Swimming with the Nikon 1 AW1

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Into the Sea

Having got the camera ready, it was time to take the AW1 into the clear waters off of Kaanapali Beach. I was immediately impressed with many traits of the camera, including its super-fast AF system, burst mode (makes it a lot easier to get a moving fish into the frame), and relatively good color accuracy. Even better, I was shooting Raw+JPEG, so I knew in the back of my mind that I could adjust color and noise reduction later.

If you're more of a point-and-shoot person, you can simply put the AW1 into underwater mode and dive in. An adjustment slider shown on the LCD lets you adjust the color tone, to remove any unwanted color cast.

Looking good straight out of the camera. Cropped, ISO 280, 1/500 sec, f/5.6
The original version of this photo had pretty low contrast due to the murky water. We used the Raw image to produce the much more pleasant image you see above. Processed with ACR 8.3 and cropped,  ISO 360, 1/250 sec, f/5.6
This example was taken on a cloudy day, so things are a bit dark. Even at ISO 1400, the AW1 still produces photos good enough for midsize prints and web sharing. ISO 1400, 1/500 sec, f/5.6

It didn't take me long to discover something I didn't like about the AW1 - I had a hard time seeing what was on the LCD. Soon that didn't matter, though, as the battery died after roughly 30 minutes of snorkeling (starting with a 2/3rds charge). It's definitely worth bringing a spare and keeping the GPS turned off if you want the battery to last, as the EN-EL20 battery is only rated for 250 shots (CIPA standard).

I went back to the room for awhile, washed the camera in fresh water, and let it dry out with the various doors open. While recharging the battery, I took another look at the manual to see if I could make the screen more visible. Turns out you can, by setting the brightness to 'Hi' and turning on the 'high contrast display' option.

After giving the battery about an hour to charge, I checked all the seals and headed back to the beach. Moments after getting into the water a Hawaiian sea turtle pass right underneath me. The fast autofocus on the AW1 let me capture this incredible moment.

I'm convinced that a compact camera could not have captured this incredible moment. ISO 200, 1/400 sec, f/3.5

As soon as I took the photo of the turtle, I pressed the 'red button' to see if I could take a movie as well. The good news is that the AW1 was able to keep the turtle in focus as it swam away. The bad news is that the lack of image stabilization made for a very shaky video.

The Bad News, and the Good News

After the turtle disappeared, I continued to snorkel for another fifteen-or-so minutes. The next time I found something worth photographing, I glanced at the LCD, and noticed it was black, and that no matter which button I pressed, the camera wouldn't turn on. After returning to my room, I cleaned and dried the camera and charged the battery. Unfortunately, the AW1 was dead.

Upon returning to Seattle, Wash., the camera was returned to Nikon. The company tested the camera (which had corroded I/O ports at that point) and found that it passed their pressure test. Nikon said, 'some sort of environmental factor that is not currently present caused the leak'. In other words, foreign debris.

As an experienced user of these cameras, I had thoroughly inspected the AW1, yet some debris still made it in there. Nikon sent out a second AW1, which my colleague Erin Lodi took with her to Maui (you can tell that we enjoy the place). This AW1 went on numerous snorkeling trips, cliff dives, and hikes, and had no issues, aside from a few scrapes.

So, while we can’t conclude too much from a single incident, we can say that it’s worth being very thorough when preparing to use the camera underwater. If an underwater camera fails due to 'user error' (such as not checking the seals), the owner is most likely on the hook for the repair or replacement of the camera. With a price of $800, the AW1 is a substantial investment for most people. Our advice is to order an extended warranty with accidental damage coverage, or check with your homeowner or rental insurance company.

Final Thoughts

While not without its quirks, the Nikon 1 AW1 is arguably the best rugged camera I've tested. As you'd expect, photo quality is much better than a compact rugged camera, and Raw support allows you to tweak things like white balance and noise reduction to taste. The user interface is not enthusiast-friendly, and the battery drains quickly.

While there are just two 'rugged' lenses available at this point, neither have image stabilization. You can use other Nikon 1-System lenses with the AW1, but only above water. If you use these other lenses, don't forget to use the included O-Ring protector.

The leakage issue definitely concerned us, and we were relieved that our second camera had no issues. Even so, one must be extremely careful, as just a few grains of sand can end the AW1's life (or any other waterproof camera for that matter), and repairing or replacing it won't be cheap. 

Sunset in Maui. ISO 200, 1/400 sec, f/5.6

The AW1 is a large camera, and is more of a burden to carry around than, say, the Olympus TG-2 (which was in my pocket while I snorkeled), but the image quality and performance is vastly better. Personally, I'd like something in the middle - perhaps a rugged Sony RX100 - which could provide the photo quality and controls that an enthusiast desires, without giving up portability.

What I liked

  • Photo quality
  • Raw support
  • AF performance

What I didn't like

  • Clunky controls
  • Lack of IS on lenses
  • Battery life

Photo Gallery

There are 30 photos in the Nikon 1 AW1 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it. 

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Because our review images are now hosted on the 'galleries' section of dpreview.com, you can enjoy all of the new galleries functionality when browsing these samples.

46
I own it
88
I want it
2
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 196
12
DoiNomazi
By DoiNomazi (4 months ago)

I just got mine 4 hours ago! Black, from Bel Air Camera in LA. Arrived on time, good customer service, good choice. I like the camera so far, put it in the fish tank, no leaks. it feels so,id and heavy like a brick. Weight seems ideal for steady video shots. This is an ideal camera for what I need and it will be an excellent addition to the TS-5 and the GoPro. Bad weather, splashes, kayaking, trekking, biking, rafting, snorkeling, this is the camera I need. Not sure I'd ever take it diving but that's just me. I like the Ikelite case with lights for diving. I like it.

0 upvotes
DoiNomazi
By DoiNomazi (4 months ago)

I placed an order with B&H a month ago and nobody seems to know when it will become available... Does anybody know what's going on with this camera? The Nikon USA store rep is clueless, BH has no ETA, Adorama has no ETA, Amazon has no ETA, Target has no ETA, BestBuy, Sammy's camera, Gearshop, etc. Nobody seems to know much about this camera... Any reliable info would be much appreciated. Thank you.

0 upvotes
jnhphoto
By jnhphoto (1 month ago)

Try bestbuy

0 upvotes
DRNottage
By DRNottage (4 months ago)

I'll stick with my Panasonic TS2. Low noise reduction. Sharp lens. Good video. Built like a tank. Pocket-sized. After many ski trips and kyaking adventures, it's still going strong. Strange jpg noise structure, but that's Panasonic. Seems like the newer versions of it have inferior optics and greater noise supression going on, based on the reviews. I'll use mine until it croaks. This Nikon? Not for that money.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

All fair enough as long as the Panasonic satisfies you and continues to work, but jpeg only, small sensor, not good at high ISO, and a slow lens don’t do much for image quality. The Nikon 1AW solves those problems, albeit the lens speed with different lenses. So assuming the bricked Nikons are a fluke, and assuming you care about image quality the Nikon 1AW is the obvious choice.

Panasonic limits itself with slow lensed tough cameras. Imagine a tough/waterproof version of the Panasonic GX7 with a fast lens. I guess a bit more expensive than the pocket tough cameras and likely more expensive than this Nikon.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

I think the image quality can be improved by using an underwater flashlight or mining lamp, which should work well with compacts (need no sync).

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Adrian Gopal
By Adrian Gopal (4 months ago)

There is one other really interested usage of the AW1 if you live in a tropical country with 2500-3000mm of rain a year. The shooting experience can continue even in the rain. All you need after is a highly absorbant cloth, to wipe off the rain, and change lenses in the shade or even under your rain coat/umbrella. The weather often puts a dampener on the shooting experience, and now, I am also enjoy adverse weather shooting.

What I wish the lens came with was the ability to attach a hood for the lens, so that the front element has no water spots on it, and more AW lenses. My wish is for an ultra wide zoom, covering 12-24mm (in 35mm equivalent), and FE and a telephoto, or good zoom range like 100-300mm.

I personally think the AW1 is an awesome camera and has interesting photo opportunities if we think beyond just the camera being an underwater camera. There should be one in every journalist bag, when cover severe weather..

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (4 months ago)

If you want a camera just to shoot in severe weather like walking in the rain, the OMD-EM1 with the new weather-proof 12-40mm f/2.8 lens would just do fine. For now, if you need a longer zoom lens, you can use the Lumix 35-100mm f2.8 lens (also weather-proof).

The OMD-EM1 will be definitely a more versatile camera to use with much better image quality. It has a better grip too.

0 upvotes
Adrian Gopal
By Adrian Gopal (4 months ago)

Though I do not disagree with you, I personally stay away from Olympus due to the horror I had experienced with Oly's support.

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (4 months ago)

@ Adrian Gopal

Is it that bad at Olympus, Singapore? What was your "horror" experience with their support?

I thought Sony and Samsung were bad.

0 upvotes
Jan Toude
By Jan Toude (4 months ago)

There is some chromatic aberration (color fringing) in the Nikon 1 AW1 underwater photographs. Fortunately, it can be removed in post-processing (I tried this today).

0 upvotes
Jan Toude
By Jan Toude (4 months ago)

An example of color fringing removal (DSC_0072 from the DPReview Nikon 1 AW1 gallery):
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/954247102/photos/2775960/dsc_0072_without_ca

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
pocoloco
By pocoloco (4 months ago)

Peevee, TG-2, really? I got one, and it breaks just by looking at it...

