Monday, October 7, 2013

Nikon's New Underwater Interchangeable Lens Camera - the 1 AW1!

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Now here's something very interesting to me, from Nikon. A waterproof camera (good to 49') with interchangeable lenses and raw file capability, all in a small package.
I am a big fan of Nikon. I shoot Nikon SLRs (both film and digital), and love the Nikon lenses. However, I equate Nikon with the SLR configuration. My Nikon D700 is an extreme image quality machine, but it's an SLR - heavy, large, perhaps overloaded with features. When I want simple, I shoot Leica.
Until now, I have not paid much attention to Nikon's 1 series cameras. Nikon was a little late to the mirrorless camera game, and with a sensor size smaller than Micro 4/3, it just didn't motivate me to look into it. Of course, the format has been good for Nikon, and has gained a good level of adoption.
Now they've announced something really interesting - an underwater version. With two lenses currently certified to be waterproof along with the 1 AW1 body, this really could go somewhere. The current lenses are a 11-27mm f3.5-5.6 kit zoom, and a 10mm f2.8 prime. The zoom is probably not that great for underwater usage, but that 10mm (~27mm equivalent 35mm format field of view) could be spectacular. Fast f2.8 aperture and close focusing to ~9", this could be an excellent lens for the reefs.
(Click Here) to read about the new 1 AW1 and kits at
(Click Here) to read a first impressions post on
I really like the idea of a flexible underwater camera system. I would prefer it to not take me into yet another camera system and format, however. If this were a Panasonic Micro 4/3 camera, I'd be getting out my credit card, even though it would not take advantage of my current lenses for underwater applications.
In any case, the Nikon 1 AW1 could start an interesting trend. If I were going to do a lot of diving, I'd seriously consider giving it a try. For now, I'll stick with my Lumix DMC-TS5 underwater compact camera.