Operation and Controls

User Interface

The 1 V3's menu system looks more like Nikon's Coolpix camera line, instead the company's DSLRs. This means people upgrading will find themselves in familiar territory, but users adding this to their existing DSLR system will have a new interface to learn.

Onscreen controls of the V3 are minimal with limited options for controlling the information displayed. Key settings such as shutter, aperture, and ISO are shown along the bottom of the screen while shooting. These can all be adjusted using dials/buttons, by touching the exposure value to be changed on the LCD, or using a quick-menu-like interface via the 'F' button. Nikon calls this the 'Features' menu.

Hitting the - 'F' - button brings up a menu of key shooting parameters. When in PASM modes, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO along with AF-area mode, metering method, Picture Control presets, and white balance can be changed.

Adjustable items are highlighted by darker gray boxes.

Navigating the 'Features' menu is fast and intuitive using the touchscreen or four-way direction pad scroll with wheel.

Select the appropriate setting by touching the screen or the 'OK' button. The specific options are then given along the right side.

The options displayed in the 'Features' menu are shooting mode dependent and non-customizable. To Nikon's credit, the interface is consistent across the various creative modes.

Here, the Features menu in Advanced Video mode (full auto) shows the adjustable parameters in dark gray.

Changing exposure compensation, frame rate, AF mode and flash output bring up the options directly along the right side of the screen, just like the Features menu.
One of the V3's preset shooting displays shows the electronic level. This is a handy tool that is quick to access. It's the same type of dual axis level found on Nikon's higher end DSLRs.
Navigating the V3's main menu system is straight forward as it's organized around the standard operational options: Playback, Shooting, Movies, Image Processing, Setup, and Wi-Fi.

Control Dials and Custom Buttons

The V3 has two command dials - a rear thumb dial and a vertical front dial. Using the optional grip adds a second front dial, but it's orientated horizontally. This makes the camera feel in-hand and operate more like a DSLR. Also, this dial is used to manually focus when using lenses with no manual focus ring.

The back dial also acts as one of customizable function buttons. It should be noted the rear command dial's primary function can not be changed, only the function after pressing it in. So, for example, you can't directly set exposure compensation control, you have to press the dial in first to bring up the menu.

The camera has a second customizable button above the four-way directional pad. The optional grip adds a third custom button that can put all key shooting adjustments at your finger tips. The V3 also has a configurable AE-L/AF-L button so you can decouple AF from the shutter button.

The following settings can be assigned to all the Function and the AE-L/AF-L buttons:

Function buttons AE-L/AF-L button

• Exposure compensation
• Metering
• White balance
• ISO sensitivity
• Picture control
• AF-area mode
• Movie-record button

• AE/AF lock
• AE lock only
• AF Lock only


The touchscreen on the V3 is no different than those found on other touch-enabled cameras. You can touch to select AF point and focus, take a picture, navigate menus, and use standard swipe gestures to preview pictures.

In general, the V3's touchscreen is responsive. Using the touchscreen to select AF points is quick. Taking a picture by tapping is also fast, but not as fast as using the shutter button. Sometimes the screen requires a second, more precise, touch on various menu icons. And if using the touch screen is not your thing, you can also disable it completely.

Auto ISO

The V3 has a very limited Auto ISO system. There are only three options for setting maximum sensitivity limits: 800, 3200 and 6400. The camera doesn't allow you to set a minimum shutter speed either. Auto ISO is available in all shooting modes, even in Manual. However, when in Manual you can't adjust exposure compensation.