Nikon V1 Digital Camera Review$899.95
- Dynamic Range
Unlike most of Nikon's current consumer-level DSLRs that utilize Sony-developed and Nikon-tuned APS-C image sensors, the Nikon V1 uses an Aptina image sensor that is quite a bit smaller. As a first generation sensor of this size, there are some obvious kinks that need to be worked out. One area where performance suffered relative to some of the newer image sensors we see in this class is high ISO dynamic range. We found that the V1 was competitive at the minimum ISO of 100, with 6.7 stops of dynamic range on our chart registering above a high (10:1) signal-to-noise ratio threshold. That range quickly dropped down to less than 4 stops of "high-quality" dynamic range by ISO 1600, but never dropped below two stops even at the maximum sensitivity of 6400.
The camera was capable of 12.2 stops of distinct range when you discount the sliding signal-to-noise ratio of each stop, but noise is an ever-present limiting factor that hamstrings the usefulness of those lower stops even at that minimum ISO of 100. The high noise floor is a little troubling given that these are already JPEGs that are cooked to some degree, and we see this as a big area of potential improvement in future generations of CX-format sensors. More on how we test dynamic range.
For comparison's sake, the Nikon V1 struggled to match up with some of its competitors that make use of larger APS-C image sensors, but it did well against the Olympus OM-D E-M5, with a better dynamic range score overall. It's still not on the level of the high-end DSLRs, or even Nikon's own similarly priced D5100, but it does match up well against the compact system cameras in its class, such as those from Panasonic and Olympus.