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Nikon 1 AW1 review

January 14, 2014

Overall Rating:

3

Nikon 1 AW1


  • Autofocus:
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Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£749.00

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...

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Nikon 1 AW1 review – Resolution, noise and sensitivity

At the time of testing, the AW1’s raw files were not supported by Camera Raw or Lightroom, so Nikon’s ViewNX 2 software that comes with the camera was used to process the uncompressed files to the TIFF format. At its base sensitivity of ISO 160, the AW1 resolved 24 lines per mm – a sound readout given that some compact system cameras with APS-C-sized sensors have produced similar levels of detail in the past. The same 24lpmm were resolved up to ISO 400, but beyond this setting the figure gradually began to trail off to 18lpmm at the camera’s maximum ISO of 6400.

Clean, noise-free images are produced from ISO 160-400, although signs of luminance and colour noise are evident at ISO 800. These gradually worsened to such a degree that I would consider ISO 1600 to be the top limit you would regularly want to push to. Added to this, the saturation at ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 is noticeably more muted than at the lower settings, and while the in-camera noise reduction that is applied to the four-digit ISOs reduces colour noise effectively, it comes at the expense of a more waxy overall appearance.

These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, set to 50mm (equivalent). We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution at the specified sensitivity setting.

  • External mic: No
  • Video: 1080 60i/30p HD MOV H.264
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets (with fine-tuning), manual
  • Built-in Flash: Yes (GN 5m @ ISO 100, GN 6.3m @ ISO 160)
  • Shutter Type: Electronic shutter
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: N/A
  • Output Size: 4608 x 3072 pixels
  • LCD: 3in, 921,000-dot LCD
  • White Balance Bracket: No
  • AF Points: 135 areas, 73 areas with phase support
  • Sensor: 14.2-million-effective-pixel, CX-format (13.2 x 8.8mm) CMOS sensor
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/60sec
  • Exposure Modes: PASM, automatic scene selection, auto, scene modes, smart photo selector, motion snapshot, movie
  • Weight: 356g (with battery and card)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion EN-EL20
  • File Format: JPEG, 12-bit NEF (raw)
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/16,000sec + bulb up to 2mins
  • Drive Mode: Single, 5fps and 15fps with continuous AF, 30fps, 60fps, self-timer 2secs, 5secs or 10secs
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Dimensions: 113.3 x 71.5 x 37.5mm
  • Metering System: TTL: matrix, centreweighted, spot
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB, HDMI (type C)
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG
  • RRP: £749.99 with 11-27.5mm kit lens
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV
  • Lens Mount: Nikon 1
  • Focusing Modes: Single, auto, subject tracking, manual
  • ISO: 160-6400
  • DoF Preview: No
  • Tested as: Waterproof CSC

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