4K RAW for $200?! Yes, please!

Nikon V1 shoots 4K in Burst Mode

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

One of my favorite lines of dialog in movies is from Apollo 13, when the character Gene Krantz says “I don’t care what anything was designed to do, I care about what it can do!” And every once in awhile, a  piece of technology demonstrates that very concept, and this time around, it’s the Nikon V1, which photographers have found can shoot 4K RAW video in short, controlled bursts. And it’s only around $200.

How does a budget $200 point and shoot get 4K RAW? With its burst mode. In a serendipitous turn of events, Nikon chose to use the camera’s electronic video shutter, rather than a mechanical one, to image a burst, and as such, it can capture at a rate of up to 60 frames per second… at 4K RAW. The result is an uncropped resolution of 3,872 x 2,592 outputted from Nikon’s Aptina CMOS sensor. Now, unfortunately, the camera can only write 1 second of video data at 3 fps or a half second at 60 fps. But hey, what do you want for $200? And if you output the footage into 24p, that 1 second last just a hair longer, although at 60fps, you end up with a tad slow motion, unless you use software to change the frame rate. But with the right shot, that can be really impressive. Once you shoot the burst, you can convert the series of RAW images to a Cinema DNG video clip courtesy of Adobe’s free DNG converter.  Then it’s just a color correction session away from having a killer video clip.

There is yet another limitation of the V1…  it can only shoot the 4K RAW burst mode while using its CX lens and in program (P) mode. But the V2 has the same capability, and with the added advantage of taking C mount lenses courtesy of the Nikon C-mount adapter or the Nikon F mount adapter, and that gives you the ability to shoot the bursts with a variety of lenses.  But only on the V2. And not only that, but the V1 is also discontinued, so you’d have to find it on eBay (where I found one for $130!).

Now I know what you’re saying… how can you make a movie in half second scenes? Well, as EOSHD says, “limitations within reason breed creativity.”  Take a look at how people are using the 140 character limit of Twitter, where screenplays have been collaborated on and novels written.  Or Twitter’s latest video project known as “Vine,” where you capture six seconds of video to tell a story.  When you consider that Canon’s 1D-C will set you back $15,000, and Sony’s 4K CineAlta will nail you for $35,000, to start, suddenly, the limitations of a 1 second 4K burst aren’t that bad with it’s $200 price tag. But who cares?  If you want to play around with 4K, as Javier Sobremazas has done with the video below, it could certainly spark plenty of creativity.

And that’s just with how the v1 is in it’s native state.  Imagine if the rocket scientists over at Magic Lantern decided to see what they could do with the firmware?  Or if someone figured out how to hack the V1 with a larger image buffer and some cooling to increase the recording time?  Or if Nikon suddenly realized what they had and focused on putting it in a killer platform?  That would be something.

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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