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Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review

The Nikon Coolpix AW130 is one of the most waterproof compact cameras currently available, waterproof down to 30m! Find out how this camera performs in our review.

| Nikon Coolpix AW130 in Compact Cameras


Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review: Nikon Coolpix AW130 (2)

The Nikon Coolpix AW130 is an update to the Nikon Coolpix AW120, and has a new waterproof rating of 30m, improved grip, added NFC, a high resolution 921k-dot OLED screen and fullHD video recording. The AW120 is available in black, blue, orange, camouflage and yellow for around £225.

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Features

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review: Nikon Coolpix AW130 (3)

The Nikon Coolpix AW130 is an extremely robust camera. It is waterproof to 30m, shockproof to 2.1m and freezeproof to -10°C. It has a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and internal 5x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 24-120mm. To help keep your images sharp there is Hybrid VR which combines lens-shift and motion blur reduction. The front now features an improved grip and built-in NFC. 

Built-in Wi-Fi / NFC allows you to transfer your images and movies to a mobile device for sharing to social network sites. The device can also be used as a remote control. The AW130 has built-in GPS and an electronic compass. There is a World display map so you can see where you took your pictures and view your route. The altimeter gives you your exact altitude and the hydro-barometer shows you how deep underwater you are. Action Control makes it easy to use the camera underwater or when wearing gloves, and there are additional buttons on the side of the camera.

When shooting there are numerous auto and scene modes which adjust the camera settings automatically for the best results. There are a number of scene modes such as Auto HDR and Night Landscape to make sure the camera is on the correct settings. The AW130 can shoot a maximum of 5 frames at 8fps. Easy Panorama 360°/180° mode lets you pan vertically or horizontally to create panoramas. When shooting underwater, underwater mode automatically adjusts the white balance for the optimum results.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound, optical zoom and autofocus available during recording. You can also record slow or fast motion videos, with speeds varying between 15 and 240fps. 

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review: Nikon Coolpix AW130 (4)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-120mm)
  • Hybrid VR (lens-shift and motion blur reduction)
  • 3.0 inch 921k dot OLED screen
  • Waterproof to 30m, Shockproof to 2.1m, Freezeproof to -10°C
  • Built-in GPS, altimeter, hydro-barometer and electronic compass
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Action Control
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 125 - 6400
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Auto HDR
  • 8fps continuous shooting
  • Easy Panorama 360°/180°
  • Available in blue, black, yellow, camouflage and orange

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Handling

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review: Nikon Coolpix AW130 (5)

The Nikon Coolpix AW130 has a mostly plastic body with a metal front and its shape makes it easy to grip, with an improved rubberised grip added to this model. On top of the camera is an on / off button and shutter release. The rear has a zoom rocker with movie record, scene mode, playback, menu and delete buttons. There's also a d-pad for cycling through the menus, this also gives quick access to exposure compensation, flash, self-timer and macro mode.

Also on the rear of the camera is a 3-inch screen with a high resolution of 921k dots and is quite easy to view in all light. Access to the battery and memory card is via the chunky round dial on the side of the camera. You have to press the central button and turn the dial 90°. The camera menus are clear and easy to navigate.

On the opposite side to the battery area are buttons which switches to the World map, Wi-Fi and Action Control. If you activate Action Control in the camera menus you simply need to press it and a menu comes up on the screen. You simply flick the camera up and down to go through the menu and press the Action Control button again to make your choice. Options available are mode selection, start movie recording, and playback. This makes it easier to operate the camera when underwater or wearing gloves.

To make use of the Wi-Fi you need to download the Wireless Mobile Utility app to your smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android). This allows you to use your mobile device to download pictures from the camera to edit and share them. You can also use it as a remote release. A preview appears on your mobile device, you can control the zoom or set a timer. Other information appears on the screen, such as shutter speed, aperture, number of shots left and battery life. Using NFC you can quickly setup the connection with a smartphone that supports NFC. 

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review: Nikon Coolpix AW130 (6)

Battery life is rated at 370 shots according to CIPA test results, which is an improvement over the last model, however, this may reduce with a lot of GPS and Wi-Fi use, so you may want to consider carrying a spare.

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review: Nikon Coolpix AW130 (7)

We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Nikon Coolpix AW130
Shutter Response <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.7
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.1
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.2
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before stopping)
8fps (5 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Focus and shutter response is quick, as well as shot to shot time. Continuous shooting is quick at 7fps although the camera will only take 5 photos before it stops shooting. 

