Vacation Gadgets: Nikon CoolPix AW120 and Sony Action Cam AS100V Operating Experience

Until recently, my “park” of underwater gadgets included only one unit - the Kodak EasyShare C123 Sport camera. Last summer, she went with me to the first “combat” trials in Montenegro. In the process, it turned out that I have a number of complaints about this “soap box”. Yes, I took pictures of the fish in the Adriatic, I also brought some pretty bright photos from rafting. The quality of the images, in principle, was quite satisfactory - there was nothing to complain about. But other nuances arose. The most frustrating thing was the lack of optical zoom - it seemed to me then that when shooting the underwater world it would be very difficult without it. Plus uncomfortable buttons, plus an extremely peculiar control system, plus a strange cover design, under which there is a flash drive, plus a small screen that fades under water almost completely ... In general,

Kodak EasyShare C123 Sport To

begin with, finding an underwater camera in a small Ukrainian city is almost impossible. You can, of course, order it in an online store (which I did), but here you can twist it in your hands before buying - alas. Retail is gradually abandoning photographic equipment in any of its manifestations, since the vast majority of consumers are shooting on smartphones. You can still find an ordinary inexpensive soap dish or some entry-level DSLR without any problems, but such a niche product as an airtight chamber doesn’t.

Meanwhile, there are also not very many reviews of such models on the Web - everyone, again, switched to gadget writing about smartphones and tablets, but they prefer to keep silent about cameras, especially about specific ones. In principle, it is understandable: it’s easier to talk about Qualcomm’s advantages over MediaTek or AMOLED over IPS than it’s right to talk about the intricacies of a particular camera. By the way, I also don’t know how to do this, so in this post I’ll tell you more about my feelings without using abstruse terms.

In short, the choice fell on the Nikon CoolPix AW120. You can think of it as madness, but I reasoned something like this: if you take something budgetary for $ 200, then I hardly get any gain in comparison with the Kodak EasyShare C123 Sport. Well, yes, there will be optical zoom, but everything else ... Not a fact. As a result, I chose the specified Nikon model for $ 400, because by its characteristics it made an impression of a rather sophisticated “soap box”. I placed special hopes on the OLED screen - I thought that under water it would be possible to distinguish at least something. Well, the protection against falls was also encouraging - often “off-road” cameras have only sealed cases in their arsenal, but dropping them is contraindicated.

Nikon CoolPix AW120

In addition to Nikon CoolPix AW120 acquired Sony Action Cam AS100V. In general, the hand reached for the GoPro Hero3 + Black Edition, but at the last moment stopped at the "Japanese". Perhaps because the younger model of the GoPro line - Hero3 White Edition - once pleased the average. Management is illogical, firmware update, I'm sorry, through the fifth point, a very noticeable effort is required to press the buttons in the box. In general, I did not want to get this whole “bouquet” for almost $ 500, so I took Sony for 400 with a hook.

Sony Action Cam AS100V

And so the courier brought a couple of boxes. The first thing that surprised in Nikon", - a dangling part inside the case. I recall that in the comments on Yandex.Market many complained about this nuance, so, apparently, this is a design feature. I also note the crookedly written inscriptions on the front panel. Japanese, do you generally monitor quality at your Indonesian plants? Or how? This is not a budgetary “soap box” for $ 50, but something much more expensive ...

I won’t talk much about the interface - I just note that I liked the controls, all the necessary buttons are at hand and have a clear move. This is important, because the same "Kodak" ruined me a lot of potentially interesting shots due to stupid rubber keys. You click on it - and then it turns out that you really didn’t do it. With AW120 this does not happen.

Nikon has several generations of AW series cameras - AW100, AW110, now here is AW120. They shoot approximately the same way (I could be wrong, but rare pictures on the Internet confirm this conjecture), but differ in all sorts of small buns that are not directly related to photography. Here, the Nikon CoolPix AW120, in particular, received an OLED screen that slightly alters the altimeter, GLONASS support in addition to GPS, and even some rudiments of navigation abilities. It has a map that supposedly allows you to navigate the terrain. Honestly, I didn’t especially test this option. I launched the card a couple of times, realized that it was frankly inconvenient to use it, and scored. It seems to me that this option is akin to the FM transmitter in old phones: it seems to be there, but no one needs it. I’m all of this for what: I liked the AW120, but a bit expensive? Take AW110,

Let me give you some interesting points. Firstly, the optical zoom underwater was not useful to me at all. I am not a serious diver at all - I prefer to simply put on a mask with a pipe and swim on the surface of the reservoir. So the body sways noticeably on the water, and when you try to bring something closer (a school of fish, a rock fragment - it doesn’t matter) these “vibrations” have an extremely negative effect on the quality of the pictures. Roughly speaking, in 90% of cases a marriage is obtained. So the Nikon CoolPix AW120 bypasses the old Kodak EasyShare C123 Sport by several “cases” in terms of spectacular photos, but one of the main reasons for changing the latter (lack of optical zoom) turned out to be, in practice, far-fetched.

