Nikon 1 AW1 underwater camera additional coverage

Some additional Nikon 1 AW1 camera coverage:

  • Lens hoods are optional accessories for both AW lenses (HN-N103).
  • The Nikon 1 AW1 can also take regular CX lenses.


  • The silicone jacket for the AW1 costs $37 (see all available AW1 accessories here, check the pricing and availability here). Note that the AN-N3000 strap, BF-N2000 body cap, WP-O2000 O-ring and PA-N1000 O-ring protector are included in the kit.
  • The MTF chart of the 11-27.5 f/3.5-5.6 AW zoom lens seems to be better at the wide angle range than the 10mm f/2.8 AW prime:
1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f:3.5-5.6 lens MTF chart

1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f:3.5-5.6 lens MTF chart

1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f:2.8 MTF chart

1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f:2.8 MTF chart

The Nikon AW system explained:


New sample images from Nikon France:

Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon 1 AW1Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon 1 AW1Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon 1 AW1Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1 product video:

Pretty cool way of changing the settings with one hand:


Nikon 1 AW1 hands-on videos:

Nikon 1 AW1 underwater movie samples (I assume those are legit):

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  • Andrew

    Wonder if the lenses are corrected for water contact on the front element like the old Nikanos? When will we see the first Nikanos converter!!!

    • fjfjjj

      No, they have a flat cover glass in front.

    • Zord


      • fjfjjj

        Ζακ Κουστώ

  • bgbs

    I think this camera will open up a lot of underwater possibilities. Most pics of underwater world we see is all done by people with heavy and expensive rigs. Now we will see an exponential increase in underwater photos. From baby bath tub kind of stuff, to underwater lakes…etc

    • Spy Black

      Unfortunately the camera doesn’t go where divers do. Cameras like the Sealife DC1400 go where they do, and has oversized controls that allow you to control the camera’s operations with gloves that are worn underwater, especially in colder waters. The controls on the AW-1 are going to be hard to use with underwater, or any, heavy gloves. Don’t be fooled the image above.

      The AW-1 camera, at least for underwater use, is obviously meant for shallow water. I’ll reiterate that above-water use is where this camera is going to shine.

      • Aldo

        Agreed… That’s actually the reason I’m considering buying one… not so much because I wanna go underwater with it… bgbs has a point though.. we should see a lot more of “silly” amateur underwater pix with the introduction of this camera.

      • 103david

        Actually, this will go where most divers do go, which is to say depths to less than 50 feet or so. To the uninitiated, going much deeper than that becomes more of an undertaking (oops, an unfortunate word) than most amateur/hotel dive course graduates are willing to do. Even factoring in the unpublished (almost certainly) 300 or 400 percent non-leak/non-crush depth capabilities, it’s unlikely the average non-professional will be able to exceed the cameras strength. When the hotel course graduate looks up from 50 or so feet, the surface (meaning air and sun) looks REAL FAR AWAY. Remember, the non-professional is the target market for this item.
        It used to be a source of amusement to take the otherwise horribly inept Minolta 35mm/110 underwater cameras down to a 100 feet or so…and watch the water pressure slowly depress the shutter button until the flash went off at around 40 or so feet and then continue until the walls of the body were perceptively bending inward.
        But even then, they usually wouldn’t leak.
        The real downside is that we’ll now be inundated with an endless series of doofus divers mooning the camera while 50 or so feet down.
        On the other hand, remember Ms. Bisset.

        • Spy Black

          Well, my comment is referencing certified divers, not resort hotel day trips. This camera does NOT go where (certified) divers do. Although my remark about secondary shallow water dives is reference to typical 2-tank dives certified divers do, your comment indirectly reiterates my comment about the AW-1 being “obviously meant for snorkeling and … shallow water dives”.

          • Michael Fitch

            Hmmm…but there is an underwater housing for it. So it will be able to go where divers go to. By the way, I am a real diver and yet quite a few of my dives are <50 feet. Not all, but I am more concerned about where I dive than what depth.

            • Spy Black

              Yes, I understand that not all dives are >50ft, but you need a camera that will go wherever you may wind up. Incidentally, just think, you need to get an underwater housing for an underwater camera?

            • Lunä Lita

              what underwater housing do you use for this cam?