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Portraits have good skin tones, while having minimal amounts of red-eye when using the red-eye reduction flash mode. Pictures are colourful, and are well exposed, with decent performance when shooting underwater as well. Detail isn't particularly good, with images looking overly processed and slightly soft. 

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The macro mode lets you get very close to the subject, with the subject just 1cm away from the lens, and the camera shows you on screen the best amount of zoom to use to get as close as possible. There is little barrel or pincushion distortion, although slight vignetting is visible when shooting bright skies at the wide-angle end of the lens. Some glare and ghosting is visible when shooting with a bright light source in the frame, although purple fringing appears to be well controlled. 

Nikon Coolpix AW130 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is reasonably low in ISO125 shots although if you look closely some colour noise is visible in darker areas of the image. Similar results can be seen at ISO200, with decent levels of detail. At ISO400 noise increases slightly. At ISO800 there is a slight drop in image quality as noise increases. At ISO1600 there is a more noticeable drop in detail, although colour is still good. At ISO3200 noise becomes more noticeable, but colour is still good, so these may provide usable images. ISO6400 is best avoided due to excessive noise. The level of detail in images is a little disappointing with images appearing quite soft at times. 

Nikon Coolpix AW130 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, the auto white balance (AWB) and incandescent preset perform well, taking almost identical images. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB performs well, with a magenta cast when using the fluorescent preset.

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of effects available, which can either be pre-selected, as shown above, or you can also apply quick effects after taking the shot. The camera has a number of modes to increase dynamic range in photos, including a backlighting scene mode that uses flash, as well as an automatic HDR option. Panoramas have a reasonable amount of detail and are stitched together well, although any movement in the scene will cause ghosting. There are options for 180° and 360° panoramas, you can also shoot in four directions, left, right up or down.

Video - The camera records full HD video, at 30p, or 60i, with stereo sound, and optical zoom is available during recording. There are a number of high / slow speed video modes available, and there is the option of single or continuous AF, wind filter and video LED.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix AW130 is available for £225 which makes it good value for money, with a waterproof rating of 30m, built in Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC, and is up against the following waterproof cameras:

Panasonic Lumix FT5, 13m, Wi-Fi, GPS £209
Olympus Tough TG-850, 10m, tilting screen, £189
Olympus Tough TG-3, 15m, Wi-Fi, GPS, £299
Canon Powershot D30, 25m, GPS, £199

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix AW130 offers an impressive waterproof rating of 30 meters, deeper than any other waterproof digital camera currently available by 5 meters. With an improved design the camera gives enhanced handling and additional grip, along with a drop proof rating of 2.1 meters. The camera features a wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens equivalent to 24-120mm in 35mm terms, and with built in Wi-Fi and NFC it's easy to transfer images to a smartphone or tablet, as well as shoot remotely. Battery life is good for a compact camera at 370 shots, although extended use of GPS and Wi-Fi will shorten this. The camera is competitively priced and as it is packed with built in Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS it would make a great travel camera for those that want a waterproof camera. Images have good colour, noise control and exposure, and should be good for sharing on social media sites, but could be sharper.


Nikon Coolpix AW130 Review:
  The Nikon Coolpix AW130 includes a waterproof rating of 30m and is packed with Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS, making it a great waterproof travel camera.

Nikon Coolpix AW130 Pros

Built in Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS
2 year warranty
Improved battery life (370 shots)
Improved grip and handling
Available in a number of colours
Wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens
30m waterproof
Auto HDR mode
Good macro mode
8fps continuous shooting


Nikon Coolpix AW130 Cons

Soft images
Noise in images
Basic Wi-Fi app





Nikon Coolpix AW130 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/4.9
35mm equivalent24mm - 120mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921k
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Spot
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30p, 25p, 60i, 50i
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion EN-EL12
Battery Life (CIPA rating)370shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Charging AC Adapter EH-71P4, USB Cable UC-E21, Camera strap for land use, Brush

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix AW130

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BokeMoire Avatar
19 Aug 2015 5:21PM
"Battery life is rated at 370 shots according to CIPA test results, which is an improvement over the last model, however, this may reduce with a lot of GPS and Wi-Fi use, so you may want to consider carrying a spare."

How hard would it be when reviewing cameras with gps to spend a day with the gps switched on all day and then report, "If you leave the gps on all day to create a track log file, you will need x batteries".

In addition, it would be nice to know if a gps track log is created, in what format, and how easy it is to download to a computer without using buggy download software.

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