The Nikon 1 V3 provides videographers with a fairly standard set of tools. You can shoot 1080/60p full-HD video or at three other settings: 1080/30p, 720/60p or 720/30p. There's also an option to capture action in at 120 fps, 400 fps (default setting) or 1200 fps for playing back as slow motion. The V3 has a new e-VR (Vibration Reduction) feature that helps to reduce camera shake, but this is only available when shooting 1080/30p and 720/30p. There is, however, an Optical VR setting that can be used at all video recording settings when VR lenses are used.
To get the best of both worlds, the V3 can capture full resolution still images while recording video without interruption to the video process. Plus, there is a built-in stereo mic and it also has a external mic input.
The camera defaults to continuous AF, but it can be switched to single AF mode so focus noise won't be heard while recording. Forget about manual focusing for video, the V3 doesn't offer it as an option. However, the V3 does have some gimmicky movie types available: Slow Motion, Fast Motion, Jump Cut or 4-second movie, which can be found by using the quick Features menu when hitting the 'F' button.
• Fast Motion, Jump Cut, 4-second movies
|Audio||• AAC Audio|
|Format||• MOV H.264/MPEG-4|
|Max file size per clip||• 4.0 GB|
• 10 mins at 1080/60p
The dedicated red movie button near the shutter is easy to find and press. Video can be recorded in any of the still shooting modes or by turning the mode dial to Advanced Movie mode. The main advantage of the Advanced mode is being able to set exposure settings such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, and movie type (Slow Motion, etc). Engaging video from any other mode and the exposure is fully automated. However, setting the V3 up properly can be slightly confusing.
Once you've selected Advanced Movie Mode from the mode dial on the top plate, PASM shooting modes for video are available via the 'F' button quick menu. By default, the V3 is set to Automatic Scene Selection mode. Switching the camera to something other than one of the full auto modes (Scene and Program) will allow you to adjust shutter and aperture while recording. White balance and ISO can be adjusted in any of the video PASM modes before recording.
If initiating video from one of the still image modes you can't adjust anything on the fly and the LCD remains in the 3:2 aspect ratio, but the clip recorded will still be in 16:9. Using the Advanced Movie Mode will change the live view screen to 16:9. Capturing still images while recording is silent and is saved in the 3:2 aspect ratio at full resolution.
AF points be can easily be switched using the touchscreen during recording, including when using Fast Motion, Jump Cut or 4-second movie. But when shooting Slow Motion, only the center AF point is available for focusing by pressing the shutter halfway down.
If you're looking to use an external recorder, look elsewhere. The V3 doesn't support clean HDMI output, despite having a micro HDMI port. It's only good for as a slideshow player to show off images and video already recorded on an external monitor.
In general the V3 produces good-looking video in a range of lighting situations. Colors are punchy without being unrealistic and white balance is reasonably accurate. AF is quick with no discernible sound from the focusing mechanism with the Nikkor 1 lenses we used. Audio is crisp and clear with the mic easily picking up ambient sounds.
This hand-help clip shot with the 32mm F1.2 Nikkor 1 lens shows the V3's low light capabilities and autofocus pull from a subject in the foreground to background.
|1920 x 1080 60p, 25 sec, 115 MB Click here to download original file|
In the clip, you can hear how well the V3 picks up ambient sound. Shot with the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm F3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom lens hand held steadied on a rock.
|1920 x 1080 60p, 15 sec, 76.6 MB Click here to download original file|
Here, you'll notice the V3's AF hunt as it tries to stay on locked onto a small moving target as the paraglider takes off. Shot with the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm F3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom lens hand held.
|1920 x 1080 60p, 16 sec, 70.8 MB Click here to download original file|
This shows e-VR (Vibration Reduction) turned on. It's only available when shooting 1080/30p or 720/30p.
|1920 x 1080 30p, 9 sec, 26.8 MB Click here to download original file|