Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Should I get the Nikon 1 J1?

I really love film. I've always loved documentaries (thank you, Ken Burns) and music videos. In high school I started writing video treatments for songs I liked. And then I'd be totally disappointed when I saw the video and it was nothing like what I'd imagined. Even now I develop a music video for a song as I'm listening to it. It makes listening to music more of an experience for me. If I could film a documentary on the history of music videos...that would be HEAVEN.

I cannot wait to spend more time making movies. I have some videos posted on YouTube, but they're not movies by ANY means. It's just me. In front of my camera. Talking about my hair. WOMP WOMP. What I really want to do is capture scenes from my life and set them to music. Then I may move on to writing scripts. I don't know. I want the process to remain really organic.

I'm not quite ready to purchase a movie camera--I don't know what I'm doing, and I wouldn't know what to look for. My Nikon S8100 is good for capturing quick moments (if there's enough light...), but I need a camera that can make a professional quality film without too much extra equipment. I took a look at the Nikon 1 when I was in Target the other day, and I'm in LOVE. I'm thinking about buying it as a birthday present for myself.

 Now, there are some pretty angry photogs out there who have written scathing reviews of the Nikon 1 J1 and V1 models. Reviewers hate the price, hate the simplified buttons and complicated menus, are doubtful of the cameras' small sensors, and are disappointed that the Nikon 1 isn't what they were hoping for--a compact DSLR. I haven't made up my mind yet. I'm not trying to be a professional photographer! I just want to take really good pictures and high-quality video, and the Nikon 1 does that. Eventually, I do want to invest in my own DSLR (I use a borrowed D8 on this blog sometimes), but I'm more interested in capturing the moment quickly and easily. I just want to get really clear images in low light (without using the flash), manipulate my depth of field, and make good movies (with autofocus!!!) If there's a cheaper way to do it than with the Nikon 1, will you guys let me know?

Little Miss Knight

1 comment:

  1. Being an amateur and aspiring photographer/videographer myself, I fell in LOOOOOVE with the Nikon 1 on a recent trip to Best Buy. Went back for three days picking it up and playing with it each time. To my "untrained" eye, it was the best thing smoking!! I too read the reviews which basically said, it's too basic and limiting for a professional and too expensive for an amateur. I asked a salesperson if there was a comparable camera available in a lower price range and they directed me to the Canon SX40HS. I was able to get the camera, carrying case, battery, charger, SD card, and 6' tripod for about the cost of the Nikon J1. I was told that Canons are recognized for their rich colors. I really like it so far and I'm "teaching" myself how to shoot in unfavorable conditions such as indoors, low light, etc. from this website I found called www.digital-photography-school.com/tips. One negative of the camera is the zoom, which is a manual toggle switch. It is really good for photography (35x zoom) but not so much for video as the zoom is audible (you can hearing the whir in the background) and it can be challenging to get a smooth zoom without jerking a bit or over zooming. (sidebar: in my research on videography, I've found that zooming in video is not that essential. Other methods can be used to produce equal and better results). To sum it up, I would say that this is a good camera for an amateur. The price point is reasonable and it gives you a chance to play with all/most of the bells and whistles that you have on a DSLR (aperture, ISO, shutter speed). If you're not quite yet ready to spend the money on a DSLR (as I wasn't) but do want something that will produce great photos and videos and give you "practice" shooting with a more advanced camera (as I did), I would definitely recommend this. Then later, spend the big bucks on the super duper DSLR you've been eyeing (as I plan). HTH.

    And in my honest opinion, the Nikon 1 is still very much the "bees knees".