Excerpt: Sometimes a lot of things can happen real fast: a car that pulls out in front of you, dinner that burns, a child that falls, all in the blink of an eye. But when do you actually get to have something amazing happen real fast? How about 60 frames in a second? That’s fast; that’s exciting. The Nikon 1 AW1 can do it. Alongside that is a spectacular feat of other things even your show off brother can’t do. It’s even got slow motion, wi-fi sharing and underwater shooting.
Nikon 1 AW1 review: Waterproof, shockproof interchangeable lens camera
2 May 2014
Conclusion: The Nikon 1 AW1 is the company’s most fully realized compact system camera of the past three years. It’s a rugged model that, unusually, takes really good photographs, and with consistency. Perhaps that’s something worth paying a premium. Gavin is a Macworld U.K. contributor who has written about digital photography since 1997 and was editor of a slew of photographic titles including Which Digital Camera. There is little about the subject Gavin doesn't know.
Pros: Rugged qualities ensure a built-to-last construction, Sharp images
Cons: Occasional problem with inner glass of lens misting up, No eye level viewfinder
Summary: The Nikon AW1 is the World's first compact system camera designed for underwater use. It's waterproof to a depth of 15 metres, will survive a drop from 2 metres and is freezeproof to -10C.
As the only waterproof compact system camera on the market, the Nikon AW1 occupies an interesting niche that no other waterproof camera really competes with. Waterproof fixed-lens compacts are cheaper, but lack the AW1's big sensor quality and interchangeable lenses.
Pros: Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof., Waterproof interchangable lenses., Bigger sensor than other underwater cameras., Built-in GPS., Good water handling characteristics.
Cons: Lens seals require annual maintenance., No built-in Wifi., No waterproof strap accessory., Corner located tripod mount.
Excerpt: Consumers have shown that they really like compact digital cameras that combine the ease of a point and shoot with the feature set of a DSLR. They like larger sensors, enhanced performance, better image quality, and the abilty to swap lenses. The new Nikon 1 AW1 meets this consumer criteria. The AW1 is a waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof MILC (mirrorless interchangeable lens camera); a relatively new type of camera.
Pros: Waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and freezeproof, Neutral colors, Fills a unique product niche
Cons: Poorly placed action mode control, handgrip is less than ideal
Conclusion: The AW1 is an interesting camera, and one that we're very curious to try out when final production samples become available. We've had some time with a (very) pre-production sample, and although we haven't had the opportunity to actually shoot with it, our brief experience suggests that the AW1 does what Nikon says it does, about as well as we'd expect from a modern 1 System camera. What we really like about the AW1 is that it doesn't feel like a tough camera in use.
Conclusion: The Nikon AW1 is a nice, small camera that weighs less than 8 ounces and can be the perfect addition to your travel photography bag. The features and weatherproofing allow for use in just about any situation providing the technology to produce the best images possible in a small package. For less than $1,000 you can get one and judging by the features and specs, it will be money well spent.
Summary: Although the AW1 is built like a tank and survived our brutal test at sea, it's not entirely faultless. The lack of manual controls on the body means you'll constantly have to fight your way through the menu if you like to be in charge of frequently used settings, and in that respect it's just like other Nikon 1 system CSCs - great for the point and shoot snapper who wants no fuss, but not as good for the more advanced photographer who likes to get creative.
Summary: In the AW1, Nikon has delivered the most rugged system camera on the market. Despite being built like a tank and able to survive demanding drops and harsh environments, it is not entirely faultless. The lack of manual controls makes it incredibly slow to set up, and in that respect it's no different from other Nikon 1-system CSCs. It is good for the point-and-shoot user who wants minimal fuss, but it leaves advanced photographers wanting.