1 upvote
brian57
By brian57 (4 months ago)

Peevee, I wouldn't buy it either, as I said. But the why is easy. Much better sensor and resulting IQ and according to the review, much faster in acquiring focus and getting the shot than the lower level Olympus TG-2. If people have the cash to burn and a gambler's attitude that it won't leak on you at some point, it sounds like a pretty sweet UW camera.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

"Much better sensor and resulting IQ"

But its zoom lens is f/3.5 at the best instead of f/2 - here goes the IQ advantage.
Faster focus only works in bright sunlight, at lower light Nikon 1 system is pretty bad.

0 upvotes
brian57
By brian57 (4 months ago)

I have not had much luck with waterproof cameras. I had two different Canon's and both died within a year or so due to leakage.
My current solution is a housing made for the Canon S90, which i'd moved on from as far as daily usage. It fits my need as a reliable waterproof camera that won't leak with it's excellent o-ring seal. I would never spend this kind of cash on a camera to put into the water without a dedicated housing for it after my two failed attempts at this sort of UW cam.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

Is the housing small and light enough to put the camera IN THE HOUSING into your pocket?

0 upvotes
brian57
By brian57 (4 months ago)

No, but it doesn't leak. First things first.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

So, compared to Olympus TG-2, this Nikon AW1 with 11-27 lens:
1) much bigger - will not fit in your swim trunk pocket
2) much heavier
3) has worse zoom range
4) has significantly lower battery life (which is already pretty low)
5) has worse controls (which are already pretty basic in TG-2)
6) has barely better equivalent aperture (adjusting for sensor size) while the sensor itself uses less efficient tech (Sony BSI in TG-2, Aptina FSI is AW1, right?), so noise in similar light and with similar shutter speed will be about the same
7) has more seals prone to failure (as was an example in the article)
8) has no image stabilization
9) has broken Nikon JPEG engine (ugly at high ISO)
10) costs about 3 times as much?

I wouldn't choose AW1 over TG-2 even at the same price, frankly. Why would anybody (except some rabid Nikon fans)?

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
davids8560
By davids8560 (4 months ago)

Just curious. What kind of rigs did Jacques Costeau use? Anybody else around here old enough to remember him? Would you say that he was just a "celebrity oceanographer" or a true, actual innovative underwater photographer, too? Or both, of course, if it's so. I imagine he had a team of photographers and cinematographers working for him. Maybe they deserve the real credit. But I dunno. Just wonderin'!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

The very first Nikonos was called Calypsophot, so you know who conceived the thing. It was made in 1960, and had all sorts of problems with film transport, but none with the sealing. When the Japanese bought the patent, they named the next model Nikonos (1963). And so on. To this day they have made five models:
Nikonos II, very similar to Calypsophot, but with film transport solved...
Nikonos III, IMHO the very best among all the mechanical models...
Nikonos IVa, with built-in light metering and dedicated flash unit, but with o-ring on the main door stupidized beyond imagination...
Nikonos V, with corrected seal system...
Nikonos RS, a TTL camera which was an attempt to bring SLR underwater without a housing. Outrageously overpriced, nigh impossible to mantain in the field, and without any chance to see through the lens (considering the dark ambient), did nothing to better the underwater photography.
And after all the experience, they still can't produce a proper u/w camera again.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (4 months ago)

Looking at the design, body and lens construction, the Nikon 1 AW is definitely not made for serious underwater use. I am not even talking about diving but just snorkling in open sea.

I just returned from a week's trip to Krabi, Thailand and the most popular camera used for beach, snorkling, kayaking and rock climbing seen is the ever so versatile Go Pro 3. This simple camera is probably the best for outdoor activity including diving. Nevermind it has a fixed lens but that's all one needs. Who need an interchangeable zoom lens camera? One does not even have to go snorkling to shoot fantastic underwater activities. Just attach the camera to a monopod and dip it below the surface and one can capture most of what we want. Fish, corals and whatever lies below.

Great camera to have while on a island hopping trip on a speed-boat. No problem if one decide to go rock climbing the next day. Just wear it on the helmet or tie it on the chest. One definitely cannot do it with the Nikon 1 AW.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

GoPro cameras have a so called one inch sensor and shoot raw? (The don't have and don't shoot raw, so no.)

This Nikon 1-AWS is not a serious dive camera, no one claimed it was.

By your logic Leica M lenses aren’t particularly good optically because they’re not incredibly popular.

I don’t think anyone interested in the Nikon 1-AWS would need lessons in how to use a GoPro helmet video camera.

1 upvote
Dave Ingraham
By Dave Ingraham (4 months ago)

@Jeff: Do you think that putting a very tiny bit of the included silicon grease around the edges of the 2 port doors would be a good idea, or not? I purchased the AW1 primarily for outdoor rugged use (mountain biking/snowboarding) but the family is going to Cabo for Christmas, and while I'm not a diver, but I'm sure it will see some underwater use while we're there.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Check very carefully whether Nikon allows the use of grease with contact / battery hatch seals! These are sometimes made of another material, and unlike usual o-rings, can't stand the grease. At least not for long, before deforming, and staying that way (no more elasticity).
Greasing the o-rings does not help with the actual sealing, it merely aids o-rings to move within their groove and so symmetrically adapt to pressure difference. Since the gaskets used in most of today's amphibious cameras do not seal by o-ring principle, the grease will more likely be a problem than the solution.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Jefftan
By Jefftan (4 months ago)

the whole design concept is wrong. It is too bulky, no IS, weak O-ring seal, low battery life

What is needed is a tough version of Coolpix A, Ricoh GR and RX1R (with IS and wireless charging of battery)
that is what the camera market needed
easily sold for $1000 and more

this is a failed first attempt. hopefully more to come

Olympus TG-2 which I own is an underappreciated camera. It is great up to ISO 400
There is a trick that I use to get shot at ISO 400 handheld when ISO 800/1600 is required. Use the continuous shooting mode at ISO 400, take about 10 shots and usually at least 1 will be sharp. Best tough camera at the moment

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Other people in these comments have said the battery life is good.

This is an existing digital camera system Nikon chose to modify. Hence the body design.

What you’ve described is much more akin to an actual digital Nikonos dive camera, you’re not the first.

And this Nikon 1 AWS was never described as real dive camera.

Right now, December 2013, this is the only tough camera that shoots raw, takes interchangeable lenses, can be used snorkeling, and has a so called 1" sensor.

So: The Olympus TG-2 does not shoot raw, and frankly this is a huge failure on the part of Olympus. Nor is the sensor in the TG-2 any where near the size of the sensor in the Nikon 1 AWS. I have jpegs from a TG-2; they’re not really very good–perhaps for posting to Fbook. There is no good reason that Olympus excluded raw from that camera.

1 upvote
Binone
By Binone (4 months ago)

I have an AW1 and have compared the images from it to those from a compact camera with a small sensor and there's a huge difference - the AW1's images are much cleaner.

Also, I think that the reason Jeff had such poor battery life is that he left the GPS & WiFi on. I used mine on the same beach in Maui and was able to shoot all day and still had charge left. I never needed to change the battery during the day.

The leaking is a very serious problem - mine may also have leaked because it fogged when put in cold water after a few days, although it kept working. That's something Nikon will have to address and they have mine for repair now.

I bought the AW1 for beach/pool/snorkeling use because, after reading the reviews of the current crop of ruggedized compact cameras, I was disappointed in their IQ - none are better than my old Canon D10. The AW1 is significantly better than that - even its JPG output is much better and RAW gives even higher IQ.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

"I have an AW1 and have compared the images from it to those from a compact camera with a small sensor and there's a huge difference - the AW1's images are much cleaner."

You have probably compared at the same ISO - but TG-2 would use ISO 4 times lower even without stabilization, 8-16 times lower with. Which IQ will be better then?

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

peevee:

You seem a bit confused on this point: The Olympus TG1 is only faster than the Nikon 1 when the Olympus is wide. The Olympus does not shoot raw. In the future Nikon is likely to make faster 1-AWS lenses.

In other words, you’re comparing one extreme of a not very good camera that shoots at lower IQ, to an entire system, most of which bests the Olympus.

Except for lower price and small size, there’s no proTG1 argument to be made. Olympus made the choice to ignore raw, and that was stupid. Raw capacity and a much faster zoom would help your case.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

You seem to be confused - 11-27 zoom ALSO gets darker as it zooms, and stays much darker at any FL it shares with TG-2 (of course TG-2 has better range both on wide and on long ends).
When shooting indoors or landscapes in low light, wide angle is the most useful, it is what any reasonable person would use - so it is f/2 vs f/3.5.
And very few people waste their vacation time processing raws - I guess Nikon users have to, but most will simply return camera with bad JPEGs to the store, like my friends did with their P510.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

peevee:

Wide angle is not the only way people shoot photos; they’re not all landscapes.

Then there’s a good 10mm (27FF) lens for this Nikon 1 system. And that 10mm lens is a lot faster than f/3.5.

Who cares about jpegs, all of the Nikon 1 series cameras shoot raw, and most people seeking out this AWS variation understand this point. Olympus limits itself to jpegs for the TG1/TG2.

You really need to familiarize yourself with how much better raw is than jpeg, and then how bad the IQ from the TG2 is.

0 upvotes
AndyGM
By AndyGM (4 months ago)

I think tough versions of the Coolpix A, Ricoh GR are going too far (plus wouldn't sell with their single focal length lenses).

