Nikon V1 small sensor, is it worth it? Before you buy the Nikon V1 or J1, consider reading the following. IMO, the image quality reminds me of a Canon G12 at ISO 400, maybe 200... (Not like Canon T3i or Sony NEX-5, wow, those are clean pix, but there are lens issues...) If you are expecting NEX-5-quality 'noise-free' images, the Nikon will certainly not be suitable for large prints for professional use. Yes, I've read that this is a "non-pro" camera, to which I agree. Then again, the Sony NEX-5 isn't, at least for its kit lens. On to my observations (this will be lengthy)...

I had pre-ordered the Nikon V1 and did some extensive research, mainly reading about Nikon's decision to use a small sensor. I think it was poor judgment. This thing costs more than the Sony NEX-5 does, whose APS-C sensor is much larger, and the image quality much better. I don't care for the Sony lens technology, however. It is like a very mild pinhole effect, really too soft on the edges but sharp in the middle. The barrel distortion is quite notorious on the 18-55mm lens. This is NOT a fault of the NEX body. For that reason, I wanted a camera without the drawbacks of this lens, and that the V1 (and J1 too) has such high processing power that it looks promising for sports photography, in essence, what should also help avoid or reduce blurring on moving subjects (namely people, pardon the pun) in mid-low-light. The problem is the small sensor, roughly 6mm smaller (not the latter measurement number; 23 for Sony, 17 for Nikon). This new, small sensor in the Nikon, didn't impress me. Even at base ISO, I am guessing even as far as 50% magnification, there is noise. Sony doesn't have this, and neither does my Canon T3i. Had Nikon just used their APS-C sensor and upped the price by maybe $50, I would be a happy camper, but this really turned me off with their new sensor. I don't like the Sony NEX-5 for its kit lens and inability to take photos in movie mode, but the Nikon V1 has a better kit lens (with just mild or mild-moderate vignetting and minimal corner softening) and can take photos in movie mode, but the image quality is disappointing even at base ISO. Sample photos online of people indoors at night with flash, and of cuisine at a restaurant table, ugh, much noise although sharpness is a little better than on the NEX-5.

I could go on and on, but if I had to buy an Olympus "PEN" 3 (without 1/8" microphone input), it would have to be commendable if worthy for motion control in low light, and for sports, but I don't think this camera is well-equipped for that purpose as much as the Nikon V1 (there is J1 without the hotshoe and viewfinder, for example), but the image quality is the most important thing going for a camera. Maybe Nikon will change their mind, but I can't expect that any corporation with market share to keep their DSLR users satisfied (because then, they feel that DSLR users tired of the bulk and weight of a DSLR could get nearly as good image quality in a smaller package, causing loss of sales in their mature DSLR line, but this is theory, not proof I can see). Keep in mind that a crop factor of 2.7 may turn some would-be photographers off, especially at this price point IMO, but it depends on his or her needs. This has to do with the sensor size. I don't remember the crop factor for NEX but if I recall correctly, Canon Rebel T3i has crop factor of 1.6. To be fair, the specs on the V1 and J1 are very impressive and puts NEX to shame, but that can't do image quality justice. (As the saying goes, in general, quality is better over quantity.) Maybe the video quality is better on the Nikon than the NEX-5 (in low light, you're better off with a Panasonic). I'll be waiting... Enough said.
[UPDATED] asked by Matt Eye on September 23, 2011