Nikon has expanded its 1-series line-up with the AW1, a fully waterproof, interchangeable-lens camera. Michael Topham finds out just how tough it is. Read the Nikon 1 AW1 review...
Nikon 1 AW1 review – Metering and dynamic range
The AW1 produces bright images straight out of the camera, which do not suffer from underexposure. If anything, the camera overexposes just a little and, on occasions when I was shooting towards the light or when scenes had some particularly bright highlights, I dialled in -0.3EV or -0.7EV to guarantee highlight detail wasn’t lost. To help preserve extra detail in the shadows of high-contrast scenes, Active D-Lighting can be switched on from inside the shooting menu.
With the effect of Active D-Lighting being less dramatic than other manufacturers’ dynamic range optimisers, it is safe to leave it turned on if you’d like a subtle improvement to detail recorded in the shadows.
Image: Shooting towards the light can cause shadows to appear unnaturally dark, but the AW1’s Active D-Lighting mode has helped preserve detail in the foreground area of this image and delivered a broader tonal range
As to be expected, the dynamic-range performance of the AW1 is similar to that of the J3, and there were times in bright lighting conditions when I inspected the histogram on the rear display only to find that highlight clipping was occurring. While Active D-Lighting increases the tonal detail in the shadows, I found it less effective at preserving detail in the brightest highlights. To save the highlights blowing out in high-contrast scenes, the backlighting creative mode was frequently put to use and the best results were created when it was combined with the HDR mode.