Nikon Coolpix AW100 Hands On Preview

One of six new Coolpix cameras debuting this September from Nikon of which Steve's was able to get a hands on preview, the AW100 is the first underwater camera Nikon has made in over a decade. And what a fun little camera this is. Make sure the lock is tight on the chamber where you put your battery and SD card, and you can dive down as far as 33 feet (10 meters) under water. Salt water? No problem, just rinse it off afterwards. Crazy enough, there's even stereo sound recording which should work underwater as well. The AW100 is also shockproof up to five feet and temperature proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit where the camera's over-sized buttons will come in handy for anyone wearing gloves.

The AW100 features a 16 megapixel 1/2.3 inch backside illuminated CMOS sensor, 5x wide angle optical zoom NIKKOR lens (equivalent of a 28-140mm in 35mm format), an electronic compass which can be called up on the display, and GPS functionality for geo tagging (works with the included ViewNX2 software, Nikon's, or Google Earth) as well as very basic navigation using the built-in maps, which will have various "points of interest" in certain locations.

The AW100 is capable of 1080p high definition video recording at 30 frames per second as well as 720p HD movie capture at 60 frames per second. If you're not familiar with frame ratings and digital movie editing, what this means is that you can shoot footage at 60 frames per second, and then play it back in 24 or 30 frames per second on your computer creating a slow motion effect.

Because AW100 is built for various weather conditions and environments where users may be wearing gloves, Nikon has designed a new way to access different function modes. Called "Action Control operation," this will change between two pre-selected modes (say Portrait and Landscape) with the flick of a wrist, saving you the time of having to access the menu.

Nikon Coolpix AW100 Features:
  • 16 megapixel 1/2.3 inch BSI CMOS sensor
  • 5x wide angle zoom lens
  • Waterproof down to 33 feet (10 metres)
  • Shockproof up to 5 feet
  • Temperature proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Oversized buttons for easier use with gloves
  • Electronic, on screen compass
  • GPS (for geo-tagging and basic navigation)
  • Easy Auto Mode
  • Smart Portrait System (In-Camera Red-Eye Fix, Face-Priority AF, Face Priority AE, Smile Mode, Blink Warning, Skin Softening, and Pet Portrait)
  • 1080p/30 and 720p/60HD video recording
  • mini-HDMI output
  • Action Control operation function switching
  • Included 40.5mm threat filter mount adapter
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.6 x 0.9 inches (110.1 x 64.9 x 22.8 mm)
  • Weight: 6.3oz (178 g)

The Nikon Coolpix AW100 will be available September 8, 2011 with an MSRP of $379.99. It will be available in blue, black, and orange. It ships with a camera strap (AN-CP23), a rechargeable Li-on battery (EN-EL12), a charger (MH-65), a USB cable (UC-E6), an A/V cable (EG-CP16), a filter attachment (UR-E23), and the ViewNX 2 CD-rom.

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