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by PowerReviews
NikonCOOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Black)
 
4.3

(based on 74 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (41)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (22)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

87%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (51)
  • Compact (47)
  • Good battery life (34)
  • Great resolution (34)
  • Large clear LCD (34)

Cons

  • No viewfinder (9)
  • Short battery life (9)
  • Complicated controls (7)
  • Limited zoom (5)
  • Poor in low light (5)

Best Uses

  • Travel (45)
  • Family photos (28)
  • Sports/action (25)
  • Wildlife (16)
  • Video (15)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (30), Casual photographer (13), Semi-pro photographer (12), Pro photographer (8)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (58), Yes (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Adequate picture quality, good features

Been using the camera for a few weeks now for ocean kayaking (mostly stills) and first impressions are good so far.

The LCD is bright and easy to see in bright...Read complete review

Been using the camera for a few weeks now for ocean kayaking (mostly stills) and first impressions are good so far.

The LCD is bright and easy to see in bright daylight on the water, even at the medium brightness setting of 3. The power, shutter release, multi-selector buttons and the mode, playback, menu and delete button are easy to push wearing neoprene gloves, but the OK (select) button is hard to press without hitting one of the multi-selector buttons by mistake. We found the supplied two-sided strap to be of limited use, so I modified it to make a 16 inch single-sided leash with loop for clipping to my PDF (life jacket) while paddling. The camera fit comfortably between my PFD and chest while paddling and provided quick one-hand access on the water.

The images stabilization works quite well, providing reasonable sharpness down to 1/8 second. The portrait and pet portrait modes work and we've found them to be helpful. Autofocus worked reasonably well, so long as you pay attention to the screen to see what subjects are in focus (green boxes signify focus area/s). Auto white balance provided good results indoors, but I prefer results setting it to "daylight" when shooting outside to keep color balance consistent during the day. The flash is a little weak for fill lighting in daylight unless you're pretty close to your subject (14-17 foot range per manual is indeed the max).

Coming from a DSLR background, I was expecting some compromises in picture quality and the real-world results are not surprising. Edge sharpness is soft, especially at f2.8 and f/4.2, but it's not real obvious at f/4.8 or above. There's quite a bit of noise reduction visible in the images up close and the images are soft, even at maximum image quality (4608x3456 and 1:4 JPEG compression). However, if you downsize images to (2304x1728), you get a fairly good quality 4 Mpix equivalent image that's pretty sharp and fairly clean, good enough for small and medium prints and plenty good for most other uses.

Test images:
The two test images are 1:1 blowups of a portion of the original image. Original images were shot at maximum quality (4608x3456 and 1:4 JPEG compression). Test images were not sharpened, nor was any other post-processing done. The cat photo shows that even with a very slow 1/8 second shutter speed, image sharpness is usable, even for small prints, especially if the image is downsized as mentioned above. The outdoor image shot at f/4.2 and 1/400 seconds shows acceptable sharpness (for this kind of camera). The "smooth blotchiness" of the images caused by noise reduction and other in-camera image processing is clearly visible.

I only shot a few short videos, but so far I've been pleased with the results (note I'm less experiences in video). The GPS works, though I've done very little with it other than viewing present location. Without using GPS and video, it's hard to know about battery life, but it still had full charge after a full day of kayaking and shooting stills. The camera has not been underwater yet so can't speak to its waterproofing.

Overall, I like the camera and would buy it again if I was still in the market for a compact waterproof. While the image quality is not up to enthusiast compact or DSLR standards, it does a good job for its intended purpose and I would use it for everything except important portraits or images I might blow up beyond 14 inches in size.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Substantial problems with this camera

I have had Nikon DLSR cameras since 2002 and 5 different P&S cameras and this is the first one that I have decided to replace and junk. The camera when new would...Read complete review