    • Rob

      They have divided a huge market, all the tough underwater cameras have folded periscope style lenses and tiny sensors. This camera will blow away any of those cameras. Any SLR underwater housing is in the thousands costing as much or more than a D3200-D7100 etc, prohibitive pricey for many.

      If Nikon doesn’t stuff it up quality wise then this could be like the Play Station was to Sony, a huge financial windfall.

  • David H.

    This underwater system sounds fantastic, and take it from me a viewfinder does not help underwater anyway!!

    • preston

      This camera still works out of water though, where a viewfinder would be very useful.

  • fjfjjj

    With the launch of the AW1, I’m finally starting to be curious where Nikon is headed with the ‘1’ system. I was thinking today about the debut of the EOS system, and how it consisted of a few underwhelming low-end bodies and plasticky zooms. Pro-level EOS didn’t appear until after several consumer-market introductions like the EOS-620. How would the Nikon Rumors community have reacted the EOS launch? Probably throwing rotten tomatoes.

    The Nikon 1 is stuck with its CX format, and I sulk about that, but whether this will be its fatal weakness in the marketplace only time can tell. Nikon’s choice to manufacture an ƒ/1.1 lens for the ‘1’, and this water/shock resistant body, remind me of Nikon’s heyday when they regularly strutted their stuff in nutty ways. And to listen to some ‘1’ owners, the image quality leaves nothing to be desired, aside from shallow DOF. Landscape shooters aren’t looking for shallow DOF — and neither are the masses (who Nikon needs to win over) who believe that Steve Jobs invented the high-end camera, and who buy “art books” containing 72ppi JPEGs.

    Nikon still has the chance to produce a V3 that goes up against the OM-D EM-1, the Fuji XE-1, and the Sony NEX-7, for everyone who’s not seeking cinematic bokeh. To look at the situation today, these other cameras are way ahead of the Nikon 1, in how they take useful lessons from decades of development in SLR controls and handling. Nikon applied something of its SLR design heritage to the shape of the V2, but the controls seem like a joke to me. My hope is that Nikon is testing the waters with these early models, and building up slowly to its higher-end releases, much as Canon did with the Electro-Optical System… and Nikon’s development moves slower than Canon’s ever has.

    How much longer can Nikon really produce F-mount cameras with mechanical aperture levers? I think maybe Nikon is trying to build up to an “EOS moment” with the ‘1’ system. I would wish to own a Nikon ‘1’ V3 with handling and controls like a baby D300, and a bunch of ƒ/1.x primes, in the near future. If Nikon doesn’t deliver that, I really do give up.

    • d7k2v2

      Everybody laments CX, but where it’s good is everywhere you need wider DOF. Macro, tele, and product photography where shallow DOF is only achieved on a big sensor by stopping down and losing light. On CX, you can shoot at wider apertures and not end up with a narrow focus slice. I photograph fish in fishtanks with my V2, using even DX is fruitless unless you’re trying to get just the eye in focus at macro lengths.

      • fjfjjj

        When talking about losing light, be careful to compare apparent aperture size, not ƒ-stops.

        For example, given two lenses (CX and FX format) with equal angle of view and on the same ƒ-stop, the aperture of the CX lens is only only 13% as large (in area) as the FX lens. You can try it and look at the apparent apertures yourself. There’s almost 3 stops difference. So when I’m shooting FX, I can stop down to ƒ/8 and get as much light as the CX does at ƒ/2.8.

        Maybe 3 steps isn’t that much, but I think it’s a lot.

        • MyrddinWilt

          +1 exactly what I keep saying.

          Making the sensor bigger don’t do anything for the picture quality (except at the quantum limit but that is 50MP for CX).

          Comparing the 85mm f/1.4 F-mount lens with an 85mm equivalent (35mm) f/1.4 CX lens is comparing a $1700 lens with a $200 lens. The equivalent FX lens would be around f/4.

          It is possible to have great depth of field with a CX sized sensor. The only problem being that your CX lens needs to be a 35mm f/0.5 and will be more or less the same size as the F-mount lens!

          CX offers big optical advantages for wide angle lenses. But most people don’t need or want a wide angle shot with shallow depth of field.

