Nikon AW130 – Super All-Weather Compact

Tokina 11-20-New 

Nikon AW130 – Super All-Weather CompactDSCF8111Photo: Editor AL underwater with the Nikon Coolpix AW130

11th July 2015, Bangkok Thailand/ Singapore
– Nikon recently passed me their latest All-weather compact in the form of Nikon Coolpix AW130. I was very excited as I was about to leave for a stock photo assignment to Bangkok Thailand and I decided that the AW130 might be a good camera to have it with me – a good pocket camera that is.

Photo: A quick snapshot at Changi Airport, Singapore before boarding. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130. 

Before we carry on, if you found your way here looking for technical date or specifications of the Nikon Coolpix AW130 then I will suggest you go look elsewhere or visit Nikon’s website. Over here, we are only keen on how the camera perform in our testing environment & situations, what kind of image quality are we getting and generally our experience in using the review camera, in this case, the Nikon Coolpix AW130.

Photo: Sun set hues at Bangkok, Thailand. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130.

Photo: Mango Glutinous Rice, a Thai favorite. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130. 

Before we start, if you are new to Nikon’s AW series, please allow me to do a quick introduction. The “AW” stands for “All Weather”, which means all AW series cameras are made for abuses like shocks, freezing temperatures and waterproof. All AW series cameras are made as compacts which is more suitable for adventures and or ease of carrying it around. In short, it’s a little monster of a (compact) camera.


The AW130 had many upgrades and improvements made over the previous model – the AW120, I will leave that to your personal research.

Photo: A complicated intersection as observed from the peak of Baiyoke Sky II. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130. 

Photo: A street hawker at a night bazaar, Bangkok Thailand. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130. 

When I received the AW130 from Nikon Singapore, my first impression was pretty much the same when I received the AW120 back then. (They look pretty similar too) The camera feels solid in every way and the weighty (221gm) little guy is very manageable in terms of weight. This is important especially for those who are weight-sensitive depending on the sports that you are doing. The AW130 does feel like it can take some really serious abuse.
So I just packed this guy into my hand luggage and brought this guy with me to Thailand.


Photo: A street hawker at a night bazaar, Bangkok Thailand. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130.

Photo: I focused on the stick of prawns nearest to the hawker, the rest of the photo ended up not that sharp but hey, I shot this in a split second and this is really not too bad.  Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130.

The AW130 features a 24mm wide-angle lens which I particularly like. I can use the AW130 and shoot subject while pretending that I am shooting something else, but I will suggest buying a darker color if you are going to use it for street photography occasionally or buying it as a travel compact camera. The review unit that was issued to me came in Super Bright Yellow and when I was shooting on the streets of Bangkok, I got all the stares – I simply smile back at the stares and I got away with a quite a lot of shots.

Photo: Decorative feature at Grand Millenium Sukhumvit, Bangkok Thailand.  Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130. 

Inside the Coolpix Aw130, the 16 megapixel CMOS sensor produces good quality photos as you can see from the examples in this article. I shot most of the shots at 4608 x 3456 (16mp). Although the camera comes with a 5x optical Zoom, I never zoomed it – my style, don’t ask. And if you are trying to figure out what does 4.3-21.5mm means, in the case of the AW130, it means the lens has the angle of view equivalent to 24-120mm in 35mm format.
Aperture is pretty standard at F2.8-4.9 which is decent.


Like all AW series cameras, the AW130 comes with the company’s proven Vibration Reduction (VR) which will be a great help when shooting at low light condition. If you are shooting video, the Electronic VR kicks in ensuring that no one will get dizzy watching your videos. Personally, I like the built-in ND Filter and the Contrast-Detect Type Autofocus. During operation, the focusing was fast, fast enough to get all the shots that I wanted during the trip. Close-up shooting are also easy as the AW130 starts focusing from just 1 cm away from the lens in Macro mode, the AW130 is indeed an adventure all-rounder!

Photo: The Nikon Coolpix AW130 ready to be abused.
Like all AW series cameras that passed my hands, a little abuse is “standard procedure” for my AW reviews and I decided to bring the Nikon Coolpix AW130 to the hotel pool for a swim. Before this review was done, I posted a video introduction at the pool and the video had since garnered more than 500 views (in 4 days).

Video Intro to Nikon Coolpix AW130 (Water Test)

Photo: Underwater Selfie, Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130.
See next photo from behind-the-scene.

Photo: Editor AL doing an Underwater Selfie.

Photo: Underwater Shooting, by Nikon Coolpix AW130.

The AW130 produces interesting colors from underwater and the focusing did not suffer like the previous AW120. In fact the focusing was fast and accurate while underwater and the photos produced are of good quality and this is really fun and open up lots of creative possibilities. From the underwater photo examples here, you can see that I had so much fun with the camera.

Photo: The Nikon Coolpix AW130’s matrix metering is working hard even underwater. Photos are exposed correctly and that leaves the user to concentrate on shooting and framing or having fun.  This shot was metered so accurately that I decided to do a few more underwater shots.
Photo: Rendered into Black & White, the image is contrasty and not much editing was required. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130

Photo: OK, I am really having fun with the AW130. Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130
(Pardon my unsightly tummy)

Photo: With the AW130, I am like a young boy again Hahahaha!
Shot by Nikon Coolpix AW130

Combined the waterproof capability & the HD video shooting of the Aw130, there are many ways to shoot fun and interesting videos and here’s an example (or rather demo) of what you can do.

Or you can grab a random swimmer at the pool to help you shoot video like this one below.

Like most recent compacts from Nikon, ISO has a good range from ISO125-6400 which is is really nice and making the AW130 a good low light performer. And for in-camera effects lovers, the AW130 comes with multiple scene selectors (and even an auto scene selector), lots of special effects filters (19 filters to be exact) excluding the smart portrait mode. In-camera editing is also possible now with more editing options like Crop, Data imprint, D-Lighting, Glamour Retouch, Quick Retouch, Red eye reduction, Small Picture etc.

Compact and slim, 110.4 mm x 66.0 mm x 26.8 mm, and weighing at a mere 221g, this little monster was spec-ed for shooting for extreme temperatures (-10 to +40°C for land use & 0 to 40°C for underwater use), fully waterproof up to 30 metres and takes shocks super well.
I had fell hopelessly in love with the Nikon Coolpix AW130 and I am so going to beg Nikon Sngapore to let me have the demo unit as a Christmas present after all the fellow reviewers had abused it. Nikon Singapore hope you are reading this hahaha.

Thank you Nikon Singapore for allowing this review to happen!

Special Thanks to CN for all the Behind-the-scenes shooting and video assists for this review!

About Nikon
Nikon. At the Heart of the Image. Nikon is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognised for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Singapore Pte Ltd distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX compact digital cameras; Nikon sports optics as well as the Nikon 1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lens system in over 50 countries.

For more information, please visit
Nikon Singapore Facebook Page


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