Nikon V1 Digital Camera Review$899.95
Speed and Timing
The Nikon V1 offers three different types of shutter depending on the level of speed you need with your shooting. You have the option of selecting a mechanical shutter, an electronic shutter, and a electronic high-speed shutter. The electronic high-speed shutter speeds of 10fps, 30fps, and 60fps. You can also select a single shot mode, self-timer, remote timer, and interval shooting modes.
When you're looking to capture continuous frames, your options are limited to the mechanical, electronic, and electronic high-speed options. You can select between these three modes by pressing the "F" function button in most shooting modes. If you want to change the speed at which the electronic high-speed mode fires, you have to go into the menu and select the shutter type from there. The two slower modes are able to capture roughly 100 frames according to the manual until the buffer wears thin and they slow down further. The high-speed mode captures shots much quicker, but it also fills the buffer almost instantly and stops firing entirely.
The camera's mechanical shutter can fire at up to 5 frames per second (more typically we clocked it at around 4.2fps), with an electronic shutter working at around the same speed. The electronic high-speed shutter puts it in a class on its own, with our test showing it capable of capturing a burst of up to 30 full resolution frames at a speed of roughly 60 frames per second, with exposure and focus locked on the first frame.
While competing mirrorless cameras like the Sony NEX-7, NEX-5N and Olympus E-M5 are all capable of lightning quick shooting, even these top out at just 10 full-resolution frames per second. While the usefulness of the 60fps burst is questionable with focus and exposure locked in, it still gives you the extra bit of speed that might capture a great shot where other cameras would simply miss.
The Nikon V1 offers both an interval shooting mode and a self-timer. The self-timer options can be accessed by a dedicated key on the left side of the rear control pad. From there you can select 10 second delay, 5 second delay, a two-second delay, a remote timer, or a remote timer with a two second delay. The one hangup we have with the self-timer is that it resets after each shot, so if you want to take multiple shots with the self-timer in succession, you have to either set up an interval session in the menu or go back into the self-timer menu and scroll down.
The interval timer in the menu allows you to shoot up to 999 frames at an interval of up to 24 hours each, assuming you can keep the camera powered for that length of time. It will inherit whatever settings you currently have the camera at and can be adjusted down to just two shots with as little as a one second interval, if you so choose.
The Nikon V1 handles focus well overall, with usable manual focus features and autofocus that is effective, and quite snappy. It's just a hair slower than the autofocus seen on some Olympus Micro Four-Thirds cameras, but it more than holds its own in dim, indoor lighting. As with other contrast detection systems, the AF really struggles when light drops to very low levels such as at a club. That's when you're going to have the most trouble with the V1, though the manual focus options and viewfinder make it possible to get around that, when necessary.
The Nikon V1 allows users to select autofocus, manual focus, and autofocus with a manual focus override. The manual focus is usable, with a digital zoom to assist in detecting small details. The focus is otherwise very snappy, with options for single AF and continuous full-time AF, depending on your subject. It wasn't perfect at tracking faster subjects, but the face detection did well to keep up with a walking subject.