Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | Martin JRM Mars Dropping Water

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | Martin JRM Mars Dropping Water

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | Martin JRM Mars Dropping Water  This Martin JRM Mars is dropping 7200 gallons of water on runway 18/36 at AirVenture 2016.  The Martin JRM Mars flying boats are the world’s largest flying boats ever flown operationally.  Although seven were built, only two remain flying, the Hawaii Mars JRM-3, pictured here, and the Philippine Mars.  Both have been refitted as firefighting water bombers.  This image shows the versatility of the 30-110mm lens.  As I was walking toward the warbird area at Oshkosh, this big bird flew over to demonstrate its firefighting capabilities.  Luckily, the 30-110mm was on the camera instead of the 70-300mm.  It enabled me to quickly capture several images as the Mars flew closer.  Remember, 55mm turns into 149mm on the Nikon 1 V3.  To see the entire story with all seven images, go to Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | a 7 Image Story.

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | a 7 Image Story

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | F-22 RaptorNikon 1 V3 for Aviation | a 7 Image Story  My journey with the Nikon 1 series cameras and lenses started with the V1, skipped the V2, and embraced the V3.  The V3 fixed several annoying V1 traits.  Also, handling, auto-focus, and metering improved dramatically.  About the same time, a firmware upgrade allowed the auto-focus to more easily keep aircraft in focus while panning with the lens attached to the FT-1 adapter.  Thus, the Nikon 1 V3 became a reasonably nice camera for capturing aviation images as well as most other images.  I’ve captured a variety of aircraft images including props, jets, sailplanes, float planes, helicopters, and even a blimp.  Those images included statics both on land and water as well as ground to air while panning handheld.  Unfortunately, there haven’t been any air to air images yet.  Thus far, my data base contains over 75K+ V1 and V3 images with over 1330 posted on this blog.

What the V3 does well, it does very well.  Now, the V3 is my preferred carry camera for capturing daily walkabout images.  It shoots much like a DSLR in continuous mode.  Although a bit noisy at higher ISOs, the image quality is quite good, particularly for posting.   Although bracketing would really be helpful, today’s post processing software reduces the need.  The 2.7 crop factor helps improve images where getting closer is not an option, like at air shows.  Would I only take it to an air show or fly-in and leave my DSLRs in the hangar?  Well yes, occasionally I do, if a light travel pack is required.  Still, I’d rather take both my DSLRs and the V3.

In a nutshell, what specifically do I like about the Nikon 1 V3 for aviation?

  • The Nikon 1 V3 is relatively small and light to carry.  Carrying heavy gear all day around air shows gets old, fast.
  • With it’s 2.7 crop factor, it adds inexpensive reach to my telephoto lens allowing me more flexibility in positioning.
  • It’s easy to carry with a telephoto lens attached, like the AFS 70-300mm & FT-1, using the sun sniper shoulder strap.
  • Image quality seems quite good unless a really large print is required.
  • With a little practice, it can be panned handheld with slower shutter speeds to capture blurred propellers.
  • The tilting LCD reduces the time spent hugging the ground to get that low angle shot.
  • While I seldom use video, a short video makes a nice addition to event posts.
  • Of course, most Nikon AFS lenses work nicely, using the FT-1 adapter.

The V3 presents a few more challenges over my DSLRs!

  • The Nikon 1 V3 requires a bit more camera discipline than a my DSLRs.  The controls sometimes move during normal handling so the photographer must often check to ensure the settings are correct.Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | WWII Bomber Crew Reenactors
  • Panning in low light can be demanding and a high ISO generates a good bit of noise.
  • The small camera frame, attached to a long, heavy telephoto lens, does not seem balanced; making handling a bit tricky.  The Nikon AFS 70-300mm works nicely, whereas, the AFS 70-200mm; not so much.  Also, care must be taken not to break the camera mount with a heavy telephoto lens.  Always carry it by the lens or the FT-1, not the camera.
  • Higher ISO images sometimes require a pass through noise reduction in post processing.
  • The V3 does not have exposure bracketing, which would come in handy.
  • Changing the battery and/or the MicroSD card in the field takes some time and care.
  • Build quality is more consumer than professional.  If dropped, it can break.

