Nikon AW110 Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Nikon Coolpix AW110
Resolution: 16.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3"
Lens: 5.00x zoom
(28-140mm eq.)
Viewfinder: OLED
ISO: 125-3200
Shutter: 4-1/1500
Max Aperture: 3.9
Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.0 in.
(110 x 65 x 25 mm)
Weight: 6.9 oz (195 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $350
Availability: 02/2013
Manufacturer: Nikon
16.00
Megapixels
5.00x zoom
1/2.3"
size sensor
image of Nikon Coolpix AW110
Front side of Nikon Coolpix AW110 digital camera Back side of Nikon Coolpix AW110 digital camera Top side of Nikon Coolpix AW110 digital camera Left side of Nikon Coolpix AW110 digital camera Right side of Nikon Coolpix AW110 digital camera

AW110 Review Summary: The Nikon AW110 proved to be an overall good waterproof model that feels great in the hands, features an interface that's easy to navigate, shoots very good underwater stills and video and boasts a nice design with an ultra-cool battery door. The addition of built-in Wi-Fi for easy sharing and file transferring makes the AW110 even more versatile than the previous model.

Pros: Good still photo and video quality for its class; Built-in Wi-Fi for image sharing with a paired smartphone or tablet; Waterproof to a category-best depth of 59 feet; Generally speedy operation.

Cons: Not a huge improvement over predecessor; Lens dimmer than others at wide angle; Annoyingly sharp metal strap lugs; Below average battery life.

Price and availability: Available since February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix AW110 is priced at around US$350, and it comes in four colors: orange, black, camouflage (don't lose it!) and blue.

Imaging Resource rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

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For our review of the Nikon AW110, see our
2013 Best Waterproof Cameras Shootout,
where we compare the AW110 against five top competitors
and identify which waterproof camera may be right for you.

Nikon Coolpix AW110 Overview

by Mike Tomkins
Updated 10/10/2013

With the Coolpix AW110, Nikon corrects an injustice. With cellphone connectivity ubiquitous, and tethering common, photographers everywhere want to get their photos off their cameras more quickly these days. If you were shooting with last year's Coolpix AW100, though, you were left fiddling with cables -- or worse still, transferring flash cards between camera and reader -- to get to your images. Sure, it was a rugged, go-anywhere camera for the outdoors type, but that doesn't mean you wanted to share those photos any less swiftly!

Wi-Fi sharing. The Nikon Coolpix AW110 now features built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity. This allows you to quickly and easily transfer images and videos directly to compatible smart devices, using a free Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility application that's available for Android and iOS devices. And impressively, Wi-Fi networking has been added with barely any increase in the camera's size, although its weight has crept up by 0.6 ounces (15g).

Ruggedness. And that increase in weight may well not be down to the Wi-Fi, because Nikon has taken an already-rugged camera and made it even more so. The AW100 could survive at snorkeling depths of up to 33 feet, and survive a five-foot drop, but the Nikon AW110 bests it on both fronts, and by quite some margin for the waterproofing. Forget your snorkeling gear -- you'll want scuba tanks to take full advantage of the AW110's 59 foot (18m) depth rating. And if you fumble the camera while you're getting into your scuba gear, it should now live through a 6.6 foot (2m) drop. And it's not just fans of water sports who'll benefit -- the Nikon AW110 is still freezeproof, to boot.

Sensor, processor and lens. In other respects, the Nikon AW110 is mostly quite similar to its predecessor. It's still based around a 16.0 megapixel, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, for example, with an ISO sensitivity range of 125 to 3200 equivalents. And the sensor still sits behind a 5x optical zoom lens whose equivalent focal length range remains the same at 28 to 140mm. Maximum aperture still starts from a rather dim f/3.9 at wide angle, and falls to f/4.8 at telephoto, and Nikon has included Vibration Reduction to fight blur from camera shake.

Display. On the rear panel is a new display. Its size is unchanged from that in the AW100 -- measuring 3 inches diagonal -- but where the earlier camera used a standard LCD, the Nikon AW110 features an Organic LED panel. Compared to standard LCDs, OLED screens typically offer better viewing angles, better contrast with deeper blacks, and greater saturation. They can also bring a worthwhile savings in battery life, because they don't need a backlight. Instead, each pixel provides its own illumination, meaning that when a pixel is black -- as in many menu backgrounds -- it consumes very little power. Total resolution of the new display is 614,000 dots, or around 205,000 pixels.

GPS and gauges. The Nikon AW110 still includes a built-in GPS receiver, allowing it to automatically geotag images with the location at which they were captured, and includes features such as in-camera maps, as well as location logging. That is great news for outdoor types, making it easy to find your shots by location, and even to retrace your footsteps through a day's shooting. While there still looks to be a hump on the camera's top deck for the GPS antenna, it's now integrated into the hump around the lens, and looks cleaner as a result. (And on the angular bodies typical of rugged cameras, the bulge for the antenna looks less out of place to start with.) There's also a built-in altimeter, barometer and depth gauge, as well as an electronic compass.

Flash, exposure and special effects. On the front panel of the Nikon Coolpix AW110 is a built-in flash strobe that helps put some light on your subject when ambient light isn't enough. Exposure modes include Nikon's Easy Auto mode and Smart Portrait system to help even beginners get the shot they're after, however there are no manual or priority modes for more experienced photographers. Available scene modes include Backlighting, Beach, Black and White Copy, Close Up, Dusk/Dawn, Easy Panorama, Fireworks Show, Food, Museum, Night Landscape, Night Portrait, Party/Indoor, Pet Portrait, Snow, Sunset, 3D Photography, and of course, Underwater. Night Landscape and Night Portrait scene modes have Hand-held and Tripod options. In Hand-held mode, the camera shoots a burst of images and combines them for reduced noise. Similarly, Backlighting has an HDR option which combines multiple exposures to expand dynamic range. Nikon has also beefed up its selection of Special Effects functions (Soft, Nostalgic Sepia, High-contrast Monochrome, High Key, Low Key and Selective Color) that help get your creative juices flowing, and these don't apply only to stills -- you can also use them for videos.

Video. The Coolpix AW110 shoots Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) high-definition videos at 30p, and includes both a built-in stereo microphone, plus a dedicated video record button.

Storage and battery. Nikon has included USB 2.0 High-Speed data connectivity, supplementing the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. There's also a not-very-generous 21MB of internal memory, enough for a few life-saving shots if you accidentally leave the house without a flash card, but you'll need to pick those shots carefully.

Power comes from a proprietary EN-EL12 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack, and both battery and charger are included in the product bundle. The Coolpix AW110 is CIPA-rated to capture 250 shots on a charge, below average life for a camera in its class.

For our review of the Nikon AW110, see our
2013 Best Waterproof Cameras Shootout,
where we compare the AW110 against five top competitors
and identify which waterproof camera may be right for you.

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