Sample Nikon 1 V3 images of ducks in flight

This article features some sample images of ducks in flight captured hand-held with a Nikon 1 V3 and 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 246mm, efov 663mm, f/8, 1/3200, ISO-640

I recently purchased a Nikon 1 V3 to serve as my primary nature and birding camera body. Even though it’s been a bit hectic lately with work I’ve been trying to fit in some practice time photographing birds-in-flight.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 241mm, efov 663mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-900

Last week we were blessed with some nice sunny weather so I took a break and headed out to Grimsby Harbour and La Salle Park in Burlington to see if the birds would cooperate.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 291mm, efov 786mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-500

Even though I have been shooting with Nikon 1 gear for a number of years I’ve found it takes a bit of time to get used to how a different body performs.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 92mm, efov 249mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-450

When photographing birds-in-flight I typically shoot in Manual mode and let my ISO float by using Auto-ISO 160-3200. I’ve maintained this with my V3.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 246mm, efov 663mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-900

Like most photographers I capture birds-in-flight using AF-C with subject tracking.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 241mm, efov 649mm, f/8, 1/3200, ISO-640

Depending on the overall lighting I typically set my metering to either matrix or center-weighted. I still haven’t determined if one of these settings will end up being my favourite.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/3200, ISO-720

One recent change is that I only turn on the VR on my 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens when needed because of a slower shutter speed.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 165mm, efov 445mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-720

For birds-in-flight, even when shooting AF-C bursts, I keep the VR turned off as long as my shutter speed is at 1/1250 or higher. This means that the VR is virtually never on for birds-in-flight as I typically photograph these types of subjects at a minimum shutter speed of 1/1600.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-900

There are two reasons for my decision on the use of VR. The first is that I’m finding I get better framing control of my images with the VR turned off when shooting birds-in-flight.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 165mm, efov 445mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-1400

The second reason is that after two VR warranty repairs on my CX 70-300mm zoom I’ve decided to only use that feature when I actually need it.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-800

I’m at the point that I’m very comfortable using my newly acquired V3 for all of my still photography needs when it comes to nature and birding subjects.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 246mm, efov 663mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-900

I’m also using my V3 a bit more when shooting with extension tubes at slower shutter speeds. Having a third anchor point allows me to shoot at a little bit slower shutter speeds which does come in handy at times.

Technical Note:
All images were captured hand-held in available light using a Nikon 1 V3, 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR zoom len. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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6 thoughts on “Sample Nikon 1 V3 images of ducks in flight”

  1. 2 things. how does VR impact your framing control?
    one of the best features mo of V cameras is metering. matrix seems very well implemented. you use this setting for most of your photos? also interested in your earlier comment thatN1 output is much more usable than files created than when you tried MFT . in which ways was N1 superior iyo? I have not tried MFT yet. a friend of mine is trying to decide which format to go for. you think the difference might have been camera-specific, orsoley due to theMFTsystem. (you may have tried just one camera, I guess). I am ot into birding but your photos seem more than competent. you choose the ‘decisive moment’ or use burst modes? best wishes, Allan.

    1. Hi Allan,

      Thanks for your comment and questions…I will try to answer them as best I can.

      1) VR impact on framing. When using VR the image ‘floats’ in the frame while the lens is acquiring focus, after which it locks the subject in the frame and the photograph is captured. If a photographer does not wait for this ‘lock’ to occur the subject in the frame may be out of position from what the photographer intended. When shooting in AF-C bursts I find that subject positioning can ‘float’ more than I want and there is more variance in subject position in resulting frames.

      2) V-Series matrix metering. I agree that matrix metering on Nikon 1 cameras is very good. I use this metering most of the time when shooting landscapes and other still subjects. I use spot metering to deal with very difficult lighting, for example often when using extension tubes. Many nature photographers use center-weighted metering with birds-in-flight so I have been experimenting with this to see if I get better results. I have not decided on that yet.

      3) I cannot comment on M4/3 in general terms since I have only owned and used a Panasonic GH4. While this is an excellent camera for video use I found the RAW files to be very unpredictable and much harder to work with when compared with my Nikon 1 files. It was taking me 2 to 3 times longer to process a RAW file from the GH4 and I still didn’t much like the output I was getting. I also did not like the 4X3 format size especially for landscapes and when shooting stills for my poster business. I also found that the auto-focus with the GH4 wasn’t nearly as fast or accurate as my Nikon 1 bodies. I had two Panasonic ‘pro’ zooms, the 12-35mm f/2.8 and the 35-100mm f/2.8, the latter being an excellent lens. The 12-35mm f/2.8 was very prone to flares and just didn’t meet my needs. So, after 10 days of shooting with the GH4 and Panasonic lenses I returned all of it for a small restocking charge.

      4) Yes, I try my best to time my AF-C runs. I am currently working on a new article showing some full AF-C runs taken with my V3.


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