Getting to know the water world with children and Nikon 1 AW1 (11.03.2014)


It is not a new knowledge that shared joy is double joy and divers are the ones who aware of that. That is why they like to share their world or „water world“ to be precise, with others. Since going under water is much more expensive than walking in the bushes, in 2008, a group of divers decided to give a present to those of less fortunate and invited orphanage children to the group of sample divers. This event has become a tradition and was also held this year. In the Pärnu Raba swimming pool, boys and girls had a chance to experience what it is like to float in the water in a weightless state and see what the world looks like from under the water.

Usually I take some underwater photos for every participant so that they would remember the day and could share it with others. But this time, I chose a totally different camera to take the shots. 

When the news came out about the new waterproof, swap lenses miniature Nikon 1 AW1 camera, I was immediately curious about it because often it had happen that I had lost a good shot because my DSLR camera is too big and its underwater system is ungainly.

Bowing acquaintance with the camera was promising. Full manual settings and raw-file shooting option that a professional needs both exist, the wide angle side of the zoom lens is okay for a compact camera (30mm with 35mm equivalent) and the promised depth of 15 metres is so far the deepest the digital camera has been able to go without a waterproof shell.

Since the event took place in a pool of quite modest lighting conditions, I used the help of underwater additional flashes and used the built-in flash only to activate other flashes. The results were amazing. It was a positive surprise. By their resolution and sharpness, the images are totally comparable to the ones of a little DSLR camera and thanks to raw-file option that is an inevitable necessity for a serious underwater photography enthusiasts, the colours and contrasts can be put in place. The compactness of the camera is an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. It is simple to put it into small furrows but in that cool water, it is difficult to operate its small buttons with thick gloves. In that case, it is worth to set the settings before and use the option of tilt shifting to its possible extent. If the engineers would construct a waterproof, real wide angle lens (at least 20mm with 35mm equivalent) to the camera, Nikon 1 AW1 would be a serious competition to DSLR cameras under water and in some cases, irreplaceable.

Based on my experience, I would like to give one other suggestion that the camera producer has not written in the manual. If the camera has been used in salty water or pool, it may not be enough to rinse it with unsalted water. Soaking it a bit in unsalted water helps to avoid the salts of precipitating while the camera dries.

Kaido Haagen



<< Back