Couple of Hours with an Old Friend

Between client assignments, eBook projects and field testing some Olympus Loaner Gear, I haven’t had much time lately to use my Nikon 1 kit for bird photography. On Wednesday morning I spent a couple of hours with an old friend… the Nikon 1 V3 equipped with a 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 229 mm, efov 618.3 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-280

It was a wonderful experience to go out again with my Nikon 1 gear to photograph some birds at Hendrie Valley. I’ve always loved the compact performance that the system offers.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1000

For a camera that was introduced about 5 years ago it is amazing how well the Nikon 1 V3 still performs today. The continuous auto-focus is fast and accurate… and very few cameras even now can match the V3’s incredible frame rates.

I have a real feeling of confidence when I photograph birds-in-flight with my Nikon 1 gear. I know that the AF-C will grab focus on a subject bird and produce a nice run of images… like this tern’s mid-air shake.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1000
Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1000
Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1000
Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-900

Especially in good light, the Nikon 1 V3 (and V2) are great cameras to use for birds-in-flight. There hasn’t been any other interchangeable lens camera system developed that was so lightweight, compact and competent as Nikon 1.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-220
Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-560
Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-560

As soon as I extended the barrel of my 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm zoom a flood of very positive memories came rushing back. That’s one of the great things about photography. The memories of special photographs we’ve captured in the past never seem to fade away.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 272 mm, efov 734.4 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-560
Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 250 mm, efov 675 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-450
Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 234 mm, efov 631.8 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-500

Since the Nikon 1 system was discontinued last year I’ve read significantly more positive comments about it. And oddly, I’ve had a lot more people contact me to ask about Nikon 1.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 272 mm, efov 734.4 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-280

It’s as if a lot of photographers only recently discovered the Nikon 1 concept. That’s too bad… if they would have understood the system’s capabilities sooner maybe it would still be in production.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 280 mm, efov 756 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-280

Spending a couple of hours with an old friend was certainly enjoyable! And… something that I intend on doing more frequently in the future as my work schedule clears.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1000

Being small, fast and efficient will always be a compelling and intriguing set of attributes.

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All of the photographs displayed in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

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14 thoughts on “Couple of Hours with an Old Friend”

  1. I love, love, love my Nikon 1 V3! Your picture always inspire me to go out and practice my birds-in-flight skills. I appreciate and learn from your beautiful pictures and technical data. Thanks so much. –Kathleen

  2. Hi Tom
    Your photos using either equipment demonstrate your ability. Both, Olympus and Nikon, produce excellent images of birds even in erratic motion . That’s an excellent achievement. I am definitely leaning towards the Nikon 1 solution for reasons of portability. That 4k video demands a less portable equipment is Nikon’s fault.
    However, an excellent HD video is in my own experience a very good solution. Let us not forget, that high quality HD video is superior to 16mm motion pictures using photographic emulsions, both for spatial and temporal resolution.
    I am experienced as a former filmer with Bolex H16 Reflex equipment.
    What people tend to overlook: alias (moiré) free HD video is often superior to 4k with artefacts. My experience with video from Nikon cameras (V3, J5 and in particular D810) is that video with very few artefacts is easy to achieve.
    Also, a very well stabilized camera is required. I am using a 3 axis gimbal for this purpose. This avoids motion artefacts that are generated by sensor based stabilization, where parallax caused effects often show up.
    In short: I am very happy with my present Nikon equipment for photography and video.


    1. Hi Rudolf,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and adding to the discussion! I’ve been using a trio of Nikon 1 V2’s for my video projects exclusively for the past four years. These little cameras have performed incredibly well for my specific needs. I don’t recall ever having a moiré issue when using a Nikon 1 V2. I agree that when it comes to portability the Nikon 1 system is a good choice. That’s why I have no intention of selling my Nikon 1 gear.

      I’m still in the evaluation stage with the Olympus OM-D E-M1X… but so far the camera has been performing well.


