Nikon AW 1 for video instead of camcorder?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Grasher, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Grasher macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Hi all,
    I'm in the process of upgrading some equipment and am in the market for a device to capture video that is both small and ruggedized (I'll be using it when snowboarding, kayaking and snorkelling). This is purely for amateur home videos so ease of use is of most importance.

    I had planned to get a Panasonic WA30, but have recently seen the Nikon AW1 and am having second thoughts over the Panasonic. The advantage of the Nikon is that it gives me a far better stills camera that I can use when I'm somewhere that I don't want to carry my DSLR (and will save me from also carrying a ruggedized point and shoot). My concern is over the autofocus performance - as it's not a dedicated camcorder will it perform as well?

    All advice gratefully welcomed.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Almost all video is best shot in manual focus mode. If you study most films you see a wide aspect screen 16:9 and the subject is rarely dead center. As you move up to larger sensors the depth of field is reduced. In fact that is one reason people like the DSLR for video, it allows selective focus. But the camera can't know the snowboard is about to come into the frame or if there are two actors t can't know who is to be in sharp focus and who can be blurred.

    These are non-issues with a small camcorder or a cell phone because the entire frame is in focus. You have to think about this when you go with a large sensor camera. I think this is one reason those tiny "action cameras" are popular.

    But you are right the larger camera will make better video but you can't depend on the automation because the camera can't know what you want or what is going to happen next.

    This is why we see news crews using a camcorder. they don't requires a lot of setup, just run and shoot. But you see low-budget film makers, those who have control offer the situation using DSLRs now.

    You situation is a grey area. With snowboard video you can tell the boarder where to go and re-shoot until you run out of time. But you can't bring a tape measure and set up tape marks on the floor for your actors to stand on either.
  3. Grasher thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2009
    I hadn't thought about the different depth of field - seems obvious now that you mention it. The camcorder wouldn't necessarily have a better autofocus, it just has a wider margin of error. I know from shooting stills that if I need a group shot done reliably I'll typically go for f8 to get a couple of guaranteed shots in the bag before trying for something with some bokeh.
    If nothing else this should help with my DSLR video technique a little.

    The problem here is that I'll be trying to film while snowboarding (I'm not a static cameraman) so I'm pretty much unable to have any involvement beyond pressing the record button. My "actors" are my 3 and 5 year old children, who don't take direction particularly well!:D

    You've probably answered my question though - camcorder it is and I'll just use my DSLR when the environment is more easy going.


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