Nikon Coolpix AW100 Digital Camera

The Coolpix AW100 is a ruggedized compact camera from Nikon, and is said to be one of the better ones in the market today. Aside from having a lot of decent features, and being generally user-friendly, it also delivers high image quality and solid resolution. However, the camera does come with little quirks. For instance, having a lot of small tightly packed buttons dampens its user-friendliness, and having erratic white balance issues under artificial lighting spoils its image resolution. Still, if you are the type who is always outdoors and want to have a portable weather-sealed/resistant camera, the Coolpix AW100 might warrant some considerations.

The Coolpix AW100 is special in a way because it is Nikon’s first take at a ruggedized compact camera. As that type of device, the AW100 features qualities such as being waterproof to up to 10 meters, shockproof to up to a drop of 1.5 meters, and freeze proof down to 10 degrees Celsius. The camera also comes with a GPS capability, has a digital compass, and a built-in world map. These features are most dispensable for tagging pictures rather than for navigation per se but they still offer some good functionality specially when tracking down one’s route through a terrain. Using the GPS in tandem with the supplied Nikon ViewNX2 software allows the user to track down his or her travel.

Physically, the Nikon Coolpix AW100 feels solid and compact enough. The chassis is made primarily of toughened plastic and the front is protected by a metal plate. The device is sold in different colors so the user can at least choose one that fits his or her lifestyle. The colors include orange, black, blue, and one with camouflage.

Both the camera’s HDMI and USB ports are located together with the battery and memory card in a compartment that is sealed against water using a latch with a dual action lock. Also, while it pretty much have all the standard qualities that ruggedized compact camera have, the Nikon Coolpix AW100 still is guaranteed to survive a lot of the situations that would otherwise break most cameras. Hence, it is one of the best compact cameras to bring if you’re planning to do extreme sports like white water rafting and snow boarding.

Aside from the battery, memory slots, and ports, the lens of the Nikon Coolpix AW100 is also housed inside the camera’s body. It has a 5x optical zoom folded lens that offers a 35mm focal range equivalent of 28-140 mm, with an f/3.9 maximum aperture at the shortest end, and rising incrementally to f/4.8 at 140mm. The lens is recessed behind a toughened glass. It is possible to fog up inside the glass though that will prevent the lens from focusing for a time. This is especially true if the camera is immersed in cold water and then brought back out into the less cool air. For warmer weather though, the lens can function nicely.

The Nikon Coolpix AW100 have shooting modes that are all found in fully automatic point and shoots, and at the same time offers a simplified Easy Auto mode, a regular Auto mode, 19 individual Scene modes, a Smart Portrait mode, and some Special Effects options including Sepia, High-contrast Monochrome, High-key and Low-key. The effects can be chosen real time though so the user has to go back to the playback menu.

In addition to those feathers, the Nikon Coolpix AW100 offers a variety of other features including a one-touch 180°/360° Panoramic mode; a macro mode that lessens the minimum focusing distance to up to 1 cm; built-in vibration reduction anti-blur technology; a 1080/30p Full HD movie recording capability accompanied by stereo sound; high-speed movie capture modes that playback in slow motion; and a sensitivity range of ISO 125 to 320. The Nikon Coolpix AW100 also has a 3-inch LCD monitor with 460,000 dot colors and bright display.

The camera offers quite an accurate light metering although images do at occasions come out a bit underexposed. However, the Automatic White Balance metering can be a bit of a problem indoors. Images taken outdoors are decent and of high quality but those that are shot, say, inside a building can suffer from weird coloring specially if the lights come from mixed sources and there are shadows casted everywhere. On the other hand, the ISO performance is one of the best among tough cameras. Images at the lowest setting are generally clean and free of noise, while the succeeding levels still offer decent and workable pictures despite evidences of loss of quality.

Overall, the Nikon Coolpix AW100 is packed with a lot of great features and is generally easy to use. Despite its quirks, it does seem like a really usable camera specially when it comes to shooting outdoors.

Nikon Coolpix AW100 Digital Camera Price in Singapore Dollar (SGD): Approximately S$ 450.00

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