Review of Nikon 1 AW1

According provided by Nikon 1 AW1 camera many thanks to the official representative of Nikon in Ukraine. I prepared this review together with Andrey Kondratenko.

Review of Nikon 1 AW1

Review of Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1 is an unusual mirrorless system camera of the Nikon 1 family. First of all, Nikon 1 AW1 is interesting because it:

  • Waterproof. With it, you can swim without any problems, lower it to a depth of no more than 15 meters, wet it in the rain and not worry that something will happen to the camera. However, water resistance (water resistance and moisture resistance) is only guaranteed with lenses of the 'Nikon 1 Nikkor AW' class. At the end of the review, the actual experience of using the camera for underwater photography and the precautions to be taken are described.
  • Frost resistant. It is stated that the camera operates in temperature conditions from -10 to + 40 ° C. No need to worry with her about frost on the street. But even at dear Nikon D4s temperature range is only from 0 to + 40 ° C.
  • Shockproof... The camera claims to withstand a 2 meter drop! However, shock resistance is only guaranteed when the built-in frog flash is in parking mode and only when shock resistant 'Nikon 1 Nikkor AW' lenses are used. The instructions say that when testing the camera for shock resistance, a wooden surface 5 cm thick was used. Whether the camera is friendly with asphalt and concrete is unknown to science :).
  • Dustproof. Nikon 1 AW1 is not afraid of dust and dirt :).

It turns out that the Nikon 1 AW1 is not afraid of water, moisture, frost, dust, dirt, falls, or bumps. For a traveler or a person engaged in outdoor activities, this is an irreplaceable find. Personally, I highly appreciate the high level of protection of the camera from external factors.

By the way, the camera that I reviewed has a lot of abrasions on its body, a bent front part of the lens, traces of use in an aggressive environment. I didn’t torture the camera, but from its “scars” you can understand that it has seen quite a few “reviewers” ​​in her lifetime who were not so supportive of her.

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1

The camera assembly is top notch. The Nikon 1 AW1 is very, very pleasant to the touch, the buttons are pressed very smoothly and softly, which gives moral satisfaction. The 'scars' on the camera body show that its body is made entirely of metal.

Nikon 1 AW1 uses a dedicated 'Nikon waterproof 1 mount' (Nikon 1 waterproof). This mount is compatible with both 'Nikon 1 Nikkor AW' lenses and regular 'Nikon 1 Nikkor' lenses. At the time of this writing, there were only 2 waterproof and shockproof lenses:

  1. Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical - versatile zoom
  2. Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 10mm 1: 2.8 - fast wide-angle prime

The camera mount has a special rubber (or silicone) ring that fits snugly on the lens skirt and prevents water and dust from getting on the inside of the camera and lens. To use conventional 'Nikon 1 Nikkor' lenses (without special protection), you need to remove the special black plastic ring from the bayonet cover and install it on the camera mount, and then attach the lens itself to the camera. But protected lenses 'Nikon 1 Nikkor AW' cannot be used with ordinary Nikon 1 cameras (mechanically incompatible due to the protective 'skirt' of the lens).

Spoiler: the camera works only with 'native' Nikon 1 lenses. Make the camera shoot with some vintage lens doesn’t work out in any way. This is the first camera with interchangeable optics, which I can not get to shoot with manual optics, since the Nikon 1 AW1 simply can not do this.

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1

The camera mount is secured with five screws, unlike other Nikon 1 cameras that only have four screws. For safety, to prevent accidental opening of the battery compartment and digital port compartment, the covers of these compartments are equipped with additional 'LOCK' buttons that prevent the covers from being opened accidentally. In general, everything is thought out. The only thing that confuses me a little is the lack of seals in the compartment from which the frog flash jumps out, in addition, the multi-piece mechanical flash suspension makes you worry about it.

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1. Battery cover

Almost all camera control is done through the camera menu - for me this is a living hell. For example, to enable 'A - Aperture Priority' mode, you have to press a bunch of buttons. The camera's menu is quite modest and very easy to understand. While using the Nikon 1 AW1, I noticed that often navigating the camera menus was a little slow, which was unnerving.

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1. Digital Port Cover

Most likely, the Nikon 1 AW1 uses the same image forming matrix as the Nikon 1 J3, Nikon 1 S2 and Nikon 1 V2. Small sensor, with physical dimensions 13.2 mm X 8.8 mm and crop factor 2.7X, packed with 14 megapixels. As a result, at the output you can get the maximum pictures 4608 x 3072. If you indulge panoramic shooting, then you can take pictures and the size of 1536 x 9600.

