Adventure Tech: Nikon 1 AW1 Ruggedized Interchangeable Lens Camera

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The fastest growing segment of the camera market over the past few years has been in the area of interchangeable lens systems. These cameras offer the compact design of point and shoot with the ability to swap out lenses and other accessories like an SLR. The result is a versatile camera for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to be weighed down by bulky gear.

Last week Nikon introduced an exciting new product to the interchangeable lens market when they announced the latest addition to the 1 series. The new Nikon 1 AW1 seems to have been built with outdoor adventurers in mind. It features a ruggedized body that makes it the first waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof camera in the category. Additionally, a series of new lenses were also introduced for the AW1 that offer the same level of resistance to the elements making this camera an excellent choice when heading into extreme environments.

The specs on the AW1 are quite impressive for a camera that is lightweight (11.1 oz/313g), packed with features and offers the ability to swap out lenses. Out of the box it is waterproof down to 49 feet (15 meters) and shockproof to 6.6 feet (2 meters). It can also withstand temperatures as low as 14ºF/-10ºC without suffering an effect on its performance. It also has built in GPS technology for geotagging images and includes an altimeter, depth gauge, electronic compass and a virtual horizon indicator. The built-in pop up flash is even waterproof to help shed a little light on your subject no matter where you are. An optional WiFi adapter will even let you automatically share images to your iPhone or Android device.

Under the hood the AW1 is packing a 14.2-megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 160 to 6400. It has a 73-point AF array and is capable of capturing stunning photos as well as full 1080p HD video including modes to record slow-motion action at 400 fps or 1200 fps.

As an owner of the original Nikon 1 V1, I have to say that I’m really intrigued by what this new offering brings to the table. My V1 is a great little camera that takes excellent photos. It is also just plain fun to use. The AW1 looks like it will take all of that to the next level and it could just be the best option for outdoor adventurers on the market today. It’s small size and rugged body make it an excellent travel companion and I know I for one would love to have one in my pack for my next adventure.

The Nikon 1 AW1 will be available in October in a single lens kit (AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6) for $799.95 or in a two lens kit (11-2.5mm and 10mm) for $999.95. Those lenses are all water, freeze and shockproof as well, which really completes the entire system.

Kraig Becker

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