Review: Nikon COOLPIX AW100 Waterproof Camera

The Nikon Coolpix AW100 is one tough camera! With it being freeze proof, water proof and shock proof, it is ready to go with you on the slopes skiing or on (and in) the water while you are sailing, snorkeling or scuba diving. And it is rugged - it can withstand accidental drops and still keep taking beautiful pictures. Key Specs For The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 RRP: $299.95 Year of release: 2011 Display size (inches): 3 Image resolution (MP): 16 Zoom: Optical: 5x; Digital: 4x Video Capture? 1080p HD Waterproof? Yes Available Colors: Black, Blue, Camouflage, Orange Nikon COOLPIX AW100: The Pros Price: A regular point and shoot would be a bargain at this price, but with built-in ruggedness and all the additional features, it is a steal. There isn’t another rugged camera that can hold a candle when compared based on resolution, price or features. Image Quality: A single resolution of 4,608 pixels x 3,456 pixels using its 16 Megapixels CMOS sensor. Ease of Use: While it does have exposure compensation up to 2-stops over to 2-stops under in 1/3 stop increments, it also has: • 7-setting white balance • selectable ISO from 125 - 3,200 • shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/1,500 second • 20 selectable scene modes. All settings can be set or changed using Action Control - shaking the camera with one hand activates this feature. The assumption is you are doing something that requires you to hang on with your other hand! Compact: Weighing in at 6.3 ounces, and having a footprint of 4.33 x 2.56 x 0.90 inches, it slips right into a pocket, purse or is comfortable dangling from your wrist by a camera strap. Ruggedness: If you are looking for a rugged “everything-proof” camera that can stand up to your rigors of fun, the AW100 “fills the bill”. It is: • waterproof - down to 33 feet. • shockproof - able to withstand a 5-foot drop. • freeze/cold weather proof - able to withstand operating temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (not to mention temperatures as high as 104 degrees). Built-In GPS: This feature is just starting to show up on point and shoot cameras. Specifically, the feature is multi-functional in that it serves as an electronic compass, records the camera’s orientation, adds location information to photo metadata, such as longitude/latitude, and displays a built-in map on the LCD screen of where the camera is located and where it has been, thus recording a route. Large LCD: It also has a large LCD back screen for a point and shoot camera - a 3-inch, 460,000 pixels with anti-reflective coating. Most of the older point and shoot cameras had a low resolution 2.5 inch LCD at best. Dual Storage Media Capability: The AW100 has 83 MB of built-in storage in addition to using standard Secure Digital (SD) cards, including the SDHC and SDXC in the external media card slot. Full HD Video: And this little beauty can also record 1080p video clips complete with stereo sound with the touch of one button. Image Stabilization: Because this camera is made to be used outdoors by people having fun, that can mean a lot of camera movement. But don’t worry - this little camera also features image and optical stabilization, thus ensuring your photos will be crisp and clear. Nikon COOLPIX AW100: The Cons Limited Zoom: The AW100 comes with a 5x optical and 4x digital zoom, but it still only has a 35mm equivalent effective focal range of 28 - 140 mm, thereby limiting how much you can actually zoom in on a distant subject. Short Battery Life: With its ability to shoot 1080 HD video, GPS tracking and mapping capability, and using the LCD for framing scenes (because of the lack of a viewfinder), all of these features take power . . . and lots of it. It comes with a battery charger and one EN-EL 12 Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery, however, be sure to buy and additional battery or two so at least one fully charged battery is always ready. However, to extend the life of a battery charge, you can turn off the GPS and limit shooting video. Shutter Lag/Delay: This can be a problem for users that shoot fast action, such as car racing, baseball or other fast moving sports. With a shutter lag - the time from when you push the shutter button until the shutter actually trips - by the time the picture is actually taken, the motion of the subject might have already passed. However, by using the Subject Tracking feature and the 3-frame-per-second burst mode, this can mostly be overcome through the anticipation of where the action will be when the shutter trips and experience using the camera. And of course for non-action shots, you will not even notice any shutter lag. Is The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 Worth Buying? For the money, the Nikon Coolpix AW100 is a great buy. Today, you don’t get much in the way of a camera for $200.00 . . . especially one having built-in ruggedness, GPS tracking and the features that this one has. The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 is well suited for shooting photos such as travel, non-fast sports/action and family portraits. Oh... did we mention that it comes in the colors blue, black and camouflage?


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