Now a tough version of an "enthusiast compact", like a LX-7, with their slightly larger sensors and fast zoom lenses, now you are talking.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

AW1 is more a hide-out for Nikon 1 to survive.
I'd prefer a larger one, like E-M1 for easy handling in water or snow.

battery life is fatal, better no battery change for whole day (that battery, media, and lens change should be in hotel room as much as possible).

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Below another Nikon AWS user says the battery life is fine.

This is the mirroless system Nikon had to work with. Sure Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, and Samsung can all work up something water proof for their respective mirrorless systems.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

as the reviewer said it's bulky as a general purpose camera.
it'll be even niche to bridge the good operation of conventional housing (where bulky is more a wanted feature) and water proof point&shoots.

Nikon 1 is really chased to the corner

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

y--

The 1 series isn't particularly bulky; depending on the lens the AWS is akin to some P&S bodies--think Canon G15/G16.

Bulky cases are not ever a wanted feature. Note here all those asking for a real digital Nikonos in these comments.

This AWS is a good first step into much higher image quality tough cameras.

0 upvotes
Adrian Gopal
By Adrian Gopal (4 months ago)

I can say the battery life is not fatal.. I get between 250-300 shot from a single charge, with flash, autofocus, a fair bit of pixel checking.. I say that pretty decent for a battery with such a small capacity.

1 upvote
iudex
By iudex (4 months ago)

I think it is pointless to blame Jeff for breaking the camera or indicationg he omitted proper maintenance. Imagine a typical user of this camera: do you expect an average Joe to disassemble the camera, take the O-ring out, grease it with silicone every time, put everything back and after hour of preparation to go snorkeling? I believe he hust takes the camera asi is and goes underwater. Is it too much to expect the camera to survive one or two dives without going broke? I don´t believe this is what a 800 USD camera should behave.
I understand that after some time the O-ring needs some maintenance, but in this case seemingly this was not the weak spot where the water leaked in.
So no, thank you Nikon, I wait for a second generation, hoping the camera will be able to handle something more than a single dive before dying.

6 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (4 months ago)

This would be true in case of any of the "rugged" compacts but AW1 being removable/replaceable lens camera requires taking extra precautions for maintaining waterproofing.

I think that Nikon should consider this: every time camera is powered up message on the LCD should read: "Check the condition of the gaskets before submerging the camera in liquid.
Clean and grease as necessary" or words to that effect.
In the long run they can save themselves dealing with many returns. Not to mention bad feedback regarding the product.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
iBuzz
By iBuzz (4 months ago)

Nikon already display things to check the first time you open the AW1; if you remove the battery and put it again inside the camera, Nikon will display another message to check the seal of your camera! The only thing missing in the box, is a card with these letters: RTFM...

0 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (4 months ago)

They just released the Df. Why not release a Digital Nikonos or Dn?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (4 months ago)

Cost, limited niche audience, sheer difficulty...?

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

With due respect, none of the above. All the construction problems have been solved long ago, and millions of divers were very happy with what Nikon was then able to do.
Besides, as the mechanical cameras are much costlier to produce than the electronic ones, there really is no excuse for Nikon... other than an idea that they can perhaps push contemporary half-products with risky sealings to more people.
They can easily make Nikonos III and/or V in the digital version, and use the casings of four existing lenses to house more modern glass, but someone there simply does not want to do it.
Maybe it is because they'd last too long, who can tell?

2 upvotes
Whatzupman
By Whatzupman (4 months ago)

I owe 2 sets of Nikonos V because it is beyond repair 1 set after another.Always have leakage @Shuttle Release,TTL Terminals.

You comments above are rather contradicting from my experience.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Well, they're just another set of experiences, is all. What I can say, I always followed the ritual of cleaning and mantaining the seals in perfect working order, inclusive those not normally allowed to users, such as the film advance / trigger lever in Nik III, and also all the sealing rings on Nik V - except those at the ocular and at the lens port, since it takes a special tool to put those together again.
Both models have been used for 20+ years with absolutely no water leakage.
My diving buddy has had one leak, because his brother forgot to replace the flash contact plug. His Nik III and, what's worse, the mounted 15mm Fisheye were flooded. We managed to take both the camera and the lens apart, cleaned it, and put it together again, and everything worked as before.
But it has to be said that the repairs were done immediately after the flooding, so nothing had time to corrode.

0 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (4 months ago)

Check camera for an hour, smear it with silicon, assemble, go dive for half an hour, go back, wash it and dry it, charge it for three hours. Find out it's leaked and broken. Pay another $1000. Repeat. I'm sorry but it looks like too much trouble for the doubtable pleasure of taking murky, color-drained photos of some half-eaten fish.

11 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (4 months ago)

I dunno, the turtle one was pretty cool.

0 upvotes
GodSpeaks
By GodSpeaks (4 months ago)

You have obviously never use any camera underwater, such as the film Nikonos series or any camera with a housing.

Meticulous maintainence is a MUST.

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

Don't forget to spend half of your vacation processing and endlessly adjusting its RAWs because its JPEGs suck. ;-)

1 upvote
Black Box
By Black Box (4 months ago)

GodSpeaks (really?), no, I haven't. And never will. If I want to take some beach photos, a regular camera will do a much better job. If I need really cool photos of some underwater creatures I'll go to any photobank and, for a price MUCH lower than this camera's, will buy a bunch of lovely pics from anywhere in the world, from Red Sea to Antarctica.

Amateur underwater photography is something that shouldn't exist. It takes skill, equipment and time WAY beyond the abilities of a regular punter. "Affordable" underwater camera is as good an idea as a kit space shuttle.

1 upvote
MPA1
By MPA1 (4 months ago)

Why on earth does it capture sound on the video when underwater?! That is just annoying.

2 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (4 months ago)

Because whales don't come out on the beach to sing.

14 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (4 months ago)

And you should have heard Beatles' Octopus's Garden!

2 upvotes
Rascati
By Rascati (4 months ago)

Upon initial reading of this review I was under the impression that the reviewer did not like this camera. In two instances (Aperture control and O-Ring Protector), the reviewer did not take the time to read the manual to understand how the camera worked. While the operation of this camera may not be to the reviewers liking, knocking it down because he didn't read the manual does not seem fair. Additionally, the photos that were used in the review were nowhere near the quality of the photos in the gallery. The use of some of the better gallery photos for the review would have given a better example of what this camera can do. To be fair, Jeff did indicate the conditions in which he took the review photos (Less than ideal conditions). Overall, it just seems like the reviewer highlighted the negative aspects of the camera vs. the highlights. If I had a trip planned to Hawaii with a new camera, I think I'd take a few minutes to read the manual first.(I don't own this camera) Best Regards

4 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (4 months ago)

I can only speak for myself, but having handled plenty of cameras that come through our offices, you come to expect cameras to work in a seemingly logical way. On most cameras aperture is set with a control wheel or the 4-way directional buttons, not the playback zoom buttons.

Yes there is the argument that the manual should be read front-to-back, but the likelihood that this would be done by the average user is next to nil, even if they're buying an expensive interchangeable lens system. I certainly didn't pour over the manual when I bought my Canon DSLR.

And though Jeff did figure out where the controls were in the end, something has to be said about Nikon placing aperture controls in the last place a reviewer would check.

2 upvotes
Rascati
By Rascati (4 months ago)

Richard, thank you for your reply. I respectfully disagree with your comments. My concern is as follows. DP Review reviewers are the so called experts. It would be ok for the reviewer to comment negatively on the cameras controls if he felt they did not work like most cameras. Regardless of how the DP Review team feel about the operation of a camera, we, the readers, come to you for the answers. Your readers come to the site to learn about a camera before purchasing said equipment. It's actually absurd to think that a consumer would spend thousands of dollars to go on vacation in Hawaii, purchase a new camera for approx. $1000.00, spend hundreds of dollars to rent scuba/snorkel gear only to get in the water and not know how the camera I just bought works! When a professional reviewer does the same it just seems even more absurd to me. Richard, the point I'm trying to make is that your reviewer should have taken the time to read the manual. This is NOT your typical camera! Regards.

0 upvotes
iBuzz
By iBuzz (4 months ago)

Richard, Nikon just put the aperture control in the same place than their Dslr; they just replace the wheel with buttons for a good reason you probably already know (hints: sealing, underwater...). This just was one of the worst camera review I read from DPreview, period.

1 upvote
Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (4 months ago)

Is it just me or does anyone else think it's just pure lunacy to take an ILC camera underwater without using a dedicated diving case?? Not in a million years would I trust the lens gasket to keep water out....or to submerge the camera in salt water...just crazy.

1 upvote
Nuno Souto
By Nuno Souto (4 months ago)

Yeah. But the Nikonos RS did it, easily. Why not a digital camera?

3 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (4 months ago)

Nikonos cameras have been doing that since the 1963 with no problems.

2 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (4 months ago)

The camera is designed to be used for diving, so why would that be crazy?! Nikon made a camera for diving ages ago, without 'a dedicated diving case', or rather two, one only sold to US SEAL units.

4 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (4 months ago)

I think it is crazy to market and sell the camera to regular consumers, the same people who might pick up an Olympus or Canon waterproof-shockproof compact. The care and maintenance are not the same level, despite what Nikon adds try to tell you.

