Nikon AW1 First Impressions Review
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.
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.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.