Nikon 1

Nikon 1 is the just unveiled Nikon mirror less system. It seems to be a trend. First, m4/3, then Samsung NX, Sony Nex, Pentax Q and now Nikon 1.

2 cameras:

  • Nikon J1: 10.1 megapixel “CX-sized” sensor (x2.7 crop), electronic shutter, pop out flash, 1080p HD video, lot of colors. $649 with the 10-30mm.
  • Nikon V1: more advanced that the J1. No flash, accessory port, built-in EVF, higher resolution LCD, mechanical shutter, stereo microphone input, fewer colors. $899 with the 10-30mm.

The camera feature interchangeable lenses, SD card (high capacity), PSAM exposure modes, autofocus, etc. And NEF raw files.

4 lenses, 1 prime, 3 zooms:

  • Nikkor 10mm F2.8 pancake
  • Nikkor VR 10-30mm F3.5-5.6
  • Nikkor VR 30-110mm F3.8-5.6
  • Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6

Two accessories for the V1: a flash and a GPS unit for $149 each. According to DPReview there will be a F-mount lens adapter coming as well. The availability in the US will be 20th of October 2011.

More at Nikon USA.

(Price are US list prices in USD)

My opinion, without having seen it. The new mount and the small sensor are two things that could hinder the camera success. The sensor, “CX size”, smaller than the one of m4/3, but still bigger than the one of the Pentax Q, make it more difficult to contain the noise at high ISO. I haven’t see samples yet to make myself an opinion. Also the new mount means that the lens will be specific to the system. I do believe Nikon could have benefited from joining the m4/3 gang instead and could have introduced Nikon lenses to the mix for the variety. It is one of the reason m4/3 cameras are popular.

On the other hand, the GPS accessory, while a bit overpriced, seems to be a welcome addition that virtually no other maker has. It is not Nikon’s first attempt.

Leica factory visit

The kind people at Luminous Landscape have an article about a Leica factory visit in Solms, Germany (by Nick Rains).

These [Leica S2 and M9] are hand made products – quite literally. It’s why they are desirable in the first place and the process can only proceed so fast. I’m told it takes 8 hours to assemble an M9 body and having seen the care and precision with which they are assembled, I can certainly believe it.

This should explain why the quality is at the top along with the price.

The liberated camera

John Kennerdell wrote for The Online Photographer a two part essay called “The Liberated Camera” about freestyle photography.

Part 1 is making a strong case for the back LCD as a camera viewfinder. Here is how John introduce it:

I’d like to talk about another approach: the handheld camera as an extension of the hand, or simply as an unobtrusive device off to the side as we engage directly with the scene before us, both eyes wide open.

And he is damn right. It is just a different shooting style. Not a replacement, albeit most camera force you to view that what.

I have issues with LCD as viewfinder. Maybe most of them are unfounded and linked to the fact I taught myself to shoot with a SLR and therefor with a camera brought to the eye… which was the case of every film camera. Habits die hard, and using my E-P1 actually made me change my mind despite not being in my total zone of comfort.

“No serious photographer,” announced one online guru at the time, “would ever compose on a screen held out in front of him.” Er, why not? The biggest criticism seemed to be that it didn’t “look professional.” That of course immediately suggested a fine reason to try it.

Also the discretion: most modern compact digital camera don’t have a viewfinder, thus when shooting, people use the back LCD as a viewfinder. This makes you look like a tourist, instead of the person with the obnoxious camera.

This is not without ignoring other complaints like steadiness when holding close to the body, or the useability in full sunlight.

The second part is about another gadget: face detection.

It sound like a gadget, but it actually is a useful tool for freestyle photography, where you can’t control the focus precisely or have the time to do so.

In a word, it was a slam dunk. OK, that’s two words, but seriously: I got hundreds of shots that I probably wouldn’t have without it. By the end I was attempting things I wouldn’t have even considered without it, and a lot of those worked out too. It wasn’t perfect of course, but it raised my percentage. Ultimately, what more do you want?

You get it. It is a tool that helps the chances of getting a good a picture. It does not frame or compose for you but it helps the auto focus system to determine what your subject is: people. Off course it might be convenient to disable it, and I can on my E-P1.

Ricoh GRDIII for everyday street shooting

Josh White wrote Ricoh GRDIII: walking to work, or how he feels with using the GRDIII as a street shooter when he walks to work. The GRD is one of these small P&S camera that advanced camera user seems to appreciate. Full control and fast prime lens.

Josh preferred camera seems to be a Leica M9. Here is his conclusion on the Ricoh:

Honestly, I wouldn’t trade my M9 for anything. It’s a beautiful, beautiful camera and it’s easily the best camera I’ve ever used. However, for 90% of the photography I do the GRDIII would be enough. If you’re a street photographer who doesn’t want to break the bank I highly recommend this little Ricoh. Needless to say I’m a big fan.

I personally have a GRDII which is not much different – older sensor, a bit more noise, basically. I have used it a couple of times for street shooting. Honestly I think I should give it more love ; it is time I give it a real ride in that field.

Don’t forget to check Josh’s set on Flickr.