0 upvotes
GodSpeaks
By GodSpeaks (4 months ago)

The original Nikonos cameras did not use a housing, and they had interchangeable lenses. Plus they had a depth rating in excess of 150 feet. And they were GREAT cameras. I still have two of them. Still going strong after 30 years.

Built like tanks, they were, but you absolutely had to maintain those O rings... or else.

Crazy? I think not.

0 upvotes
R N
By R N (4 months ago)

Where did you shoot the turtle? Do you recall what beach you were near, or did you go out a bit to someplace like Turtle Town?

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (4 months ago)

Nice job, Jeff.

[as there was not a comment section on the previous article - best interchangeable lens cameras under $1000, I just wanted to mention that the Samsung NX300 is listed with a kit 20-50mm lens. The picture actually shows the much less compact 18-55mm. The price listed also reflects the kit with the 18-55 (recently reduced about $200); the 20-50mm is about $50 cheaper. Just a minor thing, but thought I'd give you guys the heads up.]

0 upvotes
fz750
By fz750 (4 months ago)

All the NX300s that are for sale here are listed with the 18-55mm.

The price is starting at $750, which, whilst the camera actually looks really beautifully designed etc, is really asking quite a lot in a VERY crowded price and market segment..

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (4 months ago)

I just purchased the NX300 with the 18-55mm for $550 (from a very prominent retailer); as with all NX300 packages, it comes with a version of Lightroom. I'd say that is pretty good value for a APS-C mirrorless with hybrid autofocus and an excellent NFC and WiFi system.

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (4 months ago)

Your price would have been accurate a few months ago but I've seen this aggressive discounting from more than one major retailer lately, and even $50 less than thay with the 20-50mm kit lens. The only two things I wish we're different with it are I'd like an optional hotshoe EVF and a slightly more solid build, aside from the nice aluminum top plate (the rest is polycarbonate).

0 upvotes
sugardaddy
By sugardaddy (4 months ago)

I couldn't find anything mentioned in the original article. Was the supplied silicone grease applied to the O-ring at all, either first time attaching the lens or before the dip?

I know a lot of people originally wanted a dial of some kind but the zoom buttons act as a dial, which is pretty intuitive to me (I own the AW1). Buttons are a LOT easier to waterproof than moving knobs.

0 upvotes
Jeff Keller
By Jeff Keller (4 months ago)

Nope, didn't put silicone on the o-ring the first time - didn't even think about it since it was nice and new. on the second camera, I did. Looking at the damage to the camera, it seems like the water came in through the door over the I/O ports.

0 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (4 months ago)

This reviewer guy seems a bit of a tyro, who, it seems, never used a proper camera under water. So he didn't understand that he should have used the grease - just a silly omission. Very!

I'll guess we'll have to abide his lack of reading expertise (evidently he wasn't able to read the manual), and his total lack of understanding of basic rules for cameras to be used under water.

One wonders why this guy was given the job to review the AW-1. Hopefully this will not be a recurring event, as just now DPReview have become just another source of badly written reviews, there are too many Maybe Amazon ordered it - their power over DPReview today is as we all know total.

I used to trust the reviews here, but evidently you should not - a sad development indeed, but money talks as usual!

8 upvotes
mais51
By mais51 (4 months ago)

Come on guy, go easy, we have a Panasonic compact with many doors and openings but never use any silicone grease on them, if grease is required then Nikon should warn people and preferably supply a tube/bottle with the camera, better still design a better seal - what's next you should use brand X instead of brand Y grease ?

5 upvotes
Jeff Keller
By Jeff Keller (4 months ago)

First of all, despite what some of the commenters here are saying, I did read the waterproofing section before using the camera.

Second, the manual says to "inspect" the O-Ring before going attaching the lens, which is exactly what I did. It also says that the silicone is to improve the lifespan of the ring and to make attaching the lens easier. Since the camera was new - and the manual did not mention it - I did not apply any silicone.

4 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (4 months ago)

Jeff,

OK I believe you, but anyone having used a UW housing knows you need to keep the O-ring(s) greased, or you might risk leakage.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

The instruction manual says (p35):

"The O-ring can be lubricated with the supplied silicon grease or with optional WP-G1000 silicon grease, preventing wear and making waterproof lenses easier to attach and remove."

It does not say that you must keep the O-rings greased.

3 upvotes
iBuzz
By iBuzz (4 months ago)

But the instruction manual said (p. 62-63) :

«Check the condition of the O-ring as described below whenever the camera has been used under water ... 5 Grease the O-ring.
Place a bead of silicon grease in a plas- tic bag and use your fingers to spread the grease throughout the bag (q), then insert the O-ring and massage the bag to coat the ring (w).»

You need to keep the O-ring greased or it will leak. Nikon supply a tube of silicon grease for that with the AW1.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

That piece of text is on page 74 of the manual I'm reading.

It says to check the condition of the O-ring "whenever it has been used under water" (which this hadn't) - the presumption has to be that it comes pre-greased.

That said, on page 75, in the section about replacing the O-ring it says: 'O-rings must be greased before use and whenever the surface appears dry; failure to observe this precaution could result in the O-ring cracking and water entering the camera.'

So, in one of the 85 mentions of the word O-ring in the manual, it suggests it must be greased before use. This may be the case, but I think the vast majority of people could diligently read the manual, believe they have acted in accordance with it and still find themselves owning a fairly expensive brick.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
JamesVo
By JamesVo (4 months ago)

I think a lot of people who have never used a dive camera before are going to buy the AW-1. Are users supposed to just intuitively know how to apply the proper care? In all fairness to Jeff - it seems the manual does not sufficiently emphasize the procedures and care required to keep water on the outside of the casing.

4 upvotes
Photo-Wiz
By Photo-Wiz (4 months ago)

First Jeff is an excellent reviewer who use to run his own website and had some of the more useful reviews.

As for the camera, all I can say is my TS3 has gone snorkeling more than 30 times and I have never had to use silicone or grease or anything else. I simply wash it in tap water and let it dry with door open. It has never leaked.

1 upvote
b craw
By b craw (4 months ago)

Most seem in agreement: lack of clarity, or insufficient emphasis of "greasing" in manual; it is important to consider the needs of the average consumer, one not necessarily with experience shooting underwater.

Tord, I am extending you the benefit of the doubt in terms of the reasons for you ill-tempered contribution - perhaps you were having a bad day. :( But such run-on conjecture about about the site's failings is becoming a bit tired to my ear. While nobody is perfect, the reviewers demonstrate, time and again, that they are qualified and knowledgeable. Your impugning of a reviewer's qualifications and lashing out at the site like a bitter stepson is...well, silly.

1 upvote
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (4 months ago)

Greasing O-rings serves two purposes: 1. Prevention of oxidizing and drying up which makes material pliable and not prone to cracking. 2. Lubrication during installation between two movable parts so it does nor get stretched or deformed.
Typically, fresh O-ring will come lubricated so initial greasing should not be mandatory but it never hurt to do it anyway. Proper maintenance during frequent and prolonged use is very important to preserve sealing properties.
I find hard to believe that in this case the sealing of the lens was a culprit. Doors or to the lesser degree buttons gaskets would be the areas of higher concern.

2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Greasing an o-ring keeps it symmetrical under pressure, as it can move and adapt. Otherwise, a part of it might not slide toward the gap of lesser pressure area, and so create an area where water might seep in. The groove wherein an o-ring lies must be kept greased too, for that same purpose. The idea is to make o-ring and groove just grease-shiny, and not covered with grease. It is no great feat to keep it properly mantained, but it has to be done, and above all, understood.
Problem is the other kinds of seals, like on battery/contacts doors. Those do not seal by the same principle, and sometimes the gaskets are of other material, which does not stand grease.
The Manual should explicitly state how those gaskets are to be treated. For instance, the u/w housing Manual for Sony T7 explicitly forbids any grease on their (o-ring shaped!) hatch seal. Greasing such seals may destroy their elasticity, cause them to "set" and lose their sealing ability.

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Binone
By Binone (4 months ago)

Hi Jeff:
You and I were on Maui with an AW1 at about the same time. I agree with your comments and the pros & cons. The first day I was in the water with it - also at Kaanapali - I really couldn't see much on the LCD. I had the camera set to the center focus area and a lot of shots were out of focus. So, the next time, I set it to automatic focus, but it was worse. That day was very sunny and I think that it focused on bubbles & specs in the water. So, I changed it back to center focus, and also found the LCD brightness setting and got better results, although I never saw a turtle -great shot.

Unfortunately, after 4 days I noticed that the glass cover over the front of the lens would immediately fog when I put the camera in the water. This didn't happen the first few days I was there, so obviously moisture entered the camera, but it kept working. Like you, I was very careful with it. It's now at Nikon's service center. I hope that the solution is simple.

4 upvotes
Jeff Keller
By Jeff Keller (4 months ago)

Interesting! I didn't see any other AW1's, so I must've missed you. Sounds like water got through the O-Ring!

0 upvotes
Binone
By Binone (4 months ago)

I was at Black Rock. It's funny, but we both took the exact same shot of the Alaska Airlines wing on the way there. I'm now using m4/3 equipment (E-M1 & E-M5) for the majority of my photography, but just wanted something better than my old Canon D10 for family vacations on/near the water. The AW1's images are dramatically cleaner than the D10's. But in several years of use, the D10 never leaked. The O-ring was greased and the lens installed when I first opened the box, and the lens was never removed, so there's no way something got on the O ring. I never went below 6-8 feet, so it wasn't pressure. However, it is possible that humid air entered the camera when I opened the battery door and then later, when the camera went from the 85+ degree air, to the 78 degree water, the moisture condensed on the lens cover. I had no problem with battery life, however, but left GPS & WiFi off. I shot all day and still had charge left at night.

