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Nikon AW1 First Impressions Review

September 2013 | By Barney Britton, Jeff Keller
Buy on Amazon.com From $696.95

Well now here's a pleasant surprise - Nikon has released a rugged, waterproof mirrorless interchangeable lens camera - along with a pair of equally tough lenses - for a starting price under $800. Those familiar with Nikon film cameras may fondly recall the days of the Nikonos, with which the company dominated underwater photography from the 1960s onward.

The AW1 is essentially, if not exactly, a ruggedized version of Nikon's 1 J3. It is waterproof down to 15 meters (49 ft), shockproof from up to 2 meters (6.6 ft), and protected against cold as low as -10 degrees Celsius (14F). It is announced with two lenses - equally ruggedized versions of the 11-27mm (30-74mm equiv) and 10mm (27mm equiv) optics that already form part of the 1 System lineup. The AW1 is compatible with all 1 System lenses, but it will not be water, shock or freezeproof with a non-ruggedized lens on the front. The waterproof lenses, however, will not be compatible with other 1 System cameras.

Nikon AW1: Key Specifications

  • Waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof
  • 14MP C-format (2.7x crop factor) CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-6400
  • 3-inch LCD with 921,000 dots
  • Built-in GPS with compass, altimeter, and depth meter
  • Action Control system for underwater/gloved operation
  • PASM shooting via 'Creative Mode' menu
  • 15 fps burst mode with continuous AF, 60 fps with single AF
  • Full HD 1080p video

Nikon's 1 System has been around for a couple of years now, and although we weren't entirely convinced by the initial pair of cameras - the J1 and V1 - they did offer some unique (at the time) hybrid autofocus technology, and some cool features. Ultimately, they also did exactly what Nikon wanted them to do, providing intermediate and novice users with better-than-compact image quality plus the ability to add lenses and system accessories if needed.

The asking price for the initial offerings was a little high - especially for the V1 - but since then the system has expanded sensibly, and current low-end 1 System cameras like the S1 and J3 are reasonably priced and well-positioned, with the V2 offering a much more compelling 'step up' option than the original V1.

The AW1 is shown here with one of its optional silicone skins attached (left) and 'naked', on the right. The orange rubber might have a certain appeal to those nostalgic for the Nikonos cameras of yore, but the AW1 is still impressively tough without this extra protection.

Although we don't have access to sales figures, we understand that the 1 System is doing pretty well for Nikon. As such, we honestly didn't expect the company to significantly change the recipe quite yet. Arguably, Nikon didn't need to do much beyond adding lenses and periodically updating its entry-level, intermediate and advanced 1 System cameras to keep its target demographic happy. In an industry which is increasingly characterized by caution, this would have been perfectly normal.

And that's why the appearance of the AW1 is so refreshing. When we were shown the new camera at Nikon's American HQ recently we were very pleasantly surprised. Some of us are old enough to remember the famous Nikon 'Nikonos' waterproof film cameras, and although the AW1 certainly isn't a Nikonos (it's only rated to operate at 15m underwater rather than 50m, for a start), it has the potential to occupy a similar niche. What this means of course - assuming the AW1 performs well in our tests - is that it could make the 1 System genuinely interesting to enthusiasts and owners of other established systems. It might not be an evolutionary product - the AW1 is extremely similar to the inexpensive J3 in terms of specification - but its existence does evolve the 1 System.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 587
1234
rb59020

What? No hot shoe, evf, touch screen and only 60i video? Nikon, where is the full-frame sensor?!?

I'm going to take my Haldol now and take a nap. Yawn.

2 upvotes
justmeMN

Cool! 'Nuff said. :-)

0 upvotes
tinternaut

I like it. It's a big step up from the rugged compact cameras out there, and a nice second camera for wet weather. The preview doesn't mention if the built in flash can control an external flash? As others have said, a rugged version of something like the Ricoh GR would be ever so nice.

0 upvotes
Antti Naali

Use optical cabels and it'll work just fine.

0 upvotes
R Thornton

One more product nobody called for. Like the shape though. Now, Nikon, put something spectacular in it for the price already!

0 upvotes
jkoch2

A crusty, dry ole landlubber, are ye?

6 upvotes
kreislauf

it is spectacular. watersealed system camera with a good sensor? fine with me.

did you count, how many waterproof cameras are out there? well?

7 upvotes
Teru Kage

A product nobody called for, or a product that no one dared hope for?

The cost is a little high but it's a nice alternative to a waterproof casing for my larger cameras.

1 upvote
Michael She

Waterproof cameras are one of the few differentiators left for a traditional camera over a smartphone.

