The Nikon 1V3

Throughout the PanAm Games I had, as my constant companion, a Nikon 1 V3 mirrorless camera along with a 10-30mm lens and FT1 lens adaptor, courtesy of Nikon Canada. This camera boasts an 18megapixel 1″-type sensor with no AA filter (offering a multiplication factor of 2.7 for your regular DSLR lenses, but more on that later. It can blast through images at 20 FPS, captures 1080/60p video, and features wi-fi connectivity through an IOS or Android Ap.

Nikon 1 V3How did I find it – in short absolutely incredible – by far the best small lightweight camera I have ever handled.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

  • 18.4MP  CMOS sensor
  • 20 fps with continuous AF and subject tracking
  • NEF Raw and JPEG file capture
  • 3″ tilting touchscreen with 1.04M dots
  • 1080/60p video capture
  • Wi-Fi connectivity with IOS and Android smartphone connection

HANDLING

In Canada the camera is delivered with the additional grip and the electronic viewfinder both of which aid the feel of a traditional DSLR.

Without even referring to the instructions manual the controls on this camera will be instantly familiar to any Nikon DSLR user.  The same as any DSLR the camera offers all the conventional shooting modes, programmed auto, aperture and shutter priority, as well as metered manual.

As a DSLR user I always find it difficult to compose my images using the LCD screen on the back of a compact camera. With the 1 V3 you have the option of using the supplied electronic viewfinder, which I never took off the camera. I had no trouble composing my images on the electronic finder, although viewing an electronic version of your subject material takes a bit of getting used to

AUTOFOCUS

The Nikon 1 V3 has a hybrid auto-focus system that combines 171-point contrast- and 105-point phase-difference detection systems. The Nikon 1 V3 to focus extremely quickly in good light, even on a moving subject. As the light levels drop, the camera switches to contrast-detect AF which, which is not a fast as contrast method but still fast enough for every situationI encountered. The camera that decides which AF method to use – the photographer has no influence on this.

Shooting sequences, even in 20 FPS mode, resulted in almost every frame being pin-sharp, impressive stuff!

SPEED

As a sports photographer I thought great, 20 FPS and quickly switched to this mode. I just as quickly switched back to single shot mode for all but real action situations as I realized I was shooting 15-20 almost identical images of fairly static subjects. Even though I have got my workflow tuned to a fine art I still don’t want to look at dozens of essentially identical shots!

IMAGES

Of course, the proof of the pudding for any camera is the quality of the images it captures. Here I was far from disappointed. Shooting with both the Nikon1 10-30mm lens and using the adaptor with a range of DSLR lenses produced spectacular results.

8 August 2015: TO2015 Panam Games, Cycle road race, William Lachenauer (USA) competes in the H3-M cycle road race, Ontario Place
8 August 2015: TO2015 Panam Games, Cycle road race, William Lachenauer (USA) competes in the H3-M cycle road race, Ontario Place

 

Nikon 1 V3, 10-30mm lens 1/500th @ f5.6 400 ISO, aperture priority automatic

Parapan Am Powerlifting, Mississauga Sports Centre, Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games: Photo Peter Llewellyn
Parapan Am Powerlifting, Mississauga Sports Centre, Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games: Photo Peter Llewellyn

Nikon 1 V3, FT1 Adaptor, 24-70 f2.8 lens 1/350th @ f4 1600 ISO, aperture priority automatic

8 August 2015: TO2015 Panam Games, Track Cycling - Mens Individual Pursuit C1-3, Todd Key (USA), Milton Velodrome, Milton, Ontar
8 August 2015: TO2015 Panam Games, Track Cycling – Mens Individual Pursuit C1-3, Todd Key (USA), Milton Velodrome, Milton, Ontario – Photo Peter Llewellyn

Nikon 1 V3, 10-30mm lens 1/1000th @ f2.8 1600 ISO, aperture priority automatic

The FT1 adapter provides some really unique shooting opportunities. Mounting a super telephoto and the 2.7 multiplication factor results in one monster lens. Take for example the image below shot with a the V1 and a 500mm f4 a windsurfer competitor. That’s a 1350mm f4 lens – this shot was taken from approximately 500 meters away!