1 upvote
Adam Palmer
By Adam Palmer (4 months ago)

I live out here in Hawaii and I have a Nikon V1 that I use in a housing ($110 on ebay) and a TG-1. The nikon does take better pics and I love it for the RAW. Though the pics in this review aren't any better than the ones I get with my TG-1. It is interesting to note that the camera was flooded within a week. I have had a few drops get in my housing. Getting a few drops in a housing isn't usually fatal but few drop of salt water getting into the camera itself is the end of the camera usually. I'll probably pass on this one and wait for one with better seals.

0 upvotes
Lapkonium
By Lapkonium (4 months ago)

I wonder why people find RAW so important on a camera like that... You are not getting pro-quality underwater shots out of this anyway – not without a proper bulky lighting setup, so why bother with lossless adjustment? There's not much to loose there, except for, maybe, time.

Cranking up contrast on a compact's JPEG can be more than enough for many. Unlike a compact, you can't put this nikon into your pocket either, so not a very convenient thing for holiday shooters...

It may fit a NICHE... But what sort of people does this niche comprise of? What can this camera do, that a compact can not?

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
sugardaddy
By sugardaddy (4 months ago)

After shooting both JPEG and RAW underwater, the RAW files are of much higher quality after WB correcting extreme underwater blue casts. The JPEGs, after WB correction of the blues, do not look as good to my eyes.

2 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (4 months ago)

Evidently you don't use RAW, as the more that is needed to fix in your shots, the greater the reason for shooting RAW.

Under water there are plenty of reasons to use RAW, while I can't come up with a single reason why JPEG would be a better choice, especially when shooting with a Nikon!

I always shoot RAW with my V1, while using a Pentax K-3 I might consider JPEG, as an alternative, if I have little card space left.

4 upvotes
ReallyMadRob
By ReallyMadRob (4 months ago)

I'm glad this camera and other rugged cameras are getting coverage but it's frustrating when it's so superficial. Taking pictures underwater is a skill that can be learnt and whilst this review might give casual snappers some idea what just dunking a camera can do it doesn't show what they are capable of.

This model looks like a very strange compromise but does fill a unique niche. If it claims 15m then it could reasonably expect to be used that deep (and deeper) - a camera shouldn't fail at its spec limit. When I've tested tough compacts they have shrugged off trips beyond their spec - which shows they are designed to dive on more than one holiday!

Rob

2 upvotes
Jeff Keller
By Jeff Keller (4 months ago)

Thanks to the feedback from some readers, I discovered that Nikon does indeed include the O-Ring protector. It's attached to the body cap (something I didn't even notice when I took it off), so you just snap it off and put it over the ring. Apologies for the error.

4 upvotes
Photo-Wiz
By Photo-Wiz (4 months ago)

I was hoping the Nikon would improve underwater pics too. But on my TS3 I never have battery problems. After taking it snorkeling on over 30 occassions, I have never had a leak. And comparing your Butterfish and Turtle Pictures to the TS3, I wonder, does the Nikon really produce better results?

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/2850894859/photos/1566297/butterfish

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/2850894859/photos/1566291/turtle2

1 upvote
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (4 months ago)

I used to have the TS3 (FT3), used it for a summer and then sold it. It worked faultlessly but I hated its image quality, which was hugely smudgy even at base ISO, probably due to heavy noise reduction. I just couldn't stand it. An underwater LX7 would be nice but until any of the manufacturers make a rugged camera with at least 1/1.7" sensor and RAW, I'm not interested.

Here's one I took with the TS3, heavily post processed and downsized to look any good:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/masters.galleries.dpreview.com/2252046.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=14Y3MT0G2J4Y72K3ZXR2&Expires=1386314772&Signature=uCt%2BRh4jL2eteKwep06wp94eSW4%3D

0 upvotes
Photo-Wiz
By Photo-Wiz (4 months ago)

I wasn't able to get in to see your picture.
I think with TS3, and maybe for all underwater cameras, you have to accept that only about 10% might turn out. With focus issues, moving water, bubbling water, missed shots as fish move out of frame, white balance issues, noise,etc only a few turn out. It is just not as easy or reliable as pictures on land. I thought my Butterfish picture above came out pretty well.

0 upvotes
primozp
By primozp (4 months ago)

Some of my SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera) underwater photos, taken (up to 10 meters deep) with Panasonic TS/FT cameras:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/8322728405/albums/sharm-el-sheikh-june-2012-ft4-org

Hundreds of my underwater photos taken with Panasonic TS/FT cameras. They are NOT "heavily post processed"! On the contrary, they are just slightly corrected with Picasa3 software!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/primozp/sets/

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
MJ Jones
By MJ Jones (4 months ago)

@KonstantinosK, Ikelite does make a water housing for the LX7. It costs between £400 and £500, i.e from around $600 to $750.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Medio
By Medio (4 months ago)

He says Nikon should include the O-ring seal protector!
I thought one was included!

Look around the body cap, the plastic ring there comes off and can be used to protect the o-ring seal when using land based lenses.

0 upvotes
JamesVo
By JamesVo (4 months ago)

AW means All-Weather not Under-Water. Great for snow, surface water, dust, mud and mild underwater usage but not a dive cam.

Although rated for immersion to 15m you have to understand how waterproofing specs work. In a splash/spray situation the speed of the water gives it momentum which can drive it past seals and barriers. So the seals are made more robust to resist this. Under testing in a static environment a seal might resist leakage at a depth of 10 to 15m but when you direct a fast moving jet of water at it on land, it leaks. More info on the web under "IP ratings".

Taking the AW1 to 10m and then bumping it against something as you swim might be more than it can handle. Nikon's marketing hype may be partly to blame ; creating an impression of a wider envelope for use than is pragmatic. Finally of course, the smallest bit of dirt in a seal is fatal. Even a fibre from a paper towel can cause a leak and one must be meticulous about this.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

True enough to a point, but the Nikonos could be used hundreds of feet below the surface and also on land. And there were plenty of seals and body penetrations on those Nikonos bodies.

So waterproofing can be improved.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

13 o-rings in all, on both models III and V - and all of those accessible to any user with some technical sense. Anyway, the Manual required only three of those to be cared for by the user:
- main body seal with Nik III, or main door seal with Nik V,
- lens-to-body seal, and
- strobe contact plug seal.
I have used both models for decades, and sometimes at double its rated pressure limit, and never experienced a leak. Also, even in the most extreme pressure the cameras were exposed to, all elements and commands performed with the same ease as on the surface.
This kind of conceptual and technical quality Nikon should repeat, instead of creating models with purposefully built-in weak spots. And sure, a FF camera which could replace Nikonos is neither impossible nor should it cost more than an analog Nikonos either.
My guess is, mercantile politics have replaced Nikon's pride in quality and uniqueness. Someone there should commit sukiyaki... ;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
pocoloco
By pocoloco (4 months ago)

I am not so convinced a compact camera could not have captured that unique moment : http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3225500706/photos/160652/turtle?inalbum=beneath-da-surface

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

I am. Heard of raw?

I guess if your point is that tough cameras like the jpeg only Oly TG1 can do decent shots at low ISOs only a foot or two beneath the surface, then sure.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
pocoloco
By pocoloco (4 months ago)

Hawaiian sea turtle, couple of feet deep, passing right underneath you... no... impossible for a compact... let alone an aging compact... really... I just don't know how my compact was able to do that... already 5 years ago... must be mistaken... can't be possible...

3 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (4 months ago)

The IQ from even the best UW compact today is frankly a joke. Still living with those woe 1/2.33" sensors, poor IQ ant any ISO and even out of water, but hopeless above ISO 400. All the bells and whistles but not the important stuff.

Hopefully Nikon has set a fire and will ignite this segment. Canon should have turned the EOS-M into the EOS-M(arine) as that's the only thing that might save it.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

poco:

See above where I wrote: "I guess if your point is that tough cameras like the jpeg only Oly TG1 can do decent shots at low ISOs only a foot or two beneath the surface, then sure."

No, your five year old tough camera doesn't shoot raw and can't be used at ISO 1600 easily. While all Nikon 1 bodies can do both.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

With some post processing this could be a great shot.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

"No, your five year old tough camera doesn't shoot raw and can't be used at ISO 1600 easily."

But Oly TG-2 and Pentax WG-3 will use ISO500 where AW-1 with 11-27 will use ISO 1600 - and will look better. And it is not even counting image stabilization, just the lens brightness and sensor tech.

0 upvotes
pocoloco
By pocoloco (4 months ago)

Reviewer shot a turtle a few feet deep, stating that that could not be done by a compact, well, i included a photo shot with a compact 5 years ago of exact the same situation... and even a better one... so don't tell me a shot like that can't be one with a compact... total nonsense...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

peevee:

You seem confused on this point: The Nikon 1 AWS has more than one lens, there's the fixed 10mm. Then in the future Nikon will likely release other waterproof lenses for the 1-AWS system.

You can look up dry land 1 series lenses for some ideas about which lenses may ship in waterproof in the future--one lens is a good bit faster than f/2.0.

Basically the Aptina sensor tech is better Sony's, BSI so far has only been applied to one recent 1" sensor. And even that Sony 1" BSI sensor isn't too much better than the Aptina sensors in the Nikon 1 series. The Nikon 1s shoot raw, the TG2 doesn't. The 1 cameras look great at ISO 1600.

