Since I posted my first batch of photos taken with the brand new Olympus OM-D EM-10, I’ve had more time to study the camera and to take some additional photos. I must say, as much as I enjoy having the IBIS and the flexibility which the larger m4/3 sensor and the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 provide in terms of low light performance and DOF control, almost equally I hate the color rendition, seemingly random auto white balance and “dark” metering of the E-M10. The Nikon V1 with the Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 (you can read my review of the lens here) still have some advantages which make the setup very fun to use. For example, the V1 has extremely precise metering and Auto WB, vastly superior to the both systems the E-M10 employs. I find that with the latter I’m constantly correcting exposure by +0.3-0.7 stops to get the result I’m used to with the V1. And even then, some work in Lightroom is needed to make the highlights “roll off” as smoothly as with the V1. The reason for this is no doubt the fact that the E-M10, while having greater dynamic range overall, has less highlight headroom and a steeper curve in the highlight region (but more shadow headroom) than the V1, thus underexposing constantly to protect those highlights.
More than two years after release Nikon still doesn’t offer a native macro lens for its Nikon 1 system. This means that if you intend to take macros, you are left with a few “odd” choices. The most powerful, but also the most expensive and bulky solution is to buy the FT-1 adapter and a DX or FX Micro-Nikkor, like the 40mm f/2.8, 60mm f/2.8G ED, 85mm f/3.5 IF-ED or 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED. These lenses will allow you to achieve even greater image ratios (above 1:1) on N1 cameras than when used on DX or FX Nikon DSLRs. Including the FT-1 adapter these setups will cost you from $530 up to $1000. The other two solutions are intelligent extension tubes for existing Nikon 1 lenses (you can’t buy a “dumb” tube, because AF will not work, and “by wire” MF and aperture control on N1 lenses need power from the camera) or achromatic and close-up lenses. Both are considerably cheaper, but also less powerful. BUT, depending on your expectations, cheap solutions such as extension tubes and achromatic lenses could be just the right thing for you. One of my main reasons for investing in Nikon 1 was low size and weight, which was the reason I wasn’t ready to add so much weight and bulk to my photo bag with the FT-1 and a full grown Nikkor. I ended up buying the Marumi DHG200 +5 achromatic lens with a 52mm filter thread and a 40.5mm to 52mm step-up ring instead, which turned out to be perfect for my needs. At least until Nikon releases a native Micro-Nikkor for Nikon 1, in which case I will get that lens and use it WITH the Marumi. Here is what the Marumi looks like mounted on the Nikon V1 and 10-30mm.
I’ve believed from the start that Nikon 1 cameras are capable of great results. Before I bought the V1 last November, I counted myself lucky when one of my images on flickr was viewed 100 or 200 times. Although I’m perfectly aware that flickr views are meaningless, it’s nice to be able to produce photographs, which interest people. The fact that many of my images taken with the V1 are rather popular (500 views on average) reassures me that I’m not a deluded fanboy praising the camera to the skies. Other people seem to like the output the V1, especially with the 18.5mm f/1.8, is capable of just as much as I do. I now have over a dozen photos with over 1000 views (UPDATE: over a 170 photos as of 12/2013). Here are some of them:
I tried to photograph some of these stray cats with a DSLR, but as soon as the mirror claps most of them run away. This doesn’t happen with the Nikon V1 and Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8. As soon as the electronic shutter is enabled, the camera is silent. If you close the aperture, there is a faint noise of aperture blades closing, right before the images is being captured. If you stay at f/1.8 however, the camera makes no noise whatsoever. The loudest sound is the finger tipping the shutter release button. 😉
The Nikon V1 with the Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 or 18.5mm f/1.8 is such a small package that you can take it anywhere. I sometimes even take it with me when I’m BBQing or going out with the fellas. Some of my friends don’t like to be stalked with a camera, they however are far less likely to make a fuss when I’m using my V1. The smaller camera doesn’t seem to intimidate people and make them go into defensive mode nearly as much as the big guns do. I, on the other hand, am far more likely to shoot motifs which I usually don’t consider interesting, like food, when not having to lug a heavy camera for long periods of time. 🙂 Continue reading
I really like the Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 for portraiture. It gives me a nice balance of DoF and sharpness. With some lenses for the larger formats, I have the feeling that I constantly need to think about how much I should close the aperture, to obtain sufficient DoF for human faces. The 18.5mm has enough DoF at wiede open, f/1.8. When shooting people I never close the aperture with this lens. IMO bokeh is nice, and the colors are what you expect from a Nikon. Awesome skin tones. But look for yourself. 🙂 Continue reading
The Nikon V1, with its small size and thanks to the electronic shutter silent operation, is a perfect cat capturing machine. Which lens you end up using for cat pictures is up to you. I use the Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 and the Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8. If you get close, you can achieve nice bokeh with both of them. The 18.5mm is best used at full aperture at f/1.8 and the 10-30mm at the long end, also wide open, if bokeh is what you are after. Here are some cat samples with the V1 and both the Nikkors.