Nikon 1 Ducks in Flight

While going through some old files I found some Nikon 1 ducks in flight images from almost 3 years ago that I had not processed. So, I spent a bit of time going back through these photographs and processing them so I could share them with readers… and let my mind wander a bit.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 204 mm, efov 551 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-360, cropped to 3540 pixels on the width

At a time when many photographers seem fixated on sensor size and the number of pixels that their cameras have, it is easy to forget that our camera gear is only a means to an end. Every piece of camera gear comes with its own advantages and challenges.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 204 mm, efov 551 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-200, cropped to 3380 pixels on the width

When it comes to bird photography what is most important for many of us is being able to capture some interesting moments, and having a lot of fun doing so.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 204 mm, efov 551 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-360, cropped to 3840 pixels on the width

It is certainly true that many advancements have been made with camera and lens technology. And, some of it makes it very tempting to open up our wallets.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 204 mm, efov 551 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-200, cropped to 3504 pixels on the width

I used my Nikon 1 kit exclusively for four years for both my client work and personal needs before I bought some new camera gear. And I’ve never regretted that decision to open my wallet.

Even though there is a new ‘wow’ camera on the horizon I doubt that I will be tempted in the least to open up my wallet again any time soon. I love what I own and plan to use it for many years to come.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 186 mm, efov 502 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-280, cropped to 3114 pixels on the width

After almost 3 years I’m still learning how to use my “new” camera gear effectively. Perhaps I’m a slow learner… I do have an old, porous brain. 🙂 Or maybe I just love pushing myself and my gear to see what will happen. As was the case with my Nikon 1 kit, I am often surprised with the results, especially when online pundits claim certain outcomes are not possible.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 186 mm, efov 502 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-320, cropped to 3081 pixels on the width

No doubt there are many features and technologies that can add dimensions to our photography. The key is being willing to take the time to learn how to use those features and technologies fully. Over the years I’ve observed many folks spending a lot of money moving from one new system to another before they’ve fully explored what they currently own.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 186 mm, efov 502 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-400, cropped to 3469 pixels on the width

There is a major camera industry event scheduled this month and no doubt a lot of new equipment will be launched with a great amount of fanfare and hype.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 178 mm, efov 481 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-320, cropped to 3590 pixels on the width

The goal of much of that marketing is to sow the seeds of discontentment in what we currently own. A fundamental question we can ask ourselves is whether our money will be well spent with new gear.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 178 mm, efov 481 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-640, cropped to 3630 pixels on the width

Or, would it be better to spend some of our hard earned cash on other types of imaging experiences like photography related travel adventures?

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 183 mm, efov 494 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-450, cropped to 4123 pixels on the width

Each of us has our own photographic priorities and passions. The gear that we use should always make a positive contribution towards them… not get in the way.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 183 mm, efov 494 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-360, cropped to 3758 pixels on the width

Buying new gear can give us a rush of excitement. Unfortunately that can soon fade when the credit card bill arrives. Or, if we discover that the new bells and whistles on that new gear haven’t magically made us better photographers.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 183 mm, efov 494 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-400, cropped to 3840 pixels on the width

Some of us derive pleasure and satisfaction from owning the latest camera gear… whether we actually use it very much or not. Those are personal choices that each of us make. As long as we get what we want from our camera gear investments it doesn’t really matter. It all boils down to understanding ourselves and our personal motivations.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 261 mm, efov 705 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-720, cropped to 3872 pixels on the width

Those of us who love photography may be addicted to capturing those special moments when we’ve been at the right place… at the right time… with the right gear for our needs.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 261 mm, efov 705 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-640, cropped to 4808 pixels on the width

Capturing special moments before they slip away is at the heart of our photographic passions. They are wonderful moments that we can relive every time we view some of our images. Like these Nikon 1 ducks in flight images from 2019.

Technical Note:

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.  Crops are indicated. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,131 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

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14 thoughts on “Nikon 1 Ducks in Flight”

    1. Hi Felix,

      Companies need to make decisions that are sometimes difficult… and those decisions can be disappointing. For those of us who love the Nikon 1 system there still is availability of used equipment. That may not be what we had hoped for, but sometimes life just is what it is.

      Tom

  1. Lets just leave the money behind and concentrate on image quality. I just bought a used Nikon D70 after looking my earlier works as a rodeo photographer and find that the Fuji S1 and the Nikon D70 gave excellent results. And I have have it all!
    Including the Nikon V3 and loving it! The Oly 1DMKII isn’t a slouch either.

    1. Good to read that you’ve found gear that meets your needs Sandor. As you comment points out, older cameras can still get the job done depending on a photographer’s needs.

      Tom

  2. It is amazing that Nikon canned that camera …it was so far ahead of its time. The autofocus must have been very advanced to grab and hold those ducks with all that clutter in the background. It probably was better than Nikon’s DSLRs when it came out. The system definitely served you well and I have always enjoyed and marvelled at the images you have captured with it.

    1. Hi Glen,

      I think if Nikon would have brought out an updated V-Series camera with the J5’s 20.8 MP BSI sensor, with an integrated grip and EVF like the V2, the product line would have survived. At the end of the day it was likely the sensor size that many photographers could not overcome in their minds. Nikon 1 was underestimated by many photographers. C’est la vie!