So you're left with the image stabilized jpegs. Okay, if in the future Nikon wants to release some body stabilization variation of the 1 series bodies, that's a fine idea as long as it doesn't interfere with shooting in some manor. But it's not the make or break feature for this Nikon 1 AWS: Raw, interchangeable lenses, and a 1" sensor are.

0 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (4 months ago)

What I'd kill for (ok, not quite, but you get the drift) would be a digital, full-frame Nikonos body. Complete with the old, manual focus lenses. And preferably with external connections (charging/data transfer) which did not require disassembly or even the removal of a hatch or plug. After all, if my electric toothbrush can be charged via induction, why not my camera? And who needs USB if WiFi is well implemented?

Brian

3 upvotes
GXRuser
By GXRuser (4 months ago)

Totally agree...

1) Ideal camera 1 is a digital Nikonos. the choice is which sensor would work best for manufacturing as well as capturing images... 1", APS-C, or 135.

2) Second best camera, and probably the good enough camera, would be a 1" sensor with a fixed lens in a Nikonos styled body with Nikonos level seals. Access to the battery and SD card should be similar to how the Nikonos body was designed to allow access to the film roll. I do want AF and I want in lens optical stabilization. Integrate either the 10mm lens optics or the 10-30mm lens. A fixed lens would minimize the number of seals that have to be engineered.

3) An alternative choice may be to have an additional waterproof housing that the AW1 would fit in for more secure underwater use at greater depths. I agree that a AW version of the 10-30 would be nice for the image stabilization.

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (4 months ago)

Ruggidisation is a key feature. That way, when you get beat up for taking "unauthorized" beach photos, the camera won't break. :-)

1 upvote
jennajenna
By jennajenna (4 months ago)

Biggest problem with the nikon frankly is the lack of wide angle lenses. The best it can do is 27mm. The olympus tg2 is 25mm BUT with an adapter it can get as wide as ~ 21mm. That is massive as a field of view advantage (over 20%) compared to the nikon's 27mm max - and the real world of underwater video or photos... you want a wide vista of your experience. Also the tg2 aperture of 2.0 lets in twice the light of nikon so it can take lower iso shots.

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Does that TG1 shoot raw, and have a so called 1 inch sensor? How about the TG2, does it shoot raw and have a 1" sensor?

You seem confused about the astoundingly better image quality of the Nikon 1 system in comparison to the Olympus TG tough cameras. The Nikon's sensor is not simply a tiny bit bigger.

Okay then if wider angles than 27mm FFE is the deciding factor, pick a different camera.

Most people would care about image quality+raw, and figure perhaps a FFE (full framed equivalent) 18mm would come along from Nikon.

2 upvotes
BorisK1
By BorisK1 (4 months ago)

It's not just the wide angle. TG-1/2 has advantages in reach, size, weight, and battery life. This is especially true in scenarios that make it difficult or impossible to change lenses and batteries on the AW1

The wide end of the 11-27.5mm zoom is equivalent to f:9.5, which is just half a stop light-gathering advantage over TG-1's (equivalent) F:11. The far end of the zoom has more of an advantage - 1.5 stops - but has much shorter reach. In low light, TG-1/2's optical stabilization means that it actually can gather more light (for the same scene) than the Nikon's zoom would.

Oh, and unlike the Nikon's, TG-1/2's UWA and telephoto add-on lenses can be installed and removed underwater.

1 upvote
thx1138
By thx1138 (4 months ago)

The IQ of the Olympus tough series is simply atrocious, so wide angle or not who cares? It's time they took the segment seriously. The whole market should move to 2/3" sensors at a minimum and off RAW.

Now a Sony RX200UW with 20-100 f/1.8-2.8 lens and 1" sensor would be sweet.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Borski1:

Sorry image quality matters a lot more than how big your zoom is.

0 upvotes
BorisK1
By BorisK1 (4 months ago)

In the scenarios that call for tough cam usage, the choice is often between poor IQ and no picture at all.
And if you have to shoot the AW at two stops higher equivalent ISO (about 4 stops nominal) too compensate for the slow, non-stabilized lens, you won't get much of an IQ advantage over the TG1/2.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

BorsisK:

There are only two not very good, jpeg only, tough cameras with f/2.0 lenses. And that f/2.0 setting is only possible when the lens is at its widest--a point that seems lost on you.

This is getting boring, the image quality of small sensored, jpeg only, tough cameras in any thing like a challenging situation is really bad.

There are huge IQ advantages just from that raw factor alone with the Nikon AWS. Then the Nikon can be used at ISO 3200 without much trouble at all.

There's also the very simple possibility that Nikon will make an AWS lens that's faster--that doesn't work for the Oly TG2. (There's already an excellent fast dry land lens for that Nikon system.)

Stop making things up and wasting time, why not instead ask for Olympus to make a tough m4/3 system?

0 upvotes
BorisK1
By BorisK1 (4 months ago)

HowaboutRAW: RAW output is an insignificant feature for a toughcam. A tick in a spec table to satisfy the 0.0001% of the buyers that might want it.
You're the one making things up here.

The 2-3 stop advantage of an image stabilized lens can be measured. The advantage of ISO 400 on a 2/3 sensor over ISO 3200 on a 1" sensor can be measured as well.

Your "Huge IQ advantage" of shooting RAW cannot be measured.

Oh, and if you try actually *reading* my post, you'll see that I compared *both* ends of the zoom. On the far end, the AW-1's 74mm f:5.7 lens has a 1.5 stop advantage in light-gathering over the TG-1's 100mm f:4.9 - but when you take into account the (at least) 2 stops improvement of IS, the TG-1 actually gathers *more* light at the far end of the zoom than the AW-1 with the kit zoom.

Yes, the AW-1 has an IQ advantage over the TG-1 when you put it on a tripod and change lenses as you go. In a real-life "tough" scenario? Not so much.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Borski1:

Yeah raw is a big deal, and so is the one inch sensor, two big things that raw help with noise and white balance.

The TG1 is not really useable above ISO 400. Whereas the 1 series bodies can be used at ISO 6400.

Raw is a huge advantage that those who'd seek out the 1 AWS would likely know about.

So you only have point about image stabilization on a camera with crappy image quality.

You don't appear to be real familiar with raw on any kind of camera, sure helps with my Panasonic LX5, usable at ISO 1000 when shooting raw (there was a firmware update).

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (4 months ago)

Id rather have an action cam / go pro type camera with the sony 1 inch sensor. no need for interchangable lenses on a ruggedized camera like this. the qx100 proves that this can be done.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

The QX100? That doesn't shoot raw, and can't be sealed, so would need to be inside a sealed tube. Not a bad idea, as long as raw has been added, but not simply proven by the QX100, and then you still need a waterproof smart phone to run the camera.

So you've described a very different system.

Aptina's sensors are excellent--though yes I like the BSI 1" sensor from Sony too.

0 upvotes
Leandros S
By Leandros S (4 months ago)

"One big disappointment is that neither lens has Vibration Reduction (Nikon's term for image stabilization) built-in. While this isn't a huge deal on the fast 10mm prime, I was surprised to see that the 11-27.5mm zoom lacked this important feature."

Hmm... let's think... when surrounded by massive volumes of water, is my camera still shaky? Actually, no. Let's think again... if I had loose VR lens elements in my system, might it lead to shutter shock? Quite possibly yes. So should I be including VR? I'll let you answer that one.

2 upvotes
stoic little
By stoic little (4 months ago)

He wants VR on a shock-proof camera. I am interested on how they would be able to engineer that.

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

Why should the 11-27.5mm zoom have VR? The non-waterresistant version doesn't have it either so it's no surprise.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

"Hmm... let's think... when surrounded by massive volumes of water, is my camera still shaky? Actually, no. "

Let's get a little less imagination and a little more facts. Watch the video. The camera clearly shakes. But you would know that if you ever snorkeled.

0 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (4 months ago)

I wish someone would make a fixed lens UW camera with one of the 'premium' digicam sensors (1/1.7" through the Sony 1" sensor) and something like a fixed f/2 lens at 28mm equivalent.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

I'm sure you can get a good bag for the Sony RX10. Those bags make the use of fixed lens bodies pretty easy underwater.

Then you'd have FF underwater.

Or just use this Nikon 1AWS with the 10mm lens. That gets you the excellent 1" Aptina sensor underwater. (I realize that lens isn't as fast as you'd like, you'll have to wait until Nikon waterproofs the 32mm (84 FFE) 1.2 for a really fast 1 lens underwater.)

0 upvotes
GXRuser
By GXRuser (4 months ago)

The 10mm is a Great choice for underwater use. It is unfortunate does not sell the AW1 with the 10mm alone or the Body alone. The AW1 is only available with the kit zoom with or without the 10mm.

0 upvotes
b534202
By b534202 (4 months ago)

With wireless charging and wireless upload, so no chance of any seals breaking due to user error.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

b534:

And wireless lens swapping?

0 upvotes
fz750
By fz750 (4 months ago)

thanks for the short review.

I was so interested in this, not so much to go snorkelling or underwater actually, but just to be rain and sand/dirt proof and generally totally worry free.

Unfortunately, I wasn't aware about the lack of IS which is a deal breaker for me.

