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The Backorder Has Arrived

This past October, I was in NYC to cover PhotoExpo 2013. It’s a large trade show for the photographic industry where new equipment, accessories, services and the like are on display.

One of the nicest things about trade shows is that you can have some hands-on time using the new hardware and ask in- depth questions that the reps are able to field.

I was interested in a few new pieces of equipment including Nikon’s newly announced AW1. It’s based on the one year-old Nikon 1 series. These are compact, mirrorless models that have interchangeable lenses. They are small and lightweight but deliver high quality images.

But the kicker here is that the AW1 is also waterproof to 49 feet, temperature resistant to 14F degrees and shockproof to about 6 feet. I was attracted to this camera because of its ruggedness.

I spent about 30 minutes of touchie-feelie time with the AW1 at the Nikon booth. I also peppered Brian – the Nikon rep – with dozens of questions about the camera.

In the end, I came away satisfied that this new piece of equipment needed to become part of my arsenal.

When I returned home from New York, I placed an order for the AW1 with two waterproof lenses. Although the AW1 has been available for sale for about six weeks, the two lens kit was just made available.

However, due to the usual holiday confusion, I have yet to open the carton. In the next few days, I hope to try it out. Since it’s 10 degrees outdoors here in Grand Rapids, I think the underwater testing will have to wait unless I decide to try it out in the bathtub.

But with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) right around the corner (next week), I just might take it with me to Las Vegas and jump into one of the pools. I’ll fill you in when I have more to report.



Written by: Arnie Lee







Sports Camera with Interchangeable Lens

I’ve owned three or four different sports cameras in the past 10 years. These were all point-and-shoot varieties built well enough to survive if they were dropped, withstand the inclement weather and capture photos underwater.

My main reason for buying a sports camera was to use it at the sandy beach, in and around the swimming pool and at the ocean for underwater photography. All of the cameras produce decent photos above water but picture quality underwater is just passible from the earlier cameras and average from the more recent models.

For highest quality, serious picture takers usually rely on an underwater housing matched to a specific DSLR. The best housing often costs more than the camera itself. Add an underwater flash and you’re talking real money.

It’s with this high cost in mind that my ears perked up a few weeks ago after hearing an announcement about an interchangeable lens sports camera from Nikon. I made it a point that the Nikon 1 AW1 was a “must-see” at PhotoPlus Expo.

The AW1 is based on Nikon’s mirrorless interchangeable lens “1” series.

It has a 14 MP sensor, fast hybrid autofocus and also takes HD video.

In addition to the waterproof body, there are two lenses specifically for underwater use: 10mm f/2.8 and 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6

Accessories include a rubberized jacket for the camera body and the lens. These make the AW1 easier to handle underwater.

With the lens removed and with no mirror, you can see the sensor and the light blue O-ring which keeps the water out at depths to 50 feet.

As the Nikon rep Brian is demonstrating the the use of the AW1, you can’t help but notice the compact size of the equipment. In addition to its underwater performance, the AW1 is shockproof to withstand a 6 ft. drop and operates at temperature as low as 14 degrees. The built-in flash is also waterproof.

The AW1 with 11-27.5mm lens sells for $795. The AW1 with both a 11-27.5mm and 10mm lens sells for $995. It’s available in black, white and silver.

Brian mentioned that there are 7 other Series 1 lenses that are compatible with the AW1, although they are not for underwater use.

To be honest, I’m quite interested in this innovative camera. Currently, it’s available only with the 11-27.5mm lens. But when the dual lens kit (with 10mm f/2.8) is available, I think I’m going to jump in to buy one. If so, I’ll have a review in an upcoming article.



Written by Arnie Lee