THERE'S nothing like watching the faces of people as you "fall" into a swimming pool with what looks like a standard camera with interchangeable lens.

That's what my young son thought anyway, as we put the Nikon 1 AW1 camera to the test.

This is one super cool and fun camera.

At first impression, the camera appears overly heavy and the zoom lens particularly slow.

But when you understand it is built to go underwater to 15 metres, can withstand drops of up to two metres and can operate at sub-freezing temperatures of -10C, you realise it has to be pretty solid.

That said, I wasn't confident enough to drop it on concrete (Nikon recommends you don't), though it handled being dropped onto the grass and sand. Nikon did its tests on plywood flooring.

As expected, the AW1 takes great underwater photos and video. But it's the freedom it gives you that makes it special.

We took it to one of our favourite waterfalls and tested it out as people jumped off.

Despite the difficulty of taking photos while treading water, we captured great action shots from the water below.

One of the clever features is that you can change settings by holding down a menu button and tilting the camera - which is particularly handy if you are in or under the water.

The Nikon 1 AW1 uses an advanced hybrid autofocus system, which automatically selects the appropriate autofocus method depending on the scene.

In high speed continuous shooting mode, Nikon promises 15 frames per second of moving objects, ideal for action sports and wildlife shots.

In slow view, you can press the shutter-release button halfway and Nikon 1 AW1 records up to 20 frames in just over a second. You can then pick the best shot from this slow-motion sequence.

One particularly cool feature is Motion Snapshot which pulls together four seconds of slow-motion video and selectable music to a normal snapshot. They are created in-camera so no editing skills or software are required.

Advanced Movie mode gives you programmed auto, shutter-priority auto, aperture-priority auto and manual settings.

The camera we tested, which costs about $800-900, comes with waterproof and shockproof NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens.


14.2MP CX-Format CMOS sensor

Water, shock, dust and freeze-proof design

3.0-inch 921k-Dot LCD monitor

Full HD 1080i video recording at 60 fps

Action control and sensing functions

Advanced hybrid AF system

Built-in GPS/GLONASS & WU-1b cCompatible

Pop-up waterproof flash

1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens

Prisoners cause $53k damage in jail riot

Premium Content Prisoners cause $53k damage in jail riot

Gas and pepper spray had to be used to quell a riot at a major southeast Queensland...

Exciting new digital future for Queensland Times

Exciting new digital future for Queensland Times

The QT set to take another significant step in its 170-year history

Serious injury concern ends A-Grade match early

Premium Content Serious injury concern ends A-Grade match early

The encounter between Swifts and Brothers was called off 13 minutes before the...