Nikon Coolpix AW110 Review

4.0
September 9, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All images were taken at full resolution unless otherwise stated. The full resolution compression can be adjusted by going into the Main menu and selecting either the 16 megapixel option for normal quality or with the star for fine quality. A fine quality image producers an image around 5Mb in size, while the normal setting produces around 3.5Mb.

Noise

Nikon have been playing a dangerous game recently. The noise appearing on the digital cameras hasn't gone unnoticed by us or photographers. The AW110 seems to have a better grasp of noise control though. We examined the images at full magnification but at normal viewing distance, the pictures are ok up to around ISO 1600. You can see noise coming through at earlier stages, but it's certainly not upsetting to see.

At full magnification, ISO 125 images are gorgeous. Highly detailed, smooth and rich in colour. The use of ISO 125 over ISO 100 will afford you around a third extra stop of light which means a slight increase in shutter speeds in lower light without any noticeable increase in noise.

There's a slight increase in noise reduction output on the darker areas at ISO 400, but the pictures are still great quality. The biggest change appears at ISO 800 with a dappling of detail on the low key areas. Mid-tones still seem ok but there's a slight reduction in primary colours.

ISO 1600 sees a massive shift in the amount of noise showing through. There's a mass of salt and pepper noise scattering the whole image with blobs of colour in the darker areas. Sharp edges are beginning to blur and primary colours are starting to fade.

Finally at ISO 3200, colour has all but disappeared from the picture and colour noise swarms all areas.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The focal length of the Nikon Coolpix AW110 is 5x optical. That gives a 35mm equivalent of 28-140mm in 35mm terms.

28mm

140mm

Sharpening

At low ISO, the images look very sharp, but we did notice an increase in quality by just adding a standard sharpen in a photo editing suite.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

There are two JPEG quality settings available at full resolution, Normal and High. On the camera, the latter is denoted with an asterisk next to the megapixel count. The Nikon Coolpix AW110 doesn't shoot RAW. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options.

16M High (4.21Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Normal (3.34Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

We found slight amounts of chromatic aberration at the extreme edges of the frame. It occurs mostly with high contrast edges of white on black.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix AW110 has a close focusing mode of 1cm. That's preety close and the only problem you may face is composing against low lying subjects (insects, for example) with the lens positioned so high. It's useful in underwater conditions though, to get some great shots of reefs. Probably. Just make sure the water is clear or the camera will focus on the dust in the foreground. Even with the AF assist switched off.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

Vignetting is a problem for the lens at wide-angle and using flash doesn't get rid of it either. It seems to dissipate through to the top end of the zoom range and the flash seems to simply stabilise what light is already there. That indicates an intelligent flash which will create a natural tone to skin and give the impression it's not fired.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Red-eye isn't a problem whether the mode is switched on or off. The pupil shrinks noticeably, so it does it's job right, but we didn't get red-eye anyway.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Nikon Coolpix AW110 has a Night scene mode as being able to use the Auto mode. Night mode gives you the option to use the camera hand-held or attached to a tripod. We used the Tripod option to ensure a decent comparison for the Auto mode which would also be tripod mounted.

Both modes used an f/3.9 aperture while the Night scene mode ramped up the ISO to 800 to allow a well exposed image. The Auto mode, we set to ISO 125 and it's underexposed despite a slightly longer shutter speed of 1sec. But the Night scene mode used a higher ISO to ensure a sharper image.

Longer exposures create a type of noise, though and noise reduction software is obviously at work here.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, 16 megapixel, hdmi, nikon, wi-fi, wireless, 5x zoom, wifi, coolpix, waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, action, gps, shock proof, water proof, altimeter, freeze proof, compass, aw110, Nikon Coolpix AW110 Review

Tracker Pixel for Entry