I travel quite a bit for work. Of course, I want to bring a camera too. Bringing a large D-SLR kit into a customer site is not an option. I’d been watching the mirrorless revolution from the sidelines until I was able to get a great deal on a refurbished Olympus PEN E-PL1 in early 2011. I was intrigued by the size and format but not wowed. I used it off and on, more off actually, for about a year. (Since then the micro four-thirds format has exploded into arguably the most complete mirrorless system.)
Late that year Nikon announced their Nikon 1 mirrorless line. At that time I was a “Nikon-guy” and I was really disappointed that a smaller than micro two-thirds sensor was being utilized and dismissed the entire line.
Fast forward to the next summer and I had an opportunity to try a Nikon 1 V1. The more I used it, the more impressed I became. Not only that, there was something about it that made photography “fun” again. I purchased one and became the founder and moderator of a Nikon Mirrorless forum on Nikonites which lead to the creation of the Cameras Without Mirrors website. With the announcement and release of the third generation Nikon 1 V3, I was able to get a great deal on a closeout Nikon 1 V2.
After I let my wife use the V2 on a couple trips, she liked it so much that we wound up buying her a Nikon 1 J5. She is enjoying the 10-30 PD-Zoom with the integrated lens hood and the ability to transfer images to her smartphone via WiFi.
I used the V2 as a secondary camera for 2 1/2 years until recently replacing it with a Nikon 1 V3 as my secondary camera. We've also added a second Nikon 1 J5 which allows us to have a backup body during extended trips.
So what's in my mirrorless Nikon 1 camera bag? Below I’ll put a brief description of my hands-on experience with many of the Nikon 1 lenses in case you decide to join me on my Nikon 1 adventure.
1 NIKKOR VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6(~ 18-35mm in 35mm equivalent) - I love to shoot wide-angle images; especially landscape. Currently, this is the widest lens made for the Nikon 1 system. This may well be my favorite wide-angle lens ever! It is so incredibly sharp. I can’t imagine being happy with any Nikon 1 body without this lens. My initial impressions and sample images are posted on Nikonites.
1 NIKKOR 10mm f/2.8(~ 27mm in 35mm equivalent) - The smallest of the 1 Nikkor lens - sometimes called a "pancake" lens because of the width. One of the fastest lens available for the system. The size makes it ideal for travel. (I have sold this lens.)
1 NIKKOR VR 10-100mm f/4-5.6 (~ 27-270mm in 35mm equivalent) - My everyday lens on my V2. This is considered an all-in-one type lens due to the wide focal zoom. Not quite as sharp as the 30-110mm but the convenience is a fair trade off in my book. My initial impressions and sample images are posted on Nikonites.
1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 (~ 50mm in 35mm equivalent) - If you are going to only buy one additional lens to use with your Nikon 1 body, this is it. It exhibits the two qualities that traditionally make a 50mm equivalent lens the go-to option for any type of photography: fast and sharp. Reminds me of the old American Express commercial where the tag line was “don’t leave home without it”. My initial impressions and sample images are posted on Nikonites.
1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2(~ 85mm in 35mm equivalent) - This lens is nothing short of amazing. Nikon has always been known for incredible lens in the focal range typically used for portraits due to the pleasant background blur. The Nikon 1 version adds to the mystique. My initial impressions and sample images are posted on Nikonites. (I have sold this lens.)
1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6(~ 189-810mm in 35mm equivalent) - This lens is a game changer. It is hard to believe that it is even possible to create such an extreme focal length in a lens this small thus making it extremely popular with birders. My initial impressions and sample images are posted on Nikonites.
What do I usually carry with me? My normal mirrorless kit is the Nikon 6.7-13mm, 18.5mm and 10-100mm lenses along with my Nikon 1 V3. This kit covers a 35mm focal length equivalence of approximately 18-270mm, is lightweight and I’m able to bring it along during work travel. I’m very pleased.