Nikon took a page from the Steve Jobs book and went for something the world has not yet seen, taking a leap of faith that might just pan out. I hope it does, because that will bring some awesome stuff to the DSLR market in the near future! Actually I can’t wait to see what the D3s replacements would be.
The 1-series uses the new ExpeedIII processor that has a processing capacity of 600mp per second… That is comparative to a 50fps D3S or 25 fps D3X. It also means that the 10mp camera can do an actual 60 frames per second! There is a caveat though, the AF mode must be in phase detection. If it’s set to the more accurate contrast detection mode, the frame rate drops to 10fps.
The camera has features that squarely aims it at the market segment that wants awesome shots, but do not want to specifically want to become a photographer to get them. It’s also aimed at a market that wants to play and grab memories.
To this end there are features like the Pre and post recording… The camera actually starts taking pictures before you press the button completely and a few moments after. The smart photo selector will shoot 20 frames, and discard 15, keeping the 5 best according to facial properties, eye blinks, focus, etc. It will show you which it thinks is best, and then give you the option of selecting one of the remaining 4 (or keep all 5)
It also has a motion snapshot. It will take about 1 second of video before the shot. The final “image” then consists of a 2.5 slow motion video, fading into your final image.
Standard HD video at 30 or 60 frames per second with active phase detection auto focus during video recording, as well as being able to shoot images in-between without stopping or influencing the video at all.
Another neat trick is the 400fps high speed ramped video feature. It will record about 5 seconds of video at 400fps and play back approximately 1 minute of slow motion video. It records at 16:9 (cropped from the 1080 video frame at 640×240 final size) and is heavily compressed and because of the frame rate speed, it can’t shoot lower than 1/400th of a second so you are going to need a lot of light.
The camera has an amazing amount of really fast AF points. 73 points if phase detection (focal plane focussing) is used at a posible 60fps or 135 contrast detection sensors, but then only at 10fps. The AF is truly fast and responsive… I can see this in the future of the flagship DSLRs.
The release of the camera is already a full system with a bunch of extras, including a GPS unit, the smallest Speedlight (SB-N5) I have ever seen! Coming soon is a full video kit, A complete Projector kit. If you don’t want to use flash, there is an LED lighting unit coming that will attach to the side of the camera, as well as a Macro LED lighting unit that sits around the lens. We have been asked exactly where does it fit in? Well, it’s my opinion that the camera was built for Photo Enthusiasts, not Photography Enthusiasts. It’s what the iPad is to the Macbook Pro. Really powerful, capable of amazing things, but for heavy duty use, you still want a DSLR. Is that bad? No, I use my iPad every day for hours on end!
This A-CIL (Advanced Camera with Interchangeable Lens) has a lot to live up to… After all, it does carry the name of Nikon’s first camera launched in 1948, the Nikon 1.
I think this time the marketing speak might actually ring true… It will be a game changer!
by Sean Nel