I have had Nikon DLSR cameras since 2002 and 5 different P&S cameras and this is the first one that I have decided to replace and junk. The camera when new would lose all its settings including the date and time whenever the battery was removed from the camera so I could insert a new one with a full charge. Sent it in to Nikon and they serviced it. Now I find that it is reusing the same file names so if I shoot and then reformat the card I end up with the new sequence using numbers from the prior sequence again so I have to copy the second set of files into a new folder and then rename them all. The camera also has settings that to change thme you have to roll the camera from side to side and if you roll it one to many times you have to go through the sequence again. Dumbest user interface I have ever come across. There is also a simple mode that blocks access to settings and there is no documentation as to this and the camera ships in this idiot mode. There is no way to set the shutter speed so to insure a sharp picture I have to boost the ISO setting twice as much to force a faster shutter speed. The Macro mode does work very well and is the only aspect of the camera I do like. My other P&S cameras were from Panasonic and Olympus and my next waterproof one will be a Ricoh WG-4 GPS camera.The camera only saves stills in JPEG format and without the ability to save as RAW format the accuracy of the white balance metering becomes critical. In bright sun the WB metering is OK but in low light or with tungsten light sources it is often off.

Reviewed by 74 customers

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4.0

Great -- but with a disruptive flaw.

By Gary

from Port Ludlow, WA

About Me Semi-Pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Great Resolution
  • Large Clear LCD
  • Small / Compact

Cons

  • Complicated Controls

Best Uses

  • Family Photos
  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Macro Photography
  • Travel
  • Video

Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Orange):

As a 55-year Nikon user, I find this a handy little pocket-sized great-quality-for-the-money camera to carry "just in case" a picture presents itself when you really don't want to be carrying a camera. EXCEPT -- When viewing what I've shot, it often locks up for a whole minute, incapable of doing anything else, until it times out and shuts itself off.

As long as I don't stop in the middle of a shoot to review, it's fine.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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5.0

solid pictures

By Wareagle88

from Texas

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Great Resolution

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Travel
    • Wildlife photos

    Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Camouflage):

    This camera works really well underwater. Easy to use. The screen is a bit hard to see at times.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    nice camera

    By Abraham Ku

    from Tulum Mexico

    Verified Buyer

    Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Camouflage):

    good product, excellent quality for the price. nice under water pictures. easy to use.

    Share this review

     
    5.0

    Very Happy

    By Mark

    from Raleigh, NC

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to Use

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Family Photos
      • Travel
      • Video

      Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Orange):

      Purchased as a secondary camera for vacation use. The camera the button layout is easy to access and pretty much self explanatory. While I have not gone underwater (e.g. snorkling), we have used in during rafting trips and water parks. Very pleased with the picture quality. It's great not to have to worry about camera wet. It's also compact and easy to carry. My other cameras are much more bulky.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      4.0

      A very good product

      By CVS

      from Dallas TX

      About Me Semi-Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Good Battery Life
      • Small / Compact

      Cons

      • Limited Zoom
      • Poor Image Stabilization
      • Poor in Low Light

      Best Uses

      • Family Photos
      • Travel

      Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue):

      A very good product. But wished it is bit faster to focus and had bit faster lens, say F2.0 to start with. Otherwise its great product. Also wished it had more options like one in other digital cameras without waterproof. But a very good product.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Coolpix AW20 Review

      By Tony Diver

      from Sahuarita, AZ

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Fast Shutter Speed
      • Good Battery Life
      • Good in Low Light
      • Great Resolution
      • Great Zoom
      • Large Clear LCD
      • Small / Compact

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Travel

        Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue):

        So far I have not used it a lot. However, the times I have used it the performance has beeen great. I expect to use it a lot in the coming months especially when I do not cdarry my D7100 and lens around such as to Meetings and some parts of my travels.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Excellent product

        By Will

        from New York, NY

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy to Use
        • Good Battery Life
        • Rugged
        • Small / Compact

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Family Photos
          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Sports/Action
          • Travel

          Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Camouflage):

          This camera is easy and intuitive to use. the photos are of excellent quality for the price. Highly recommended.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          4.0

          Solid and sturdy

          By Mainer following nature

          from Costa Rica

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy to Use
          • Fast Shutter Speed
          • Great Resolution
          • Small / Compact

          Cons

          • Poor in Low Light

          Best Uses

          • Family Photos
          • Travel
          • Wildlife photos

          Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Black):

