Nikon 1 V2 vs D90
The Nikon 1 V2 and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2012 and August 2008. The V2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D90 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (V2) and an APS-C (D90) sensor. The V2 has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the D90 provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon 1 V2||Nikon D90|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon 1 mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|14.2 MP, 1" Sensor||12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO 160-12,800||ISO 200-3,200 (200 - 6,400)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|15 shutter flaps per second||4.5 shutter flaps per second|
|310 shots per battery charge||850 shots per battery charge|
|109 x 82 x 46 mm, 278 g||132 x 103 x 77 mm, 703 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon 1 V2 and the Nikon D90? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 V2 and the Nikon D90 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The V2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D90 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D90 is considerably larger (52 percent) than the Nikon 1 V2. Moreover, the D90 is substantially heavier (153 percent) than the V2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V2 nor the D90 are weather-sealed.
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.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon 1 V2||4.3 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||9.8 oz||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon D90||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon G1 X||4.6 in||3.2 in||2.6 in||18.8 oz||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon 40D||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Fujifilm X-M1||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.6 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|Nikon 1 V3||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||13.4 oz||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 J4||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||8.2 oz||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|Nikon 1 V1||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||13.5 oz||350||n||Sep 2011||799|
|Nikon D7000||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||27.5 oz||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Nikon D300S||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic GF6||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.4 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Panasonic GF5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic GX1||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Ricoh GR||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|Sony RX100 II||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.9 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The V2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the D90, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 V2 features an one-inch sensor and the Nikon D90 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D90 is 222 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the V2 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 3) than the D90 (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon 1 V2 offers a higher resolution of 14.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon D90. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.86μm versus 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the V2 is much more recent (by 4 years and 1 month) than the D90, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 V2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the V2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 12.3 inches or 46.8 x 31.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D90 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The V2 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 V2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D90 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D90 offers substantially better image quality than the V2 (overall score 23 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 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 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|Nikon 1 V1||1-inch||10.0||3872||2592||1080/60i||21.3||11||346||54|
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the V2 provides a higher video resolution than the D90. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the D90 is limited to 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V2 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D90 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 V2, the Nikon D90, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
|Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V1||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the D90, but is missing on the V2 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 V2 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 V2 has 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 V2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D90 uses SDHC cards. The V2 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D90 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 V2 and Nikon D90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the D90 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The V2 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the V2 and the D90 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D90 was replaced by the Nikon D7000, while the V2 was followed by the Nikon 1 V3. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon 1 V2 or the Nikon D90 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon 1 V2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (14.2 vs 12.2MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 3 vs EXPEED).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (15 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x82mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 425g or 60 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D90 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D90:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (850 versus 310) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2008).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V2 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 V2 and the Nikon D90 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the V2 or the D90. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 V2||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon D90||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon G1 X||+||76/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon 40D||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Fujifilm X-M1||+||77/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|Nikon 1 V3||..||76/100||4.5/5||3/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 J4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|Nikon 1 V1||+||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||799|
|Nikon D7000||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Nikon D300S||+ +||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic GF6||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Panasonic GF5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic GX1||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|Ricoh GR||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|Sony RX100 II||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon 1 V2 vs Nikon D90
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 V2||Nikon D90|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2012||August 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Nikon D90|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3072 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.86 μm||5.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||12.19 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||50||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.2||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||403||977|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Nikon D90|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|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||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Nikon D90|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||15 shutter flaps/s||4.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Nikon D90|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Nikon D90|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||310 shots per charge||850 shots per charge|
109 x 82 x 46 mm
(4.3 x 3.2 x 1.8 in)
132 x 103 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||278 g (9.8 oz)||703 g (24.8 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.