Nikon unveils DSLR-like Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless camera

A day before PhotoPlus Expo kicks off in New York, Nikon announced its second-generation mirrorless camera with a built-in eye-level electronic viewfinder (EVF). The Nikon 1 V2 has a different body style from its predecessor, last year's Nikon 1 V1, as well as a new sensor, a new image processor, and several new in-camera features.

The Nikon 1 V2's sensor is the same size as the one in previous Nikon 1 cameras—a 1-inch-type CMOS sensor that measures 13.2mm by 8.8mm—but it's a higher-resolution 14.2-megapixel version instead of the 10-megapixel sensor found in earlier Nikon 1 cameras. The V2 also looks a lot more like a shrunken-down DSLR than the previous Nikon 1 cameras, with a sizable hand grip on the front of its magnesium-alloy frame.

Like the V1, the V2 has a built-in 1.4-million-dot eye-level EVF plus a 3-inch-diagonal LCD on the back. In addition to a built-in pop-up flash, the camera also has a hot shoe that accepts external Speedlight flashes. ISO settings range from 160 to 6400, and the camera provides an automated two-shot HDR (high dynamic range) setting.

In particular, Nikon is touting the new camera's autofocus speeds, as the V2 offers a combination of contrast- and phase-detection systems on the image sensor itself. Compared with previous Nikon 1 cameras, the V2's continuous shooting speed at full resolution is faster at 15 frames per second with continuous autofocus enabled, and its burst mode ramps up to 60 fps with focus locked at the first frame in the sequence. The V2 also has a new "Slow View" feature, which buffers 40 full-resolution photos and slows down playback so that you can more easily select the individual frames you want to save.

The Nikon 1 V2's control scheme is different from those of previous cameras in the series, too: This is the first Nikon 1 series model with a physical mode dial on the top, which should provide fast access to the camera's manual, shutter-priority, aperture-priority, and program Auto modes.

In addition, the back of the camera features a command-input dial like the one found on Nikon's DSLRs, as well as a Function button (for accessing in-camera features) and a dedicated movie-record button. While shooting 1080p/30-fps or 720p/60-fps movies, the V2 supports manual exposure adjustments (and the use of aperture- and shutter-priority modes).

The Nikon 1 V2 is compatible with existing Nikon 1 lenses, as well as with Nikkor F-mount lenses via the $200 FT-1 adapter. Although the V2 doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi, it is compatible with the WU-1b wireless mobile adapter ($60) announced earlier this year.

The new camera will be available in two kit configurations starting in November: with a 10-30mm zoom lens (the focal length multiplier is 2.7X) for $900, and in a two-lens kit (with the 10-30mm zoom lens and a 30-100mm zoom lens) for $1150. For the body only, the Nikon 1 V2 will be priced at $800.

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