Nikon 1 AW1 can use ISO values ​​from 160 to 6400 units. What causes the minimum ISO of 160 units is hard to understand. You can manually select only ISO values ​​160, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400. Three options for the operation of automatic ISO control are available:

  • 6400 (160-6400)
  • 3200 (160-3200)
  • 800 (160-800)

There is no flexible auto-ISO setting, and this is a serious drawback of the camera. And even worse - the camera picks up very long excerpts when using auto ISO.

And the work of the camera at high ISO values ​​is not particularly pleasing - and it's all to blame for the very strong 'noise reduction', which tries to make an image devoid of digital noise, but in the end it 'eats up' the image details. The Nikon 1 AW1's small sensor makes itself felt :(. Still, the image quality is a cut above that of many digital point-and-shoot cameras.

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1. The photo shows a gray rubber (or silicone) ring, which fits snugly against the lens and protects the camera from liquid and dust.

Nikon 1 AW1 does not have a mechanical shutter, and therefore during shooting it may not create any noise at all. Minimum excerpt is only 1 / 16.000 of a second. A minimum excerpt flash sync - a measly 1 / 60th of a second. The built-in flash works either in TTL auto mode or in manual mode with manual power setting. The flash can work underwater as well.

The Nikon 1 AW1 has a fairly fast and accurate hybrid focus, which pleased me nicely. There are several different modes for focusing.

Nikon 1 AW1 with bayonet cover. The cover has an additional black ring.

Nikon 1 AW1 with bayonet cover. The cover has an additional black ring.

You can set single-frame and continuous shooting at 5, 15, 30, or 60 frames per second. For different frame rates frame buffer has a different meaning. The camera has functions that programmatically improve image quality: noise reduction at high ISO sensitivity, noise reduction during long exposureautomatic distortion control and active D-lighting. If all of them are turned off, then it is placed in the buffer:

  • 27 shots RAW @ 5fps
  • 22 shots RAW @ 15fps
  • 20 shots in RAW format at 30 fps
  • 20 shots in RAW format at 60 fps
  • 31 JPEG L pictures at 5 fps
  • 22 still images JPEG L @ 15fps
  • 20 pictures in JPEG L format at 30 fps
  • 20 pictures in JPEG L format at 60 fps

On the one hand, the buffer is quite capacious, and on the other, when shooting at 60 fps, the camera fizzles out after 300 milliseconds of continuous fast shooting :).

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor lens mount ring

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor lens mount ring

Nikon 1 AW1 can shoot quality video Full HD 1920X1080 60i, sound is recorded using a stereo microphone. You can shoot with the quality of 1920 × 1080 30p or 1280 × 720 60p and 30p.

In addition, you can shoot videos up to three seconds in length with a very high frequency:

  •     640 x 240 400 frames per second
  •     320 x 120 1.200 frames per second

When playing back, a slowdown effect is obtained. I used this feature in my post about the focusing speed of Nikon non-motorized lenses.

Additionally, you can download the source videos from underwater shooting at this link.

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens

Overall, the Nikon 1 AW1 is functionally very similar to other Nikon 1 cameras.

Here link to the archive with the originals - 276 MB, 19 photos in .NEF format (RAW)

Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens

The Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW lens is one of two protected lenses for the Nikon 1 AW1 camera. In short, this is a regular 'dark' lens with a 2.5x zoom, the main feature of which is complete protection against water, dust and shocks. Like the Nikon 1 AW1 camera itself, this lens can easily withstand immersion to 15 meters, a fall from a height of up to two meters and work in the cold. The assembly of the lens is at a very good level. The zoom ring is made of metal (namely, metal without a plastic or rubber coating). EGF lens is 30-74 mm. You can buy an additional Nikon HN-N103 lens hood.

Optical lens design

Optical lens design

The optical design of the lens consists of 8 elements in 6 groups, one of which is made of Nikon ED glass, and one element is aspherical. The front lens is covered with a special protective element. The lens weighs 180 grams and uses light filters with a diameter of 40.5 mm. Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 has internal zoom and internal focusing. The zoom ring is very wide and comfortable. The lens is deprived of the focusing ring, in order to use manual focus, set the focus mode to 'M' in the camera menu and use the camera controls to control the focusing distance. The MDF is 30 cm. The lens aperture consists of seven blades and closes down to f / 16.