PL_20150718_0824027

Nikon 1 V3 plus FT-1 adapter, Nikon 500 mm f4 lens 1/1600th @ f5, 400 ISO, aperture priority automatic mounted on Gitzo tripod with Wimberley head.

Close ups are also a joy to shoot with the extremely close focusing distance of the supplied 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 zoom of only 0.7ft (0.2m)

Close-up of strawberries - St Lawrence Market, Toronto
Close-up of strawberries – St Lawrence Market, Toronto

Nikon 1 V3, 10-30mm lens 1/120th @ f5.6 400 ISO, aperture priority automatic

Overall, this is the the small camera I have been searching for. It offers unparalleled versatility, is light to carry everywhere you go, and produces professional quality images.

WIRELESS CAPABILITY

One feature I loved about this camera was it’s built-in wireless capability allowing me to transmit images across to my iPhone using the free Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility ap, the images appearing almost instantly in my photo library. Perhaps this is the answer to me doing more with Instagram!

My verdict – highly recommended.

Time to re-activate

Ok, I know, this blog has been pretty stagnant over the past 12 months. A little thing called the PanAm Games and my role in making it the best PanAm’s for photographers kind of got in the way.

Well, I am officially no longer the Photo Chief for the Games, the Parapan’s finished a week ago and I am back, for the time being, to just a sports photographer. What does the future hold? I really have no idea. For the immediate future I am shooting Blue Jays (here’s hoping they make the playoffs and extend the season) Baseball and other sports for some major national and international clients and will be doing some other shooting work in the coming weeks. I am also currently working on a new range of workshops – more on that soon.

14 August 2015: TO2015 Parapanam Games, Wheelchair Rugby Gold medal match Canada v USA, Mississauga Sports Centre. Mike Whitehead (8) (CAN) with the ball takes a fall as he is tackled by Josh Wheeler (10) (USA): Photo Peter Llewellyn
14 August 2015: TO2015 Parapanam Games, Wheelchair Rugby Gold medal match Canada v USA, Mississauga Sports Centre. Mike Whitehead (8) (CAN) with the ball takes a fall as he is tackled by Josh Wheeler (10) (USA): Photo Peter Llewellyn

Nikon D4s, 300mm f2.8 IF-ED lens, 1/2500th @ f3.5, ISO 6400 – hand held

As for the Games – from the press perspective it was a great success. I had an amazing team of venue photo managers who worked ridiculously long hours, under sometimes trying circumstances, to provide the photographers with the best possible photographic opportunities – a task that they pulled off with spectacular success.

Parapan Am closing ceremony fireworks, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games: Photo Peter Llewellyn
Parapan Am closing ceremony fireworks, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games: Photo Peter Llewellyn

Nikon 1 V3, 10-30mm zoom, lens at 10mm, 1/25th at f3.5 @ISO 1600, hand held

Coming soon to this blog:

  • Shooting with the Nikon 1 V3 – This spectacular little camera was my constant companion during the PanAm Games. See my review of it’s performance.
  • Review of the new Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR for the start of the NHL (Ice Hockey for non North Americans) season
  • Details of a new range of workshops to start in fall 2015

Please also check out the main web site at https://peterllewellyn.com where many new images will be filed over the next week.

As you might gather from the above it is my intention to stay in Toronto, at least for a while. There are a number of things I am working on that might dictate where and what I will be doing next, all will be revealed in due course.

Sandisk Imagemate card reader

 

imagemateToday’s post was supposed to be about photographing the World Women’s Team Squash Championships at Niagara on the Lake, about 130k from Toronto. I had gone there specifically to see the all glass show court which is the same one that will be used  in next years PanAm Games in Toronto and also made a side trip to the Welland Canoe course where the canoe sprints would take place.

So this evening I popped a brand new 32GB Sandisk Extreme Pro card into my also brand new Sandisk Imagemate USB3 card reader. The card reader flashed for a few seconds but no card appeared on the computer desktop. Tried again – same result. Tried my Lexard card reader, nothing, not even a flicker of life from the card. I put the card back in the camera – it’s unreadable. After a quick Google Search I discovered a potential problem, bent pins in the Sandisk Imagemate reader and there it was, one of the end pins bent in.

