Review: Nikon 1 AW1 Waterproof Interchangeable Lens Camera (video)

Thanks to Nikon, I am able to test out the Nikon 1 AW1 camera that has interchangeable lens and is waterproof, shockproof and freeze proof.  At first glance, you will not be able to realize that it is waterproof. Nikon has done a good job to maintain its sleekness.

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With its pricing (S$999), it might seem a little on the high side. However, the fact that it is waterproof has make it an attractive price point. For a normal interchangeable lens camera, you will need to buy an external underwater casing (which will cost a few hundred dollars). And usually, you cannot access all the buttons on the camera (of course, you might argue that the underwater casing can go deeper than the 15m for this camera).

The camera is a looker. It is not bulky (although it is on the heavy side). Check out the pictures of the camera.

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Notice the double lock on the compartment. It is important that the compartments are tight to avoid water from seeping in.

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According to the description, you can use the flash underwater. I regret that I did not try that but I am sure it will work fine.

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If you have noticed, you will realize that the waterproof lens is different from the usual lens. As you can see below, it has a rubbery front.

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The best way to describe the waterproof lens is that it is like a air tight container containing the actual lens. Once you mount the lens, it actually prevent the water by means of the packing/seal. The build is very solid.

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Some controls on the back panel. BTW, as this camera does not have a touch panel, all features are accessed via these buttons.

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The side views.

 

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With the compartment opened.

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The bottom again with the compartment opened.

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In my opinion, the most expensive part of the camera… the sensor.

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Some menus are dedicated to the underwater features. Because you are going to operate the camera in the water, Nikon has put in some nice touch like using the gyrometer to navigate the menus.

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Sample Pictures

I wanted to see if Nikon 1 AW1 is a versatile shooter. Therefore, I tried to use it in different scenarios. You can see some street performance, food, landscape (on a super gloomy day), in the pool (taken by my friends) and underwater (taken by my friends).

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Overall, I must say that it really performs well in terms of the sharpness, the white balance (I have put it to auto) and speed.

Here is a video that I compiled.

Summary

I actually love this camera. Although it is slightly heavier than most Micro Four Third system cameras, it’s biggest advantage is being rugged, waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. Literally, I could bring it anywhere without worrying about the sand, dust or water that might get into it (of course, you have to ensure that it is sealed properly). Another advantage is that it can also be used with other types of Nikon Nikkor lenses. This has made it even more versatile.

I would recommend this camera for families or people that frequent the outdoors. Imagine what kind of pictures you can take while you are doing outdoors sports. Check out this video which sums up what I wanted to say.

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