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens. Protective bayonet skirt

In terms of image quality, the Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 is no different from other 'kit' lenses. Personally, I didn’t like the lens flare, usually these lenses are more resistant to backlight.

And one more spoiler: there are no Nikon 1 Nikkor AW lenses with an integrated image stabilizer so far. And, most likely, they may not be.

All lenses for Nikon cameras 1

Fix Lenses:

  1. Nikon 1 NIKKOR 10mm f / 2.8 (black and silver)
  2. Nikon 1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f / 2.8 (only black)
  3. Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f / 1.8 (black, silver, white)
  4. Nikon 1 NIKKOR 32mm f / 1.2 (black, silver)

Zoom lenses

  1. Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 6.7-13mm f / 3.5-5.6 (black and silver)
  2. Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f / 3.5-5.6 (8 color options)
  3. Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f / 3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM (6 color options)
  4. Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-100mm f / 4-5.6 (5 color options)
  5. Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-100mm f / 4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM (only black)
  6. Nikon 1 NIKKOR 11-27.5mm f / 3.5-5.6 (6 color options)
  7. Nikon 1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f / 3.5-5.6 (black, silver, white)
  8. Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f / 3.8-5.6 (8 color options)
  9. Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f / 4.5-5.6 N (only black)

All Nikon 1 cameras

Prices for Nikon 1 AW1 in popular stores can look at this link, or in the price block below:

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens

Nikon 1 AW1 with Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED Aspherical lens

Additional useful information from Andrey Kondratenko:

Nikon introduced their first mirrorless camera in September 2013. More than a year has passed, but none of the manufacturers of interchangeable lens cameras have proposed anything like this, nor have they announced it. I must say that Nikon's experiments in the production of moisture / frost protected did not begin a year or even two. Nippon Kogaku KK (now NIKON) introduced its first secure camera in 1963. In fairness, it must be said that the camera developer was originally LA SPIROTECHNIQUE (the famous manufacturer of diving equipment, now better known under the brand AQUA LUNG), which in 1961 introduced its rangefinder Calypso, to the creation of which the famous oceanographer and creator had a direct hand the films of Jacques Cousteau. The camera withstood immersion in water up to 60 meters !!! In 1963, NIKON bought the rights to Calypso and launched its line of waterproof cameras under the NIKONOS brand. Moreover, the original Calypso was equipped with a lens of the French company Berthiot, but NIKON developed its optics, and NIKONOS began to be equipped with NIKKOR lenses. And by the way, in some European countries, NIKONOS cameras were sold under the NIKONOS / Calypso brand for many more years. The first NIKONOS was produced until 1968, after which several series were released. The fourth generation (NIKONOS IV-A) was already available in SLR format. The latest NIKONOS V was introduced in 1984 and was produced 17 (!) Years before 2001. And in 1992, the truly revolutionary NIKONOS RS AF was introduced. It was the first autofocus SLR camera that withstood immersions to a depth of 100 !!! meters. Four lenses and an external underwater flash were introduced with her. It is clear that such a solution was very difficult to manufacture and, to put it mildly, not cheap, in connection with which a limited number of products was released and in 1996 NIKON stopped production.

The camera came to me before going on a diving safari. It took 2 days to get to know the menu and get used to the camera, but that's more than enough. Everything is logically structured and arranged. The graphical menu is the same as for other "units" ... but with some peculiarities. And the main "feature" is the button that implements "Active control". The point is that when you hold down the button, a pendulum-like menu appears that allows you to tilt the camera to select the item you want. You get used to the implementation of this "trick" quickly, for "ground" shooting this is nothing more than an interesting solution, but under water, and even wearing gloves, and even with one hand, since the other is holding onto the coral or the hull of a sunken ship or a rope - very convenient to use.

The camera has a flash (guide number 6,3), which works without problems underwater. Unfortunately, using the built-in flash at depth is completely pointless (and here it is no exception). Instead of a photo, you get a fan of glare (sandy and organic suspension, air bubbles) and it will be so almost everywhere and always). Therefore, if you want to get “correct” underwater photos, invest in a good underwater light, or at least a powerful underwater flashlight.

