The camera shoots in RAW format, but Apple’s Aperture, my preferred photo cataloging/archiving application does not support the format the camera uses. The discussion thread says that Adobe’s Lightroom 5 does support the camera’s RAW format, but I’m not going to switch just for that. I’ll maybe set my camera to use JPEG only until Aperture catches up.
The camera has some built in instagrammy stuff, including colour selection, selective focus etc, which seems cool. But I wonder how much I will use them. I like to do that stuff in post-production, myself and preserve the original. Plus the manipulation stuff only works in certain modes – notably not when you’re shooting in RAW format. Changing shooting formats is not the on-the-fly action that you want if you suddenly decide that a particular shot warrants “extra wide panorama mode”.
I mainly wanted to replace the Sony DSC-HX5 that I have been using for travel and canoe trips with increasing frustration the last five years or so.
Nikon AW1: Waterproof, shockproof and with a GPS
And the main appeal of the AW1 is that does everything the Sony does, but it’s fairly waterproof and shockproof. The DSC-HX5, in contrast, is as fragile as any PHD camera and must travel in a Pelican case when I go anywhere without room service.
The Sony is still a fairly capable camera. Panorama mode, GPS built in, 10MP resolution and a fairly powerful zoom lens (moreso than the Nikon AW1, I think). It has contemporary plug connections, takes resonable memory cards and has excellent battery life.
But I can’t stand powerzooms. I want the ring on the lens. I have learned to live without a viewfinder (although the AW1’s LCD display is much sharper and brighter so even that sacrifice is lessened). For that I will put up with increased size and weight.
The AW1 takes Nikon 1 series lenses, but there’s only one – other than the kit lens – that will give the camera its waterproof and shockproof performance. Use the others and you’ve got a regular water-unfriendly camera.
Battery life on the Nikon AW1 is less than advertised
Here’s a drawback. Battery life. Holy crap. Maybe I left the thing on overnight but I went to try out ‘Wide Panorama mode’ just now and it told me the battery was dead. I charged it only yesterday and took maybe 50 pictures? Its published estimates put the battery life at 220 shots. Stay tuned on that one. If 50 shots is its in-real-life power, I’m going to need to carry even more stuff – charger and solar or extra batteries.
It’s also possible that some of the camera’s features cannot be used if you want to get near 220 shots. Live preview (where the camera shows you things like colour selection, background blurring or other effects as you’re previewing the image) I expect requires a lot of power. And I was obsessing over it a bit yesterday.
It also comes with a shoulder strap. You know, like an SLR? But I would have thought a hand strap would be more useful. That’s what I’m going out to get anyway. One that might give it a shot at floating in the event of a capsize.