Having grown up the son of a Kodak engineer, photography has long been an important part of my life. I received my first camera, a Kodak disk camera, in 1984 on a family vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine and when I was older I spent some time working as a newspaper photographer – mainly doing covers and sports. So my choice of cameras is pretty important to me when traveling.
On my last trip to Europe (Germany, 2009) I had just purchased a Nikon D90 SLR with the GPS attachment. I loved it and the pictures from that trip and having GPS data added automatically made the trip a lot more meaningful as later we were able to look back at the pictures and not just guess where I was at the time but could know exactly where I was. Instead of just being pretty to look at, the pictures actually told a bit of the story. My family back home could see my progress day by day simply by looking at my pictures being uploaded to Flickr. I never wanted to travel without photo-GPS again.
That brings us to now. The D90 is a stunning camera but it is huge and out of the question for this trip loaded down with our children and no car. Any camera going with us has to be light, portable and resilient.
After doing a bit of research I came across the new Nikon AW100. This camera is very portable fitting easily into a pocket, is water proof (important as it will be exposed to unknown weather), shock proof (from a few feet at least) and has built in GPS with compass, time sync and maps. A pretty good combination. Additionally the lens does not need to mechanically extend and retract between uses which can be quite a nuisance when traveling and needing to get pictures taken quickly. It also takes beautiful 1080p video which is perfect for recording the action on your trip. And for still pictures it is 16MP, not too shabby. And, of course, it is a Nikon.
We decided to get the camera straight away and so far we are very happy. It takes great pictures and great videos and is truly light and easy to use. It’s not the D90, of course, but for everyday picture taking and vacation pictures on the go, it is perfect.