1 S2

1 S2

Record Screens & Menus

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Please excuse the quality of the screen captures. The 1 S2 does not include an AV output cable, therefore we had to photograph the screen.

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The primary shooting screen with the Nikon 1 S2 offers two different options for displaying icons on the screen. You can include basic shooting information across the bottom of the screen, such as the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO setting, or you can add more detailed icons to the top of the screen, such as the autofocus mode, the drive mode, and the resolution setting.

While most cameras have a dedicated button on the back of the camera to change the icons displayed on the screen, Nikon has chosen to place this feature inside the on-screen menus, so it takes several button presses to accomplish this task. You'll likely miss not having the dedicated button to change the display with the S2 far more when working in Playback mode than you will when shooting photos.


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When shooting in Auto mode with the Nikon 1 S2, press the OK button when you see the Live Image Control message in the middle of the screen. You'll then open a popup menu along the right side of the screen, allowing you to make basic adjustments to the camera's settings. The options are:

  • Active D-Lighting - 5 settings from low to high
  • Background Softening - 14 settings from low to high
  • Motion Control - 34 settings from low to high
  • Brightness Control - 19 settings from low to high
These non-standard settings options are designed to allow a beginning-level photographer to change the camera's settings in an easier-to-understand manner versus having to manually change the shutter speed or aperture, but I'm not sure it hits the mark.


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When shooting in Manual mode with the Nikon 1 S2, you can make changes to the shutter speed or aperture using the four-way button whenever you see a message on the screen. Just press the right side of the four-way button to toggle between shutter speed and aperture and then spin the ring of the four-way button to change the desired setting.


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When you press the Menu button from any shooting mode, you'll gain access to the top-level menu screen, making it easy to pick the sub-menu you want to use. With the S2's lack of a physical mode dial, this is the primary control screen you'll use, and its use of graphical icons should help beginners have success quickly in finding the functions they want to use. 

This kind of graphical menu screen design would be perfectly suited to use with a touchscreen display, so it's unfortunate Nikon didn't give the S2 a touchscreen feature. To select a function just highlight the menu you want to open and press OK.


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The Shooting Mode function will open a graphical mode dial on the right side of the screen. Spin the ring on the four-way button to scroll through the graphical mode dial's options and press OK when the mode you want to use is highlighted. A brief explanation of each mode will appear along the bottom of the screen, which is another nice feature for beginners. The virtual mode dial/shooting mode options are:

  • Motion Snapshot
  • Best Moment Capture
  • Auto
  • Creative
  • Advanced Movie
Oddly, the advanced shooting modes are "hidden" inside the Creative mode, which will be confusing for more advanced photographers. I'm not sure why Nikon couldn't have placed the four primary advanced shooting modes -- Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual -- separately on the virtual mode dial. When I see a Creative shooting mode, I'm expecting it to contain special effect modes, not advanced shooting modes.


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Rather than working through the Menu button when using the Nikon 1 S2, I'd recommend opening the Function screen shown here. From any shooting mode (other than Auto mode) just press the upward portion of the four-way button, which opens the Function screen.

This grid contains the various settings you can change in the current shooting mode. Use the four-way button to highlight the box for the setting you want to change, turning the text yellow, and press OK. You'll then see a popup menu appear along the right side of the screen, allowing you to select the setting you want to use.

Depending on your current shooting mode, some boxes in the grid may be grayed out. For example in Program mode you can change the shooting mode, creative mode, ISO, autofocus area, autofocus mode, metering, picture control, and white balance. Shooting in Manual mode also allows you to change the shutter speed and aperture settings, in addition to all of the settings you can change in Program mode. In Toy Camera mode though, you'll be limited to changing the shooting mode, the saturation setting, and the vignetting setting.

The Function screen settings options in Program mode include:

  • Shooting Mode - Motion Snapshot, Best Moment Capture, Auto, Creative, Advanced Movie
  • Creative Mode - (discussed below)
  • ISO - A6400, A3200, A800, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, NR12800
  • AF-Area Mode - Auto-Area, Single-Point, Subject Tracking
  • Focus Mode - Auto-Select AF (AF-A), Single AF (AF-S), Continuous AF (AF-C), Manual Focus (MF)
  • Metering - Matrix, Center-Weighted, Spot
  • Picture Control - Standard (SD), Neutral (NL), Vivid (VI), Monochrome (MC), Portrait (PT), Landscape (LS)
  • White Balance - Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Underwater, Preset Manual
The Nikon 1 S2's manual focus mode doesn't involve a focus ring on the lens as you'd find with some advanced interchangeable lens cameras. Instead, you'll spin the four-way ring until you dial in the focus you want on the display screen. When manual focus is enacted, the S2 will automatically magnify the scene on the screen, making it easier for you to determine whether you've created a sharp focus. Once you select a focus and prepare to shoot the photo, the screen returns to a normal view, removing the magnification.

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When you select Creative Mode from the Function grid, you'll see this type of screen. Scroll through the icons on the right side of the screen to change the Creative Mode. As you highlight a different mode, you'll see an example of the types of images you can shoot in the middle of the screen. The Creative Mode options are:

  • Programmed Auto (P)
  • Shutter-Priority Auto (S)
  • Aperture-Priority Auto (A)
  • Manual (M)
  • Creative Palette
  • HDR
  • Soft
  • Miniature Effect
  • Selective Color
  • Cross Process
  • Toy Camera Effect

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One interesting special effect you can apply to your Nikon 1 S2 images involves entering the Creative Palette shooting mode, where you'll see a ring superimposed on the screen. Use the four-way ring to move the cursor around the edge of the ring. As the cursor moves, the colors in the scene will change featuring monochrome and different color tints, as displayed on the screen. When the scene's colors look like you want them to, just press the shutter button.