What’s next?  Nikon appears to have discontinued the Nikon 1 V series; too bad.  A V4 camera could have addressed several V3 issues to become a really great camera.  It’s not yet clear what my next carry camera will be; maybe another V3.

Each image will be posted individually this week with a bit more narrative under category Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation.

Click any image below for a slide show!

My Nikon 1 V3 aviation kit fits into a very small Lowepro camera backpack.  The camera equipment includes a Nikon 1 V3 Body, Nikon FT-1 Adapter, 1 VR 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom, 1 VR 30-110mm f3.8-5.6, AFS 50mm f1.4G, and a AFS 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR.  The supporting equipment includes a Nikon Speedlight SB-N5 Flash, LitePanels MicroPro Hybrid, Sennheiser MKE 400 Directional Mic, Sun Sniper Shoulder Strap, Extra Nikon EN-EL15 Battery, Nikon MH-25 Charger, Extra SD Cards, Lens Cleaning Supplies, and a Headlamp with red & white light.  A small MeFOTO tripod has its own bag.  Find more Nikon 1 V1 and V3 experiences posted under IMHO.

Martin JRM Mars Making a Drop

Martin JRM Mars Making a Drop

Martin JRM Mars Making a Drop  The Martin JRM Mars flying boats are the world’s largest flying boats ever flown operationally.  Although seven were built, only two remain flying, the Hawaii Mars JRM-3 pictured here and the Philippine Mars.  They have been refitted as firefighting water bombers carrying 7,200 gallons of water.

This Martin JRM Mars is dropping 7,200 gallons of water on runway 18/36 at AirVenture 2016.  You might ask: how do they get the water?  Well, the Captain lands on the water normally, but keeps the the aircraft “on the step” at  60-70 knots. The Flight Engineer controls the power to keep the aircraft “on the step” and selects the scoops to the “down” position to inject the water into the tanks at the rate of about a ton per second.  The 7200 gallon pickup time averages 25 seconds.  When the tanks are full, the scoops are raised, takeoff power is applied by the Flight Engineer and the Captain makes a normal loaded takeoff.  Pretty slick!

Unfortunately water landings are not without risks.  This Hawaii Mars JRM-3 flying boat sustained some damage to the hull when it was scooping up water on Lake Winnebago.  One of the scoops hit something hard that was submerged in the lake.  Hopefully, it will return this summer.  With spring here, it’s time to begin looking forward to fly-in and air show season; better known as summer.  Actually, the first big fly-in close-by is only 3 1/2 weeks away.

Martin JRM Mars Repairs

Martin JRM Mars Repairs

Martin JRM Mars Repairs   After Friday’s performance at Oshkosh, the Hawaii Mars was damaged when it struck an underwater object upon returning to the Seaplane Base .  It did not fly on Saturday and Sunday due to needed repairs.  It was taking on water so they used pumps to keep it afloat. Divers were required to repair the two breaks in the hull from the outside, underwater.

Martin JRM Mars Dropping Water

Martin JRM Mars Dropping Water

This Martin JRM Mars is Dropping 7200 gallons of Water on runway 18/36 at AirVenture 2016.  You might ask: how do they get the water?  Well, the Captain lands on the water normally, but keeps the the aircraft “on the step” at  60-70 knots. The Flight Engineer controls the power to keep the aircraft “on the step” and selects the scoops to the “down” position to inject the water into the tanks at the rate of about a ton per second.  The 7200 gallon pickup time averages 25 seconds.  When the tanks are full, the scoops are raised, takeoff power is applied by the Flight Engineer and the Captain makes a normal loaded takeoff.  Pretty slick!

Martin JRM Mars

Martin JRM Mars

The Martin JRM Mars flying boats are the world’s Largest flying boats ever flown operationally.  Although seven were built, only two remain flying, the Hawaii Mars JRM-3 pictured here and the Philippine Mars.  They have been refitted as firefighting water bombers carrying 7,200 gallons of water.  More images of this amazing plane will be posted later.