Nikon's new AW1 is first waterproof with manual controls

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Nikon's new AW1 is first waterproof with manual controls

Postby Dave Bunnell » Oct 16, 2013 2:10 pm

Nikon has introduced what is being touted as the first digital Nikonos. I don't have one but just downloaded and read the manual so can make some comments re: using it for cave photography.

While there are about a dozen waterproof digitals on the market, none has ever offered any degree of manual control. This one has full manual plus aperture or shutter priority. So that's exciting for anyone who wants to do more than point and shoot photography. This thing also has interchangeable lenses and a larger sensor than any of the current offerings. The lens of most interest for cavers is their 27mm equivalent fixed They have a 30-74mm zoom that is also waterproof. Note that it takes "1" series lenses so more options but only the two that are waterproof.

At $800 it is pricey but not horrible for a product that offers many new features. After studying the manual I see some other shortcomings. There seems to be no option for direct use of an external flash. So you can't use this with radio slaves. It does have a built-in flash, but as far as I can see, you can't reduce its power in the menu. So you could run optical slaves but have to use on-camera, full power flash. Drawbacks include introducing flat lighting on closer shots and the dreaded red-eye, and the classic fogging problem of on-camera flash. Whether there are pre-flash issues too i can't tell but one probably wants digital slaves or flash that can be set to go off on 1,2,3, or even the fourth flash detected.

It allows for exposesures up to 30 seconds so can be used with LEDs or flahbulbs.

If it only had a hotshoe I would be sending my order in now. I may yet do so. Anyone wanting to do uw video in HD may want to take a look, though its only rated to 15m.

Here's a link with a bit of info:
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-1-aw1/

Be interested to hear from anyonewho gets one.

Dave
Last edited by Dave Bunnell on Oct 16, 2013 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nikon's new AW1 is first waterproof with manual controls

Postby NZcaver » Oct 16, 2013 3:03 pm

Interesting. Now if only Canon would start producing their EOS-M (which already has a hot shoe) in a waterproof version... :big grin:
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Re: Nikon's new AW1 is first waterproof with manual controls

Postby gindling » Oct 17, 2013 10:55 am

It does have a built-in flash, but as far as I can see, you can't reduce its power in the menu. So you could run optical slaves but have to use on-camera, full power flash. Drawbacks include introducing flat lighting on closer shots and the dreaded red-eye, and the classic fogging problem of on-camera flash. Whether there are pre-flash issues too i can't tell but one probably wants digital slaves or flash that can be set to go off on 1,2,3, or even the fourth flash detected.


That sounds like an amazing camera Dave. The fact that it has all manual controls and can use the "1" lenses as well as the waterproof ones really puts it a far step ahead of my Olympus TG1-iHS. It has a tele and fish eye lens that are waterproof but it doesnt accept other Olympus lenses... just 40.5mm filters.

I thought I would post about my filter I use on my camera so I can use the onboard flash to fire my Firefly slaves without seeing any of the light from the on camera flash, so no orbs, red-eye, or flat looking pictures. I got some adhesive industrial velcro and cut a section of the hook side and attached it to my camera with a cut out for the on camera flash and macro LED light. I then took the loop side and cut a similar window out of it and then added a slightly oversized strip of the IR filter sheet that was provided with the Firefly unit on its adhesive side and covered that with a clear sheet of plastic that was provided with my camera for protecting the LCD screen. I now pretty much keep it on in cave for all my flash shots and then take it off when using the built in LED for the macro shots. I keep a separate piece of the hook side in my pocket to attach the filter to when its not on camera to keep too much detritus from getting into the loops of the velcro. I sometimes notice a little bleed from the flash but I usually find that I just didn't press the velcro hard enough when attaching the filter. Here are two photos with the filter on and off.

ImageImage

Of course I wouldn't have to do all this if they would just make the perfect cave camera!
Oh, and I have to do all this because the camera does not have an option for keeping the shutter open manually, even for a few seconds. Which is really the only big gripe I have about this camera...
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Re: Nikon's new AW1 is first waterproof with manual controls

Postby gindling » Dec 4, 2014 2:37 pm

Anyone seen or used this camera in person? Dave? I am thinking of getting one but am still weighing the options.
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Re: Nikon's new AW1 is first waterproof with manual controls

Postby ohgustin » Dec 11, 2014 3:37 pm

i own an aw1 and this camera is very usefull for caving and canyoning.
it lack just a bit of battery life but with 3 battery it work perfectly for a cannioning week end.
the auto focus is realy amazing you just need one hand and you can take hpto in all kind of situation.

i added a 10mm f2.8 and the silicon protection, it give more grip and it protect the camera from mud and impact. i also use a dynema 2mm cord to attach the camera, it's stronger and mudproof better than any other configuration.

the only lack is the stabilization that is nneded when the light is not enough. in this situation you must use a very bright light to get good photos.

the cherry on the cake is that the stereo sound is just astouning comparing to the go pro.
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Re: Nikon's new AW1 is first waterproof with manual controls

Postby Tony C » Jul 1, 2015 11:48 am

Anyone figure out how to put an IR-pass filter on the pop-up flash? Thinking of buying one of these.

I agree with Dave et al., the lack of external flash triggering appears to be its one weakness. It is difficult to find a waterproof rugged camera that shoots RAW; I've CHDK hacked the Canon D10 and D30 but looking for a camera with greater manual control.
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