Nikon 1 V3 Review
Nikon has done away with Wi-Fi connectivity using the WU-1a adapter and finally built it into the V-series cameras. This is a welcome addition as many mirrorless and compact cameras now come with this as a standard feature.
Using Wi-Fi is straight forward using Nikon's Wireless Mobile Utility app for iOS or Android. Once the app is installed on your device, turn on the camera's network signal by selecting the 'Connect' option in the Wi-Fi menu. Then find the appropriate network in mobile your device's Wi-Fi settings. Now open the app and you're good to go. Since the same app is the same one used across all Nikon cameras with Wi-Fi functionality, see our D5300 review for more details how the app works to transfer images.
|Turning on Wi-Fi is as simple as using the main menu to select the Wi-Fi Connect option.|
On the 1 V3, the Wi-Fi connection to device is reliable and consistent. We never had a connection drop when the camera and our mobile device were in close proximity to each other. It's also easy to switch to remote shooting, but the feature however has very limited control. The only thing you can do is fire the shutter and set a self timer. There is no access to control exposure settings in the app. It must be set on camera prior to establishing the Wi-Fi connection. Also, video mode is unavailable using remote operation.
In terms of other connectivity features, the V3 doesn't support GPS location tagging or NFC transfer (for Android device users), which is notable considering some of the other included features for the point-and-shoot crowd.
The V3, like previous V-series models, has dual shutter mechanisms. The focal plane mechanical shutter used in single shot mode is limited to 1/4000, while the electronic shutter used for continuous shooting speeds between 10 and 60 fps can go up to 1/16000. At 10/20 fps continuous AF subject tracking is available, while at 30/60 fps, focus is locked on first frame. Shooting at 1/16000 is particularly useful when trying to stop extremely fast motion or shooting wide open on a sunny day. Also on the plus side, we didn't see any obvious rolling shutter effect in our limited time with the V3.
|F1.2, 1/16000, 1 Nikkor 32mm F1.2 lens|
The electronic shutter can also make the V3 super stealthy as the shutter noise can be completely silenced. This is useful in street or wildlife settings so you can fired away without subjects noticing. The electronic shutter is enabled by selecting 'On' for Silent photography or by choosing one of the high-speed frames rates above 10 fps in continuous AF. The slowest shutter speed available in Silent mode is 30 seconds and 1/60 when in one of the continuous modes.
Slow Motion movie mode
One of the V3's more interesting non-standard video modes is Slow Motion capture. The videos are recorded at either 120 fps (1280 x 720), 400 fps (768 x 288) or 1200 fps (416 x 144), then played back at 30p. The default setting is 400 fps which records in an unusual 8:3 aspect ratio with lots of compression. The maximum capture time is 3 seconds which will output video anywhere from about 40 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the capture rate. To select Slow Motion mode, turn the mode dial to Advanced Movie mode, then press the 'F' button to change the video shooting type. Unfortunately, you can't control shutter speed, aperture or ISO, but you can adjust exposure compensation. AF is also only available in the center of the frame and no sound is recorded since playing that sound back in sync with the video would be near-impossible.
|768 x 288, 400 fps, 30p, 40 sec, 12.7 MB Click here to download original file|
It's fun mode that can offer a different perspective on fast moving action. In the above example, we were able to use the Slow Motion mode to show how high winds carry sand across a beach dune.
The V3 also has some other video mode types such as Fast Motion that plays back footage at about four times normal speed, Jump Cut that pauses every other second for a drop-frame effect, and 4-Second Movie that records 4 second clips that can be joined into a single movie in-camera. It's worth trying out the various types of video that can be shot to see what they do, but we think many of these are rather gimmicky for the advanced shooter.
This mode, also found on the PASM dial, modifies the look of image via the touchscreen LCD before it's shot. Unique to the V3 is a ring interface that cycles through various brightness, saturation and white balance effects that can be applied to the scene - what you see is what you get.
|The default view of the Creative Palette mode. The scroll wheel around the four-way directional pad is used to select different image effects.|
Also found in this mode via the 'F' button are a fairly standard suite of images effects such as: HDR, Easy Panorama, Soft focus, Miniature, Selective Color, Cross Process and Toy Camera. We're glad to see a panorama option as it's a useful in-camera effect to have available. Using the V3's panorama mode is easy. Set focus and exposure by pressing the shutter halfway. Press the shutter all the way to bring up the pan progress indicator. There are two modes to choose from - Normal Panorama (180 degree view) and Wide Panorama (360 degree view).
|Easy Panorama, standard, ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F3.5|
Found as one of nine shooting modes on the V3's mode dial, Motion Snapshot captures about 4 seconds of slow-motion video, followed by a single, still image. It works by buffering video footage as you press the shutter button half-way down. A photograph and about 1.6 seconds of video, starting before and ending after the full-shutter button press, is recorded.
By default the resulting clip is soundtracked by a pre-existing musical score. However this can be changed to record ambient sounds or no sound by pressing the 'F' (Feature) button and then using the touchscreen to scroll through other options before recording begins. A setting worth changing is the video file type. Switching the file type to .MOV records the video, still image and audio automatically into a single file that can be easily shared. Otherwise, on the default NMS setting, you'll have to use View NX2 software to combine the video and still manually.
|1920 x 1080, 24p, 10 sec, 21.4 MB Click here to download original file|
This is one of those features that sounds interesting on paper, but in actual use it's tricky to get the timing right to get the best moment in motion and as a still image. Plus, the audio options are fairly limited.
Best Moment Capture
One mode dial click over from Motion Snapshot is a what Nikon calls 'Best Moment Capture' to help capture hard to time moments such as peak action in sports. When using this fully automatic mode, 40 images - in the moments before and after the shutter button is pressed - are are captured and copied to temporary storage. You then cycle through the images marking which ones will be stored to the microSD card.
The V3 offers also offers two other ways to mark images for the memory card: Slow-motion playback and Smart Photo Selector. The slow-motion feature automatically displays the images for selection and you select images by pressing the shutter button. Using the Smart Photo Selector mode, the camera will select up to five images based on composition and motion to record to the memory card.
|This the one of the five images the Smart Photo Selector chose to save the the memory card.|
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|Sunflower Field by GrannyMeg|
from An impressionist piece
|Flag from Staten Island Ferry by wam7|
|Windswept juniper by Kreber|
from Wind power
|SAND SCULPTURE by duskman|
from Landscape - Black and White #4