Nikon Coolpix W150 Review

July 1, 2019 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Nikon Coolpix W150 is a brand new tough waterproof camera which is targeted squarely at families.

In comparison to the previous W100 model, the new Nikon W150 only offers a few minor new features. There's an Underwater Face Framing mode which automatically takes up to four photos each time it sees a face in the pool or on a dive, a new Picture-in-picture scene mode, some new editing functions include adding a "little planet" effect and curve pictures, the ability to choose an image as the welcome screen, and some new frames and patterns.

as well as being available in some new colourways, including the vibrant orange version that we were sent for review. Compatibility with NFC has been quietly dropped from this model (as with most recent camera releases).

As with its predecessor, the Coolpix W150 is simple to operate and doesn’t have too many controls to change. It's dustproof, waterproof down to 10 metres, shockproof from heights of 1.8m and freeze proof down to -10 Celsius. It has a 13.2 megapixel sensor and a 3x optical zoom, as well as a 6x digital “fine” zoom.

Like most current Nikon cameras, it is compatible with the Snapbridge app. This means that the camera maintains a low power Bluetooth link with your phone, automatically uploading any photos that you take to your phone ready to be shared on social networking sites. The camera also offers Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Nikon Coolpix W150 is available in five different colours - Blue, White, Orange, Flower and Resort - and is priced at £149 / $159 in the UK and USA respectively.

Ease of Use

Nikon Coolpix W150
Front of the Nikon Coolpix W150

The Nikon Coolpix W150 is essentially the same camera as the model that preceded it, the W100, so all of the comments that we made about the usability of that camera apply equally to this new 2019 model.

The Nikon W150, like other cameras in this range from Nikon that have come before it, has a very blocky and rather child-like design. That’s not a negative criticism, as it’s clearly been designed to appeal to the whole family and be a camera that you can take on holidays, trips and so on, which everybody can use regardless of their age.

To that end, it has been designed to be as simple to use as possible, with large, easy to press buttons. Having such big and well-defined buttons also makes the camera easier to use when underwater, or when using gloves or anything which would make smaller buttons more fiddly to access.

On the top of the Nikon Coolpix W150 is a clearly marked on/off button which you need to hold down for a couple of seconds to switch on. Then you’ll see that there are two large buttons, one on the left which records video, and the other on the right which is the shutter release for still images. These buttons are on opposite ends of the top of the camera and can be easily reached when holding the camera with both hands. If you’re using the camera with just one hand, the stills button is easier to reach, which makes sense. We did find that it was all too easy to accidentally press the video button with your left forefinger whilst holding the camera in landscape mode, causing more than a few random video clips of the floor to be recorded.

When you switch the Nikon Coolpix W150 on for the very first time, you’ll be greeted with some “waterproofing precautions”. This guides you through how to make sure that water doesn’t get into the camera when you’re using it underwater or in bad weather. The battery compartment requires a two-step unlocking process to help make sure you don’t accidentally open it underwater, or when foreign matter may get inside the battery compartment.

Nikon Coolpix W150
Front of the Nikon Coolpix W150

There aren’t lots of different shooting modes to use with this camera, again because it has been designed to be as simple to use as possible. There are four buttons arranged vertically along the rear left hand side of the W150 which you can use to make all of your changes.

The buttons correspond with icons on the screen, which then change depending on which area of the camera you’re working in. So, when you’re coming from the main shooting screen, the bottom button will access settings, the second from bottom button will allow you to change scene mode, the second from top button will switch on the flash or the timer, while the top button takes you back to ‘standard’ shooting mode, if, for example you’ve switched to a different scene mode.

If you press the scene mode button, you’ll now see that all of the buttons have different controls. For example, the bottom button gives you the opportunity to ‘change colours’ (which means adjust brightness, saturation or create a selective colour effect). The second to bottom button is ‘decorate’, which means you can add a frame, while the the second from top button gives you different scene options.

Again, there’s not a huge amount of scenes to work with on the Nikon W150, but one you might find you use reasonably regularly is ‘shoot close-ups’, which is essentially switching on macro focusing, and you may also use the ‘shoot underwater’ scene mode if you plan on taking the camera underwater too. Often the top button acts as a ‘back’ button allowing you to get back to the main screen.

Nikon Coolpix W150
Rear of the Nikon Coolpix W150

In the settings menu, again you won’t find anything too extensive - for example it’s not possible to change advanced settings such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO and so on. Instead, you can do some fun things such as change the camera’s sounds (you could, for example, choose a bird sound rather than a conventional ‘click’ for the shutter release). You can also choose different looks for how the menu appears, making it appeal more perhaps to younger users.

Under camera settings you’ll find ‘network settings’, which is where you can set up the Nikon W150 to work with Snapbridge. It’s very simple to set up the initial connection with your phone once you have the Snapbridge app. You can have it set up so that the camera automatically resizes and sends images across just after you take them so that it’s ready to go, rather than having to go through the hassle of connecting the camera via Wi-Fi every time you want to transfer an image across. It’s a very useful tool that is great for those family and holiday shots that you want to share quickly and without hassle.

To the right hand side of the screen is a four way navigational pad. The up and down keys act to activate the zoom when in shooting mode. It’s not the quickest zoom mechanism on the market, but considering it’s only a 3x optical zoom, that’s not too much of a problem. If you push the up arrow further when it reaches the full optical limit (which you’ll see when the bar on screen turns blue) then you can also use the 6x digital zoom. The right and left arrows only have a use when you’re in playback mode and you want to flick between the pictures that you have taken. The playback button is found on the rear of the camera towards the bottom.

Nikon Coolpix W150
The Nikon Coolpix W150 In-hand

When you’re in the playback mode, you have a few options. You can add effects, frames, and create photo albums from your images. You can even record sounds to go along with an image. You can also rate images by giving it a crown or a rosette.

The LCD screen is just 2.7 inches in size, which is pretty small by most modern camera’s standards. It also only has a 230k-dot resolution, which is also quite low and doesn’t reveal the best detail possible. It can sometimes be quite difficult to see the scene in front of you if you position the screen in an awkward position, which is a shame particularly when it’s underwater.

The Nikon Coolpix W150 proved to be reasonably slow to use, taking some time to process images before allowing you to shoot another one, or view them in playback. In good light, focusing is reasonably quick and accurate, but if your subject is quite close the camera might struggle. Switching on the close-up mode makes things a bit easier, but there can still be times when a false positive is displayed, resulting in unintentionally out-of-focus images.