Smartphones have cannibalized the digital camera market, so being able to use it in harsh environments / underwater is a major differentiator.

0 upvotes
hydrospanner

Michael,

Check out the waterproof S4 Active.

Not saying that this isn't compelling new ground for cameras, just that smartphones are slowly getting there too.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

Teru K--

This is product many bodies called for.

@Michael She:
Smartphones don't shoot raw, so smartphones aren't really challenging a lot of digital cameras.

Also almost no smartphone has an optical zoom.

Yes, smartphones have helped to kill the sales of cheap jpeg only cameras, this Nikon is not one of those.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

hydrospanner:

I handled one of those "waterproof" S4s, and there is no way it's actually waterproof, one simply removes the back panel with one's finger nail.

There is an older Samsung with a locking waterproof case.

Neither of those smartphones shoots raw, neither has a 1" sensor, neither takes interchangeable lenses, and neither has real manual controls.

1 upvote
Jogger

I'd rather have a fixed lens, fixed-focal length APSc camera like the Coolpix A or Ricoh GR in ruggedized form.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Okay, but I don't think anything is stopping you from putting a Ricoh GR into a waterproof bag with an optical window for the lens. That's still a small set up and easy to use. (No doesn't look as slick hanging from the neck strap.)

Then I think this Nikon1WP (my term) is directed at people who will be out shooting in rain and snow, so on land and/or above the surface. Interchangeable lenses can be really helpful shooting some outdoor water exposed activity, eg sailing while on small boat.

2 upvotes
hydrospanner

That's all well and good, but I suspect you'd be in the minority in the market segment this is aimed pretty squarely toward (that being the outdoor adventurer demographic).

These folks want the best compromise of:

(1) A camera that is light & compact enough to justify bringing it along camping/hiking/kayaking/skiing/fishing/etc.

(2) Within the realm of rule #1, a camera that will stand up to the challenges presented by those environments.

and

(3) Within the realm of the first two rules, the max. amount of image quality and flexibility to get the shot you want without greatly pushing the limits of the first two.

While fixed-lens/bigger sensor will likely get you better IQ, it's a big hit on flexibility, where a smaller sensor, with interchangeable lenses, lets you pack an extra 1-2 lenses and have a camera that'll do absolutely anything you ask of it, while turning out IQ that is reasonably close to the APS-C for the majority of situations outside of pixel-peeping & large prints.

0 upvotes
mosc

Why are the 1's lenses all so slow? The RX100 has a f1.8 28mm equivalent on it that ZOOMS! Would it be so hard to put out an equivalent pancake prime for <$300?

4 upvotes
Dheorl

It's only f1.8 for a very small portion of that zoom. Also doesn't the 1 system have a f1.2 lens?

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

Isn't there an F2.0 10mm for the normal Nikon 1 system?

1 upvote
kreislauf

10mm f/2.8
18,5mm f/1.8
aaaand: 32mm f/1.2

fast enough? for me, that works fine...
plus you can get c-mount lenses like i did:
eg. computar 25mm f/1.3 of sick things like the schneider xenon 50mm f/0.95

yeah, all that: +1 for my Nikon 1

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

k--

I guess I was thinking of the 18mm F1.8. BH's website wasn't playing well over my slow home connection.

Anyhow fast enough and a sensor useable above ISO3200.

I think Nikon just killed the small tough camera market--well nearly, those who want jpeg only cameras will buy those P&S things.

0 upvotes
mosc

I don't know what you guys are smoking. Just the other day I was taking a picture of a waterfall with the RX100. 1/2000, f1.8, 28mm, ISO3200. Shot didn't even come out that bright. At f2.8... man. And I'm asking for a 1 series PRIME, why are you bringing up the fact that the RX100 slows as it zooms? You're telling me I have to go from 28 equiv to 50 equiv in order to match f1.8 doesn't really help either.

1 series lenses are simply slow, across the board, by almost 2 stops from what I think they should be. That's given their price.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

mosc:

"1 series lenses are simply slow", a F1.2 lens is slow now? And of course a F1.8 lens must be slow [sarcasm]. Who smokes what?

This Aptina sensor is better in low light than the Sony RX100's (not sure about the RX100ii's sensor).

The fact remains that yes the lens on both RX100s gets significantly slower as it zooms. And Nikon makes plenty fast lenses for the 1 system. Though no the fastest 1 series lenses are not rugged--yet. But you said 1 series, not rugged 1 series.

Look the Sony RX100 is a good compact camera, but its lens is slow when zoomed. It also doesn't come in a waterproof version. No the Zeiss name doesn't mean much in this case either. In some ways the Panasonic LX7 or Olympus XZ10 are more promising still cameras than the RX100, because the lenses are optically excellent and remain reasonably fast when zoomed.

