This guest post review of the Nikon Coolpix AW100 all weather camera is written by Yamil R. Sued (hotgunshots.com)
When Nikon first announced the new “ALL WEATHER” AW100 Camera, I was sold. I have been looking for an all weather digital solution for years now. Yes, I know I can buy a nice underwater case, but that is just one more thing for me to carry on a trip. Over 50% of my workload is outdoor sports photography, but unlike other “general” sports shooters, I specialize in the shooting sports, pistol, rifle and shotgun events. 99% of these events take place outdoors and weather is not always so cooperative.
I wasn’t looking for a sports camera, that is a much more specialized item and in the not so optimal situations, I use “protection” on my D3’s against rain and even dust, I use my own gear and I can’t see the need to abuse it to a point of destruction. I know full well that the AW100 is just a point and shoot enclosed in a water/weather proof case. But putting together the basic features of the AW100 plus the all weather features, this camera is a sure winner and a must in my location kit. What for? Candids, location scouting, and to shoot those shots that happen when it rains and my D3’s are not yet weather proofed.
I don’t want to repeat the basic features of the camera, those are available at the Nikon website. I want to discuss the features I like and also the features I would like to see in future models of the AW series, maybe a AW101 or AW200.
- The Image quality is superb, these JPG’s are out of this world, the only limitation I found what the time it took the camera to acquire focus.
- The high ISO performance is very good too, I shot some images under a downpour in Florida at ISO 400 and some limited Images at ISO 800 and the image quality was outstanding for a point & shoot camera with a very small sensor.
- Portability, this camera is very thin, light and small. Fits very well in a shirt pocket.
- Ease of use, once you do the initial set up, it’s ready to roll. The AF modes are really useful, but it doesn’t focus very fast.
Dislikes (or wishes):
- Lack of RAW Format, I shoot 99% of my professional work in RAW and I like the full control over the final image.
- Lack of choice of color space profiles, then again this is a point & shoot and even the higher priced P7000 doesn’t have this feature, I don’t think the P7100 has this feature either.
- AF, the camera focuses very well, but... coming from the DSLR world, it could focus faster, sometimes, in very low light it has a very hard time acquiring focus and locking into it. But then again, it’s a $379 point & shoot and not a $5000 DSLR.
Lowe Pro makes this little pouch that fits the AW100 perfectly and it comes in several nice colors, it even has a great outside pocket to fit extra SD cards:
I took the AW100 to the mall and had the owner of the GadgetFilmz kiosk put a custom LCD protector on the AW100, there are several products out there that fit the AW100, like Hoodman, but I went with custom because I can never install the store bought protectors without leaving some large hunk of junk in between the protector and the LCD Glass, this could lead to a large scratch on the LCD protector glass.
The camera comes with a very nice neck strap, but I decided to use a wrist lanyard that I found laying around the house, it made more sense than to have a large neck strap on a pocket camera and it fits better on my pocket with the lanyard.
This is a superb tool, great camera for candid photography and all around outdoor family fun and it’s a great addition to anybody’s gear bag, professional or amateur.
Some AW100 wet fun by Yamil R. Sued:
The Nikon Coolpix AW100 is currently $30 off (till October 29th, 2011).