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Andrew Reid

Nikon V1 - shooting 4K 60fps raw for $200

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I can't guarantee it won't break it, but I have covered mount contacts before without issues. Particularly some of the M42 adapters cover the contacts on the Metabones Speed Booster. It didn't break it, and I covered the back of the adapter with tape to stop it shorting out the contacts. The current supplied to the lens on a mirrorless camera is very low, and will unlikely blow out a fuse if shorted.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

You actually want to use this Aptina sensor, MT9H004.

 

APS-C, 14bit color, 4928x3280, electronic shutter, 1080p30 HD mode with 2x2 Binning.  But you really want to just capture those 4K files to a buffer and then encode to CinemaDNG.  Hold up, I'm off to create a kickstarter project...

 

MT9H004_Sample_150.jpg

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Tzedekh could be on to something.  This Aptina chip, the Aptina AR1011HS, is scheduled to ship in the 3rd Quarter of 2013.  60fps, electronic rolling shutter, seamless capture of stills from video.  High-Speed modes:  1080p120, video up to 1200fps.  Sensor for Mirrorless & High-End Compact Cameras.  You could announce at NAB and ship before the holiday season.  I'm off to start my second Kickstarter project...

 

Aptina Mirrorless Sensor brochure

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http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6531373190/interview-tetsuya-yamamoto-of-nikon

 

 

1 System sensor 'capable of 2K / 4K video'

Yamamoto told us that Motion Snapshot, which combines a still image with slow motion video in a single capture is a feature that Nikon is keen to improve in the next generation of 1 System cameras. There’s good news, potentially for videographers too - according to Yamamoto 'the [J1 and V1’s] sensor is capable of 2K (2048×1080px) and 4K (~4000px horizontal resolution) video and in the future we hope to incorporate [these functions]'.

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Because of this article, I dug out an old (pointless) test video that I shot in the 30fps RAW burst mode of the V1 last summer:

http://vimeo.com/61674376

 

My workflow was:

  • Shooting in 30 fps raw burst mode with the camera on a tripod and the 10-30mm kit zoom attached (the 18.5mm/1.8 prime hadn't been released yet back then), with a 1:30 minutes breaks between each shot, on a Sandisk Class 10 95Mb/s SD card.
  • Developing/grading the raw .NEF files with DxO Optics Pro, the raw converter of my choice, using a Kodak Ektachrome 100D color profile.
  • Rendering the raw files as PNGs.
  • Importing/conforming them into a 25fps Final Cut Pro X timeline, making each shot sequence a compound clip.
  • Editing the video without further image adjustments, keeping the 3:2 aspect ratio of the images.
  • Rendering the timeline as ProRes.

For the Vimeo upload, I transcoded the 380 MB ProRes file into a 30Kbit/s a h264 mp4 file using ffmpeg with the x264 encoder in a two pass process at highest quality settings. You can download this 74.1 MB file if you have a Vimeo account. I would be happy to share the ProRes file if someone offered me the server space.

 

The limitations I perceived during shooting:

  • Significant slowdown through the time the camera needs to write out its image buffer to the SD card, even if you use the fastest card available on the market. Uneven maximum number of frames when not giving the camera enough time between those shots.
  • Very difficult focusing. In "Electronic Hi" speed shooting mode, there is no manual focus mode, all you can do is move/set the autofocus field.
  • No control over exposure in this shooting mode. ISO is set to Auto 100-3200 and can't be changed, shutter speed and aperture can't be controlled either. The camera tends to overexpose. Since this was a test video, I didn't correct exposure in post.
  • Danger to get camera shake from your finger pressing down the release button - and no time to cut because of the 1 second limit. 
  • This results in high shutter speeds and strobing motion in bright light (clearly visible in the test video).

On the positive side, colors and (natural) sharpness/detail of the video are really nice. I re-uploaded this example because it might show the potential of the camera better than the previous test videos.

