Nikon 1 AW1 review: 1 system reborn

By Kevin Carter - Wednesday December 18 2013

Sensor Review
Introduction | Nikon 1 AW1 sensor performance: Good for CX format | Nikon 1 AW1 vs Nikon 1 J3 vs Nikon 1 V2: Same sensor | Nikon 1 AW1 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC GF6 vs Olympus PEN E-PM2: Inspiring but not a match for the best MFT | Conclusion

While the AW1 is a unique proposition for the time being, rivals can be used in dedicated underwater housings and, while they’re expensive, it’s still appropriate to compare sensor quality. At $599 complete with 14-42mm kit lens the tiny Panasonic GF6 has slightly higher pixel count and yet compares closely in performance to the Nikon. The AW1 has around +1/3 stop wider dynamic range, but the GF6 has +1/3 stop increase in color depth and ½ stop benefit in low light.

Compared to the competitively priced Olympus Pen E-PM2 (just $499 with 14-42mm kit lens), which also sports a sensor with a similar pixel count to the GF6, the AW1 really struggles to compete. The Nikon has -1.67 stops lower color depth, -1.3 stop narrower dynamic range and a substantial -1 stop disadvantage in low light.