The Olympus XZ10 is useable through ISO 2000 and has a beyond excellent lens. So if you need a still camera to fix the flaws of the Sony RX100...

0 upvotes
Marty4650

For those of you offended by the comparison of this rugged camera to the classic Nikonos, please remember that Dpreiew never made that assertion. They merely posed the question in the headline for this new item. ("Nikonos reborn?")

Most likely the question was asked to draw attention and elicit response, and not to claim that the Ruggedized Nikon 1 is in the same league with the classic underwater SLR.

7 upvotes
Photomonkey

The comment sure stirred up the trolls though.
It is tiresome to see so few comments of value. Rather it seems to be a storm of trolls each trying to out do each other in some new sneering comment about how stupid the camera manufacturers are for not making something making something that conforms to their idea of camera perfection as they understand it (from their recently minted Internet photo education).

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Okay it's not a Nikonos because it can't be used hundreds of feet below the surface--not like many dive that deep anyhow. And it doesn't have a large optical VF.

Also not a Nikonos because you can't put ISO3200 colour film in it and shoot--oh wait this Nikon1WP can shoot colour at ISO3200, so really really helpful underwater or on dark rainy nights.

Just to be clear shooting with a Nikonos below snorkeling depth wasn't exactly possible without extra lighting and remember until about 2002 ISO 400 was it for colour 35mm film--then Kodak released good ISO 800 35mm film. So this camera solves some of the lowlight problems of the Nikonos system and any other underwater film camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
GeorgeD200

The only Nikonos that was an SLR is the RS. The others were zone focus viewfinder cameras. You'd have to be a really skilled photographer to shoot with a Nikonos wide open. I suspect this new offering will be much easier to use for occasional underwater users.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake

It's not just that we never made that assertion, we actually explicitly wrote "the AW1 certainly *isn't* a Nikonos". But that hasn't stopped anyone arguing about it.

3 upvotes
jonikon

Like a dog with a bone, they just won't let it go until they are done chewing on it!

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
onlooker

Andy Westlake wrote: "It's not just that we never made that assertion, we actually explicitly wrote "the AW1 certainly isn't a Nikonos". But that hasn't stopped anyone arguing about it."

Oh, you expected people to read it. There is your mistake right there.

1 upvote
Summi Luchs

First the sensor oil issue (D600), now the sensor water issue (caused by underwater lens changes).

Joke aside, this camera is a really refreshing concept, even if it won't become the scuba divers favorite.

1 upvote
EcoPix

Did you know that the standard 10-30 is actually ruggedized? Mine was anyway. I was climbing down a rocky cliff in the Kimberley when it popped out of my bumbag, fell 6 feet, bounced on a rock, dropped another few feet, bounced again, and then clattered down 10 feet among rocks.
I thought of just forgetting it but I didn't want to litter a wilderness, so I climbed down, retrieved it, shook it, tried it on the camera, and it seemed to work fine.
Back at base I did careful tests on it's various functions and image quality. It was fine. That was half a year ago, and it's still a workhorse. The ruggedized lenses must be H-bomb proof.

1 upvote
282QSR

Nikonos reborn?
Are you kidding?
The 35mm Nikonos was a "proper" underwater camera.
The AW 1 is water proof (i.e take if for a swim or snorkel)
The original was rated to 50 mtrs (good enough for recreational diving to 30mtrs).
It had a variety of excellent special u/w lenses.
Strobes and connectors.
What is Nikon waiting for?

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Right about the depth underwater thing, however one couldn't simply shoot at ISO3200 in colour with the real Nikonos.

And as you get at below snorkeling depth on had to use extra lighting with the Nikonos system.

0 upvotes
282QSR

.....still can't take it diving - it's just not a Nikonos replacement.
It's just another (ok, better) swimming/snorkeling camera.

BTW, even with a high ISO digital you still need a strobe/flash when diving if you want to take reasonable pictures. I do it with an Ikelite housing.

0 upvotes
Zigadiboom

What do I do if dust gets onto the sensor whilst I'm 49 feet below the sea?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Johannes Zander

The manual states that you have to insert a bluestreak cleaner wrasse before you dive to prevent dust on the sensor!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
rhlpetrus

If you are a certified diver you know the answer.

0 upvotes
Efrem

You remove the lens to get rid of it. Once you do this, you will no longer be at all concerned about dust on the sensor.

1 upvote
Marty4650

The good news is, if dust gets in while you are making an underwater lens change, you will get an instant "wet cleaning" of the sensor.