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Great for music video clips - it force/makes it easy to take a lot of little cuts :P

 

Say you're very efficient and shoot in a 4:1 ratio, then a 3:30 mins. music video clip would require more than 840 shots with the V1. Given the one minute write-out break between each shot, it would take 14 hours of nonstop work to record the footage. 

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Yes it does the same but adds nothing new apart from the manual control in burst mode. Video mode and 400fps are the same and they didn't increase the buffer size. Another disturbing trend - yearly follow up models that don't progress the technology.

 

But, V2 is higher resolution 4,608 x 3,072 against 3,872 x 2,592 (V1). I guess the same difference in burst mode, correct?

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Say you're very efficient and shoot in a 4:1 ratio, then a 3:30 mins. music video clip would require more than 840 shots with the V1. Given the one minute write-out break between each shot, it would take 14 hours of nonstop work to record the footage. 

 

I would use the 30p 1 second burst in slower moe to 24p, so that helps a bit :)

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I have 2 points to make, correct me if I'm wrong:

 

1. Although it may be a technological achievement for the Nikon V1 to shoot 4K RAW in 60 fps (for 1 second!), why exactly do you need 4K right now? Most equipment won't play back 4K. When 4K becomes more widely available (and it will) then the companies will no doubt introduce corresponding cameras, as they did with HD and 3D. But right now, I understand why companies do not see the market and the necessity for 4K, especially in the consumer or prosumer sector.

 

2. Some people seem to believe that the companies' main goal should be to make us happy. Well, no, their main goal is to make profit. Otherwise, they cease to exist and nobody (not even the consumers) would profit if Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon or Canon etc. go bankrupt, right?

Companies have strategies and marketing plans. Their plan (I suppose) is not to withhold better and cheaper technology from us because they are mean but because they want to increase their profit. If they gave us 4K RAW 60 fps, moire-/aliasing-/banding-free shooting DSLRs now, for $300 (or even $1000), who would want to buy their next generation cameras? Who would want to buy their videocameras? 

 

An evolution must be there to keep people interested and upgrading, even if this evolution seems to be too slow for some people. However, the companies have researched, developed and invested in their products, so they should be able to market and sell them as they (and not we) find appropriate. Consumers can decide whether they find this right by buying or not buying the products.

 

Filmmakers nowadays have great possibilities, much more than they had some years ago.

So, maybe we should stop worrying too much about these things, take the equipment we have now and go shoot a great video! :-)

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1. Although it may be a technological achievement for the Nikon V1 to shoot 4K RAW in 60 fps (for 1 second!), why exactly do you need 4K right now? Most equipment won't play back 4K. When 4K becomes more widely available (and it will) then the companies will no doubt introduce corresponding cameras, as they did with HD and 3D. But right now, I understand why companies do not see the market and the necessity for 4K, especially in the consumer or prosumer sector.

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(OK, I wanted to commented that quote but some bug is avoiding to add anything other than inside the quote, so, here's this new post here:)

 

 

 

 

In the same way, people shot in 35mm film to deliver VHS. This argument is nonsense. Proper 4K downsampled to 1080p, 720p, SD, etc is miles away of anything natively shot lower, as for instance, in the same resolution to deliver. Period.

 

*Sigh* :-)

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Because of this article, I dug out an old (pointless) test video that I shot in the 30fps RAW burst mode of the V1 last summer:

http://vimeo.com/61674376

 

I downloaded your video last week and I was blown away by the quality of it. I got my V1 on the same day and decided to shoot the video that opens the post. Totally agree with the limitations you said.

 

If you guys are about to get the camera you should think twice about this. It is not easy to shoot this way. For instance, if you are not happy with the 1sec clip, you will have to wait for a whole 1:30 min until the camera transfer it to the SD card. Once it's finished you cannot play it either, you just see the single raw pics there. The auto mode is also quite annoying, specially the shutter speed, which is not easy to keep at at 1/60 (the slowest possible) and if it happens to shoot at that speed chances are that the iso is at 400 or more.

 

But as Galileo said, "and yet, it moves!" Yes, still really cool.

 

Javi.

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