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1

Appeared GPSfixing the coordinates in the LOG, depth gaugekeeping records of the depth of dive, altmeter and compass, which according to the instructions should display and record the direction of the lens. And if the depth gauge worked quite accurately (the data was checked with a computer), then the functionality of the compass remained a little incomprehensible, it is difficult to evaluate the correctness of its operation. In addition, there is a built-in electronic level, but its implementation also seemed a little pretentious - a noticeable large circle in the middle of the screen, which after 2-3 minutes of work starts to be pretty annoying. It seems to me - a thin strip - would be more than enough. Unusually, the absence of any wheels was just buttons. Although, such a solution is understandable, because sealing buttons is much easier.

The front panel has a small ledge-grip. It does not provide a reliable grip, but during use the camera did not try to slip out of hands. At first, fearing for the safety of the device, I put a strap on my ears, and the strap itself was fastened with a carbine to the buoyancy compensator. A day later, it became clear that such precautions were unnecessary, the camera was comfortable in the hand and the carbine was put on the shelf.

The 11-27,5 mm whale lens itself is assembled monolithically, zoom with a very tight travel, but what could be expected from waterproof optics ... everything was done for the sake of protection from physical impact.

Link to the archive with the originals - 729 MB, 96 photos in '.JPG' format.

The camera screen is TFT, with a diagonal of 3 inches (921 pixels), covered with a protective glass that protects both from scratches and from deflection from pressure at depth. Viewing angles are excellent, the screen does not fade in the sun, everything is well readable under water. Here I want to especially praise the NIKON engineers :). The fact is that during one of the dives, I got carried away and sank to a depth of 600 meters ... and realized that “something was wrong” when I saw that the screen was slightly bent and the image began to distort. At a depth of 23 meters, everything returned to normal, and the camera worked without problems further. So, the safety margin is very good ... but still I would not recommend repeating such "experiments", especially since an additional box is produced and sold for AW20 (for diving up to 1 meters).

Before diving into the water with the camera, I highly recommend checking all the plugs and the bayonet ring for debris (which the camera itself warns every time when turned on). Even the slightest grain of sand can violate the tightness of the camera, and then the service will not help you anymore). A special sealant for lubricating the o-ring is included with the camera. Having removed the lens, I removed the ring from which I wiped off the traces of old grease and re-lubricated it and cleaned the landing groove, put everything in place. Both plugs were also cleaned and wiped.

Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1

When using the camera, diving in salt water, you need to remember some precautions. Firstly, after salt water, the camera MUST be desalinated. In other words, at least 15-20 minutes to let it lie in fresh water, otherwise the salt will clog into all the slots of the zoom, which will complicate the work with it, as well as in the battery cover and flash. And salt water greatly reduces the life of rubber plugs. Secondly, you can open the camera only after it has completely dried (you can speed up the process by wrapping it in a dry towel for some time) so that water does not get on the electrical contacts.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval and Andrey Kondratenko.

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Comments: 62, on the topic: Review of Nikon 1 AW1

  • Michael

    Jacques Yves Cousteau. Correct please.

  • Mi_Ke

    I got it on occasion, with my own glass - I tried it ...

    In general, I did not feel the difference with some kind of protected soap box. Or I felt it, but taking into account the difference in price - the victory is still for the soap box.

    Menu control is tough. This is glad, pestilence and seven Egyptian executions in one bottle.
    Shooting something more dynamic than a bunik or a ramp lying at the bottom does not work.
    Well, or you need to specifically train, a lot and hard.

    The result is also not so simple, even after 5-10m in the daytime it requires red-eyed and throat-feeding at the computer for more than a meaningful time, and it will still be worse than that of one and a half crops.

    In general, PMSM, Nikon from the BZ for some reason flew by. The device is too sophisticated for a simple click and too crooked and inconvenient for conscious shooting.

  • anonym

    Help please!
    Can I use a Tamron AF 70-300mm f / 4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1: 2 (A17) Nikon F lens
    on the Nikon 1 AW 1?

  • Viktor

    Thanks for the review, but you can specify links to the boxes for this model on the Internet, searches have failed.

  • Igor

    In 2011, I had an ordinary Sony soap dish for 70 euros and a zip package for a soap dish for 5 euros. Now I am comparing the pictures and I must admit that if you turn on the soap dish at a depth of 15-20 m in a bag, then the water resistance does not allow you to extend the lens of the soap dish. But if you first turn on the camera above the water, then the pictures are no worse than those provided.

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