Hi Speed Video Camera

I’ve studied video as learning tool in science and physics for while, and I’m convinced that digital video can placed at the upper end of useful technologies used in education.  I don’t necessarily mean for making screencasts, but using video as an analysis tool.

Frank Noschese has shown several examples of using video on his blogs, including these hi-speed videos found on Action-Reaction and Frank’s Posterous post on colliding carts.  As well, I wrote a paper on this topic and if you’re a glutten for punishment you can read it here on Scribd.

I’ve been hunting around for a while for the fabled Casio exilm hi-speed camera that Frank uses, but wasn’t very successful. In fact, it didn’t seem like anyone had bought or sold one of these cameras since 2011, judging by photography sites and reviews.  No matter.  Nikon is now making a consumer automatic camera with removable lenses and hi-speed!  Enter the Nikon J1.

I picked one up on sale from Best Buy, as our science department was looking at getting a camera.  I found the camera easy to use and took hi quality shots and video.  For hi speed video, the user gets to choose between 400 fps and 1200 fps.  The 1200 fps is pretty cool but the video size is very small and you need a lot of light.  The 400 fps works pretty good.

Here is a video of a ballistics cart, taken with the J1:

And here is a comparison of 400 fps vs 1200 fps (taken in my dimly lit kitchen):


Unfortunately I had to return the camera.  Our science department thought that we wouldn’t get enough use out of it, and money is really tight.  My classes would have had good use from it, but it’s difficult to spend a lot of money, relatively speaking, on one educator.

Nonetheless, I was pleased with the J1 and would have no problems recommending it to other people.  With the help of your school photography class, I think hi quality slo-mo videos are easily accessible.