Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
Very very good, nearly great
on 18 December 2012
I'll start by explaining the missing star. In almost every respect this is a five star camera, in my opinion. But the flash will only sync to 1/60th of a second. If that means nothing to you or you never use flash, buy this camera. I'll get back to this one negative at the end.
This is what I like:
1. Small enough (I bought the 10mm 2.8 kit) to fit in my jacket pocket: I wanted a camera to have with me all the time. I've tried micro 4/3 but they always feel like Hobson's choice, all the draw backs of a DSLR, none of the pluses of a compact.
2. Silent. I shoot street all the time. I find in a candid situation my DSLR's mirror clack was a deal breaker.
3. Handles noise sensibly. Up to ISO 400 noise is virtually not an issue. At 800 and 1600 The noise has a pleasant film like character, that favours sharpness over aggressive noise reduction.
4. There's some chance to exploit shallow depth of field. If you exploit your situation, ie your subject is close to, with a background isolated by some distance, the bokeh is quite nice. This is a 1" sensor and just can't do what a DSLR can in this area, but I've been surprised by how well the camera performs in this area, I'd expected performance more in line with a compact.
5. The Speed. Put simply it's blazing. In good light the auto focus locks instantaneously, then the camera will fill the buffer at 60 frames per second. This is changing the nature of my photographs.
6. The lenses. Right now there aren't many, but they're starting by offering the focal lengths you'd want, and they're really sharp. Very sharp indeed. The next lens I buy will be the 18.5mm f1.8, a 50mm equivalent.
I bought this camera after having read all the bad reviews out there, largely as my interest was sparked after the release of the Sony RX1, as it has the same dimension sensor. That and I kept on seeing great files from people using it. So I knew what I was getting into, and it did seem to tick a lot of my boxes.
The thing that really worried me was the lack of manual control. But Nikon seem to have really thought about the implementation of how the camera works. Set in manual mode the dial on the four way controls aperture, the toggle that zooms in play-back, shutter speed. I can change settings, shooting manually without having to look at the camera. The menu remembers where you were, so left on ISO, it's as quick in operation as a dedicated ISO button. Of course having to open the menu for A/S/P/M is a bump in speed, but a small one. The menu is compact and well thought out, better than almost all I've tried. Before using this I was using a Panasonic M4/3 camera, even with a touch screen, a plethora of external controls and dedicated buttons, I'm still spending far less time lost in messy menus
A couple of things I'm less keen on, none of these detract, just niggles: No Auto ISO 100-1600, you need to manually select 1600. Why no accessory port? I chose this over the V1 due to size... that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to use the external flash now and then. And worst of these gripes for me, I can't turn off auto review. I find that grates, I hate auto review, I like to set up then keep the flow going and avoid chimping whenever possible, the review disappears with the next half click, but still I find I miss shots because of it.
And so back to that missing star. The only time I use flash is at social events. I'm sure lots of people are the same. Well isn't that exactly when you want to freeze the action? Kids at a wedding, frenetic freak-outs at a party? Not a t 1/60 of a second you don't. My girlfriend uses a mid-ninties mid-range compact, that'll sync faster than this... How is that OK?
So... I'm over a month in now, I thought long and hard before buying and have (unusually for me) no buyers remorse. I look forward to seeing where this system goes, I think it'll be here for a while.