  3. Tom,

    Love the images, most especially the tern’s mid-air shake. Your post got my attention due to two points: firstly – that you refer to your Nikon 1 system as an old friend (Dunno if I’m right but I think the old school set, me included, seems to have a more intimate relationship with their cameras/lenses; in fact, I call my camera bodies by their names LOL).

    Secondly, with a wistful tone, you state that it seems people have expressed a deeper interest in the Nikon 1 system a tad late. I must admit I belong to this group but not because I was late to get into the wagon, so to speak, but because Nikon had almost nil availability of the Nikon 1 lenses where I live. I’ve always had this hunch it could’ve been a perfect companion for a hiker like me who has gone back from full frame to a more compact body and lenses combo and stay in the Nikon family. Sadly, it was not to be.

    I’ve heard the rumor that Nikon (and Canon) may launch a sub $1000 mirrorless offering later this year but having completely switched to Sony, it would be costly to make a shift again to another ecosystem.


    1. Hi Oggie,

      🙂 I don’t know if it is my advancing age or not, but I do seem to have a more intimate relationship with my camera gear than younger photographers that I meet. I don’t like to generalize, but some younger folks seems to treat their camera gear like their cell phones, i.e. wanting the latest technology for technology’s sake. As a result they seem to go from one system, or model, rather quickly.

      Finding a camera that fits our individual photography style sounds easy when you say it fast… but is more challenging in real life. As is often said there is no such thing as a perfect camera. Everything comes with some kind of trade-off. The key is to find camera gear that fits our needs best, which also has the least amount of trade-offs.

      I do get a bit wistful about the demise of the Nikon 1 system… c’est la vie! I hope your Sony gear meets your needs and provides many years of enjoyment!


      1. one of my sons has a very superficial relationship with tech.
        he chases the “latest and greatest” without exploring and realizing the capabilities of the device he has in his hand. frankly I sometimes despair.

        coincidentally, I took a camera and lens combination into my wife’s garden yesterday. both date to 2011. I shot some blooms and butterflies, I never considered either to be particularly good equipment but after almost a decade of use the combination is almost a point and shoot experience.

        the images were surprisingly good and it was fun.

        1. Hi Craig,

          Thanks for adding to the discussion! I’m not surprised that your circa 2011 camera gear performed well. There hasn’t been that much improvement in sensor performance the past number of years. Using camera gear with which we are very familiar helps enable us to get the most out of it,


  4. #8 & 9 my favorite, so happy to see your BIF’s again with the V3-70-300cx. Had to send my 300cx in for repair, a rattle in the zoom, NPS said one week and 35,00 ¥, ouch, however it is my workhorse. More Nikon 1 photos please.

    1. Hi Jack,

      I’ve had one of my 1 Nikkor 70-300 zooms repaired three times for a ‘chatter’ at about 260 mm… not sure if it is a similar issue to what you have been experiencing. I hope the repair goes well.

      My field testing with the Olympus Loaner Gear will be finishing up within the next little while. You will be seeing more articles featuring Nikon 1 images in the future. Should I eventually decide to expand my kit to include some Olympus gear, you need not worry as my site would still have a good amount of new articles featuring Nikon 1 produced photographs.


      1. Thanks Tom,
        I think I will keep an eye out for a second 70-300cx. It’s too good of a lens to be without.
        Thanks for you ever lasting pursuit of excellence of the V1 system, it’s well worth it.

        1. Hi Jack,

          Owning a second 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm is something that many Nikon 1 owners do to help ‘future proof’ their system. I was able to purchase a second copy (a factory refurbished lens) directly from Nikon Canada. Sometimes timing is everything when trying to find additional Nikon 1 lenses. I hope you are successful with your search!


  5. Wow, number three – what a shake! I thought at first that the bird was flying upside down!

    Glad you got some time to enjoy this camera again. Wonderful photos!

    1. Hi Joni,

      The ‘shake’ images were 4 consecutive AF-C captures… it is always interesting to see how contorted the terns be can! It was very enjoyable to have time to shoot with my Nikon 1 gear.


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