Weatherproof, schmeatherproof: Nikon one-ups Olympus' weather-sealed OM-D series of mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras with the Nikon 1 AW1, the first underwater-capable ILC. Waterproof to 49 feet as well as freezeproof to 14 degrees and 6.6-foot-drop shockproof, the AW1 looks like the first member of the Nikon 1 series that actually looks tempting to me.
Based around the innards of the J3/V2 and most similar physically to the J3 -- albeit with some important design changes to make it more usable in the cold and wet -- the most notable difference is a small grip. There's no physical mode dial, and the shutter button and movie record have been raised for easier access. Like the AW110 and many similar point-and-shoots, there's an option to navigate by shaking the camera along with all the standard buttons. For the most part it has a similar set of features to the J3, but adds built-in GPS (wireless only through the add-on WU-1b, and of course on land only) that supplies an altimeter and depth gauge.
Nikon will release the camera along with two weatherproof lenses for single and dual-lens kits. When using standard lenses on the body, you cover the gasket with a ring.
Here are some other cameras you might want to compare it to:
|Fujifilm X-M1||Nikon 1 AW1||Samsung NX2000||Sony Alpha NEX-6|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||16.3MP X-Trans CMOS
|16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS
|23.6mm x 15.6mm||13.2 x 8.8mm||23.5mm x 15.7mm||23.5 x 15.6mm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 (exp)/ 200 - ISO 6400/25600 (exp)||ISO 160 - ISO 6400||ISO 100 - ISO 25600||ISO 100 - ISO 25600|
(60fps with fixed focus)
11 raw/15 JPEG
(10fps with fixed exposure)
2.4 million dots
|73-point phase detection, 135-area Contrast AF||21-point Contrast AF||99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF|
|AF sensitivity range||n/a||n/a||n/a||0 - 20 EV|
|Shutter speed||30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync||30 - 1/16,000 sec; bulb; 1/160 x-sync||30 - 1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 4 minutes; 1/180 x-sync||30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync|
|Metering||256 zones||n/a||221 segment||1,200 zones|
|Metering range||n/a||n/a||0 - 18 EV||0 - 20 EV|
|Best video||1080/30p H.264||1080/30p H.264; up to 1200fps slow motion at 320 x 120||1080/30p; 1080 x 810/24p H.264 MPEG-4||AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24Mbps|
|Audio||Stereo||Stereo||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input|
|LCD size||3-inch tilting
|3.7-inch fixed capacitive touch screen
|3-inch tilting touch screen
|Wireless connection||Wi-Fi||Optional WU-1b
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||n/a||220 shots (est)||340 shots||270 shots
|Dimensions (inches, WHD)||4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5||4.0 x 2.4 x 1.1 (est)||4.7 x 2.5 x 1.4||4.8 x 2.8 x 1.1|
|Body operating weight (ounces)||12.8||7.5 (est)||8.5 (est)||12.3|
|Mfr. price||$699 (body only)||n/a||n/a||$749.99 (body only)|
|$799 (with 16-50mm lens)||$749.95 (with 11-27.5mm lens)||$649.99 (with 20-50mm i-Function lens)||$899.99 (with 15-60mm PZ lens)|
|n/a||$949.95 (with 11-27.5mm and 10mm lenses)||n/a||n/a|
|Ship date||July 2013||October 2013||June 2013||October 2012|
At $750 for the base kit, you're paying about $150 premium over the dry-land version, which isn't bad; I'd probably pay that just to get the grip. While I'd like to be able to time my testing of the AW100 with a trip to someplace warm and beachy, it'll more likely be cold and wet NYC.