For years, whenever I travelled, I liked to take my trusty Rebel for a full-sized Single Lens Reflex (SLR) with several lenses and an additional flash. Even though it’s not up to today’s standards in terms of megapixels, it’s still a good camera.
More importantly, I also like to take along a point and shoot camera with no extra lenses for candid shots.
THE PROBLEM IS that my original camera is huge, and when I add a battery pack, flash and big lens it takes two men and a horse to hold the thing steady. I’ve found that the more I travel, the less I want to take the big camera and the more I want to take a good point and shoot.
I used to try to take the “money shot” when I took photographs on trips. You know the ones I mean – the type of shots that you see from the pros. Well; I eventually discovered a couple of things about that money shot. Firstly that I wasn’t a pro, so I rarely even got close to a money shot. Secondly, I got tired of carrying a big camera bag loaded with gear. The pictures I ended up liking the best were ones that reminded me where I was and what I did when I was there.
A point and shoot wasn’t something that really got me too amped up, although the new ones coming onto the market have what I’m looking for. They need to be tough (because I’m clumsy); waterproof would be nice (because I’m clumsy); they need to do HD video and have lots of megapixels; they need to be small, light and have a large LCD (because I can’t see as well as I used to) – and they should have onboard GPS.
The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 fits my bill perfectly.
It’s small, at only 22.8mm thick and light at only 180 grams. It’s waterproof to a depth of 10 metres, weather resistant to -10 degrees Celsius, and it’s shock resistant up to 1.5 metres.
The COOLPIX AW100 has a
3” LCD I can easily see, and it’s got onboard GPS. The 16 megapixel CMOS sensor offers crystal clear shots and it shoots full 1080p High Definition video. It’s got anti-vibration technology which allows me to have the vast majority of the photos I take perfectly focused, and the 5X wide-angle, zoom lens, which offers a 35mm equivalent of 28-140mm, is perfect for the bulk of the shots I take normally.
The onboard GPS pinpoints where every picture is taken so you can see your trip on Google Earth – I love that feature. An internal map display attaches longitude and latitude information to each picture. The AW100 even has an E-compass allowing you to orientate via the LCD screen.
The COOLPIX AW100, at a suggested retail price of under $350, is a lot of camera for the money. Loaded with features, too many to mention (check them out online), it’s a point and shoot camera that I would be pleased to have in my travel bag. It allows you to take pictures effortlessly, great HD movies and it’s tough enough to handle just about anything that might happen while travelling. A great camera to take along on vacation this summer, the COOLPIX AW100 is well worth the price, and an added bonus is that it’s available in black, blue or a vibrant orange.
PROS: GPS information; anti vibration; nice big LCD; HD video, 16 MP CMOS, small size and very tough – what’s not to like? The display on the LCD is easy to read and the camera is packed with technology and innovation.
CONS: A better zoom would be nice, shockproof drops of 1.5 metres are pretty low, it’d be nice for it to be able to handle drops from twice that height, and I’d like to be able to snag the GPS information from the pictures in iPhoto.