However, this could still be a problem if you are shooting in salt water.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus

Question (I'm lazy): does it take regular 1 lenses and do these AW lenses work on other 1 bodies?

0 upvotes
hydrospanner

Don't be lazy. Read.

0 upvotes
Red5TX

Yes and no.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
rhlpetrus

I read, thanks, it makes sense. I'm positively surprised by this camera, Nikon may have finally found a niche where the 1 may be the choice for many people, since it's very versatile. As people use the 1, they will realize how good the AF and the whole camera and lenses are.

2 upvotes
hydrospanner

I'm glad you read.

I agree. This is the first camera I've seen that has made me reconsider getting into m43 in the near future. Until this one, Nikon CX represented a system with nothing to entice me and a lot that I'd never really get much use from.

While I won't likely get *this* model, as, waterproof or not, I don't like the J3's specs, if they make an AW10 that is a high-spec waterproof modeled after the V-series, that might just get me to stop lusting after a GX7.

...that said, I'd probably feel like an idiot after that, when Panny reacts to the sales and releases a waterproof GX7.

0 upvotes
iShootWideOpen

Price proof would have been more useful than water proof.

2 upvotes
Simon Zeev

15m is not enough for diving. A sport diver goes up to 30-40m deep.
I use an E-PL2 with Olympus housing that can go to 40m underwater.
I hope that in the future somebody will make a camera that goes to 40m without housing.
Anyway AW1 id a good start.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus

99% of people get these cameras for snorkeling and playing in the swimming pool. Pro divers need something else, but this is very interesting (I am a certified scuba diver).

6 upvotes
KonstantinosK

You don't always have to go 30m deep. There are many places where you can see wonderful things even at 10m deep. (@rhlpetrus: me too)

2 upvotes
Dheorl

It's good enough for snorkelling and surf photography etc. I'd love to see some of the 4k, 60fps shots you can get out of these cameras of surfers (assuming this camera is also capable of that trick).

Also great for people like me who don't necessarily want to use it intentionally underwater, but do a lot of outdoor sports.

0 upvotes
Simon Zeev

To all :
A camera that can go to 40m also can go to 1m. I am not a "PRO" diver and not a PRO underwater photographer. I am sure that this camera can shoot magnificent photo up to 15m.
I don't believe that many people will buy this camera for snorkeling. There are less expensive camera for that.
Zeev

0 upvotes
Mr Fartleberry

I hope it takes better pictures than my 100AW.

0 upvotes
Asylum Photo

I'll definitely consider this the next time I go on a trip that involves snorkeling and the what not. I had to use a heavy duty ziplock style case for my X-E1 and it made me very nervous (though it worked well enough). Hopefully other camera makers do similar, as I'm not huge into the 1 series... but it certainly beats using sketchy underwater cases.

0 upvotes
tektrader

Would love to know how many people who commented have used a V1 or V2.

I bought a V1 cheap and it has surprised the hell out of me with the PQ. It really is quite good. The build quality is excellent. Sensor size isn't everything and until you try one you should hold your tongues dissing the product.

As someone else said. This will be the king of point and shoot water proof cameras, The existing P&S cameras are just toys compared to the AW1

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
11 upvotes
Tom_A

I tried the V1 in the shop, a rather dark indoor shop. It indeed offered good picture quality. And it was obviously very well made.

In the end I bought an XE-1 though, which is something else still, but the V1 was a interesting camera at the discount price. This AW1 should be great.

1 upvote
LaFonte

I think the problem would be more that we would like to say " it offers pretty good quality for the price". That isn't true with the original non-sale price unfortunately.
If you got V1 on sale then yes, it become amazing camera but if you paid $800 there are far better buys IMHO.

3 upvotes
rhlpetrus

The V1 is an excellent compact camera, much better than anything one can get short of a m43, and better than m43 in terms of AF. This is an interesting addition, will certainly call attention to the 1 line.

1 upvote
kreislauf

true, but IQ wise i would go with m4/3 (love my V1 though)
but 1k for a V1? i would do E-M5 with a prime olympus.

0 upvotes
Paul B Jones

Perfect for snorkeling. On spec looks like a great camera.

0 upvotes
Toccata47

$800? Oh come on. Nikon has had a great opportunity with the 1 series but has squandered it at every opportunity by consistently overpricing the line.

3 upvotes
peevee1

No stabilization. Underwater tripod anyone?

0 upvotes
tektrader

You shouldn't need VR on an underwater camera used under water. The water damps movement quite well.

1 upvote
Asylum Photo

Not to mention, ideally, you'd be shooting at fairly high shutter speeds.

