Nikon AW1: One time lemon or just rotten?

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Evidence of water damage from a leak in the Nikon AW1 casing.

Evidence of water damage from a leak in the Nikon AW1 casing.


Nikon AW1 after two uses will be returned due to leaking case.

Dear Reader,

it does my heart no good to deliver such a bad review especially since my loyalty to Nikon rivals my steadfastness to the other brand that defines my snobbery when it comes to electronics, Apple. I have been a fan of Nikon Cameras since my darkroom days.  I have used Nikon Cameras happily for decades.  They have never failed me…  Until this weekend when I took the “Nikon AW1 ” out to catch the kids in the surf and the camera just stopped.  She wouldn’t turn on.  She just died… And let’s be clear, I know how to clean a camera.

I have “Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5D” that has worked beautifully for years.  I have taken it on mud runs, through heavy surf and diving and it has never given me an ounce of grief.  I am a bit obsessive about cleaning the camera after any kind of salty or dirty excursion and I think it has paid off as the camera has taken great photos with no hassles. Then for my birthday, I received the Nikon AW1 and, yes, I shelved that Lumix like it was yesterday’s news.

I, again, admit I have an unnatural loyalty to Nikon as well as being excited to leave the fixed lens, all weather, compact camera world for the ability to have a DSLR (albeit compact) all weather experience.  I was thrilled. The camera did a great job on it’s first outing taking some high quality stills and video in and out of the surf.  I was amazed at the quality and the versatility of the camera.  In fact, I read the instruction manual cover to cover as there are so many well-designed features (especially for underwater usage).  After that first use, I carefully bathed the camera in warm water to remove salt and sand.  I, then washed it again in running water.  I dried it with a towel thoroughly and let it sit over night just to make sure that no moisture would hurt the camera.  The next morning, I removed the memory card got my pictures, cleaned the battery/memory card compartment and set upon another day of taking beach pictures.

The camera was great for two hours but once I took the camera into the water with me in an attempt to capture footage from the nose of my boogey board- she died. Immediately, I left the water and dried the camera on the beach.  I was worried about leakage and so with dry hands on a clean towel, I opened the battery and saw that water had entered the battery and already corroded it.  So, now I am left with believing that this camera must have had a defect.  I can’t believe that Nikon would put out a substandard product.  I am interested to see if when invoking the warranty, I will get a fast replacement or will need to jump through hoops.  I am leaving for Australia on July 1, 2014 and was going to be using this camera as my primary, but I guess I could be dusting off my stalwart Lumix and bringing my “Nikon D7100” which, by the way, has never failed me.

2 thoughts on “Nikon AW1: One time lemon or just rotten?

  1. First of all, LOVE the new look of the site. Particularly your font choice. 😉 Secondly, “we” (and by we, I implicitly mean you), need to figure out this Nikon AW1 situation as I would be lined up to buy one if I knew it was a one off situation….

  2. Carrie,
    I thought you would like the new look. It smacks of you- I think I was channeling. I am cautiously non-optimistic about the likelihood of having my camera replaced as the employee at Nikon stated that if there was ANY grain of sand in any crevice of the camera the warranty would be voided. As well, they needed to send their rugged, all weather, drop proof camera out to be “evaluated” to see if it was put under undue stress. I probably shouldn’t have said those mean words to the camera after it stopped working….

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