Friday 22 March 2013

A Camera for All Seasons?

Usually when it is raining and I am going out on a Brompton ride my good cameras do not see the light of day. There is of course little point taking them as I wouldn't want to damage them as I surely would if I started taking photos in the rain. If anything my iPhone is usually what I might attempt to get out - as long as it wasn't  a cats and dogs situation. (Very heavy rain to my non-English language readers).

On the recent Thames Triple Chaser (link below) it was forecast to rain, it did rain and there was a great deal of it for much of the day. Even trying to use an iPhone would have been troublesome in such conditions. It dawned on me the night before that my daughters have waterproof cameras bought a few years ago as part of their Christmas present. After negotiating a borrowing fee I was permitted to take it  with me so long as I looked after it!

The cameras in question are both the same, although one is matt black as you can see below and the other is army camouflage. They are the Nikon Coolpix AW100. The AW stands for all weather and apart from being fully waterproof to 10m, it is shockproof to 1.5m. It can also work quite happily in temperatures as low as -10 degrees C so it is a pretty tough little camera. Believe me to survive for so long in the hands of my daughters it must be!

The Nikon Coolpix AW100. A good looking little camera.

Apart from the ruggedness it also has a few other tricks up its sleeve.

It has a build in GPS system, electronic compass and world map. This means that you can geo-tag your images, orient yourself in new locations and track your route when on the move. It works pretty well and doesn't seem to drain the battery too much.

GPS feature so you can geotag your shots and plot your route.

It has a 16 megapixel illuminated CMOS image sensor.

5x zoom and the 35mm equivalent of 28-140mm lens.

The 3 inch monitor is pretty good and can be seen in bright sunlight and of course under water.

A good screen that can be seen well in all lighting conditions.

Full DH (1080P) movie recording with stereo sound with autofocus is very useful and the dedicated record button makes this quick and simple.

A bit like the iPhone 5 it has a panorama feature that allows your to pan vertically or horizontally over 180/360 degrees.

Its dimensions are H64.9 x W110.1 x D22.8mm and it weighs only 178g.

Battery life is officially 250 shots but I know for a fact my daughters have managed 400. In fact on Saturdays ride I took 248 shots and the battery still said it was full, so as with these things in the real world you can sometimes get much more out the battery.

One thing that I really like is the locking mechanism for the battery door. This has a little dial that gives a satisfying 'click' when engaged. Generally all looks solid and well made and they have both remained intact after some pretty horrific abuse! (Swimming, Regents Park Lake, The Serpentine in Hyde Park, mountain biking, theme parks...the list goes on).

The battery door has an excellent locking mechanism!

The photos it produces are very good. Are they as good as my Fuji X100? Of course not. However, my X100 isn't waterproof or as strong. My X100 isn't as pocketable. In fact if it was just a point and shoot camera it would be pretty small and compact but for one that is waterproof shockproof etc.., etc.., I am amazed they have been able to make it so small!

The other good thing about this camera is that you can play a little with the settings but when I was out in the cold and rain on Saturday, the last thing I wanted to do was anything to do with setting aperture, ISO and what have you! The good thing about the auto setting on Nikon cameras is that it is pretty good. You can have some confidence that the cleverness of the camera will know what conditions you are shooting in an deliver the goods.

The photos below are straight out of the camera and I think they are pretty good.

I isolated the orange in this shot.

There is an updated version of this camera just out I believe the AW110 which has some updates including WiFi so you can link it to your smartphone. All very clever. They even do an orange version I am told.

I for one will be borrowing this little camera again as when out and about on my Brompton in inclement weather it is almost indispensable!

Blog entry for Triple Thames Chaser with pictures taken with an AW100

1 comment:

  1. Man you always think up the good stuff and I end up looking to spend money :P

    My poor ageing Lumix TZ5 has been waterlogged a few times on these rainy rides we've been on but it keeps on ticking (after 24hr is bag of rice).

    If or I should say when it does finally "kick the bucket" I will definitely getting a tougher small travel camera. I got to start researching I guess


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