0 upvotes
Antti Naali

It would be nice to have IS when it is cloudy or visibility is poor. You really easy end up with shutter speeds 1/30 and longer in those conditions. I can tell surrounding water doesn't do the job for you. Of course there is no such problem with strobes and my humble view is you don't want to shoot uw without.

2 upvotes
peevee1

"You shouldn't need VR on an underwater camera used under water. The water damps movement quite well."

The handshake is too low-amplitude to be dumped, especially when there are waves/currents nearby. But even if it would magically work underwater - are you going to bring a second camera on vacation to shoot above water?

"Not to mention, ideally, you'd be shooting at fairly high shutter speeds."

Good luck with low light underwater and f/3.5-f/5.6 lens. Or in your hotel room or dim bar/restaurant.

0 upvotes
RobG67

This is not a Nikonos. Not even close. I have a V1, and it's a great little camera and a useful adjunct to my D700s, but daring to compare this half-hearted attempt at an underwater camera to a Nikonos is tantamount to heresy. Wash your mouth out with silicone grease, you silly person, you.

3 upvotes
itsastickup

Except in dynamic range, it's almost certainly superiour to a Nikonos. Even then, I would have expected Nikonos users to use flash and/or slide-film much of the time.

0 upvotes
RobG67

Yep, slide film was notorious for being low in exposure range. But we managed, regardless. And yes, us old Nikonos shooters used flash almost every time. :) (Although I could never afford a Nikonos, not even a salt-worn III - I had to make do with a Sea&Sea. But the thought was there. :) )

I'm sure the camera will be a bucketload of fun for snorkelling and jet-skiiing and such, but a Nikonos it ain't. Not even close. I'm not saying that the camera won't be good (within its limitations), I'm saying that DPR invoking the Nikonos myth burdens it with a heritage and expectation that it cannot live up to, which, I think, does the AW1 a great dis-service, before it even gets a chance to display what talents it may have. And I really hope that Nikon don't make the same mistake, as that will kill the whole concept before it even gets going.

3 upvotes
blank_

try to use flash on this one

0 upvotes
taktak91

Another fine product from Nikon that can't replace my D300.

2 upvotes
AxelD7100

If you are so happy with your D300, why replace it?

0 upvotes
RunStrom

Shutter speed 1/16000 wow! Is this a typo ?

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey

Its correct.

0 upvotes
peevee1

It's electronic at any shutter speed, with some rolling shutter effect for quickly moving subjects (1/80s real readout speed, 1/60 flash sync, which is not bad for an electronic shutter, but about 4-5 times slower than modern mechanical shutters with 1/320s flash sync).

1 upvote
ageha

This will be a great system body!

0 upvotes
Britzzzilla

Yawn... The best Nikon can do is waterproof their latest camera? Their strategy and lineup needs a lot more work than that.

1 upvote
Tom_A

Yes mr the great marketeer, enlighten us with your brilliant insights.

0 upvotes
Britzzzilla

I can start by getting the capitals right in my copy. Next, I'd aim a camera at the price gap between Nikon 1s have been actually selling at and where DSLRs pick-up rather than trying to sell a $1,000 kit. But better yet, I'd be headed to where the bulk of revenue comes from existing customers and think what they'd like to buy next which comes out to something ahead of a D7100, not a waterproofed Nikon 1 they didn't buy two previous generations of. And your defence of this 'brilliant' innovation is?

0 upvotes
groucher

You're looking at this from the perspective of a couch potato Brit. People who are into any form of outdoor activity are going to love this camera.

3 upvotes
GabrielZ

A great idea, but no hotshoe...that might be a problem. Its basically flashless, the built-in unit is puny, almost like those on smartphones.

0 upvotes
RunStrom

You could always use a slave flash.

0 upvotes
InTheMist

Note: A waterproof flash is now included in the system.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake

A waterproof flash is 'under development', but not expected to be released until next spring.

1 upvote
Antti Naali

That is too bad only if you allready have sync cords and stobes wich don't take optical cables. In any other case optical cable does the job nicely even if you lose TTL wich you don't need anyway uw.

0 upvotes
MikeStern

"waterproof down to 15 meters (49 ft)"
Open water certification diving depth limit is 50ft.
Do you think by saying 49ft, Nikon means do not dive with it but just snorkel?
To keep the camera safe.

0 upvotes
groucher

Or use the camera for hundreds of other outdoor activities that involve taking it out into harsh conditions. This camera is of interest to people other than divers.

4 upvotes
Dheorl

Maybe it's because they designed the camera with 90% of the world in mind instead of the USA, so used meters as the primary measurement. 15m just happens to round to 49ft, they'd prob get moaned at for inaccurate conversion if they stated 50ft.

