It wasn’t until a friend of mine purchased a Sony a7r camera that I considered switching from my traditional DSLR to a mirrorless camera. The camera was smaller, lighter, and had wi-fi capabilities which meant she could take a photo, transfer it to her cell phone, edit, and share on social media within minutes. Needless to say, I was intrigued by the idea.
Shortly after her camera acquisition (I bought it in Canada and brought it down to Mexico) we took road trip through interior Mexico, and every time she took a photo she would proclaim, “OMG I love this camera!”. I was excited for her, but at the same time it drove me nuts. Here I was taking photos with my DSLR and having to wait until the end of the day’s drive to edit, and she was editing photos from her Sony a7r in the passenger seat, mere minutes after taking a photo. It like being stuck with a film camera and the agony of having to wait a couple days to get your photos back.
It sounds ridiculous, but I loving multi-tasking and saving time. It makes my OCD happy.
In June I was contacted by Nikon after sending a tweet about my thoughts on ditching my DSLR and switching to either a Fuji or Sony mirrorless camera. I’ve always been a Nikon user, but when it comes to mirrorless cameras, Fuji seems to be getting more positive press. In response to my tweet Nikon offered to send me a Nikon 1 V3 camera for the summer to test out. And of course I took them up on their offer, I would be crazy not to!
These are my thoughts on the Nikon 1 V3.
Wi-Fi Connectivity & Social Sharing
One of the main reasons I wanted to switch to mirrorless was for the wi-fi connectivity and the ability to edit photos instantly. While I adore my iPhone 5S, I don’t always like juggling; meaning I don’t like having to take a shot with my DSLR, then take the same shot on my iPhone so I can share instantly. Sure I could pick and choose, but I like having a small reserve of photos on my phone, as well as slightly higher quality photos for online writing projects.
Pro: The wi-fi is fairly easy to use. All I needed to do was download the Nikon mobility app, then go into the menu on the camera and connect. Once the camera was connected to my phone I was able to quickly download photos, as well as use my phone as a remote control when my camera was set-up for night shots and I wanted to limit shake.
I loved the ability to instantly download photos from the camera to the iPhone, especially during Festival d’été de Québec when I needed to share photos of musicians on social media during their performances.
Con: I was really excited to take the Nikon 1 V3 travelling. I was filled with excitement over the idea of connecting through wi-fi and sharing photos, except I couldn’t. Wi-fi only works when you have cellular service, so if you’re travelling with your phone on airplane mode, connecting the camera to the phone via wi-fi will not work. Whomp whomp.
Camera Size & Weight
Another reason why I decided to sell my DSLR and switch to a mirrorless camera was the size and weight of the camera. After years of lugging around a big DSLR with two lenses, my shoulders are a little sore. I dread having to walking through a city, looking for a café where I can work, and having to carry my laptop, DSLR, and lenses. It was too much, and I went through quite a few day bags in the process due to the weight of my electronics.
Pro: I really liked the size and weight of the Nikon 1 V3 camera body. It reminded me of when I owned a Canon G7 camera. It was great.
Con: While the camera body itself was small and lightweight, the 10-100mm zoom lens was not. In fact, the lens was heavier than the camera body! This is something I would expect from a large professional telephoto lens, not a mid-range telephoto lens.
One of the reasons I loved my DSLR was the processing speed. I loved that imaged appeared on the screen within nanoseconds, and I was able to quickly take shot, after shot. After shot.
Pro: When trying to capture action using the Nikon 1 V3 camera I put the camera on continuous, then held down the release button. When I was finished I simply lifted my finger and BAM, I had like 30 continuous shots.
Con: When being a drive-by shooter (hanging out the window with my camera as someone drives the car/truck) is the only choice, a DSLR works great. Unfortunately, with the Nikon 1 V3, I was unable to do this as the processing speed was much slower than my DSLR.
I’m the type of girl who never sits down to read a manual. I learn by using a product, testing things out, and making mistakes. Usually over and over. And over again. The same goes for cameras. Which is probably unwise of me as I’m sure I would benefit from reading a dry as hell camera manual.
I loved how easy it was to navigate the menu and settings on the Nikon 1 V3. When using my DSLR I was always digging through the menu to find one simple function. On the Nikon 1 V3, everything I needed was really easy to find and I didn’t have to dig through the menu at all; a big advantage when setting up a shot and not wanting to juggle the camera too much.
In my opinion, the Nikon 1 V3 is a good mid-level mirrorless camera. It’s small and lightweight (in the body), and fairly easy to use, and the image quality is good. I didn’t like that the camera is a mico-SD as I had to buy new SD cards and worry about not losing the adapter (it’s small and I am notorious for losing small things). I loved the wi-fi function when I had cell service as I was using my phone less; which helps to preserve my phone battery life (yay!).
That being said I am still leaning towards a Fuji XT-1. It’s an expensive camera system ($2,000), but I don’t plan on buying another camera for awhile.
Perhaps I’ll rent a Fuji XT-1 for a month and do a little comparison before I invest.