Underwater shooters have had two options in recent years: either buy a bulky housing for their digital SLR or interchangeable lens camera—a pricey, not always sensible option if they’re just going on vacation or experimenting—or opt for one of the waterproof point-and-shoots, which too often produce unspectacular images. Nikon is looking to provide a middle-ground solution with the new Nikon 1 AW1, the first interchangeable lens camera that can shoot up to 15 meters underwater with a few shockproof and waterproof lenses. The camera has a 14.2-megapixel, CX-format sensor (larger than what’s in most point-and-shoot tough cams, but smaller than the imaging chips in most competing mirrorless compact system cameras) and can shoot an impressive 15 frames per second (60 with the focus locked), along with 1080p video. Two lenses are available at launch: One is a fixed 10mm f/2.8 (27mm equivalent in 35mm format); the other is an 11-27.5mm f/3.5.-5.6 (30-74mm equivalent in 35mm format). The AW1 includes a few tech tricks for adventurers—GPS tagging, compass, altimeter and a depth gauge—and some smart features for underwater shooting, including standard, scuba and close-up capture modes, along with an underwater white balance option that prevents blue and green casts.
Prices: $800 with 11-27.5mm lens; $1,000 with both 11-27.5mm and 10mm lenses