2 upvotes
Sangster

Recommended maximum depth for OWD certification is 60' or 18 M.

1 upvote
smacznykonsek

Article author, you wrote:

" If you want more flash power, you're out of luck, as the AW1 lacks a hot shoe"

Perhaps it's worth a mention that according to Nikon website (http://www.nikon.com/news/2013/0919_nikon1_01.htm on the bottom) there is
a waterproof flash coming next year that will work with Nikon 1 AW1.

Best regards

1 upvote
Andy Westlake

Added, thanks

1 upvote
Griffo 155

Whilst this is an interesting addition to the Nikon family I hardly think this will dig Nikon out of their lowly market share... Are there so many underwater snorkelers going to invest into this camera. I don't think so!
It may count as a go anywhere travel camera - but I find this as a very strange move by Nikon. To my mind Nikon have clearly lost their way.
Lets wait and see, I hope they have something up their sleeve for the next presentation, which will entice people to buy into or buy back into the Nikon line,
but, one thing's for sure I don't think it will be a D400!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
sandy b

Lowly market share? You mean beating the pants off everyone but canon?

2 upvotes
Griffo 155

No I mean lowly market share - at Nikon's admittance - in terms of mirrorless cameras. Nikon have got to check out the market mover and shakers like Sony Fuji Panasonic etc. Quality mirrorless cameras are the future and Nikon (and Canon for that fact) are not in the ball game!
This recent product shows me that there is no clear direction at Nikon and that they have lost their way...

0 upvotes
thx1138

i had zero interest in the Nikon mirrorless system until today. This is a master stroke and I can't wait to see how it performs. Just in time for our summer.

10 upvotes
SkiHound

This interests me too. I do quite a bit of kayaking. None of the water proof P & S cameras currently available offer very good IQ. This I could strap around my neck and leave it out without worry. I'm at least going to give this a more in depth look.

3 upvotes
thx1138

"I'm at least going to give this a more in depth look."

No pun intended!

0 upvotes
OldZorki

RX100+ underwater housing (50m rated) is still cost less, then this camera. And really can be used for diving.
Nikon 1 still heavy and not pocketable, hard to see it as "beach camera".
Picture quality will probably better the GoPro, but not nearly as handy. And costs many times more.

2 upvotes
groucher

The RX100 underwater housing is horrible and the RX100 doesn't do anywhere near 60fps. GoPro is great in good light but fails miserably in low light and only has a superwide lens.
For action photography in difficult conditions, this new Nikon 1 is unsurpassed.

3 upvotes
lensberg

It was just announced... how can you already tell that's its "unsurpassed"...? Have you tested a preproduction unit as yet to make these claims...? Considering the AW1 sensor & AF module are imported from the J3 that doesn't exactly inspire great levels of confidence... because the J3 struggles a bit to acquire AF in low light...

Besides the RX100's underwater casing is great... would definitely trust Sony's offering as compared to this AW1

0 upvotes
Red5TX

I'm interested in this as a backpacking camera, not a diving camera. I cannot imagine hiking with an underwater housing.

0 upvotes
cadet stimpy

Looks like a killer travel camera.

5 upvotes
ngollan

With a 15m rating I wouldn't take that thing into a puddle, let alone doing anything that could be considered "underwater". If you manage to drown it in a swimming pool, service will probably laugh you out too.

1 upvote
itsanewdawn

Yes those 50ft deep puddles are a real pain . I doubt it will be used by serious divers .However for the market it is aimed at 50ft it is more than good enough.There are lots of activities that involve submersion in water that isn't 50ft deep. Unless the swimming pool is more than 50ft deep you will be covered within the conditions of use.

5 upvotes
Antti Naali

I consider myself a rather serious diver with 350+ dives with a camera. For my purposes this one could do fine with suitable optics. But that is still lacking. The zoom is not a wideangle really and definitelly no macro. I could do just fine with 70-100 mm equivivalent macro and fisheye.

With a decent fisheye this camera would really shine. Fisheye domes cost 600-1500 EUR. The biggest advantage is you do not need to invest in ports anymore. They are not cheap I can tell.

I might be an exception but I really seldom go under 20 m neither here in Finland nor abroad. Simply because most interesting critters live above 20 m and the deeper you go the more limited you are with air and bottom time. In shallow waters you can spend at least double the time than down deep and still you pay the same. Things are also much more complicated the deeper you go.

Very interesting gadget from Nikon. What comes to lenses available right now, seems to me they are non divers.

1 upvote
CyberAngel

Where in Finland do you dive?
I do/did mostly snorkeling in Oulu.

