Weatherproof, schmeatherproof: Nikon one-ups Olympus’ weather-sealed OM-D series of mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras with the Nikon 1 AW1, the first underwater-capable ILC. Waterproof to 49 feet as well as freezeproof to 14 degrees and 6.6-foot-drop shockproof, the AW1 looks like the first member of the Nikon 1 series that actually looks tempting to me.
Based around the innards of the J3/V2 and most similar physically to the J3 — albeit with some important design changes to make it more usable in the cold and wet — the most notable difference is a small grip. There’s no physical mode dial, and the shutter button and movie record have been raised for easier access. Like the AW110 and many similar point-and-shoots, there’s an option to navigate by shaking the camera along with all the standard buttons. For the most part it has a similar set of features to the J3, but adds built-in GPS (wireless only through the add-on WU-1b, and of course on land only) that supplies an altimeter and depth gauge.
Nikon will release the camera along with two weatherproof lenses for single and dual-lens kits. When using standard lenses on the body, you cover the gasket with a ring.
Here are some other cameras you might want to compare it to:
Nikon 1 AW1
Sony Alpha NEX-6
Sensor (effective resolution)
16.3MP X-Trans CMOS
16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS
23.6mm x 15.6mm 13.2 x 8.8mm 23.5mm x 15.7mm 23.5 x 15.6mm Focal-length multiplier 1.5x 2.7x 1.5x 1.5x Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/ 200 – ISO 6400/25600 (exp) ISO 160 – ISO 6400 ISO 100 – ISO 25600 ISO 100 – ISO 25600 Continuous shooting
(60fps with fixed focus)
11 raw/15 JPEG
(10fps with fixed exposure)
2.4 million dots
Hot shoe Yes No Yes Yes Autofocus
73-point phase detection, 135-area Contrast AF
21-point Contrast AF
99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a 0 – 20 EV Shutter speed 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync 30 – 1/16,000 sec; bulb; 1/160 x-sync 30 – 1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 4 minutes; 1/180 x-sync 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync Metering 256 zones n/a 221 segment 1,200 zones Metering range n/a n/a 0 – 18 EV 0 – 20 EV Flash Yes Yes Included optional Yes Wireless flash Yes No No No
Image stabilization Optical Optical Optical Optical Best video 1080/30p H.264 1080/30p H.264; up to 1200fps slow motion at 320 x 120 1080/30p; 1080 x 810/24p H.264 MPEG-4 AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24Mbps Audio Stereo Stereo Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input
3.7-inch fixed capacitive touch screen
3-inch tilting touch screen
Wireless connection Wi-Fi Optional WU-1b
($59.95) Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi Battery life (CIPA rating) n/a 220 shots (est) 340 shots 270 shots
(with viewfinder) Dimensions (inches, WHD)
4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5
4.0 x 2.4 x 1.1 (est)
4.7 x 2.5 x 1.4
4.8 x 2.8 x 1.1
Body operating weight (ounces)
Mfr. price $699 (body only) n/a n/a $749.99 (body only) $799 (with 16-50mm lens) $749.95 (with 11-27.5mm lens) $649.99 (with 20-50mm i-Function lens) $899.99 (with 15-60mm PZ lens) n/a $949.95 (with 11-27.5mm and 10mm lenses) n/a n/a Ship date July 2013 October 2013 June 2013 October 2012
At $750 for the base kit, you’re paying about $150 premium over the dry-land version, which isn’t bad; I’d probably pay that just to get the grip. While I’d like to be able to time my testing of the AW100 with a trip to someplace warm and beachy, it’ll more likely be cold and wet NYC.
$949.95 (with 11-27.5mm and 10mm lenses)