The second point is the notorious OLED screen. It turned out that it looks exactly the same as the TFT-matrix in most soap dishes. Maybe the reason is that Nikon does not have access to the “organic” displays of the latest generations, or maybe it’s because of the very large air gap between the screen cover and the last one. It is understandable that in this way the matrix was protected from damage, but almost nothing is visible on this display underwater. I had to take the photo again “to the touch”: a fish floats over there - yeah, we will direct the camera in that direction and we hope that it gets into the frame. But it may not get ...

Third is shock protection. It would seem, why is it an underwater camera? But personally, she came in handy several times. Firstly, once I hit a rock well - I was swimming in a small storm. The result is as follows: one hand fell right on the sea urchin (fortunately, without any special consequences), the second, with Nikon, rested on a stone. I would venture to suggest that the Kodak would have failed in such a situation, but the Japanese unit survived. Plus, during rafting, the camera hung on my hand and dangled from strong shaking from side to side - then it would hit the knee with all the dope, then the oar, then something else. And again - no consequences.

Fourth is the battery. Everything is strange with her: once I managed to take 200 shots, the next day after recharging the device gave out about 300, and a day later announced that the battery was completely empty after about 150 shots, although the indicator showed a third of the charge. It is hard to say what is the reason for this behavior. But the fact itself was the place to be.

Fifth - Wi-Fi. Convenient thing: put the application on your smartphone, and use the wireless module in the camera to download pictures from it. Everything would be fine, but sometimes the program persistently reports that there are no pictures in Nikon. But after five minutes he finds them. I could not find any causal relationship, so I am reporting as is.

Should I take the Nikon CoolPix AW120? It still seems to me that the main characteristic of any camera is the quality of the photographs, and not the curvature of the inscriptions and the presence of the dubious usefulness of the buns. Not being a professional photographer, I was satisfied with the quality, so I do not regret the purchase. Although the device does not seem to be 100% “licked” to me. Examples of photos below:

About Sony Action Cam AS100V I also have something to tell. To begin with, this model is offered in several trim levels. I have an option with a waterproof box (up to 60 meters) and a control panel in the form of a wrist bracelet called Live-View. It has a small screen and a set of keys - the first can be used as a viewfinder, and the second to control the camera and switch modes. The idea is great, but the practice ...

Practice has shown that under water Sony Action Cam AS100V in conjunction with Live-View can not work. The connection between the two devices is via Wi-Fi, and immediately after the dive (at least 20 centimeters, at least a meter - anyway) it breaks. One has only to raise a hand with a bracelet and a camera above the surface of the sea - everything is back in lace: the connection is restored. The effect is strange, given that both gadgets are tight and designed for water.

Although - how are they intended? Shooting videos and photos underwater with the Sony Action Cam AS100V is unrealistic: solid soap. It was not possible to achieve high quality, even having tried the entire vast arsenal of the settings available in the camera. Apparently, the element of Sony Action Cam AS100V is not water at all, which confirmed the descent along the Tara River on the border of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this "discipline" the device showed its best side. The delivery set includes two platforms with 3M adhesive tape, one for flat surfaces, the other, curved, for helmets. The last one I used: the

first part of the way the camera took pictures in the "one in 2 seconds" mode. Examples:

True, sometimes the distortion at the edges of the frame was much more noticeable than we would like.

And then I activated the video recording - through Live-View, which is very convenient, because I did not have to switch the mode to the touch in the camera itself or to remove the helmet for this.

Speaking of switching: the keys on the Sony Action Cam AS100V are excellent - they are pressed very easily and clearly, unlike the GoPro Hero3 White Edition mentioned above. And boxing is removed very simply, which I also lacked in a GoPro product.

What does not suit me in Sony Action Cam AS100V? The lack of an LCD screen, even a small way. Alas, displays are extremely rare in extreme cameras. Well, of course, I would like a better shooting underwater. Although, in truth, such extreme cameras have so many applications on land and in the air that it’s a sin to complain. For underwater shooting, I have a Nikon CoolPix AW120, the capabilities of which are quite enough.

PS One of the most important points - do not forget to wipe the camera lens on rafting and during other extreme water extremes. Just once in a few minutes, raise your hand to the helmet and brush away drops from the lens - otherwise the photos will look like this:

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