Nikon Reveals the AW1, the World’s First Waterproof and Shockproof Digital ILC


We told you yesterday to watch out for a “rugged” Nikon 1 announcement in the next 24-hours, and lo and behold, it happened. Introducing the Nikon 1 AW1, a camera Nikon is calling “the world’s first waterproof and shockproof interchangeable lens camera,” with a convenient asterisk added in for those of us who remember the Nikonos system.

The announcement is a nice change of pace because, for once, we didn’t have a bunch of photo and spec leaks ahead of time. Thanks to a Nikon Rumors report, we knew to get excited about a rugged Nikonos-like waterproof camera, but only now that it’s official do we really know anything about it.

Inside the waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof shell, the Nikon 1 AW1 is basically a Nikon 1 J3. You’ll find a 14.2-megapixel CX sensor, an EXPEED 3A processor, ISO range between 160-6400, a 73-point AF array and the ability to shoot Full HD 1080p photos.

Of course, that’s not why the AW1 is special. It’s special because this particular ILC can go underwater to a depth 49-feet, withstand drops from as high as 6.6 feet and work in temperatures as low as 14° F. To further please adventure-seekers, it also comes with a waterproof pop-up flash, GPS, altimeter, depth gauge, electronic compass and virtual horizon indicator all built-in.







You can use regular Nikon 1 lenses with the AW1 (with help from an adapter ring), but as you might expect, a waterproof ILC requires waterproof lenses. And so, since people will no doubt intend to take the AW1 into the depths, Nikon has also released some waterproof glass to go along with the camera: an 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 and a wide-angle 10mm f/2.8.

Both lenses attach securely to the camera like any other bayonet lens, but offer the same waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof statistics as the camera they were made for thanks to the lens’ design and the cam’s built-in O-ring.


If you’re interested in owning the world’s first waterproof and shockproof digital ILC, you won’t have long to wait. The AW1 — in your choice of black, silver or white — is set to hit shelves in October as either a single-lens kit (with the 11-27.5mm) for $800, or a two-lens kit for $1,000.

  • DGM

    Nice, but a depth rating of -15m (49ft) is too much for users that look just for a rugged outdoor camera, and not enough for recreational divers, which are used to equipment for at least -30m (100ft).

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Goldilocks would beg to disagree.

  • fisherman10

    Full HD 1080p photos (VIDEOS)

  • Genkakuzai

    Nikon kicking ass and taking names. Also, let’s not pretend every diver in the world is a scuba diver, there is such a thing as free-diving. And while you can obviously go lower than 15m that way too, it’s far less common. Great product, likely to sell a ton!

  • Peter Acker

    Yeah, I disagree too, although I get your point. But this is the perfect tool for snorkelers and free divers to shoot available light. Beyond 50ft or in our case here in the Gulf about 20ft, you need to start investing in strobes etc and if you’re taking underwater photography that seriously you probably have a housing for your DSLR. I think it nicely bridges the gap between the cheap waterproof point and shoot and that high end pro gear. I LOVED my AWAF film camera which lasted me about 20 years before it finally gave up and that was only rated to 12ft!

  • ksporry

    It’s pretty awesome! But a bit out of my league price wise for something that’s my 8th digital camera, and just for snorkelling… I’ll grab a 300$ compact that does the same thank you, and for diving I have some real stuff…

  • Peter Acker

    So how’d those first 7 work out for you? Invest in some quality and it’ll be a while before you need to buy #9. ;)

  • DGM

    It all depends on what you are looking for. In real world I would not try to go beyond -5m (15ft) with that depth rating. If that is enough, great!

    I personally dive with a compact camera with a specific housing and a dedicated strobe and try not to go beyond -20m. It is really easy to get a water leak that will ruin your equipment.

    The original Nikonos were rated to -50m (2nd generation) and up to -100m (3rd generation).

  • Chris

    Id rather have the functionality of this camera (RAW, etc) on a standard point-and-shoot. I’m not changing lenses underwater or in the rain, so, its one of the rare user cases where fixed lens cameras have value.

    Wish a company made a waterproof version of something like the Canon G15 or G1X

  • carlhancock

    On the surface is sounds brilliant. But as anyone that has used a “waterproof, rugged” camera can tell you… be careful.

    I’ve gone through multiple Panasonic’s that have failed after limited exposure to be submersed while following proper before, during and after use instructions. Including issues where everything appeared fine only to discover corrosion beginning in the batter/sd card compartment out of the blue.

    I was finally able to use a waterproof/rugged camera that seems to be holding up in the Olympus I purchased prior to my last trip to Panama and Costa Rica.

    It sucks but it’s not a major issue when you are talking about a $200-300 point and shoot. But when you are talking about a more expensive interchangeable lens system that introduces additional points of failure? No thanks.

    I’d much rather A) purchase a cheap point and shoot camera to use casually or B) purchase a legitimate underwater housing.

  • JohnJacobs

    Ill stick with my WR Pentax. ;-)

  • Zos Xavius

    Yeah this isn’t really a nikonos replacement by any means. The controls look awful too. The nikonos had big knobs.

  • guest

    -15m is ok if you are a snorkeler who does not do any freediving. as a SCUBA diver, your gear needs AT LEAST -40m depth rating, better is -60m or beyond. the same counts for any freediver with even a little bit of training (after one day of real training you can easily go to -20m).

    i have taken a Canon S95 in its housing (Canon WP-DC38, rated to -40m) to -60m and i had no problems with it, but i would not recommend it (actually i simply forgot to leave it on board and just took it with me like on the other dives o_O).

  • Seb

    But what about creative control? You can always change lenses outside the water…

  • t k

    needs bigger buttons.

  • Norshan Nusi

    I knew it they will use the Nikon 1 system :P

  • Ben Dover

    instead of making waterproof, shockproof and iceproof cameras, Nikon should better make oil, dust, and debris free cameras …

  • A_Lwin

    Instead of spending $300 each time the camera is damaged, why not just invest in $300 for a camera and another $300 for a proper underwater housing. For example the Canon S110 + the Ikelite housing.