Every now and then a camera comes along that challenges our ability to accept a new concept. The Nikon 1-series V1 is just such a model, says Damien Demolder
The Nikon 1 V1 uses its high-speed capture ability in a number of ways. The most obvious is a 60fps mode that captures each frame in full 10-million-pixel resolution. If this were a normal drive mode, rather than a specific program, it would be more useful. ‘Hi’ mode disallows access to many creative controls and so is a little limiting. It is also not an easy mode to work in, as Nikon has disabled certain menu options when Hi is selected.
If you switch the Hi mode on but realise you need an alternative ISO setting, you have to go back to one of the normal shooting modes to make the adjustment. Hi mode is as happy to work with ISO 100 as it is with ISO 3200, but it won’t let you change between them. Slightly more surprising is that the same is true of the AF modes – to switch from single shot to continuous AF requires moving out of the Hi mode first.
The motion snapshot mode, that records a short burst of slow-mo video before the still, is a great feature to view on the camera. Quite what one does with the clip after I’m not sure. Adobe just breaks the snapshot into a still and a movie, and the only place to play the clips is in the Nikon software. Here the clips can be exported as Mov files, but I’m still not sure what their use is.
The slow-motion movies also look great on the rear screen. They are fun and inspirational to create, but once again out of the camera their appeal diminishes slightly. Shot at 400fps you really do get an effective slow-mo clip, but at a resolution of 640×240 pixels the clips look noisy and low resolution on screen – and they can’t easily be integrated into a normal movie sequence. Slow-motion movies shot at 1200fps are even lower resolution – 320×120 pixels.
The V1 is geared around the existence of these high-speed features and, while they are fun to use, I suspect that actually they won’t be exercised very often. When they are dormant the V1 becomes like any other camera, and will be judged on its performance, not its features.