Nikon V1 Digital Camera Review$899.95
With the Nikon V1 you have the option of recording video in 1080/30p, 1080/60i, and 720/60p HD. You can also record slow-motion video at a resolution of 640x240 at 400fps, or 320x120 at 1200fps. The camera also records full 1080/60p motion snapshots, though they are played at just 24p. The motion snapshot just records a short video clip that leads into a still shot, recording a "living" snapshot that better captures short events, such as someone jumping into a pool.
The videos are all recording in .H264/MPEG-4 compression, with AAC audio files contained in a .MOV file. The normal 1080 HD video is recorded at a 24Mbps bitrate, with 720p recorded at 16Mbps. The maximum clip length for full HD is 20 minutes, which extends to a full 29 minutes with 720p. The slow motion video is of substantially lower quality, with 400fps recorded at just 1.8Mbps and 1200fps at 0.6Mbps. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content
The Nikon V1 allows for full exposure control while recording, though you have to designate in the menu that you are using the manual exposure program after you switch the physical mode dial to the video recording mode. In this mode the rear zoom toggle controls shutter speed while the rear control dial controls aperture. You can also adjust focus type and exposure compensation on the fly, though ISO has to be set prior to recording.
When you set the physical mode dial to video, you can designate in the menu to shoot in aperture priority, shutter priority, program auto, manual, or scene intelligent auto. Only manual mode doesn't, in some way, automatically set an exposure value for you. The two priority modes let you pick either shutter speed or aperture, with the camera adjusting the opposing value to maintain brightness in the scene. The scene intelligent auto mode decides exposure entirely automatically, while attempting to employ various scene modes depending on what type of video it thinks you are trying to capture.
The Nikon V1 features a zoom toggle on the back of the camera that is used primarily to control exposure while recording video. The only lens in the Nikon 1 system that features a zoom motor is the 10-100mm powered zoom lens, which has a zoom toggle located on the barrel of the lens. The other 1 system lenses that are not primes utilize a manual zoom ring that has to be turned by the user, which is less steady for video. The powered zoom lens, when zoom is engaged, is almost completely inaudible and has a very smooth transition through the focal range.
You have the option of single AF, continuous AF, and manual focus while recording video on the Nikon V1. You can even switch between focus types while recording a video. We found the single AF to be the most responsive. The manual focus will work better on lenses that offer a focus ring, but the 10-100mm powered zoom lens does not, meaning manual focus must be adjusted using the rear control dial. The continuous AF works, but it is not as responsive as you might like, and it's mostly used just for transitioning from close up objects that mostly fill the frame to objects in a different focal plane that also fill the frame.
When shooting video you have the full range of aperture, shutter, and ISO options available to you, with the exception of shutter speeds slower than 1/60th of a second when recording HD and 1/400th or 1/1200th of a second when recording in 400fps and 1200fps slow motion modes, respectively. You can designate any of the ISO settings that you wish in the menu, including the three included auto ISO ranges.
The Nikon V1 includes both a 3.5mm microphone port and a built-in stereo microphone located on the front of the camera. The camera also includes some audio adjustment, with three levels and an automatic mode available. You can also activate a wind cut feature that will attempt to reduce the muffling sound of wind striking the front of the camera, but it only has moderate success in our experience.