Nikon Announces Nikon 1 V3, 10-30mm PD and 70-300mm Lenses

Nikon 1 V3 with 1 Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD lens

Nikon has announced the successor to the V2, and I am not sure what they are trying to do now. In fact, the normally neutral DPReview have a not-very kind commentary piece on the camera at launch.

Firstly, the camera adds a number of upgrades to the previous camera. The V3 now has an 18 megapixel sensor without the anti-aliasing filter, and now the phase detection sensors cover nearly the whole imaging sensor. The camera can now do 20 FPS with continuous autofocus, up from 15 FPS on the V2, and now boasts a front command dial (of the horrible vertical variety), a tilting three inch LCD that is now touch-enabled, and built-in WiFi. The proprietary accessory shoe still remains, however.

CK: Ah, I am glad they restored this form factor as opposed to the V2’s rather ugly one. This meant that the grip is now shallower though, unless you fork out for that optional grip. I don’t know why Nikon has insisted on using this silly proprietary hotshoe as opposed to the more standard one everybody is using. Even Sony has a standard hotshoe on their new cameras now.

Rear view of the Nikon 1 V3 showing the tilting LCD

YS: Unfortunately Nikon seems to have decided that having a small camera is a priority, so gone are the EVF and the really nice grip from the V2. Both are now optional extras, which is a shame if you ask me. Another downward trend is the decrease in battery size. From the V1’s EN-EL15 (standard on Nikon’s high-end DSLRs), the V3 now uses an improved version of the tiny battery found in the J series cameras, the EN-EL20a. The camera also now uses fiddly microSD cards, a smartphone staple more than a camera one. The V2 was a big improvement over the V1, and if Nikon had continued in that direction they might have had something really unique, but this change in thinking feels like it has held the camera back.

CK: Sounds like a few steps backwards indeed. I quite like my V1 being able to share batteries with my D7000, and I am sure many photographers who use a similar combination do too. I never liked add-on EVFs as they are cumbersome and fiddly, but the tilting screen is a welcome addition. Not a fan of the tiny microSD cards either.

Nikon 1 V3 with 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD and EVF and grip

YS: Finally, there is the issue of price. Nikon USA has set the MSRP for the whole bundle of the V3, the EVF, grip and the new 10-30mm power zoom lens for US$1,200. I am not sure that many people will agree that the Nikon 1’s superb speed and autofocus is going to be worth that much of a premium over other similar mirrorless cameras like, say, the US$800 Olympus E-M10. Did Nikon not learn that most of their 1 sales came when they drastically dropped the prices from the initial sky high figures? We will see how sales will be when the camera arrives in April.

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD

Speaking of lenses, there is the new 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD VR power zoom lens, which is a compact kit zoom that also features a built-in lens cover and multiple colours to match other Nikon 1 cameras, and there is the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR telephoto lens. Given the super fast focusing of the 1 series, the 70-300 sounds like a great lens if extreme reach with tracking is needed. The lenses will be available for US$ 300 and $1,000 respectively in April. Again, maybe Nikon should take a look at tweaking the pricing a bit, especially for the 70-300mm.

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens

CK: Nikon seriously needs to rethink the pricing of their 1-series cameras and lenses. This is the third iteration of the 1 V series and they have not appeared to learn from their past experiences. The prices are simply not competitive with the other offerings out there. I really love the super fast AF speeds of the 1 series, but this is just too much to pay for. And US$1,000 for the 70-300mm is really too much. I might well sacrifice size and weight and get the regular AF-S version, then use the FT-1 to adapt it to the camera.

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