          Took a few hundred photos on a trip to Costa Rica. Most images came out crisp and colorful. Some came out "out of focus" and camera did not perform as well in the dark. Hadn't studied the camera uses before using. Bought an extra wrist piece so camera could be used snorkeling. The camera is easy to use with a single hand or while holding with both hands since I am old fashioned picture taker.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Great camera

          By Bill

          from Hiawassee, GA

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Does Exactly What It Says
          • Small / Compact

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Family Photos
            • Sports/Action

            Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Black):

            This camera does exactly as advertised. Waterproof, good images, etc. Would buy again!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Well received gift

            By Michelle

            from NJ

            Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Black):

            Bought as a gift for a family member who absolutely loves it!

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Good carry along camera

            By Small Town Gal

            from Wisconsin

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Upload To Desktop
            • Easy to Use
            • Good Gps
            • Large Clear LCD
            • Small / Compact

            Cons

            • No Viewfinder
            • Short Battery Life

            Best Uses

            • Travel
            • Video
            • Wildlife photos

            Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue):

            First let me say that I have bigger, better, pro Nikon cameras, but that isn't the reason that I bought the AW120. I'm also not a sports photographer or a scuba diver. I wanted a small camera to take with me at all times so that I don't miss those shots that always seem to happen when I don't have my big camera with me.

            We do historic tours and I wanted to mark gps points on my photos while visiting out-of-the way historic sites and markers. I've found the gps to be quite accurate and like the way the maps display in the lcd screen.

            The photo quality is good, the scene selection modes work well, the camera doesn't freeze up, I'm able to upload the images to my desktop without problems. The 1080i, 60fps video is of good enough quality for use on small screens and seems to hold up well. I don't depend on the camera's audio but record my sound to a separate digital audio recorder hanging around my neck and blend the audio with the video in the editing process.

            For a small lens, it does some nice work and the zoom works well. So, I'm very satisfied with this pretty little blue camera and intend to keep it for a long time. I will soon buy an lcd protective screen and the blue silicone covering to keep it in good shape.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Really good vacation camera

            By Brad

            from Ontario, Canada

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy to Use
            • Fast Shutter Speed
            • Small / Compact

            Cons

            • Short Battery Life

            Best Uses

            • Family Photos
            • Travel

            Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Black):

            I bought this camera for basic vacation photos and video. I had a Canon Power Shot Elph 100 HS but found that dust had worked it's way inside the lens and spots would show up in the photos. This camera is water and dust proof, so I don't expect that to happen again. Very good build quality and still small enough to fit in a pocket. Preset modes work very well, tends to underexpose slightly which is not a bad thing as you can bring out shadow details later in editing if needed. The images are very colour faithful, compression is slightly noticeable at maximum viewing zoom. Over all though, images are more than acceptable for this type of camera. All video functions work well and gives good results. The Wi-Fi is good to have as you can easily transfer photos to tablets and smartphones, however this function works well as long as the battery has a good charge. Over all I am more than satisfied with this camera, does everything I need it to for documenting family vacations.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Nikon Coolpix

            By TMA

            from Salem, Virginia

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy to Use
            • Fast Shutter Speed
            • Good Battery Life
            • Good in Low Light
            • Great Resolution
            • Great Zoom
            • Large Clear LCD
            • Small / Compact

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Travel
              • Video

              Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Orange):

              I hope to take this camera on several trips in the near future. I'll be kayaking and hiking and hope that this rough and sturdy camera will capture my adventures!

