In the swim

Take your Nikon safely for a dip this sum­mer

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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.

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