Nikon, are you listening? $200 cheaper and IS.. :-)

0 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (4 months ago)

"I pressed nearly every button I could think of...". You clearly didn't press the zoom buttons :) Anyhow, right now this is the best underwater camera without a casing that money can buy. I just wish it was 200$ cheaper...

2 upvotes
iBuzz
By iBuzz (4 months ago)

I have the Nikon AW1 and the O-Ring protector is INCLUDED with the camera. Look on the body cap! It's one of the first thing you get in the user manual.

2 upvotes
Jeff Keller
By Jeff Keller (4 months ago)

Thanks, will re-check this one.

0 upvotes
ShatteredSky
By ShatteredSky (4 months ago)

So far I am not convinced that this is much better than the TG-1 I own, except noise. But it misses the wide-angle, and the macro capabilities ... A 24-120 equiv. zoom would have been nice to go with that ... or if Olympus may finally add RAW to the TG-3, and a slightly bigger sensor. I would not mind a larger size, even a RX10 sized fixed-lens 24-120 beast and 1 inch sensor would be nice.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

An Olympus TG-3 with a bigger sensor would have a much bigger lens, and the lens could not be internal to the box, without vastly increasing the size of the box.

In the future Nikon will likely release other waterproof lenses for this 1 AWS.

As you realize, raw helps a lot with image quality and noise. No raw on the tiny sensored Olympus.

0 upvotes
ShatteredSky
By ShatteredSky (4 months ago)

As I said, I have no problem with a bigger body. It should stay near AW 1 size or below. And RAW on a TG-3 would at least allow me to avoid the awful (uneccessary) smearing that occurs in jogs now.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

S-

The Sony RX10 is a full framed camera with a non zoom lens.

Why wouldn't Olympus just waterproof an m4/3 body and a couple of lenses instead of calling whatever the TG3? So except for the confusion about the Sony RX10, all you've described is an m4/3 tough camera from Olympus. I bet it's in the works.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ShatteredSky
By ShatteredSky (4 months ago)

That is what I proposed in the announcement thread of the AW1. An E-PL5 with WP 12-50 lens.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

S--

Okay, then why call it the TG3?

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (4 months ago)

The RX10 is not a FF camera with a non-zoom lens. It has a 1" sensor and a zoom lens.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Revenant:

Yep, my mistake, I was thinking of the RX1.

Then of course the RX10's lens extends, so that's a problem.

0 upvotes
ShatteredSky
By ShatteredSky (4 months ago)

That is what I meant by fixed-lens 24-120. A non-extending zoom like the one on the AW1.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

S--

Okay, that's a fine idea, but it's not going to be called the TG3. Clearly: The small tough camera makers, including Nikon, but really Pana, Olympus, Pentax, Fuji are all trying for the smallest jpeg only pocket cameras. Right a bigger sealed box would allow for a bigger sensor, faster lens and still and internal zoom.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

RAW does not add as much to small-pixel cameras as it does to large-pixel cameras - noise floor in those pixels is too high to take advantage of extra bits.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

p--

Why don't you try raw on a small sensored camera like the Oly XZ10. Raw sure makes dealing with noise much easier, and then there's the white balance adjustment thing with raw.

These two points are completely separate from any possible added dynamic range or exposure compensation.

The more you post the less you seem to know about digital photography.

0 upvotes
wazu
By wazu (4 months ago)

Certainly in a niche of it's own. The comment about wanting an RX100 in a ruggedized body is moot since I think it would be as large and not allow lens changes. I have an RX100M2 and have tried the ikelite underwater case. It is huge! Returned it and looked at a couple other options. Those were also large and cost more than this AW1 kit. So it was a no brainer to pick up this camera with similar sensor for less than the cost of a decent housing.
My biggest praise is for the exceptional buiid quality. My dissapontment is that I will need to keep ISO at 800 or below to avoid excessive noise. Note: I can push thr RX100m2 to 3200 and still get acceptable IQ.
So far ruggedness has been downgraded by poster who managed to crack LCD glass with a fall inside a bag, and this reviewer who managed to brick his loaner while snorkling. Seems the port and battery compartment hatches are not robust enough.

0 upvotes
Nuno Souto
By Nuno Souto (4 months ago)

Macro is one of my passions for underwater photography. Used to take a Nikonos for that, now I take a TG1.
Is there a way to produce/take underwater macro shots with this camera and available lenses?

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

As long as you can find any among its UW lenses with a filter thread, the simplest thing would be to add on 10x lens to the front. But there is no data anywhere that those lenses are filter-threaded.
Something can be improvised with such lenses, though, by arranging the lens position by means of some L-shaped piece fixed to the tripod bush...

1 upvote
mrc4nl
By mrc4nl (4 months ago)

I am not shure if a close-up lens or whatever filter based, would work.The water can go through the filter thread en fill up any gap between the front element of the nikon lens and the rear element of the converter/filter.

Not that it would do the converter harm, just not shure if water instead of air has a decreasing effect.

1 upvote
Nuno Souto
By Nuno Souto (4 months ago)

Bugger! That closes it for me, then.
Without native lens macro, it's useless as an UW camera...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Nuno:

There are only two lenses, so far, I think Nikon has thought of making more than two for this AWS system.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

@mrc4nl... There is no problem with water entering the space between lens port and the add-on lens, actually. It will somewhat change the optical characteristics, since air and water indexes differ, but generally you might just notice slightly lesser effect than nominal. As a natter of fact, water SHOULD be allowed there, so as to avoid pressure-related problems, and all water add-on lenses are made to allow it.
I was thinking of one-element add-on lens, of course, not a converter constructed in lens groups with air-filled gaps. Such lenses I have used extesively with various Nikonos lenses, and never had any problems. These needed proper washing and cleaning after sea-water use, but their (aluminum) frames never showed any corrosion whatsoever.

0 upvotes
Marcel Rebro
By Marcel Rebro (4 months ago)

My buddy experienced same issue yesterday in Dahab. While he were snorkeling to max depth 10m some drops leak to battery compartment. Fortunately he recognized problem early and finished snorkeling. He inserted silica gel in to the camera and is waiting if camera will be working.

0 upvotes
DMJones
By DMJones (4 months ago)

Sorry but I'm not impressed with the underwater shots. From 2004 - 2010 I used a Canon IXUS500 in an underwater housing & that 5MP camera was producing images that look just as good on my 27" monitor. It was just a point and shoot not a dedicated all weather / underwater creature.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (4 months ago)

You must have only looked at the 2-3 underwater images in the article which the author explained had reduced contrast and were taken on a cloudy day. The actual AW1 gallery has lots of images that look very good, significantly better than any 1/2.3" sensor compact could do. Not to mention the fact that this camera shoots RAW for even better IQ vs JPEGs from your IXUS.

6 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (4 months ago)

There are specific filters you put in front of a camera lens when you go underwater to correct for contrast, color, etc. If the reviewer had used that, it no longer would have been a camera review, but a filter review. A lot of camera housings, have such correction filter or filters in place by default, so you can't really say "I used x and x camera with a housing" and compare it to a plain underwater camera review.

2 upvotes
aandegoons
By aandegoons (4 months ago)

I like where Nikon is going. Camera's for active photographers. Far too often I find myself looking out the window or checking the weather forecast and leaving my camera home.

2 upvotes
Dédéjr
By Dédéjr (4 months ago)

That is why I shoot pentax..........

8 upvotes
duchamp
By duchamp (4 months ago)

D700 (or higher) +24-70/70-200 2.8 can withstand any rain.

1 upvote
aandegoons
By aandegoons (4 months ago)

Dedejr,

I am always interested in new cameras. Can you tell me which Pentax ILC I can take fly fishing in the morning for UW shots of Broook Trout, then white water rafting with my kids in the afternoon. We also like rock climbing.

Looking forward to all your suggestions!

3 upvotes
Kuvasauna
By Kuvasauna (4 months ago)

PA-N1000 O-Ring protector WAS in the box

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Any camera or casing that uses o-ring (which has to be greased) is better off with o-rings removed when not using the u/w setup, since the grease is magnet for dust, sand, or other kind of dirt.
Anyway, if the o-ring gets dirty, it can't be merely wiped clean in its position. The procedure requires taking it out of its groove, and then proper cleaning of both, along with re-greasing.
O-rings move and adapt to pressure changes, and if any kind of dirt is moved with it, it will eventually end up breaking the seal. There is no way to avoid proper cleaning / lubricating before setting the camera under pressure, otherwise disasters get invited...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

In short, it's a half-job again. While it is hard to imagine anything but an o-ring seal on the lens mount, the compartments (two, to double the risk) still close via funny gummy gaskets which are unreliable by default, since these depend upon hatch locking mechanism. For less money and easier construction, Nikon could have used a single access hatch sealed by another o-ring.
This, along with some body shape thinking, and using command elements other than sealed push pins (reed switches / magnets would be best) could have set the camera a bit higher toward Nikonos which cost about the same but offered a lot more depth autonomy and water-resistance reliability.
Nikon could also have used the Nikonos lens mount with this model, and used the elements housing for more modern glass. Having the o-ring exposed with dry-land lenses is also wrong, and whenever the camera is used with such optics I'd suggest the removal of the ring.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

There's a cover ring for the o-ring, when using the dry land lenses.

I don't have a problem with the manual focus Nikonos lenses, but others would and that's likely Nikon's thinking.

Nikon would need an entirely new box, not based on the J3/J1, to do a single o-ring sealed compartment and use these modified 1 series lenses. New specialized boxes take new engineering, testing, and then factory set up. So money, and Nikon is not some huge profitable company like Apple or Samsung, nor is it big like Canon or Sony.