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The edges of the four-way button provide quick access to a few commonly used features, depending on which shooting mode you're using. The options available in Program mode include:

  • Top button - Function grid (as discussed above)
  • Right button - Exposure Compensation (between +3 and -3 in 1/3 increments)
  • Bottom button - Flash modes (Fill Flash, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Sync + Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear-Curtain + Slow Sync)
  • Left button - Drive modes (Single Frame, Continuous (Continuous, 10 fps, 20 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps), Self-Timer (2 sec, 10 sec))



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You can record movies from any shooting mode with the Nikon 1 S2, although if you set the virtual mode dial to Advanced Movie, you'll be able to make changes to specific movie settings using the Function button. (You also can change specific movie settings using the Movie menu, which we'll discuss later.) Just press the movie recording button on the top panel of the S2 to start and stop video recording.



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I found the Nikon 1 S2's menu structures to be a confusing mish-mash of options. It was very difficult to remember exactly which commands were under which menus, as the menu structures change dramatically depending on which shooting mode you're using. The organization of the menus is poor too.

When you press the Menu button on the back of the S2, you're taken to the screen with six icons, as discussed earlier. Scroll over to the Shooting icon and press OK to open the Menu screen shown here. 

When shooting in Auto mode, you'll see a camera icon on the left side of the screen. The Auto Shooting Menu options are:

  • Reset Shooting Options - Yes, No
  • Image Quality - NEF (RAW), JPEG fine, JPEG Normal
  • Image Size - 14.1M, 7.9M, 3.5M
  • Auto Distortion Control - On, Off
  • Long Exposure NR - On, Off
  • Built-in AF Assist - On, Off
  • Underwater Flash - Enable, Disable



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When using Creative shooting mode, you'll see the camera icon on the left with a stylized C. As you scroll through the Creative Menu listings, you're going to see that quite a few commands are grayed out, depending on which Creative shooting mode you've chosen. The Creative Menu options are:

  • Reset Shooting Options - Yes, No
  • Creative - Programmed Auto, Shutter-Priority Auto, Aperture-Priority Auto, Manual, Creative Palette, HDR, Soft, Miniature Effect, Selective Color, Cross Process, Toy Camera Effect
  • Image Quality - NEF (RAW), JPEG Fine, JPEG Normal
  • Image Size - 14.1M, 7.9M, 3.5M
  • Select Color - Purple, Dark Blue, Blue, Light Blue, Blue/Green, Green, Yellow/Green, Yellow, Orange, Red/Orange, Red, Magenta, No Color
  • Soft - Filter Strength (High, Normal, Low), Portrait (On, Off)
  • Hue - Red, Green, Blue, Yellow
  • Toy Camera Effect - Saturation (High, Normal, Low), Vignetting (High, Normal, Low)
  • Metering - Matrix, Center-Weighted, Spot
  • Auto Distortion Control - On, Off
  • Active D-Lighting - On, Off
  • Long Exposure NR - On, Off
  • Focus Mode - Auto-Select AF, Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual Focus (10x zoom, 5x zoom, 2x zoom, 1x zoom)
  • AF-Area Mode - Auto-Area, Single-Point, Subject Tracking
  • Face-Priority - On, Off
  • Built-in AF Assist - On, Off
  • Flash Control - TTL, Manual (Full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32)
  • Flash Compensation - Between +1 and -3 in 1/3 increments
  • Underwater Flash - Enable, Disable



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The Image Processing Menu is marked with a paintbrush icon. The options available under the Image Processing Menu will change, depending on which shooting mode you've chosen. In Program mode, the Image Processing Menu options are:

  • Reset Processing Options - Yes, No
  • White Balance - Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Underwater, Preset Manual
  • ISO Sensitivity - A6400 Auto (200-6400), A3200 Auto (200-3200), A800 Auto (200-800), 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, NR12800
  • Picture Control - Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome (Filter Effects (Off, Yellow, Orange, Red, Green), Toning (B&W, Sepia, Cyanotype, Red, Yellow, Green, Blue/Green, Blue, Purple/Blue, Purple/Red)), Portrait, Landscape
  • Custom Picture Control
  • High ISO Noise Reduction - On, Off



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The Setup menu is indicated by the wrench icon on the left side of the screen. The Setup menu options are:

  • Reset Setup Options - Yes, No
  • Format Memory Card - Yes, No
  • Slot Empty Release Lock - Release Locked, Enable Release
  • Display - Display Brightness (+3 to -3 in 1-step increments), Grid Display (On, Off), Shooting (Simple, Detailed), Playback (Basic Info, Detailed Info, Image Only)
  • Silent Photography - On, Off
  • Sound Settings - AF, Self-Timer
  • Auto Power Off - 1 min, 10 min
  • Shutter Button AE Lock - On, Off
  • HDMI Device Control - On, Off
  • Flicker Reduction - 50 Hz, 60 Hz
  • Reset File Numbering - Yes, No
  • Time Zone and Date - Time Zone, Date and Time, Date Format (Y/M/D, M/D/Y, D/M/Y), Daylight Saving Time (On, Off)
  • Language
  • Auto Image Rotation - On, Off
  • Pixel Mapping - Yes, No
  • Firmware Version



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The Movie menu is marked with a movie camera icon, and its menu options are:

  • Reset Movie Options - Yes, No
  • Frame Size/Frame Rate - 1080/60p, 1080/30p, 720/60p, 720/30p
  • Movie Sound Options - Microphone (Auto Sensitivity, High Sensitivity, Medium Sensitivity, Low Sensitivity, Microphone Off), Wind Noise Reduction (On, Off)
  • Electronic VR - On, Off
  • Auto Image Capture - Auto Photography (On, Off), Max Shots Per Minute (1, 4)

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