      Tom

      1. Tom, your Nikon 1 dream camera, and mine, would have been a superb tool. It was maddening that Nikon had all the features spread over the different cameras. I tried a V3, but wasn’t convinced that the accessory EVF was durable. I try not to be hard on equipment, but things happen. The image quality of the J5 sensor was great. The whole thing was such a tease to those of use with big Nikon 1 system lens sets. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive Nikon for not figuring that out. It’s like they make cameras, but they aren’t photographers. I’d buy an Olympus system, but can’t justify building another set of lenses on top of my full frame system, as much as I’d like to. I can’t give up the full frame system for all the really extreme lenses like a 24 tilt shift, the 300 2.8. and reliable image quality at iso 3200 without multistep post processing. I believe the Olympus or OM system is probably capable of most of that, and in many ways has some unique capabilities, but the transition costs would be astronomical. I’m better off with a system I can work quickly and accurately, in full manual, by muscle memory. So as the point of your article suggests I’m digging in and making sure I’m getting the most out of the equipment I do own.

        1. Hi Simon,

          I agree that changing a complete camera system can be an expensive proposition. I was very fortunate when I sold my D800 and all of my Nikkor F-Mount lenses back in July 2015 as I was able to recoup most of my original investment.

          Before I invested in my Olympus kit I had the opportunity to participate in the Olympus Pro Loaner program (I have no idea if OM System offers this program). This allowed me to use some Olympus gear for almost two months to assess its functionality etc. which made the purchase decision much easier for me. If the rumors about the new OM System ‘wow’ camera that is to be launched next week are true, it will have a 20 MP stacked BSI sensor that supposedly will deliver 2 more stops of dynamic range. That will put it close to full frame performance in terms of dynamic range and may alleviate some image quality concerns that some photographers may have with the system.

          When I was using full frame gear I didn’t want the size/weight and cost of f/2.8 zooms so I used the f/4 versions and a number of primes. From a business standpoint it made sense, but it did limit functionality somewhat. When we planned our Olympus kit we were able to move to M.Zuiko PRO f/2.8 zooms (7-14, 12-40, 40-150) for considerably less money and much less weight than full frame f/2.8 zoom equivalents. Obviously this expanded in-field capability to a good degree.

          Some lenses like the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 f/2.8 are simply unmatched. It is one of the more pricey M.Zuiko lenses but one has to ask oneself “Compared to what?”. The lens lists for $2000 in Canada and only weighs 760/880 grams without/with tripod collar. A Nikkor Z 70-200 f/2.8 costs $3,400 and weighs 1360 grams… and provides 100 mm less efov. To get the focal length coverage provided by the M.Zuiko 40-150 f/2.8 I’d need to buy 2 full frame zoom lenses (or one zoom and a 300 mm f/2.8 prime) that would weigh considerably more and cost at least 5 times more in total than the M.Zuiko Pro 40-150 f/2.8. At the end of the day the quality and cost of the M.Zuiko PRO lenses made moving to the Olympus system a no-brainer for us.

          Like you, we plan to get the most out of the current equipment we own, and I don’t anticipate buying any additional camera gear for the next decade… perhaps even longer.

          Tom

          1. The Olympus 40-150 does look like a game changer. I’m often doing speakers at 1/125 at F/2.8 at 3200. It’s marginal for subject motion blur at those settings. Sometimes I switch to a 135mm F/2 for higher shutter speeds. I can’t give up the 3200. I’ve been able to borrow Canon gear, but only for a week at a time. It’s not really enough time, hence borrowing cameras 3 times, and paying for it some of the time. I guess I’m just used to the weight at this point. That being said one of my favorite full frame lenses is the Canon 24-70 F/4 IS. Small, light, sharp, stabilized. When people aren’t moving it’s a fantastic lens.

            1. Hi Simon,

              Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your comment drives home the importance of using the right tool for the job. While I don’t use primes very often (I only own two… 60 mm f/2.8 macro and PRO 45 mm f/1.2) I am aware of some Olympus photographers who do a lot of event/people work. A number of them really like the M.Zuiko 75 mm f/1.8 for the situation you mentioned in your comment. That lens has never been of interest to me, but to shoot at f/1.8, efov 150 mm with a lens that weighs 305 grams could be an interesting proposition for some folks.

              Tom

          2. I’ll stop wining soon. I often felt, especially with the J5 and no viewfinder, that I got the picture in spite of the camera. I was never so happy as the day I said I was done with that tease of a camera and decided to sell the system. I’ve put the funds into specialty lenses for my full frame system and never looked back. I value the pictures I have from the Nikon 1 system, but I would never want it back.

            1. Hi Simon,

              Sharing experiences is important… never whining. Selling gear that no longer meets our needs, and reinvesting the proceeds is a good economic decision. I’ve probably hung on to some of my gear longer than it made economic sense.

              Tom

  3. Your point about learning everything about your current gear is so important. I recently borrowed a new mirrorless camera of the same brand as my current SLR gear. I spend hours configuring it to how I wanted to use it. It was my third time borrowing one to evaluate it for a week. Like all cameras today they have incredible features and are very complex to configure. What works for one person may not work for another. After a week I definitely decided not to ever buy one. The controls were uncomfortable in general and impossible to operate in proper winter mittens, unlike my current cameras. I did, however, make a discovery that I could improve the settings of my current cameras. There was a display setting for the electronic level that I had neglected to make available to myself in my current camera, that was common to both the old and the new cameras. I’m now even happier with my older, but very capable SLR’s. Nothing against mirrorless, I can use my SLR in a mirrorless mode via the back screen, and for what I do it’s superb.

    1. Hi Simon,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your experiences trying out some gear before making a decision to purchase it. I can relate to your discovery that controls/ergonomics of a camera can be problematic. I have large hands and I found that the E-M1 Mark II (or the Mark III my wife uses) isn’t comfortable for me when compared to the E-M1X. This is especially true when using the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 or M.Zuiko 100-400 lenses. The smaller bodies that do not have an integrated grip cause cramps in my forearm within a couple of minutes of use. The size of a sensor that a camera may have, or the number of megapixels, are mute points if the camera isn’t comfortable and efficient to use.

      Tom

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