Nikon Coolpix AW110 sample pictures

Check out the picture quality from Nikon's high-end rugged compact, the AW110.

Joshua Goldman
1 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET

ISO comparison

Overall, the Nikon Coolpix AW110's photos are best suited for prints up to 8x10 inches or Web use without a lot of enlarging or cropping. When viewed at 100 percent, there are visible artifacts and noise even at its lowest sensitivity of ISO 125. Subjects look soft, too (not unusual for rugged cameras), and could stand some post-shoot sharpening.

As you move up in sensitivity, photos get softer and softer, and color quality starts to deteriorate. Above ISO 800, subjects look somewhat flat and colors lack the punch that they have at lower ISOs. Basically, this camera's high-ISO photos are merely OK, and coupled with its slow lens, it's hard to recommend it for use in low light, especially if you never plan to leave its Easy Auto mode.

That said, if you're more of a snorkeler or pool denizen, or want a rugged camera for snow or offroad sports, it can take some very good photos when given plenty of light.

2 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET


If you like to shoot close-ups, the AW110 can focus as close as 0.4 inch if you extend the lens a little; an onscreen marker lets you know when you've zoomed in to the correct distance.

This is a 100 percent crop from the inset picture and it's about as sharp and detailed as this camera can get.

3 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET


Colors produced by the AW110 were bright and vivid without appearing unnatural. Like most cameras in its class, however, highlights tend to blow out easily.
4 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Zoom range

The internal zoom lens on the AW110 goes from 28mm (top) to 140mm (bottom). The lens is positioned in the top-left corner. If you're not careful with your finger placement, you can end up with a fingertip in your shot. Nikon at least put a ridge at the top that helps prevent this.
5 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Lens distortion

There is some slight (very slight) barrel distortion at the wide end of the lens (top), but no sign of pincushioning with the lens zoomed in (bottom). The lens is reasonably sharp at the center, though sharpness dropped off some in the corners. Fringing around high-contrast subjects isn't much of an issue unless you're viewing photos at full size. You'll mostly find it off to the sides and in the corners, too.
6 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Easy Panorama

If you like to capture really wide shots, the AW110's Easy Panorama lets you do it quickly. Just press the shutter and pan the camera up, down, left, or right and it will shoot and stitch the photos together for you. The results are OK as long as you don't look too closely.
7 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET


In the camera's scene-shooting modes there is a Backlighting option. For portraits, the mode will trigger the flash to brighten your subject. Or, you can choose to turn on HDR, which will take multiple shots and combine them to balance out shadows and highlights. The top photo here was taken in the camera's Easy Auto, and the bottom shot is with the HDR mode.
8 of 8 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Filter effects

Nikon includes six effects you can experiment with when shooting, and even more are available in playback. View larger.

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