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Nikon 1 AW1

The 1 AW1 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best cameras for 2023.

photo: Nikon 1 AW1 camera

A trail-proof camera to capture your off-grid moments.


  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Great image quality
  • Manual control
  • Submergible
  • Freeze proof
  • Drop proof


  • Only two waterproof lenses available
  • A bit pricey
The Nikon AW1 is a camera well suited to adventures. It's drop proof, bump proof, dirt proof, freeze proof, and fully waterproof down to 49 feet just as it is without the need for a bulky housing. So be it hiking, climbing, diving, kayaking... you name it, this little camera is up to the challenge of capturing your experience to share with others.

I'm an avid kayaker and amateur photographer. Though I love my big expensive DSLR, for me it's both too big and too expensive to take where it might get damaged or worse. I've tried several waterproof point-and-shoot cameras, and was never satisfied with the image quality, ergonomics, or manual controls. 

Enter the Nikon AW1. It offers manual controls using actual buttons that are easily accessed while shooting. It's quite small, yet not too small for my hands; and I prefer bigger camera bodies. While not a lead brick, it is heavy for its' small size. It's comfortable to hold and shoot with and not slippery to the grip.  

It accepts any of the lenses in the Nikon1 line, of which there are plenty. However, only two are designated AW1 and those are the only two that are waterproof, which is a pity and why I only gave it four stars. You can choose between a wide-mid telephoto zoom and a 10mm prime. The 10mm prime has a fast f2.8 aperture and produces a sharper image. The waterfall photo I included with this review was shot with it. I recommend both lenses if you purchase the camera.

It has a few creative modes like selective color. It shoots HD video with sound and you can press the shutter release any time during video shooting to capture a full resolution 14MP still. Unusual for small cameras, it shoots RAW files in addition to the standard JPEGs and has the ability to shoot both at once. It has a pop-up flash that works quite well considering its' size.

It does a great job of capturing still images that hold up to printing. I have some full resolution prints on my wall and they look great. If you check out my kayak reviews, all of the photographs there were shot with this little gem, and please understand that the photos posted here are highly compressed and that the originals are far shaper with very good detail. So if you enjoy photography and have been looking for a tough, waterproof, and worthy companion to capture those adventures, you might find this fits the bill.


I purchased my AW1 new-refurbished by Nikon, and I've owned it for three years now. It's been submerged, spilled on, covered in mud, and knocked around. It's no worse for the wear. I've captured many thousands of images with it and those images get many compliments. When going to family events I often find myself grabbing it over my DSLR due to its small size, convenience, and decent image quality.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $359

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Price Reviewers Paid: $359.00

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