Nikon 1 V1 vs D3
The Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon D3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2011 and August 2007. The V1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (V1) and a full frame (D3) sensor. The V1 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the D3 provides 12.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon 1 V1||Nikon D3|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon 1 mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|10 MP, 1" Sensor||12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-3,200 (100 - 6,400)||ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|350 shots per battery charge||4300 shots per battery charge|
|113 x 76 x 44 mm, 383 g||160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1300 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon D3? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon D3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3 is considerably larger (193 percent) than the Nikon 1 V1. Moreover, the D3 is substantially heavier (239 percent) than the V1. It is noteworthy in this context that the D3 is splash and dust-proof, while the V1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the V1 gets 350 shots out of its EN-EL15 battery, while the D3 can take 4300 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Nikon 1 V1||113 mm||76 mm||44 mm||383 g||350||n||Sep 2011||799|
|Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF1||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The V1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 84 percent) than the D3, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 V1 features an one-inch sensor and the Nikon D3 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D3 is 641 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 12.1MP, the D3 offers a higher resolution than the V1 (10MP), but the D3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 8.43μm versus 3.41μm for the V1) due to its larger sensor. However, the V1 is a much more recent model (by 4 years) than the D3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.3 x 14.2 inches or 54.1 x 36 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.2 x 28.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.4 inches or 36 x 24 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon 1 V1 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon 1 V1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D3 offers substantially better image quality than the V1 (overall score 27 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon 1 V1||1-inch||10.0||3872||2592||1080/60i||21.3||11||346||54|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The V1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D3 does not. The highest resolution format that the V1 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D3 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon 1 V1, the Nikon D3, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon 1 V1||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the D3, but is missing on the V1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the V1 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon D3 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The V1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3 uses Compact Flash cards. The D3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the V1 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon D3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Nikon 1 V1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D3 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The V1 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3 (unlike the V1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the V1 and the D3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3 was replaced by the Nikon D4, while the V1 was followed by the Nikon 1 V2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon D3? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon 1 V1:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x76mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 917g or 71 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (84 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the D3 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.1 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (27 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (4300 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon D3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the V1 or the D3. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Nikon 1 V1||+||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||799|
|Nikon D3||..||+ +||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon G12||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||o||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Fujifilm X10||..||76/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|Nikon 1 V3||..||76/100||4.5/5||3/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 V2||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon D4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D3S||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Nikon D3X||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D700||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Olympus E-P3||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|Panasonic GX1||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||..||70/100||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF1||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon 1 V1 vs Nikon D3
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon 1 V1||Nikon D3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2011||August 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 4,999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 V1||Nikon D3|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||12.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3872 x 2592 pixels||4256 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.41 μm||8.43 μm|
|Pixel Density||8.64 MP/cm2||1.40 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||81|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.3||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||346||2290|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 V1||Nikon D3|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 V1||Nikon D3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 V1||Nikon D3|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 V1||Nikon D3|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||4300 shots per charge|
113 x 76 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.7 in)
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
|Camera Weight||383 g (13.5 oz)||1300 g (45.9 oz)|
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