Nikon 1 AW1 Preview

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Nikon today announced a camera so promising that, should it actually deliver on its many promises and performance specifications, will absolutely be at the top of everyone's 2013 Must Buy and/or Christmas season shopping lists. The Nikon 1 AW1 is the world's first waterproof, freezeproof, and shockproof interchangeable lens camera (ILC) system.  Not only that, but Nikon also announced two new -- and equally waterproof, freezeproof, and shockproof -- 1-series kit lenses, the 1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 and 1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f/2.8.

Waterproof down to 49 feet, shockproof up to 6.6 feet, and freezeproof down to 14° F, the Nikon 1 AW1 features a 14.2-megapixel CX-format CMOS image sensor mated to the EXPEED 3A image processing engine, which allows this camera to boast the world's fastest continuous shooting frame rates -- 15 fps with Auto Focus (AF) engaged; 60 fps when focus is locked. Speaking of AF, the AW1's the Advanced Hybrid AF system uses a 73-point AF array to lock focus in approximately 80 milliseconds.

For budding filmmakers, the Nikon 1 AW1 records Full HD 1080p video. There's also Advanced Movie Mode, which gives users the ability to take still photos WHILE recording HD video, and Slow Motion up to 1200 frames-per-second. Further, Enhanced Motion Snapshot Mode creates short slow-motion movie sequences out of still images.

While the Nikon 1 AW1 has a lot of quality hardware, it has even more software features in the form of various creative and control modes. Creative Mode not only gives users full manual exposure control, but also access to filters such as Selective Color, Miniature, Soft, Night Landscape, Backlighting, and Night Portrait. Easy Panorama allows shooters to capture super-widescreen vistas. Best Moment Capture Mode gives users access to two separate modes, Smart Photo Selector or Slow View. In Smart Photo Selector mode, the AW1 captures up to 20 shots and then selects the best one automatically. In Slow View -- "ideal for extreme actions sports" -- the AW1 first achieves focus, then slowly loops 1.33 seconds of imagery until you select the moment you want by fully depressing the shutter button. Live Image Control allows owners to make real time picture adjustments such as Active D-Lighting, Background Softening, Motion Control, and Brightness Control.

If that weren't enough modes, here are four more specifically designed to help take the AW1 underwater. Similar to the Nikon COOLPIX AW110, which debuted in February of this year, the AW1 includes Action Control, which allows users to adjust camera settings and functions by swiping the camera-itself through the air. Also, Underwater Mode features three options -- standard, scuba, and close-up -- which will automatically adjust camera settings for various underwater activities. Underwater White Balance helps keep your color temperatures accurate. And, Underwater Distortion Control corrects, well, distortion effects commonly caused by shooting underwater. Oh, and don't worry about ruining your pop-up flash. It's waterproof too.

Other features that will help with your next adventure include built-in GPS, which can track your exact latitude and longitude; an altimeter and depth gauge, to let you know how high or low you are; an electronic compass, so you never loose your way; and a virtual horizon indicator, to help frame shots.

While the Nikon 1 AW1 does not include built-in WiFi, it is fully compatible with the optional WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter. When this adapter is paired with Nikon's free Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app (for Android and iOS mobile devices), the AW1 will be able to transfer images to smartphones and tablets for backup storage and sharing on your favorite social networks. Just don't try this feature in the ocean ☺

Nikon 1 AW1 Features
  • Waterproof down to 49 feet
  • Shockproof up to 6.6 feet
  • Freezeproof down to 14° F
  • 14.2-megapixel CX-format CMOS image sensor
  • Nikon's EXPEED 3A image processing engine
  • Full HD 1080p video recording
  • Advanced Movie Mode
  • Slow Motion Movies
    • 400 fps or 1200 fps
  • Enhanced Motion Snapshot Mode
  • Best Moment Capture Mode
    • Smart Photo Selector
    • Slow View
  • Advanced Hybrid Autofocus (AF) system
    • 73-point AF array
  • 15 frames-per-second continuous shooting with Auto Focus
    • 60 fps continuous shooting when focus is locked.
  • Action Control
  • Underwater Mode
  • Underwater White Balance
  • Underwater Distortion Control
  • ISO range 160 to 6400
  • Creative Mode
    • Full manual exposure controls (P,S,A,M)
    • Selective Color
    • Miniature
    • Soft
    • Night Landscape
    • Backlighting
    • Night Portrait
  • Easy Panorama
  • Live Image Control, with real time adjustments of:
    • Active D-Lighting
    • Background Softening
    • Motion Control
    • Brightness Control
  • Built-in GPS
  • Altimeter
  • Depth Gauge
  • Electronic Compass
  • Virtual Horizon Indicator
  • Pop-up Flash (also waterproof)
  • Fully compatible with Nikon's optional WU-1b Wireless Mobile 
  • Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app

Price and Availability

The Nikon 1 AW1 will be available -- in black, silver, or white -- next month (October, 2013) in two different kit forms:
  1. The one-lens kit, which includes a Nikon 1 AW1 and a 1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, will have a $799.95 MSRP.
  2. The two-lens kit, which includes everything above as well as the 1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f/2.8 lens, will have a $999.95 MSRP.
There will also be the option to purchase accessory "skins" for both lenses in black, khaki, or orange (pictured below). Skins will have an MSRP of $36.96.

Additional Product Views
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Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.