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Customer Review

664 of 693 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great photos, great video, somewhat difficult to use., October 16, 2011
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This review is from: Nikon COOLPIX AW100 16 MP CMOS Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS and Full HD 1080p Video (Orange) (OLD MODEL) (Camera)
I tend to replace my point-n-shoot about every 3 years. I normally shoot a Nikon D90 but last year upgraded to a D7000.

[UPDATE Feb 2012] The original camera was replaced by Nikon since it failed on the 2nd use in water. This one worked through our Caribbean holiday for 4 full days before it started overheating and would not shut off. It stayed on until the battery drained. Leaving it "sit overnight" and then removing and recharging the battery got it working again, however I could feel the heat the longer it was in use.

The disappointing thing is this camera takes such great photos and now that we got it to work underwater, we know it takes fairly good underwater photos and video. But there's something wrong with either its design or the manufactured batch that we received. Had it too long to return to Amazon for a refund, so I'm probably going to send it a 2nd time back to Nikon. Note their repair service is great, but you have to be proactive and follow up or your repair/replacement will just sit there until you call them and ask for a status update. Once I did that after two weeks of hearing nothing and no status changes they said they'd check and the replacement was shipped out the next day.
[/end-update]

I took it to the Bahamas in order to test out the underwater capabilities. I also took along the D90 for "good" photos. After some fumbling with the crappy menu system, (its just me) I found that the AW100 photos were at least as good as the D90. The default color settings were wonderful. The video was better than expected above water, and much better than the Kodak PlaySport below water. The still photos (above water) were so good in fact, that I left the D90 in the hotel room safe for the rest of the trip.

It has a 16Megapixel sensor that is back-wired. This moves the connections to the rear of the sensor which supposedly gives less noise and lower-light sensitivity. My testing at night showed this to be true for me.

The bad things about it: The buttons are VERY touchy, the "use it in the snow with big gloves on" feature is a bit goofy, but then I haven't used it in the snow.

The battery life is no where near as good a any CANON point and shoot I've owned, but with the GPS off it was acceptable.

Speaking of the GPS, what a cool features. Not only do you geo-tag your photos, after you take a picture, it shows you the POI (point of interest) aka, the name of your location right on the screen. Not sure how that translates into the photo's meta data yet, but hopeful it will.

All-in-all I really don't care for the menu structure which is rather limited and requires that you be in a specific MODE in order to change a setting. This is just silly IMHO.
But the photo and video quality is about the best I've seen to date. So if you're looking for a simply camera, keep looking, but if you're reasonably comfortable fumbling with context menus, this may be the best imaging camera on the market today.

[UPDATE]
People are asking why "3 stars"? Because the controls are VERY touchy. While the camera image quality is beyond what I would ever have expected, the controls are difficult to use because they are so sensitive. Making use annoying.

WATER PROOFING FAILED: On my second trip to the Bahamas with the camera this month, it failed as soon as I hit the water. It was working fine for the two months that I've owned it, and was even working on the Beach. But then when I went into the water, it worked for a few minutes and then DEAD... Since it is more than 30 days old, I am sending to Nikon Service for repairs. If it comes back fine, I won't post again, but it something happens, I'll update this review again. With the U.S. holiday coming up and the timing of it being returned, I really don't expect to see it for at least 3 weeks.
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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 29, 2011 6:26:39 PM PDT
It seems like a very positive review but only 3 stars? Any thing specifically for the medium rating?

Posted on Oct 29, 2011 6:26:56 PM PDT
It seems like a very positive review but only 3 stars? Any thing specifically for the medium rating?

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 4:29:27 AM PST
Mark Martin says:
The camera isnt remotely equal to a D90 in image quality. I own the AW100 and it's good for it's purposes; waterproof to rating and gps-- but image quality isnt a strong suit and again it's certainly not equal to a D90. The assertion that the AW100 may be the best imaging camera on the market today is just absurd.
I'm a professional photographer with 30 years continuously in business.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2011 12:47:32 PM PST
Robert Cozzi says:
I too have the D90 and the D7000 and other cameras.
The waterproofing failed on the AW100 on its second outing. So beware!
Perhaps your lenses used with your D90 produce better looking images, however, the default imagine at the same settings as the D90 will probably produce better image quality on the AW100 than the D90.
I know many pro-photographers, but their opinions are generally taken with a grain of salt. Take Ken Rockwell for instance, he's a great photographer but thinks the CANON S100 is the best point-n-shoot out there. I own one, and the image quality of it is so must less than the Aw-100 that I just sent the S100 back to Amazon.
The AW100 has the same size sensor in it as the D7000 DSLR, however the AW100's sensor is a generation newer and this time, it actually means something. Look at the engineering talk on back-wired sensors for cameras. They are a game-changer.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2011 10:05:53 AM PST
fotographer says:
I am sorry to inform you but the AW100 has 1/2.3" size sensor, and D7000 has 23.6 x 15.6mm sensor - ~X15 difference in surface area.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2011 3:45:48 PM PST
1/2.3 inches is equal to 25.40 millimeters - which is bigger?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2011 12:58:56 PM PST
LgT says:
1/2.3 inches is a misleading figure, and does not represent the actual sensor size. The actual sensor size in a typical compact camera is about 6 x 4.5 mm, or about 27mm^2. The APS-C DSLR like the D90 has a sensor area of about 370mm^2.

Posted on Dec 6, 2011 7:51:50 AM PST
We know its a point and shoot so comparing it to a dslr is irrelant. But as far as the usefullness of what it was designed for, has anyone tried taking this camera more than 33 feet underwater? I scuba dive and don't really want to buy a $1500 underwater housing for my dslr.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2011 6:04:42 AM PST
Did you clean the camera after you used it in the ocean as the manual says to do?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011 8:54:55 AM PST
W. Nicholls says:
As others have noted, the AW100 has a tiny sensor that's not at all comparable to an APS-C sensor. Before the camera flooded, did you shoot any higher ISO images? Sorry, but back-wired sensors don't make point and shoot cameras perform at DSLR levels. And if you've never tried shooting a camera in cold weather wearing bulky gloves, don't dismiss a potentially valuable feature as "goofy".

I hope that Nikon deems the camera flooding as a defect under warranty. I've seen too many of these "waterproof" cameras denied warranty service blaming the consumer for not properly closing the camera or using it under conditions beyond the specs.
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