          Nikon do know their stuff better than the average commenter on this blog. The difference between Nikon and Canon has been that Canon is far more likely to bow to some measurebator fetish. Like when they came out with that f/0.95 lens a while back then withdrew it after people pointed out that it was only sharp at f/1.4 and certainly not worth the money.

        • Ger@rd

          Well, if the amount of light going through the aperture is 14% and the sensor size difference is 13,5% the CX sensor /cm2 is still getting more light, be it very little. And you can reach that same angle of view with a lens that is a lot smaller and cheaper.

          • fjfjjj

            Again, it’s about the absolute size of the apparent aperture, not that size divided by the sensor area. Yes, a lens with a smaller aperture will tend to be cheaper. So what? In any case, if your point is that it’s not 3 whole stops, then fine, it’s 2.9 stops

            • RbRt

              In simple physics, a larger area allow more light on towards the sensor. When we are dealing with infinitely small point light sources, the larger diameter lens gathers more light and the point remains a point of light, However when we are dealing with determined area of origin light that are reaching the lens and being focused on a sensor, the size of the image relative to the size of the original area determine the amount of light on the sensor, hence the aperture factor. A larger diameter lens of the same f stop (or T-stop value to be correct) lets in more light than the smaller lens but if their relative apertures are the same it means that in the end, the intensity on that image area will be the same for both the large and the small sensor in this particular case. The light is spread across a proportionally larger area. Unless again dealing with point sources as in starlight where only aperture counts in this respect. Where we lose is in the sensor element (pixel) dimension, a larger pixel will collect more photons than a smaller pixel with all benefits there-off.
              All together if we look at the Nikon as a system, Cx, Dx and Fx complement each other beautifully, the Nikon 1 with dedicated underwater housings (and more robust than the AW1) is a bargain these days and can technically, produce perfect tabloid size images.

    • zoetmb

      Really? What art books from a major publisher have 72ppi images? And I don’t think that anyone thinks that Steve Jobs invented the high end camera. What I think they do believe is that “the best camera to own is the you have with you” and that the iPhone camera is good enough because the main thing they do with their photos is to post them on Facebook. And frankly, many smartphone photos are no worse than the best of point-and-shoot camera photos.

      I agree that CX was the wrong sensor size, especially considering that they squeezed a DX sensor into the Coolpix A. Now I was someone who thought that Nikon was not going to move from DX to FX because after several years of saying that FX wasn’t necessary and that users should invest in DX lenses, it would be screwing everyone and I turned out to be totally wrong.

      So I think Nikon might be able to use a similar strategy here. How about a Nikon 1 camera with a DX sensor and DSLR-type controls? Now that’s a camera I might buy when I don’t want to lug around the D800 and four lenses. I’ve always wanted a smaller, lighter body. Back in the film days, I loved my Olympus OM-1D. Unfortunately, Olympus’ OM digital is a small sensor body. If it had been DX, I think I would have gone for it.

      One strange thing I noticed the other day is that B&H no longer sells the J2, but they still have all models of the J1. The J1 with the 10-30mm is down to $299. That’s actually not a bad deal.

      • fotozar

        Why are so many people stuck on the sensor size?

        Go and pick up a NEX camera and see how big the lenses are.

        The whole point of the CX sized camera is that the lenses are small.

        As for IQ, I have the V1 and I can tell you that compared to the NEX-5 (which I also have) I much prefer the JPG files straight out from the V1.

        Really, people should go and actually use the 1 system so that they can see for themselves just how good it is.

        • I have a V1 and like it because I can carry it and two lenses everywhere and not notice the weight, but its IQ relative to NEX cameras or other DX sensor cameras is notably poor at ISO 800 and more. It compares poorly, for instance, to my old D50 which is what, a 10 year old DX sensor?

          • Spy Black

            CCD sensor on the D50, no less…

      • Michael Sloan

        You should go check out the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera. This kind of innovation is what Nikon should bring to the Nikon 1 series as a high end option model. It has the kind of controls and features that pros want to see in a mirrorless system.

