In the swim
Take your Nikon safely for a dip this summer
This tough compact is shockproof to two metres, dustproof, can operate in temperatures down to -10 ºC and, most importantly, is fully waterproof. So much so, in fact, that it'll work down to a depth of 30 metres – though at that depth you'll need additional lights.
A beach-friendly bag for your D-SLR, the Aquapac will keep your camera safe from both water and sand. It’s also ideal for taking on a boat, as you don’t need to worry about your camera getting splashed, and it’s fully submersible to a depth of three metres.
As a compact camera, the AW130 is very slim. It’s barely more than an inch thick yet packs in Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, an electronic compass, altimeter and a depth gauge. Shooting benefits from a 5x optical zoom lens (24-120mm effective) and VR (Vibration Reduction).
No glorified plastic bag, the Aquapac is made of high-grade thermoplastic polyurethane with an optically clear acrylic window at the front. Size-wise, it’s big enough to accommodate a D7200 at a pinch, but it’s too small for a D810.
Sink or swim?
If you drop this camera into the water, it’ll sink to the bottom and potentially disappear without trace. To avoid this happening, Nikon also offers a ‘waterproof floating strap’ that attaches to the strap lug of the camera. It costs around £10/$10.
Once your Nikon has been sealed inside, there’s typically enough air in the Aquapac to enable it to float on the surface. Reassuring as this is, the trapped air can also result in condensation. Three desiccant sachets are supplied to absorb moisture.
Ease of use
All of the camera’s controls remain easily visible and accessible, so you can easily navigate menus and make shooting adjustments. The only caveat is that the small size of some buttons makes them tricky to operate when wearing wetsuit/diving gloves.
The Aquapac’s polyurethane is substantial, so you can be reasonably confident it won’t get punctured during use. However, this makes camera controls difficult to operate. You’re also limited to lenses with a maximum size of about 80x100mm.
An amazingly versatile camera, the Coolpix AW130 is great for both land and sea. You can take it pretty much anywhere and simply shoot, without needing to enclose it in a bag or case to protect it against the elements.
It works well as a splash-proof case but is tricky to use underwater. Condensation can be a problem, even when using the desiccant sachets, and the edge of the lens housing can end up in the shot if you use small zoom lenses at their wide-angle settings.