decided to limit your choice to Auto ISO 100-800. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I mean, WHY? Just because they can?

          Honestly, the Autos ISO implementation was useless on the V1, which is the reason why I never used it after the initial testing. Now on the OMD E-M10 it takes the focal length into account, which makes it much more useful. But I know what you mean. Some people were annoyed that the V1 doesn’t have 100-1600 (only has 100-400, 100-800 and 100-3200). Now you say that the V3 has even one more limitation in this regard?

          Like others, I have been trying to convince myself that I want this camera. I had a chance to play with a V3 at a local camera show. I asked the Nikon sales rep. if I could run out to the car and grab an SD card to record some images- completely forgetting about the micro SD choice. You should have seen the rep’s face as he sheepishly explained that my SD card would be useless with the V3.

          Yet another new battery, new card, new flash units, and add that to the ridiculous price of the V3, and it’s totally clear why Nikon will not sell many of these cameras. As long as the product design strategy revolves around artificially limiting N1 in order to protect DSLRs, I think there is no reason to buy into or expand the system as an existing N1 user. I kept my V1, but I will not buy anything N1 related as long as I don’t see some customer friendly moves from Nikon.

          I am starting to see my attachment to Nikon as some sort of mental illness.

          I know how you feel. It’s not all bad with N1. I can tell you that the now “ancient” (2 years and 9 months old is ancient in the tech industry) V1 still has a better, smoother EVF than the E-M10. It still can shoot silently and with wide open aperture in the noon soon (thanks to max 1/16.000 shutter speed), which the latter can’t. There are of course many more advantages. Over all the E-M10 is a much better camera, but the V1 has some traits which make it a lot of fun to shoot with. It’s a damn shame that Nikon is so stubborn and tries to underspec and overprice these camera at every turn, instead of just making good cameras.

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