Nikon Coolpix AW120 - Anyone kayaked with it??

Discussion in 'Paddling Photography' started by M2G, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. M2G

    M2G Paddler

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    The short story and my question:
    I'm thinking about getting the Nikon Coolpix AW120 to have along in my deck hatch until I have the opportunity to get my hands on a Nikon 1 AW1 and try that camera out before I buy. Anyone had the Coolpix AW120 out paddling?

    The update for those who saw my previous thread:

    I was intent on buying the Nikon 1 AW1 when it came into stock and use this promising smaller interchangeable lens digicam which is fully waterproof and shock proof as my on water camera.

    I had email alerts setup to tell me right away when the AW1 landed and basically became tired of waiting. To give mirror less a try I ordered the very well regarded Fujifilm X-E2 and ended up returning it because we just didn't like workflow required shoot with the camera. Clear after taking it on a week long trip where we planned to shoot mostly with the X-E2 but ended up either using the full-sized DSLRs or even a point & shoot or iPhone. Sent it back and thanks to B&H for their stellar customer service, as always.

    In the middle of my move I got notifications that the Nikon AW1 was in stock and had the chance to pull the trigger but given my only experience with mirror less (though not with Nikon's mirror less) being negative and the cost and distraction of moving, I didn't buy. They are now on backorder status again. So I'm thinking about getting the Nikon Coolpix AW120 to have along in my deck hatch until I have the opportunity to get my hands on a Nikon 1 AW1 and try that out before I buy. Anyone had the Coolpix AW120 out paddling? (searched the forum and it doesn't look like it's ever been mentioned here)
     
  2. CalgaryPaddler

    CalgaryPaddler Paddler

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    I bought one after my Bowron trip last year, my friend has one (model before though i think) and it worked great. My daughter took mine to the Caribbean, used it in the ocean, took it on water slides, great results and its tough as nails.
     
  3. Layback

    Layback Paddler

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Burnaby, BC
    You might want to consider the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5, a similar camera to the AW120.

    When I bought my Lumix DMC-TS4, it was more highly rated than the Nikon AW120. I have been quite satisfied with the quality of pics I get from the Lumix. I have also dropped it enough times to verify that it is sturdy.

    Oh yes, and my DSLR is a Nikon. So, this is not some anti-Nikon bias.
     
  4. M2G

    M2G Paddler

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Thanks for the replies.


    Layback: Thanks. I've considered the Lumix cams. Probably seems as though I'm on a Nikon bandwagon but that's not the case.
    It happens that my pro gear is Nikon (it's been Canon before). Capability and function is what I'm after and it also happens that Nikon is leading the charge with offering a fully waterproof smaller interchangeable lens digicam (if you can find the 1 AW1 in stock). Considered *all* waterproof P&S cameras and the Coolpix AW120 appears to have the best lens; 24-120mm, constant f2.8, extendable to an effective 280mm with image stabilization. That said, the Lumix DMC-TS5 is well designed and is $100 less.
     
  5. Layback

    Layback Paddler

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Burnaby, BC
    I did a quick scan of some of the current reviews comparing waterproof point and shooters. They rank Lumix at the top of the ladder.

    However, they are comparing it to the Nikon AW110. I didn't see any comparisons featuring the AW120.

    I think what concerned me at the time when I was purchasing was that the Nikon product rated lower than the Panasonic on image quality in the reviews I looked at.
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Paddler

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Except it isn't constant f2.8, and the "effective 280mm" (actually 480mm) is "digital zoom" so doesn't count.

    In an absolute sense image quality isn't great on any of these waterproof cameras but they are handy.
     
  7. M2G

    M2G Paddler

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    I didn't look at a specs sheet but rather saw Nikon's press release and B&H's overview page where neither alluded to the fact that it was f2.8 "at the wide end" or similar flagging language. Little surprised that B&H didn't specify this on their overview. Still, of the waterproof P&S cameras which are 24mm or wider, it's also among the fastest with regard to aperture range, both on the wide and long end.

    Probably not much available with better IQ than these cameras, which can fit into a PFD or drysuit pocket, live there for most of their operational lifeā€¦and have a very long life. The Action Control feature might also be useful to paddlers in some situations. Haven't experienced it on any Nikons before so I don't know.

    Digital zoom not mattering? Isn't that up to the buyer?
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Paddler

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I agree probably not much better for putting into your PFD pocket etc.

    Digital zoom is just cropping or, for fine digital zoom, cropping and interpolating. No extra information is added so the extra reach is illusory. In any case this can be done for any camera after the fact on the computer. So that's why I said it doesn't count...there is no actual increase in reach beyond the lens 120mm optical limit.
     
  9. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2013
    Messages:
    161
    I got the Olympus TG-830 and I am pretty happy with it. I read reviews for months as well and decided for me the Olympus was the way to go. Ebay has them on right now for 150 bucks, cant beat that, in Red too.
    I am impressed with the zoom, works a lot better than I thought it would from the ratings that were given. Overall the picture quality is quite good IMO. The image stabilization works well for me and I have gotten some good shots in low light with no flash, it can see in the dark better than I can, and thats really impressive. Video is pretty good and high speed video is some fun.
    I push the "on" button and can start taking pics immediately-one of my must haves. 11.5 fps while focusing between shots is pretty impressive to me too as well as taking pics during video recording is pretty kool-I do that more than I thought I would.
    For what it is I am a satisfied customer.
    Having the GPS on eats the batteries more than I like and the 1400mah batteries I got from ebay don't last half as long as the OEM.
    Reading the stats they say the AW120 is the better camera all round but as long as you do your research and pick out whats most important in features you cant really go wrong. I am only an amateur but I know what I want my pics to look like, and I imagine with the extra photography knowledge you'll have fun no matter what you settle on.
    I have read so much positive about the Nikon 1 AW1 that I want one, when the price drops by about %50 that is. Ha ha.
    Tiger Tsunami.
     
  10. M2G

    M2G Paddler

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    True true, but I've used this rather hollow feature to help me better see distant details (what a sign says, land features, etc.) often not taking a photo. Good points though Byron.
     
  11. michaelmrc

    michaelmrc Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    30
    i just purchased the new olympus tg-4 and cant say enough good stuff about it. easy to shoot amazing underwater pics and from all the extensive reviews ive read on it tough as nails. i was torn between the nikon aw130 and this tg-4 but after reading several photography reviews from online resources and talking to a couple of people that owned them i chose the tg-4.