      • Kevin Purcell

        The CX sensor is fine (for the reasons already covered here like DOF). Look at the DxOmark results (or the technical parameters like read noise and QE for the Aptina sensors). It’s not that much better when you think in terms of photon shot noise signal to noise. It’s better than a D40 and D40X. It’s similar to a D3000 or Olympus E-P1/P2/P3. All fine (older) cameras with bigger sensors. They were good enough a few years ago and they’re ore than good enough for web use and even decent sized prints.

        But one thing to keep in mind is the Nikon 1 is “too big”. The camera body and lens mount are oversized for the type 1 inch sensor. The CX mount could take an APS-C sensor. It has the clearance to do it. Perhaps Nikon had this in mind when designing the system to give them some future flexibility.

        APS-C is about “2 stops” in size away from CX (i.e. 6dB better SNR from photon shot noise from capturing more photons on a bigger sensor) so it’s a useful improvement. I don’t think Nikon would drop the Nikon 1 they’ed just add a Nikon 2 to the line up.

    • delayedflight

      Just to pull you up on the point Nikon HAS to produce cameras with mechanical aperture levers as their current line of lenses rely on that design (except the 800mm f/5.6E).

      Until Nikon can fully transition their line of lenses to the electromagnetic diaphragm (similar to Canon) system we won’t see the lever coming off their cameras any time soon.
      Even if they could we will still see the lever sticking around for a fair amount of time due to the existing install base either refusing to update or can’t afford to update.

      I don’t think as a company Nikon has the money right now to go trailblazing judging by their last financial reports they got hit pretty bad by the tsunamis – Right now they seem to be focused on getting things back on track with smaller attempts at innovation.

      • Cyrille Berger

        In my opinion, backward compatibility with lenses is the single best feature of Nikon. The one reason why I have been buying Nikon in the past, and until they drop that feature, I will keep buying Nikon.

        • Larrry

          I concur. That is the primary reason I left Canon when I switched from film to digital. They orphaned me with FD lens and since I had to buy a total new system, the field was wide open…with a sour taste in my mouth concerning Canon.

    • bgbs

      Nikon 1 product is not geared towards professionals, with the AW1 announcement, Nikon has made it very clear, they are targeting photography enthusiasts. Their reason for sticking with CX sensor is simple. They don’t want the camera or lenses to be bulky. They want the camera to be light weight with consumer based controls. And adding AW1 to the Nikon 1 lineup has now opened up possibilities for the enthusiasts to shoot in circumstances deemed impossible unless they were pros with a very expensive underwater rigs.

      However Nikon has not disregarded the pro’s who would be interested in this product, so they added a lens adapter to it so that a pro can mount his DSLR lens on it. I do believe that Nikon should have marketed Nikon 1 to the pros, but they decided not to, because that is not their main target.

      • photozar

        I agree with most of what you are saying.

        IMO the reason pros won’t use the V1 for “professional” work is because even with the FT1 adapter the image quality is not up to it.

        I have tried almost every F-mount lens I have (30+) on the V1 via the adapter and not one gives what I call “pro” quality. This includes the Holy Trinity.

        The native lenses for the V1 on the other hand are something else. They are excellent to excellent plus.

        That’s not to say the pros won’t use the 1 system. It’s just that they won’t rely on it to make them money.

    • Rob

      “My hope is that Nikon is testing the waters with these early models”


    • groucher

      Regarding the CX format (in common with DX) agreed – it’s not suited to landscape photography but it is perfectly suited to action photography and the CX format is of sufficient size to give good IQ at highish ISOs. I choose the camera that’s fit for my purposes -the D800 for landscapes and the V1 with the 300mm f4 (giving 810mm eqiv. f4 and 60fps) for birding and sport.

      The D800 spends its life in full manual mode (as near as I can get to a digital FM). The V1 is used entirely in auto mode, partly because that’s what the subject matter demands but also because the camera is a real pig to use in manual mode. The operation of some of the controls is the only criticism I have of the 1 Series. Hopefully Nikon will have sorted that out in the AW1

  • whisky

    has me wondering whether it’s feasible to design a “waterproof” adapter for the older nikonos lenses?

    • Spy Black

      The focal length factor would make them pretty useless, underwater you rely more on wider angle optics, because the water’s refraction starts to turn them more into more normal focal length optics. Even the widest-angle Nikonos optic would be like a telescopic on the AW-1.

