Nikon 1 V2 vs Olympus E-M5
The Nikon 1 V2 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2012 and February 2012. Both the V2 and the E-M5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an one-inch (V2) and a Four Thirds (E-M5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon 1 V2 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5? 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 V2 and the Olympus E-M5 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The V2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the E-M5 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Nikon 1 V2. Moreover, the E-M5 is substantially heavier (53 percent) than the V2. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-M5 is splash and dust-proof, while the V2 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.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|2.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|3.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|4.||Fujifilm X-M1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|5.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|6.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|7.||Nikon 1 V1||113 mm||76 mm||44 mm||383 g||350||n||Sep 2011||799|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|9.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|10.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|11.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|12.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|13.||Panasonic GX7||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|14.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|15.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|16.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||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.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 V2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the E-M5, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 V2 features an one-inch sensor and the Olympus E-M5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M5 is 94 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 2.0. The sensor in the V2 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-M5 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 15.9MP, the E-M5 offers a higher resolution than the V2 (14.2MP), but the E-M5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 2.86μm for the V2) due to its larger sensor. However, the V2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the E-M5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
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 Olympus OM-D E-M5 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-M5 offers substantially better image quality than the V2 (overall score 21 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.6 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|2.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|3.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|5.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|6.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|7.||Nikon 1 V1||1-inch||10.0||3872||2592||1080/60i||21.3||11||346||54|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|9.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|10.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|11.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|12.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|13.||Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|14.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|15.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the V2 provides a higher frame rate than the E-M5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The V2 and the E-M5 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 1440k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon 1 V2 and Olympus E-M5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon 1 V1||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|9.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The V2 has one, while the E-M5 does not. While the built-in flash of the V2 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the V2 and the E-M5 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Olympus OM-D E-M5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Nikon 1 V1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the E-M5 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 E-M5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-M5 was replaced by the Olympus E-M5 II, 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 and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon 1 V2 better than the Olympus E-M5 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon 1 V2:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 610k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (15 vs 9 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 122x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 147g or 35 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the E-M5).
Advantages of the Olympus OM-D E-M5:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (21 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1 stops ISO advantage).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 310) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (11 points each). 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Olympus E-M5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the V2 or the E-M5 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|2.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|3.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|4.||Fujifilm X-M1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|5.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|6.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|7.||Nikon 1 V1||..||+||69/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||799|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||..||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|9.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|10.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|11.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|12.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|13.||Panasonic GX7||4/5||+||79/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|14.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|15.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|16.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Nikon 1 V2 vs Olympus E-M5
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||Olympus E-M5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2012||February 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Olympus E-M5|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3072 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.86 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||12.19 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||50||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.2||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||403||826|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Olympus E-M5|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||610k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Olympus E-M5|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||15 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 V2||Olympus E-M5|
|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||Olympus E-M5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||310 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
109 x 82 x 46 mm
(4.3 x 3.2 x 1.8 in)
122 x 89 x 43 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||278 g (9.8 oz)||425 g (15.0 oz)|
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