Nikon 1 V2 review

Nikon 1 gets serious

Nikon 1 V2 review
Inside the Nikon V2 is a new 14.2MP CX format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3a processing engine

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One of the key distinguishing features of the new Nikon 1 V2 is the much larger grip, making the design of the compact system camera much more akin to a miniature DSLR. The pronounced grip makes it much easier to hold, and makes it feel secure in the hand, especially when shooting with one hand.

Another big improvement is the addition of a mode dial at the top of the camera. This enables quick changes between the camera's automatic, semi-automatic and manual modes. Previously, in order to access P/A/S/M modes, you needed to delve into a menu - this was one of the main gripes about the Nikon 1 V1 that made it appeal less to serious photographers.

Also on this dial, you'll find some of the Nikon 1's unique features, such as Motion Snapshot and Best Photo Selector. Like the Nikon 1 J2, the Nikon 1 V2's Best Photo Selector has been reworked for the latest version of the camera to include the new Slow View mode.

Nikon 1 V2 review

When the camera's dial is set to Best Moment Capture, pressing the Fn button enables you to choose between two options - Smart Photo Selector and the new Slow View.

Slow View is particularly interesting, and although it takes a minute or two to get your head around it, it could prove very useful in a range of situations. In essence the camera records 40 full-resolution images at 15fps from the moment that the shutter release is half pressed.

While the release remains half-pressed, the camera plays back these 40 images in slow succession so that you can decide which one you want to keep. When you reach that image, pressing the shutter fully home records it to the SD card.

Nikon 1 V2 review

It's a fun feature that's useful for capturing quick happening moments, such as school sports days, but it does take a little bit of practice to get the hang of it. It's no good starting to shoot before the action has started, for instance, because the shots will be taken before the subject has got going.

There are two options for actually switching on the Nikon 1 V2. The first is a small switch around the shutter button, which is akin to a zoom lever on a compact camera and can be a little confusing at first. The second is via the lens itself, and makes it quick to capture moments as they happen.

When in aperture priority mode, a dial on the top of the camera can be used to alter aperture, and when in shutter priority mode, to control the shutter speed. Exposure compensation is controlled by first tapping on the four-way control pad, and then scrolling with a dial around the pad.

Nikon 1 V2 review

It would perhaps have been nice to see another dial, or a more direct way to control exposure compensation, but it's not too tricky to use.

Near the aperture/shutter speed scroll dial is a small function button for accessing some of the key parameters, such as white balance and autofocus mode. It would have been nice to have a few more features included here, or the ability to customise which features can be accessed from the function button.

The Nikon 1 V2 doesn't have a touchscreen, which is a shame, since that would have made it quicker to set the autofocus point.

Nikon 1 V2 review

As it is, it's not too laboured a process, requiring first a tap of the central 'OK' button on the four-way keypad, then a use of the directional keys to position the autofocus point. Alternatively, you can have the camera select points for you.

On the back left of the camera is a row of buttons, including the Menu button for accessing the more extensive settings of the camera. These buttons can't be reached when using the camera with one hand, which isn't too much of a problem, thanks to the function button.

The menu itself is reasonably well laid out, with most parameters where you'd expect them to be. If you've used a Nikon camera before, it's likely you'll be familiar with the setup.

Nikon 1 V2 review

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.