Nikon 1 AW1 Review – The Nikon 1 AW1 is a rugged compact that merits a rugged test. With a storm approaching, what better way to test Nikon’s latest 1-series camera than heading out into the North Sea with the RNLI?

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Nikon 1 AW1

Overall score:85%
Image Quality:85%


  • Incredibly strong; Fast burst rate; Superb image quality for a waterproof camera


  • Slippery body; No PASM mode dial; Limited waterproof lens range; Lack of hotshoe


Nikon 1 AW1 Review


Price as reviewed:


Nikon 1 AW1 Review – Image Quality

Nikon 1 AW1 Review – image

Colour and White Balance

As one might expect, the Auto White Balance setting produces perfect images in bright daylight, but we found that it tends towards the cooler end of the temperature range in low light.


The AW1’s metering is accurate, however with a chip that’s smaller than an APS-C sensor, the dynamic range sadly isn’t as impressive. This results in some detail being lost in the brightest highlights and darkest shadows in extremely bright conditions, but users do have the options to refine their exposure using the AW1’s exposure compensation that’s effective to +/-3EV.


With the same sensor and image processor as found within the Nikon 1 J3, it’s little suprise the resolution results are virtually identical. The 14.2MP sensor managed to resolve a maximum of 24 lpmm (lines per mm) on our test chart at ISO 160, decreasing to a more conservative 18 lpmm at the maximum ISO 6400 setting.

Image Noise

Noise is an area where Nikon’s 1-series system cameras have struggled to impress, and regrettably the AW1 is no different. While luminance noise isn’t a concern between ISO 160 and 400 it’s much more visible at ISO 800 and above, with traces of colour noise starting to appear at ISO 3200 and 6400.

  1. 1. Nikon 1 AW1 Review
  2. 2. Nikon 1 AW1 Review - Design
  3. 3. Nikon 1 AW1 Review – Image Quality
  4. 4. Nikon 1 AW1 Review - Verdict
  5. 5. Nikon 1 AW1 Review – First Look
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