This is a common problem with this reader as evidenced by the number of pages dedicated to this on the internet. The design of this card reader is, quite frankly, appalling. The card only goes into the slot a very short way, therefore it encounters the pins almost immediately and it is almost impossible to insert the card squarely, result, bent pins. What’s worse is that the bent pins corrupt the card rendering it totally useless. It now won’t mount onto the desktop so I can’t even run any data recovery software to try and save the images. What a wasted day!

The card now can’t be read or formatted by the camera so it’s going to have to be replaced – I’ll let you know how that goes. As for the card reader itself, I have only one piece of advise – DON’T BUY THE SANDISK IMAGEMATE ALL-IN-ONE USB 3.0 CARD READER

If you need a new card reader I highly recommend the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 dual slot reader, a much better reader all around.

Testing Times

The series of test events for the 2015 Pan Am Games is now well underway and will continue throughout the run up period to the Games. Unfortunately many of these events are not taking place at their Games time venues so unlike London I will not be attending all of them.

This last week has seen two tests taking place, first the World Racquetball Championships, took place at Burlington. Racquetball and squash are two Pan Am sports that are not in the Olympic Program so I went along for a quick look to help me with placing the photographers who will work thee sports next year. Racquetball is a notoriously difficult sport to photograph at the best of times and the courts at Burlington were not too media friendly. There was very little room and being only glass backed do not present a wealth of photo opportunities. At the Games the show court will be all glass which will hopefully ope up more flexibility and enable photographers to get better shots. The main problem with a court that is only glass backed is that for 90% of the time the players have their backs to you so you have to watch for the fleeting instances when one or both players turn to face the rear wall.

June 21, 2014; World Racquetball Championships, Burlington Ontario, Canada, Womens final, Paola Longoria (MEX) v Rhonda Rajsich (USA), won by Paolo Longoria. Photo Peter Llewellyn
June 21, 2014; World Racquetball Championships, Burlington Ontario, Canada, Womens final, Paola Longoria (MEX) v Rhonda Rajsich (USA), won by Paolo Longoria. Photo Peter Llewellyn

Nikon D3s, Nikon 24 – 70 f2.8 lens at 60mm, 1/1000th @ f2.8 (set manually), ISO 2500

As you can tell from the relatively high ISO of 2500 the light was far from ideal, hoping for better than this next year!

All last week also saw another World Championship taking place, this time the World Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Championships at Ryerson University Sport Centre, which is home to the basketball for the Pan Am Games. Make no mistake about it, despite being in wheelchairs these girls are true athletes and great competitors in their own right. This time working conditions were great, plenty of room to work around the court, excellent lighting and, for those attending next year, a great catwalk to set up remotes. I didn’t have time to set up any overhead remotes ton this occasion but photographers should be able to make great shots here.

June 23, 2014; World Women's Wheelchair Basketball Championships, Mattamy Athletic Centre, Toronto Ontario, Canada, Brazil v Japan - Perla Dos Santos Assuncao (BRA) with ball  - Photo: Peter Llewellyn
June 23, 2014; World Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Championships, Mattamy Athletic Centre, Toronto Ontario, Canada, Brazil v Japan – Perla Dos Santos Assuncao (BRA) with ball – Photo: Peter Llewellyn

Nikon D3s, Nikon 200 – 400 f4 lens at 400mm, 1/640th @ f4 (set manually), ISO 1600

Wen shooting from the end of the court I consistently found myself using one of two lenses – when the attack was at the far end of the court I grabbed the 200 – 400 f4 zoom on a Gitzo Monopod and when the attack was closest to me the 70 – 200mm f2.8.  Other than a few wider shots with the 24- 70 f2.8 these  two lenses were used for 90% of everything I shot at courtside.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 23rd June, 2014. World Women's Wheelchair Basketball Championships, Mattamy Athletic Centre, Toronto Ontario, Canada, Great Britain v China - Helen Freeman (GBR) shoots between Haizhen Cheng and Yun Long (CHN) © Peter Llewellyn/Alamy Live News
Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 23rd June, 2014. World Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Championships, Mattamy Athletic Centre, Toronto Ontario, Canada, Great Britain v China – Helen Freeman (GBR) shoots between Haizhen Cheng and Yun Long (CHN) © Peter Llewellyn/Alamy Live News