              I'm happy so far with the photos I've taken to get used to the camera.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great tough underwater camera

              By Judy the traveler

              from avon, ct

              About Me Casual Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy to Use
              • Fast Shutter Speed
              • Good Battery Life
              • Great Resolution
              • Large Clear LCD
              • Small / Compact

              Cons

              • No Viewfinder

              Best Uses

              • Travel

              Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue):

              I bought this as a tough camera that could withstand water and I wouldn't have to worry about when I don't want to expose my better camera to the elements. I used it whale watching and we were sprayed with water quite a bit. I didn't go underwater with it, so I can't tell you how waterproof it really is. I did a lot of research for a fairly inexpensive tough water camera and the results seemed to be pointed toward either the Olympus Tough or the Nikon. My husband and daughter both have the Olympus and I've never cared for the picture quality, so I purchased the Nikon. The photo quality seems pretty good. I like that it has 5x optical zoom, some basic scenes and a nice panorama. I like this much better than the Canon stitch assist. The video quality is fine and I got some nice shots of the whales. I bought the camera the day before I went on vacation, so I think with time I'll discover some other nice elements. I am happy with the purchase.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              good product for winter

              By patty

              from Franklin, indiana

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Compact
              • Easy to Use
              • Easy Use
              • Fast Shutter
              • Fast Shutter Speed
              • Good Battery Life
              • Great Resolution
              • Large Clear LCD
              • Small / Compact

              Cons

              • Limited Zoom

              Best Uses

              • Family Photos
              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Sports/Action
              • Video
              • Wildlife photos

              Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Orange):

              for outdoor shots in the dead of cold , features are nice, maybe more zoom for the buck. Handles nicely for shots.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • Yes

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              (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              1.0

              Worst Nikon Purchase

              By Oz

              from New York, NY

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

                Cons

                • Limited Zoom
                • Poor Image Quality
                • Poor in Low Light

                Best Uses

                  Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Black):

                  I love Nikons but this is product is below their regular standards. I brought on a trip to Australia and the camera started randomly taking pictures, switched form touchscreen to regular use, and then deleted all my photos from my SD card. When I returned I called the 2 year warranty service and they told me to contact the Nikon warranty service. After 30 min with them they told me this is most likely water damage and we don't cover water damage when it is a WATERPROOF CAMERA!!!! I only went under about a foot of water. I can't scuba dive due to asthma so I used just for snorkeling. Now I am stuck with a malfunctioning camera they want me to ship to CT to be serviced with the understanding I may have to pay to have it serviced. What kind of warranty is this. After I paid $40 to recover the photos from my SD card the photos came out foggy and most color was lost.

                  Not a great camera.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  5.0

                  Great camera, would buy it again!!!!!

                  By Mike R

                  from Cleveland, Ohio

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy to Use
                  • Good Battery Life
                  • Good in Low Light
                  • Great Resolution
                  • Great Zoom
                  • Large Clear LCD
                  • Small / Compact

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Indoors/Low Light
                    • Travel
                    • Underwater
                    • Wildlife photos

                    Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue):

                    I bought the camera to use on vacation when I went snorkeling. The camera worked great. I took great stills underwater and a couple videos. The camera surpassed my expectations. The price seemed fair for what the camera can do. it also preformed well for everyday pictures and at night without the flash. i was also impressed with the zoom. Just make sure when you use the camera in water, you do the proper maintenance on the camera and it will work great.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    must buy

                    By coco

                    from nyc

                    Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue):

                    at first I was a bit skeptical of the cameras capabilities because of its size, but was quickly reassured by the overall amazing qualities and not to mention convenient, compact size of the camera. all in all I would highly recommend.

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Bullet Proof Nikon AW 120

                    By KVUSMC

                    from Chesterfield VA

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy to Use
                    • Fast Shutter Speed
                    • Good Battery Life
                    • Good in Low Light
                    • Great Resolution
                    • Great Zoom
                    • Large Clear LCD
                    • Small / Compact

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Family Photos
                      • Indoors/Low Light
                      • Macro Photography
                      • Sports/Action
                      • Travel
                      • Video
                      • Weddings/Events
                      • Wildlife photos

                      Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Black):

                      This Camera Was Used During Filming in 8 degree weather The Camera Never Fogged Up ! And The Battery Lasts Forever In This Camera !

                      Share this review

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      nice camera

                      By chris

                      from ct

                      About Me Casual Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy to Use
                      • Great Resolution
                      • Small / Compact

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Family Photos
                        • Sports/Action
                        • Travel
                        • Video

                        Comments about COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Digital Camera (Orange):

                        casual use , great camera

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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