The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 is a rugged waterproof and shockproof camera.  It has a long list of pros and cons for the outdoor users.

The Positives

The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 is lightweight yet still feels durable. It’s a 16MP camera that gives you those sharp images under most settings. Thanks to the design, your battery will stay in place and the camera will work in up to 33 feet in water, freeze-proof to 14 degrees F. and shockproof if dropped from 5 feet. The buttons and navigation are easy to use even underwater or with gloves on. The camera is stable which makes it easy to use without a tripod. Another great feature is the GPS. It records your location at the time the picture was taken and can map your current location, however continuous use of the GPS will deplete the battery life at a faster rate. It has continuous shooting and a panoramic mode for those 360 and 180 shots. In the photo edit option you can do color effects like black, white, and sepia. Hit the power button and in seconds it is ready to take pictures or video, sometimes even before you are. You can also add a glamour retouch and touch-up the lighting in the edit photo option.

The Negatives

The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 is a bit pricey at over $270. That makes it one of the more expensive “tough” cameras with lots of competition in the market. The waterproof feature leaves more to be desired since it has to be taken for service every year. When in video mode the zoom is poor, limited, and the focus doesn’t always work properly. It has a limited amount of memory, which requires you to buy a memory card if you plan on taking more than a few dozen photos. The battery goes fast when in GPS mode which takes away from the already limited battery life of about 250 photos when fully charged. If you’re shooting video in a quiet setting you’ll notice background noise that gets louder as you zoom in. Occasionally there is a loud clacking noise that comes from the camera, but it doesn’t seem to affect anything.

Final Thoughts

With it being one of the more expensive “tough” cameras, it makes a perspective buyer look elsewhere for a lower price, better zoom, longer battery life, and better storage options. For those mountain climber and other outdoor adventure lovers, the limited zoom will do you no good when trying to take a picture of a colorful hummingbird from a far distance. Plus you will have to deal with the noise from the camera while you’re trying to zoom in for a better image that frankly, this camera will not give you. Overall the Nikon COOLPIX AW100 has some good features but it just doesn’t fully deliver. If you can find it for a killer price, I’d pull the trigger and buy it, but at the price it’s at right now, it wouldn’t be my first choice.