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Friday Slide Show: City Walk From A While Ago Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

10 March 2017

We've been mining our old images for Friday Slide Shows on the theory that modern image processing software can breathe new life into them. But it struck us the other day that the one review camera we haven't resuscitated was the Nikon I V1.

Which is odd because we shot over 700 images with it in 2011. We liked the size, which made it a constant companion, although there were things about it that just didn't measure up. Like the 2.7x crop factor in a 2.0x world and even the failure to function with Nikon's Creative Lighting System.

It was Nikon's first foray into the mirrorless segment. The Olympus E-PL1 we still use was just one of many competitors, all promising smaller, lighter gear with the options we'd come to expect in high-end gear from image quality to systems options, including a wide range of optics.

When the Nikon 1 debuted, Ashton Kutcher was all the rage...

Promises, promises.

The mirrorless market never quite seemed to take off in the U.S., although it made a big splash in Japan where small is beautiful. It's remarkable, though, how often we pick up the E-PL1 just because we have the choice and want a smaller camera with image quality equivalent to our heavier gear.

Still, when we're asked to recommend a camera to get great shots of the new baby, our mirrorless suggestions are ignored in favor of an entry-level dSLR. Cultural bias, probably.

It doesn't hurt that these images were all captured as Nikon NEF Raw files. In 2011, we weren't yet converting everything to DNG. And for a review camera, we had to stick with the native formats anyway.

But we were surprised, editing them in Lightroom CC, how little we had to do to them. Far, far less than any other image we edit.

The big edit was increasing the Clarity for a little more micro-contrast. We did have to pull back the Highlights now and then, but it was overcast as we walked along the Embarcadero to North Beach. So not much of that.

Nikon V1. The 30-100mm zoom is the equivalent of a 81-297mm 35mm zoom.

The Nikon 1 is something of a memory now. There were a few more iterations but the company seems to have completely forgotten about it. The sensor size was the big problem but the mirrorless category didn't help. Among its virtues, it boasted very fast autofocus.

We certainly had fun with it, as this set of favorites from the walk demonstrates.

It was easy to handle and we found ourselves taking images we might otherwise not have troubled to compose. And because the camera was so small, it didn't terrorize anyone in the photo. We looked like just another tourist not a documentary photographer.

When the Nikon 1 debuted, Ashton Kutcher was all the rage (and appeared in commercials for it). It's an orphaned system now, its promise unfulfilled. But the images we captured with it remain among our favorites.

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