When I decided to sell my Nikon DSLR camera and switch to a mirrorless system I took to social media expressing an interest in possibly switching to Sony or Fuji. It was not a case of my bad mouthing Nikon, I love them. I was a case of who built the better mirrorless camera, and from the feedback, Fuji and Sony were top choices. I, however, was still struggling with my decision on who to go with as I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a brand new system and brand, and then end up disappointed with the product.
Then Nikon contacted me and asked if I would be willing to try their Nikon 1 mirrorless camera system for the summer. While I had been leaning towards Fuji (solely based on another photographer’s recommendation), I decided to take them up on their offer. Who knows, maybe I’ll fall in love with the camera. Or maybe I’ll end up with another DSLR. Time will tell.
Unlike many product reviews, I am seriously shopping for a new camera system, and I am totally invested in testing this camera as much as possible over the next couple months – and sharing my experience with you guys here on the blog.
Earlier this year I spent some time with a friend in Mexico who had just purchased a Sony a7r mirrorless camera and found myself seething with jealous every time she was able to upload photos from her camera to her iPhone and then share them. It didn’t seem fair that I would have to wait until we had finished travelling for the day to download my photos from my DSLR and edit them, and finally share them. A process that had never bothered me until I found out there was a faster way.
Selecting a mirrorless camera with wireless capabilities was an important factor and my choosing to test the Nikon 1 V3 camera. Setting up the wi-fi connection between the camera and my iPhone 6S was easy, once I downloaded the Nikon Mobility Utility app from iTunes and put a microSD card in the camera. Once the camera was connected to my phone, it was time to test it out:
Downloading Photos to a Smartphone
Once the camera and smartphone are connected, this process is pretty straightforward. All you do is open the app, select ‘View Photos’, then ‘Pictures of Camera’. The select the photos you want and press download. Voila! The photos are then in your camera roll and you’re able to edit them in apps like Snapseed and VSCOcam.
Taking a Self-Portrait
Imagine my delight when I discovered that I could use the wi-fi setting to take a self-portrait! I am very picky when it comes to having my photo taken, and there are very people I will allow to take my photo. As a former portrait photographer, I am accustomed to snapping photos of myself in a way that is somewhat flattering. The only downside that my arm only reaches so far. Until now.
Connecting the camera and smartphone via wi-fi, I open the app, select ‘take a photo’, and instantly see the imagine from the camera on my phone. I then move the camera to whichever position I need and press the camera button on my phone to snap the photo. It’s like the perfect camera remote for self-portraits.
Taking Photos on ‘Shutter’ or ‘Aperture’ Settings
The trick with night photography is to have a sturdy tripod, and of course, know what you’re doing when it comes to ‘shutter speed’ and ‘aperture’ settings. Two things I am still trying to master. During my first week with the Nikon 1 V3, I decided to sit on the sidewalk across from Parliament and La Fountaine de Tourny and attempt to capture light trails from passing cars. I set-up the camera with my pocket tripod adjusted the shutter speed and snapped a couple photos. Happy with myself I deiced to turn on the wi-fi and try using my phone as a remote, as I had done when earlier when taking a self-portrait. It didn’t really work.
On wi-fi, the camera disregarded the shutter speed and instead of having a slow shutter speed to capture light trails, my shutter speed increased and I captured the actual vehicles, which blocked the view of the fountain.
For the most part, I really like the wi-fi capabilities of the Nikon 1 V3. I love that I can use my phone as a remote as it means I don’t have to spend money and buy yet another piece of gear that I have to remember to pack every time I travel. I also love that I can instantly edit a photo with snapseed or VSCOcam (or both) and share it on Instagram, instead of waiting until the end of the day.
As I mentioned above, my night photography needs some work. Well, it needs a lot of work. In the past, I have struggled quite a bit in terms of doing my settings. I usually forgot where to find certain settings. I probably should have practised more.
What I like about the Nikon 1 V3 camera is that the settings are really easy to navigate, without having to go through the menu of the camera. Once I had the camera positioned I was able to change the shutter speed or aperture by turning a small dial, and I was able to adjust the exposure with the click of a button. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my six-year-old niece, would say.
While I need a lot of practice in terms of my night photography, I feel more comfortable doing so with this camera as I’m not struggling to find the settings I need.
Wi-fi and night photography are my main concerns right now as I’ll be attending (and photographing) Festival d’éte de Québec July 3rd to 13th, which happens to be Québec’s largest music festival. During the festival, I’ll be photographing street performances and crowds, but my biggest focus will be on the musical performances at the Bell Stage. With acts like Tegan and Sara, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Billy Joel, Soundgarden, Bryan Adams, Journey, and Steve Miller Band, I want to make sure I am comfortable with the camera to capture at least one fabulous shot of each performer.
That is the goal.