I had a friend contact me yesterday to ask advice on waterproof cameras. I immediately started looking up the blog post where I’d reviewed mine…only to find it gathering dust amongst some old drafts! Seems it’s well overdue that I should review the camera I’ve had for months and months.

After my Pentax camera leaked, I decided I really couldn’t live without a waterproof camera. There were a few things I didn’t particularly like about the Pentax, so I decided to do a bit of research.

I ended up going with the Nikon Coolpix AW100.

I have to say up front, I LOVE this little camera. For beach and underwater shooting it takes a consistently great photo. They always have nice sharp focus and pretty faithful representation of colours.

One thing the steered me towards this camera is that it goes to a depth of 10m. Most of the other waterproof cameras on the market tend to go to 5m, which is fine if you just want to use it for swimming or on boats, but I was hoping for something I could use when diving as well.

It’s the small things that count sometimes. I love that the shutter button is big and textured, which makes it really easy to snap off shots in the water, even with cold hands. With my old Pentax you had to press down quite hard on a small button and I missed a lot of shots that way. This isn’t a problem with the Nikon, and it’s easy to feel when you’ve taken the photo. I’ve taken it diving and found it really easy to use in that environment as well.

The screen is also easy to use in full sun and glare. I know I’ve played with the Sony equivalent and the screen is very difficult to use in bright light.

The battery/SD card housing is pretty secure with a twist and unlock set-up that’s still easy to use. I’m pretty careful about rinsing the camera off and drying it again before opening, though, as I’ve tried opening it straight from the beach and felt grittiness from sand in the mechanism. I don’t think that would be a good think to keep doing at all…a recipe for a leaky camera.

If you want to check out some of my photos taken with this camera, you can have a look over on my Flikr account.

Basically, I couldn’t be happier with this camera. It’s a keeper. 🙂 Plus it comes in plenty of cool colours. I have the orange one like in the picture above, but I believe it also comes in blue, black, white and camouflage pattern (I couldn’t be trusted with that one…I’d probably lose it!)

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