As you might imagine, I’ve spent a LOT of time with my Nikon 1 V1 camera over the last few months, learning all of its features and quirks for my Nikon 1 Guide. I’ve used it so much, in fact, that I think my DSLRs are getting a bit jealous! A lot of what I wrote in my initial review series still holds true, but I want to address a few of these head-on; things that I’d really like to see Nikon address. While I do point out these limitations book, I didn’t feel that a user guide should be an editorial piece. We have blogs for that.
What Nikon Should Address Right Now
The following camera limitations would make the Nikon J1/V1 a better camera for all users, not just advanced users:
- Option to disable auto-image review. There’s nothing more frustrating than shooting action, taking a burst of frames, and then seeing an image review in the viewfinder instead of your subject. Given the large buffer of the V1/J1, I suppose you could just shoot longer bursts, but that goes against my training.
- Minimum Shutter Speed for Auto ISO. The Nikon 1 exposure programming favors low ISO over shutter speed. So much so, that shutter speed drops to 1/15s in some cases. My Nikon 1 guide has the exposure plots to show this behavior in Aperture-priority exposure mode. Please, please… add this function!
What Nikon Should Consider for Advanced Users
Nikon tantalizes their existing user base by offering features and accessories that would appeal to current Nikon owners. Why, then, do they offer the FT1 Adapter if it won’t work in a way that advanced users are used to? The following features are things I’d really like to see added/fixed, even though I don’t need these features when I’m using the camera as a traditional compact.
- Auto Exposure Bracketing.With film we bracketed exposures to make sure at least one exposure was good. With histograms and LCD reviews on digital cameras, we can check exposures without needing to bracket. However, creative photographers use bracketing to create HDR sequences, and the menu-based controls of the J1/V1 just don’t let you make fast exposure adjustments. Adding auto-bracketing would make a lot of creative photographers happy.
- Improve exposure programming with the FT1. I put my 24mm f/2.8 AFD Nikkor on my V1, and when I’m using Program Auto exposure and auto-ISO, it sets the aperture at f/8. Indoors. As if 1/8s is good enough for hand-holding? That’s an oversight that needs fixing.
- FT1 long exposure limit. With the FT1, you can’t set exposures longer than 1 second (1/1.3s, to be exact). You also can’t use bulb. Again, this isn’t something that most people will often use, but why the limitation?
- FT1 Autofocus. With the FT1, you’re limited to AF-S (single servo) and center point focus, or manual focus. I don’t believe that Nikon can’t add in AF-C and adjustable AF areas with the FT1.
- 120s Bulb Exposure Limit. The Nikon manual describes bulb exposures as ideal for capturing star-trails. Well, that’s true, assuming you can get exposures of 10-15 minutes. The Nikon 1 cameras time-out after 120s (2 minutes). That’s not long enough.
- CLS Support. The SB-N5 is a nice little flash, but imagine the possibilities if you had a CLS-compatible commander for the V1. The face-priority AF is so good for portraits, but remote flash control is rudimentary with the V1. Nevertheless, I can still trigger my SB-900’s remotely with the V1, just not as well as I’d like to.
For the most part, none of the fixes I list above are things I perceive as “deal breakers” from a typical user’s viewpoint. However, the fact that Nikon has a significant base of advanced users, it would make sense for them to put at least some of these features into the 1 System cameras. My hope is that there will be yet another Nikon 1 camera designed with enthusiasts in mind, one that has the external controls and features that we like on our DSLRs, but in a smaller package. I’m totally happy with my Nikon 1 V1 as a walk-around and family camera. I think that with the right improvements, it would be even better for enthusiasts.
Do you have your own suggestions for Nikon 1 J1/V1 improvements? Leave me a comment below.