0 upvotes
Red Swan

Sounds like a very handy camera. Love it. Now if only I could swim. :)

2 upvotes
hinting

looks like a GF1 body styling...

0 upvotes
Marty4650

Just when you thought Nikon had run out of ideas, they come up with something really interesting and innovative.

By taking a niche product into a brand new niche, Nikon has transformed this Nikon 1 camera from being an also ran in the MILC market... to being King of the Rugged Cameras!

We now have a high end underwater P&S camera, that costs quite a bit more than an Olympus TG2.... but is an ILC, comes with two lenses, and should have much better IQ due to the much lager sensor.

They found a way to top Sony NEX, Fuji X and M4/3 at something, and considering how small this market probably is, they will own the top end of this rugged sub niche now.

Kudos to Nikon!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
14 upvotes
YouDidntDidYou

Oly, Panny and Sony will have similar (better) offerings out within the year (maybe within a few weeks), this will not save the Nikon 1 system, the marketing message and the design of the AW1 is already mismanaged plus the Nikon 1 already left a bad taste in Nikon users mouths....

8 upvotes
MirosIav

Is that a FT5 ;) ? I suppose many m4/3 lenses ( primes and 12-50mm first come to mind ) could be easily reworked to become waterproof, compact bodies as well, but I just don't see it coming so soon...

Anyway, Nikon has already shot themselves in the foot by not putting IS in the zoom and by making a slow prime ( less than a stop faster than 11-27mm ) - even more important for an underwater camera, so it's not going to be hard to top AW1. But for the moment, they've taken everyone by surprise. This is the most capable underwater camera out there.

0 upvotes
Marty4650

Sure... someone could top them, but this market niche may be so small that no one will even try. And Nikon got there first.

I think the bigger MILC players have a more urgent need to fill the gaps in their above water systems first, so I think Nikon will own this sub market for a while.

Sometimes.... it pays to be first, and timing can work in your favor.

4 upvotes
YouDidntDidYou

I'm betting at least one of them will be bringing out similar (better) within a few weeks and Nikon knows this so they are rushing their announcement out the door...

It would be hard for Oly to trump the AW1 nor for Sony and Pany wouldn't be too far behind.

Oly, Pany and Sony are working on the above water gaps but I suspect they will also be tackling the rugged scene at the same time so Nikon won't be first for long enough for it to work in their favour and I can't see anyone who had their fingers burnt by the Nikon 1 system giving them a second chance...truth be told.

0 upvotes
Marty4650

It might be really interesting if Panasonic or Olympus were to aim really high.... and also waterproof those outstanding 45mm and 60mm macro lenses.

But I still think the potential market for this is incredibly small, and both companies have "bigger fish to fry."

1 upvote
SeeRoy

Nice idea, small market. If - maybe when - a few of them start leaking and the shouting begins...

0 upvotes
Ron Poelman

Small market ?
Be one of these in every hot tub within a year.
You didn't think they'd be used for good, did you ?

1 upvote
Andrew Butterfield

I wish when I click on the 'read our first impressions' that it would go straight there and not pass through the annoying intermediate page.

20 upvotes
sebastian huvenaars

I'll bet this is so much fun to use :)

2 upvotes
Langusta

Finally there is something in N1 that appears to make sense.
It's a first step of a longer process I guess. Nikonos RS was not build in a day...
Give that AW1 some more rugged construction (rated to 50m or so), add (right) lamps to the system and dive-friendly ergonomics and we'll have a worthy Nikonos descendant.
Let's wait for AW3 or so ;)

0 upvotes
Mister J

Looks an excellent tool for snorkelers like me.

Bright skin useful for dry land protection in and around the beach and bar.

If it has decent IQ, I'll have one.

0 upvotes
Nikolausz

Nikonos reborn? Not really.
It's not for scuba divers. Depth rate is only 15-20 m and there is no real wide-angle or macro option.
Can be good for snorkeling or other outdoor activities.

3 upvotes
Otaraka

Depth worries me less as I do almost everything under 12m, but I agree the lens ranges are far from ideal.

0 upvotes
forsakenbliss

adaptor for Nikonos lens for under water use? that would be GREAT!

0 upvotes
Nikolausz

It exist already, but for nex-5.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

Nikolausz--

Okay the adaptor exists for the Nex system, but the Nex system isn't waterproof.

0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS

Not sure about this concept, but who knows, maybe it will work for Nikon...

0 upvotes
don_van_vliet
3 upvotes
Rod McD

I commented that I liked this camera, despite the 1" sensor, under the announcement comment page. I think it's probably still the best AW camera so far, but I'm feeling a bit more cautious having read more. I suspect that it's not quite as rugged as I first assumed. There are no real "o"rings - and those square gaskets on the doors have a terrible reputation across the net for leaking.

