Nikon 1 V3: A Pricey Mirrorless Camera That Acts Like a Point-and-Shoot

Here's Nikon's new top interchangeable-lens compact. The Nikon 1 V3 is a mirrorless camera that hopes to break from the mold by being simpler than the rest.

Last year, the company completely redesigned the V2, adding a more substantial grip to the V1's point-and-shoot-like body. Now, Nikon is ditching that new design—sort of. The grip and electronic viewfinder will be an optional addition. But the basic camera will be a tiny rectangle familiar to anyone who has used a pocket camera before.

Additionally, the Nikon 1 V3 has a higher-resolution 18.4 megapixel CX format sensor compared to the V2's 14.2-megapixel chip. The 1-inch CX format remains smaller than the sensors on micro four thirds cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, and much smaller than the APS-C sensors in Sony's mirrorless monsters.

As before, the smaller sensor size and a powerful processing engine—this time an "Expeed 4A"—lets the camera do some fancy tricks that bigger cameras can't, like shoot 2o frames-per-second. As you'd expect from a pricey consumer camera: built-in Wi-Fi powers and video recording at up to 1920 x 1080 at 60p.

The camera, with a 10-30mm lens, grip, and viewfinder will go on sale next month for $1200. Seems a little steep in light of the excellent sub-$1000 packages out there from Sony, Olympus, and Panasonic, but as always, we won't know until we try it out.