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Nikon AW100 Review

As with their mirrorless camera, it has now taken Nikon a while to push its waterproof boat, sorry — camera — into the stream – and very welcome it is with some departures from the crowd.

The Nikon AW100 review camera had a blue face plate but it is also available in camouflage, orange and black. Hope you like the camouflage version shown here!

nikon-AW100 four colours.jpg

Nikon AW100 Features

There’s lots to like: the waterproof battery/card compartment is at the side, opened with a button push and a turn of a knob, so little chance of an accidental tip out.



A useful helper is an action control button which you activate by tapping the large action button at the side of the camera — then shake the camera: a big help if you’re wearing gloves underwater or on the snow.

Another aid is an underwater scene mode in which the white balance for underwater shooting is automatically adjusted to prevent a cast of unnatural green or blue in underwater images.

Filter effects.jpg

Then, it’s taken further: post shooting you can adjust the look of stored images with filtration: one which intrigued me was fog removal … could it clear up cloudy water? Dunno.

Maximum depth is 10 metres; shockproof drop limit is 1.5 metres; lowest temperature is minus 10 degrees C.


Powered up and with the zoom extended to its full 5x there’s no external protrusion from the camera, which remains a thin 22.8mm in depth. I do have a problem with the wide end of the zoom: the 35 SLR equivalent of 28mm becomes 40mm underwater and, as most divers will tell you, it’s best to stay close to your subject when below the surface.

With a 16 megapixel CMOS, its maximum image size is a huge 4608×3456 pixels or enough to make a 39x29cm print.

Movies? All the way up to Full HD in MPEG4. AF and exposure are constantly adjusted as the camera moves and zooms. Unfortunately, it will not catch stills while shooting video.

GPS 1.jpg

GPS 2.jpg

GPS display.jpg

The camera also has comprehensive GPS support, an electronic compass and a map display. There’s also a log function which can track and record movement even when the camera is off. Logs can then be saved and displayed on screen.


Nearly two seconds after startup the camera can shoot its first shot; follow-ons nearly as fast as you can hit the button.


A good performer with no sign of any distortion at either end of the zoom.

Nikon V1 ISO 125.JPG

Nikon V1 ISO 400.JPG

Nikon V1 ISO 1600.JPG

Nikon V1 ISO 3200.JPG

Nikon AW100 ISO Tests

Noise only begins to show up at ISO 1600. By ISO 3200 more noise and some image softness — but still useable.


Nikon AW100 Verdict

Quality: average snapshot images.

Why you’d buy the Nikon AMW100: you’re out and about, wet and wild; the GPS function can be useful in your activities.

Why you wouldn’t buy the Nikon AW100: you may find the control buttons hard to locate when underwater.

An impressive go-anywhere camera with some desirable features. But do yourself a favour before you get it wet: buy a waterproof carry strap… the supplied one gets sodden!

Nikon AW100 Specifications

Image Sensor: 16.0 million effective pixels.
Lens: Nikkor f3.9-4.8/5-25mm (28-140mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Effective Sensor Size: 11mm CMOS.
Metering: Matrix centre-weighted and spot.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE.
Shutter Speed: 4-1/1500 second.
Continuous Shooting: 7.1 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards plus 83MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4608×3456 to 640×480.
Movies: 1920x1080p; 1280x720p, 960×540, 640×480.
Viewfinder: 7.5cm LCD screen (460,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, WAV, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 110.1×64.9×22.8 WHDmm.
Weight: 178 g (battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Nikon COOLPIX AW100

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Barrie Smith
Barrie Smith

is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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