Nikon D3s, Nikon 70 – 200 f2.8 lens at 140mm, 1/800th @ f3.2 (set manually), ISO 1600

Note how in this image I have elected to open the aperture a little more to push the shutter speed a little higher. This is because the 200-400 was supported on a monopod but I am hand holding the 70 – 200 so want to absolutely eliminate camera shake. Remember more images are ruined because you don’t select a high enough shutter speed when hand holding to eliminate camera shake that any other cause!

Watch out for some important news about my sports photography coming in the next few days.

 

 

One month in Toronto

Well it’s now been a month since I arrived in Toronto and finally the weather has started to improve. Got to take a walk around my new neighborhood this morning with just a sweater and no jacket!

I have now moved into my permanent residence here, a loft in the St. Lawrence district of the city – vry dynamic area with lots going on and just a short walk to the office.

Tromp d'oile, Flatiron building Front Street Toronto
Tromp d’oeil, Flatiron building Front Street Toronto

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens, 1/1000th sec @ f5.6 ISO 200, hand held

Tomorrow I am flying back to British Columbia to collect Jean, the dogs and the rest of my ‘stuff’ then heading back on the long cross-country drive to Toronto – probably a five day road trip.

St. Lawrence Market, Toronto
St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens, 1/200th sec @ f11 ISO 200, hand held

I m very close to the famous St. Lawrence Market, reputedly (by National Geographic no less) to be one of the finest fruit, vegetable, meat, fish and cheese markets in the world. I can see my wife Jean spending a fair bit of time in there!

Toronto is a curious mixture of some of the oldest building in Canada, the East coast being the first area settled and a frantic rush to build another Manhattan type skyline with new buildings being erected everywhere one looks. In fact the PanAm Games themselves are creating a series of new building projects to aid in hosting what will be the biggest multi-sport event ever seen in Canada. In terms of numbers of sports a,d competitors, the PanAms are considerably larger than the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but more of that to come in future posts.

Street car passing St James' Cathedral
Street car passing St James’ Cathedral

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens, 1/1250th sec @ f5.6 ISO 200, hand held

St. James Cathedral has a dog walking park around it so this will be a regular walk each morning before heading to the office. St James is the site of the oldest church in Toronto, the original wooden building having been erected here in 1803, still a far cry from the medieval churches of Europe.

Melanized Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), St James' Cathedral Grounds
Melanized Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), St James’ Cathedral Grounds

Nikon D3, Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 lens at 200mm, 1/400th sec @ f2.8 ISO 320, hand held

Toronto’s parks are full of Gray Squirrels the majority of them a generally unusual black variation (hence the melanized in the name). Now spring is here they are busy digging up their store of nuts.

 

 

PanAm Games, Photo Manager

It’s been 18 months since I completed my stint as the Deputy Photo Manager at the London 2012 Olympics, and since then I have continued to run a few workshops, and shot a few commissions here and there.

The time has come to get back into Photo Management and so I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed as the Photo Services Manager for the PanAmerican Games in Toronto which will take place from July 10 – 26 2015, followed by the Parapan Games August 7 – 15.

Ice skating on natural rink, Harbourside, Toronto , Ontario, Canada
Ice skating on natural rink, Harbourside, Toronto , Ontario, Canada

Nikon D3s, Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens at 24mm, 1/1250 @ f8, aperture priority automatic set to -1/3

I will again be posting regular updates to the sports venues with relevant photo information, attending the test events and providing background information.

I am now based in Toronto where the highest temperature since arriving has been -11 and the lowest down at -19, the lowest consistent March temperatures in many years. Just my luck.

Toronto Island ferry breaks through ice, Lake Ontario, Toronto , Ontario, Canada
Toronto Island ferry breaks through ice, Lake Ontario, Toronto , Ontario, Canada

This one is specially for my friends on Gabriola Island. At least there we don’t have to break the ice to get the ferry to run. Today was the 81st consecutive day the icebreaker had to break a route to the island – a record.