Yes the system needs a really wide prime lens. I can't see the point of offering a 10mm prime and a zoom that starts at 11mm. The prime should have been a 7mm or 8mm. And it needs a tele zoom.

No, it's not a Nikonos. And I don't really understand DPR's joy in finding that it doesn't feel like a rugged camera. Surely it would be better if it did?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Octane

Let me order already :)

2 upvotes
Peter Bendheim

Wow...the haters can sure hate. In abundance, it seems - each trying to outdo the other. I personally don't need this, but it's a cool idea. Why the nastiness?

15 upvotes
blohum

Because they have to make themselves feel bigger somehow! As a m43 user with no interest in this I still have to say kudos to Nikon for trying something new!

14 upvotes
Antonio Rojilla

Because for example a Sony RX100 plus underwater housing is more practical? Really pocketable on its own, really underwater with the housing (for scuba use not just snorkel), same size sensor, better quality (per DxO anyway), faster zoom... It's hard to see this Nikon competing against other cameras with underwater housings on one side and true compact weareable action cameras like the GoPro or the Panny HX-A100 on the other.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Antonio Rojilla:

DXO sensor scores are even more useless than the lens scores.

0 upvotes
DELETED88781

Gopro 4 with 4K video will destroy this joke
Nikon 1 need to die with respect

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
AndreaV

Maybe there are people that still use cameras to take photos... if that's the case I bet the IQ of this one is way better than a GoPro.

29 upvotes
Greg VdB

hm... an o-ring between the body and lens to keep it waterproof to a depth of 15m? All it takes is one tiny hair to bridge that and your nice 1000$ camera goes blub-blub... Even if all users take good care of that (e.g. keep it greased or something), o-rings tend to wear out after some time.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is an exciting camra, and very much needed as proven by the rugged camera group test showed - surely this one will blows those toys out of the water (haha) in terms of image quality! Yet, I'm sceptical about it remaining waterproof for a long time... A fixed-focal would stress me less, but then again, even that seems unfounded if what Michael She says below is true.

0 upvotes
ShatteredSky

That's the reason why you check the seals every time you open the doors (but I agree it is a hassle). I had no problem with my TG-1 so far. Of course you are advised to exchange the rubbers every year or so.
What I would prefer is a lens camera combination without doors and fixed lens, charged by induction, wireless file transfer and 32 GB internal memory.

Cheers

3 upvotes
Greg VdB

Yep, that sounds like a much safer option to me too. Especially as I fear that most consumers won't take enough care when changing lenses, and will NOT be changing the rings every year either.

2 upvotes
agentul

1. change lens at the beach, while there's some wind blowing or people running nearby.
2. extreme closeups of sand grains

0 upvotes
Antti Naali

I am mostly worried about battery lid and the side lid o-rings. Those don't look too sturdy. You really have to pay attention when you close this one and having killed two cameras under water I know something I'm talking about. The lens o-ring looks pretty ok.

But again really interesting gadget from Nikon.

0 upvotes
Wally626

Much better as a water-fun camera than a diving camera, but I have a friend who is very much into, white-water river rafting, kayaking, canoeing, hiking etc. who would love this camera. He has a P&S waterproof now but has been disappointed in the image quality. Sure a APS-C or FF with a diving case would be better quality, but much heavier, much more expensive and much larger. Hopefully the depth ratings are more exact than the ones for watches. A 15m watch is one you can take in the shower, need at least a 50m rating to go swimming.

3 upvotes
Greg VdB

lol, the waterproof watch reference is very true indeed. In tiny letters it probably says somewhere that it can go down to 15-20m, but not for more than one minute before water seeps in... But yeah, as a camera for people into outdoor activities this is definitely a nice option. I'd consider it myself, if it was no more than 400$... (i.e. next year when the mark 2 is announced and prices for this one are halved)

0 upvotes
OleThorsen

For your information the Nikon 1 AW1 mounted with one of the two new AW lenses, has a specification of JIS/IEC Class 8 (IPX8) waterproof performance; can be used at depths of up to 15 m (49 ft) for up to 60 minutes, according to Nikon's website http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/acil/bodies/aw1/spec.htm
This of course requires an intact O-ring.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
wolfie

Wow- ever hear about the idea that as the operator of a piece of equipment you take some responsibility to learn how it works and prepare it for use? Your "objections" are so typical of the lazy, do-everything-for-me attitude - maybe owning a camera is too much of a challenge for you - a paperweight might be more in your level of operational skills ...

0 upvotes
Total comments: 587
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