I understand you want a dive camera, but clearly this isn't it, and that was clear from the launch date.

It still appears to be an excellent snorkeling, sailing, rafting, pouring rain camera.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

@HowAboutRaw... I read about the cover ring, of course, and that I see as an afterthought, since they decided to put the ring with the casing. Had Nikon put the o-ring over the lens mount, it would be protected by every lens cap, the way it was with Nikonos.
Anyway, the short and long story, there is still no diving camera to have, merely another snorkeling camera with wrong sealing on all the other places. In the meantime, the Nikonos V casing is screaming at them to build the digital innards within, and then add whatever new lens they please - plus all the old, excellently made glass.
Since electronics are so much cheaper than mechanical parts, this solution should not cost a cent over the prior Nikonos V... and that, then, would be exactly what the market lacks.
As for sailing, snorkeling etc...I agree, it is good, better than many other amphibious camera.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

OldArrow:

A digital Nikonos, in a real Nikonos V body, is a fine idea, but then Nikon would need to spend monies developing new AF lenses. I guess here they could take advantage of PDAF on an APSC sensor.

I think the O-ring needs so be setup this way on the 1 series--unless Nikon wanted to build completely new lenses for the AWS-1.

Never particularly thought of this AWS-1 as a real dive camera--just something with a good bit better image quality than the small sensored "tough" cams. And that appears to be the case.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

@How... Even the Nikonos III casing would be good for the purpose! The only thing needed would be making the outer shell in Perspex, so as to be able to see the monitor inside. The upper part could have an IR strobe sync instead of cable plug which was on the underside, and even the old lens tubes could be equipped with new AF glass.
But Nik V would be really the model to convert, since only the back door should be redesigned; the rest of the case is excellent, has more than sufficient place for all the electronics, and a huge battery as well.
The most difficult part is seemingly in making Nikon (and others) realise there is actually a HUGE market waiting for such a camera. That is something that ordinary dry-land-only photographers do not see, but I wonder how come Nikon forgot it.
As I see it, using Nik V tools and knowlege would be the simplest solution, production-wise. But then again, who would listen to me? :)
Somehow, it's easier to re-invent the invented... Weird...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

OldArrow:

Then if Nikon were to commit to making a Nikons V based APSC digital camera, Nikon would also have to commit to more than two new AF lenses and commit to replacing things like the sensor, AF, and viewing screen 18 months after the introduction of version 1.

Given the success of other good dryland mirrorless systems from Olympus, Sony, and Fuji, I don't think that it horrible idea, that Nikonos digital, but it's a resource commitment from Nikon.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

HowAboutRaw...

I see two different things here. One is the properly designed underwater casing for digital camera parts. The other is the actual camera that can be built into such casing.
Suppose Nikon adapts Nikonos V case to house digital camera parts. It wouldn't be a problem to update such parts as the technology evolves. The casing could remain the same for a long time. No diver would mind. Some cosmetic changes on the outside (such as nametag, model type, color or grip/surface texture could distinguish one model from another, so as to denote the newer, better, different camera inside.
The main advantages: ample place for many years of such changes, room for enormously capacitive battery, and add-ons, even dive-assisting instruments using monitors; like compass, air/mix gauges, dive computer... there is no end to the possibilities.
Using casings of old UW Nikkors, all-new optics could be made, even very good zooms...
The final result, cheaper - made, and better product than AW1.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

OldArrow:

Pure speculation on my part, but perhaps Nikon didn't preserve the machine tools to make the Nikonos V bodies.

(Or perhaps the tsunami/earthquake destroyed the tooling--I know that the factory making the D4 bodies was severely damaged.)

Then I don't think a Nikonos DV would be inexpensive--think about at least $1500 with a new AF 35mm f/2.4 lens and a 16MP APSC phase detect AF sensor. Once sales grew the price could go down a bit.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

HowAbout... Nope, the bodies were made using CAD/CAM, and every manufacturer takes care to save their technology with more than a single backup, and especially software.
Some years ago there was this reportage about a man who needed some parts to restore a 1926 Fiat (Topolino). He contacted Torino and stated the original part numbers. Since there was no such parts on the shelves, they've made them for him. And I don't believe Nikon is lesser known than Fiat... so it is hard for me to believe...
Lenses you mention are already available, the only thing to adapt is a straightforward machined tube to fit them in, and a way to add outer commands where required: with all electrically driven lenses it would be easy to incorporate, say, reed switches on the inside and a magnet or two on the outside. No big deal.
But think of the lesser cost of electronic elements vs. mechanical ones, and $1K would be more than fair to pay for it. And these would sell, trust me.
Pipe dreams all, anyway...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

OldArrow:

Some CAD/CAM files is significantly different than having the machine tools used for the entire manufacturing process.

Files are a start, but no camera, car engine, lens, etc can simply be produced in quantity reasonably inexpensively without the production machine tools. And tooling is much harder to back up than paper files or computer files.

You’ve mistaken one-off for production; the first is expensive and time consuming, and for specialized applications; the other is where Nikon would be trying to make money and dive camera systems.

Anyhow I was simply speculating that Nikon may have lost some of the equipment for production–and yes some of the machines could be robots from the 1990s.
Then what mirrorless waterproof (or on land) AF 35mm f/2.4 lens would you think Nikon can simply adapt to a digital Nikonos? I think there’d be a lot of lens redesign given vignetting and the fact that flang distances are different on the Nikonos than on Nikon SLRs.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

HowAboutRaw... Even if they've lost the manufacturing equipment (tools, programs...) the experience gathered through all the yearss of producing the World's best amphibious camera must have remained... so why would they go and apply a seal which is dependent upon hatchlock mechanism in place of o-ring sealing principle? This type of gaskets that they use requires that the lock and hinge are always perfectly aligned with the sealing surfaces, and there are several kinds of problems with that. Aside from the fact that the gaskets they use are quite unreliable, the production is also more expensive (compared to o-rings), and two closures instead of one raises the risk level by 100%.
Instead, the single hatch could have had a groove all along the rim with proper o-ring sitting in there, and all the servicing content (battery, card, contacts) would be safely shielded...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

OA:

I’m not a supporter of those silly pad seals–so no argument there.

However I still think that a real digital Nikonos with an optically good AF 35mm f/2.4 lens would retail for a good bit more than $1000.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

How...
There is no doubt there for a second. They'd charge seriously for such a camera, of course, regardless of what I was aiming at, and that is the price of actual production, which goes down significantly if one does not use all mechanical but all electronic parts.
Anyway, we can't even begin to forecast what Nikon will do, so this is just giving them ideas! :)
Live long and prosper! Maybe someone else recognises the market that they ignore, and we get to take photos with something even better... :)

0 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (4 months ago)

Good review but please DPR stop referring to this camera as an 'underwater camera'. It is far more than that. Anyone with an interest in outdoor activities from caving to mountaineering and everything in between could be interested in this camera whilst 60 fps makes it the ideal camera for ball game photography and birding, particularly in the soggy UK. Wish I had one to photograph today's storm.

The AW1 desperately needs a viewfinder though. Using a rear display in harsh conditions is difficult.

8 upvotes
stupidisanart
By stupidisanart (4 months ago)

The 60fps has a really bad IQ to manage it. A big issue is that you will not be able to change a lens if the camera is at all wet/dirty out of fear from mucking up the sensor.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

I'd kind of agree with that. An "underwater camera" would be the one that divers could use, thus able to operate at much greater pressures.
These types of cameras are better named "amphibious" or "submersible", to distinguish them from "water-protected", which can merely withstand getting wet in normal use, but mustn't be immersed.
As for the lens, battery, card change... the usual procedure with all sealed casings to dry them as well as one can before breaking any seal, and always open the hatch (or lens mount) pointing downwards, to evade drops seeping inside. With o-rings, since it comprises pulling the removable part out of the sealing space, it should be done slowly and carefully, as the maneuver creates a slight under-pressure in the case, and it can suck in some water droplets. It's a routine everyone easily adopts, it just takes some concentration and care.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@groucher: I'm not sure I understand your objection. Most of the time we refer to the AW 1 as a 'rugged' camera, and only occasionally use the word 'underwater' (even then, only with specific reference to taking the camera underwater). We don't at any point imply it can only be used underwater, either.

6 upvotes
Jan Toude
By Jan Toude (4 months ago)

@stupidisanart:
> The 60fps has a really bad IQ to manage it
Lumix GX7 shoots in reduced resolution JPEG at 40fps. On the contrary, my Nikon 1 J1 produces very good RAW photos at 60fps.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
JamesVo
By JamesVo (4 months ago)

Viewfinder +1 : great for all tough conditions except underwater.

In a future model :
-The battery could be in the form of an external "grip" that screws down onto a set of sealed contacts
-The memory could be fixed internal memory like a smartphone's rather than a card.
-Data Transfer by suitable wireless protocol
-lens mount sealed by a clear protective non-reflective glass
Now the body is totally sealed with no ports.

On the lens :
-front and rear elements sealed to casing
- contacts and mount still have a sealing ring but if it leaks, no damage to camera or lens.

In Generation 3 the lenses have no contacts - power by inductively charged internal battery and control of aperture, FL and AF by NFC or other wireless protocol. Now you can remove and change lenses underwater - only have to solve the refractive index problem for water trapped between lens and camera mount.

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