      • arf

        Glad to see someone on this subject who knows what he’s talking about. Thank you Spy Black.

  • Aldo

    I wonder how deep you can “really” go before the seals begin to buckle.

    • Spy Black

      You’ll have to buy one and try it out…

      • Aldo

        With an accidental warranty I suppose. I think I may buy this camera. Knowing it can take a punch is such peace mind. I can focus in my activities rather than bb sitting the camera.

        • Spy Black

          Not sure cameras like this can get accident insurance LOL! As I’ve reiterated around, the above-water use is where this camera is going to shine.

          • Dover

            Diver Alert Network offers flood insurance on U/W cameras. It includes theft and many other issues.

      • Dover

        Don’t forget Nikon has a lot of history designing underwater cameras so the scenarios you mention probably wouldn’t happen. The real travesty is releasing a camera that is nearly useless to scuba divers and too much camera for snorkelers.

        • Spy Black

          Yep, that about sums it up. At least, from a diver’s standpoint.

  • Rick

    I’m wondering whether the mount is also shock-proof? What I mean is, won’t the mount be out of whack when you drop the camera partly on the lens?

  • Northerntrumpeter

    What’s with all the British video reviews? Is this site’s name about to change to Nikon Rumours?

    • I could not find any decent US hands-on reviews. I actually published one from Engadget in my announcement post.

      • Northerntrumpeter

        It’s fine by me. It means I now know how much the AW1 is going to cost over here in the UK 🙂 Seems like a good launch price. It’s almost low enough to tempt me to save up some pennies for one in the next 6 months, rather than waiting a year or two for price cuts.

    • 103David

      I was wondering why a number of YouTube videos were French…then I remembered…the French invented SCUBA.
      Yea, Jauques.

  • How do you adjust the aperture in Aperture-Priority? I haven’t seen anything on that anywhere, and it looks like the multi-selector dial doesn’t rotate.

  • Anonymous Coward

    Dang it. The 10mm AW lens is not available in white. And the orange slip cover is not available for the 10mm lens either. 🙁

  • groucher

    I wish NR would correct the title of this article. The AW1 is a camera that can be used in harsh conditions for a great variety of outdoor activities – it’s not just an underwater camera for shallow diving.

    • So what would be the correct name? Rugged camera? Outdoor camera?

  • Espen4u

    Finally the one’s make some sense. Now if if only the sensor could improve also…

  • MabuyaQ

    Why doesn’t Nikon understand that taking pictures with gloves on above water is already a challenge with all those small buttons on a small camera. It becomes twice as hard in an underwater environment where humans aren’t at home at all. And even if the water is warm enough so you don’t need gloves the small buttons will just make this camera work like above water with gloves on.
    Nikon shouldn’t market this as an underwater camera as it will fail at that because of its ergonomics, They should just market this as the J4 or J3s with as feature its waterproof and shockproof design and they should update the entire 1″ series with these design features.

  • guest

    It bums me out that Nikon was unwilling to push the envelope a bit and get this camera a pressure rating that is useful to sport divers. Clearly they could do it years ago with the Nikonos V and the Nikonos RS. Even the depth quoted is probably a bit optimistic. The camera would certainly survive to that depth under static pressure but in the real world working with a camera causes dynamic pressure and that is why most underwater gear like a watch needs a higher depth rating than what one normally encounters (or course watches also suffer from the “it will survive well beyond the point your dead syndrome). Hopefully the 2.0 version will be more desirable. A lot of low end underwater photo gear like Sea Life is pretty klugy. Come on Nikon we are rooting for you!

  • mark

    obviously this is no replacement for professional underwater rigs. This is more in line with AW100 capabilities, rugged and waterproof.

    Living in a country with access to great reefs within snorkeling depth, I find this a better option than get UW rigs that can cost more than the body itself.

    This will let me take photos anywhere I can go. Only my bag stays on the boat.

    If nikon can do a matching (rugged) long focal lens for this, birders will definitely love this (small size, relatively cheap and true weather proofing).

    Many whines on the huge DOF, well I still have my APS camera somewhere dry when I need it.

    Now if only the SB-N10 can match at least the sb600/700 then I am a happy camper.

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