Have any interest in bringing an interchangeable-lens camera along on your next snorkeling adventure? You could pick up a pricey DSLR housing, sure, but you might want to consider Nikon’s new 1-Series AW1, the first digital device of its kind to score an integrated waterproof enclosure. An O-ring combines with a regular bayonet lens fitting to create a reassuringly tough seal that will survive down to a depth of 49 feet, at the expense of requiring just a little bit more time and physical effort to swap lenses. You’ll need to re-surface before attempting that, of course, and you’ll also have to make sure you’re using one of just two waterproof pieces of glass: either a 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6, which comes as part of the kit, or a wide 10mm f/2.8 lens that is sold separately. Regular 1-series lenses will still fit on the AW1, courtesy of a little accessory, but they won’t offer any of the ruggedness of the dedicated pair — which means you’ll miss out on the water-proofing, dust-proofing, freeze-proofing (to 14-degrees Fahrenheit) and shock-proofing (from a maximum drop of 6.6 feet).
Internally, the AW1 is similar to the CES-era J3. There’s the same 14.2-megapixel CX-format sensor and 6400 top ISO, along with 1080p video capture, but the new model adds thrill-seeker essentials like an altimeter, depth gauge, GPS, compass and an accelerometer-powered option for switching modes with one hand. Finally, at risks of startling the little fishes, there’s also pop-up flash that works underwater. All this will set you back $800 with the 11-27.5mm lens, when the AW1 ships next month, while the 10mm f/2.8 will be $200 more. Oh, and check out the hands-on video after the break to see how the AW1 fares in our own, hastily compiled durability test.
Update: As some particularly knowledgeable readers have spotted, the AW1 is the first digital waterproof ILC, but not the first if you count the celluloid Nikonos series. Thanks guys — the post has been tweaked.%Gallery-slideshow85051%%Gallery-slideshow88714%
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