Nikon COOLPIX AW120 Waterproof Compact Camera

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Key Features

  • 16MP 1/2.3"-type CMOS sensor
  • 24-140mm F3.9-4.8 equivalent lens (5.8x optical zoom)
  • ISO 125-1600 (expandable to 3200)
  • Up to 6.9 fps continuous shooting
  • 3.0" OLED LCD with 614,000 dots
  • 1080p/30fps HD video (MPEG-4/H.264)
  • Waterproof to 59'
  • Shockproof to 6.6'
  • Freezeproof to 14°F
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory

Product Description

The AW120 features a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 3-inch OLED screen and a wide angle 24-120mm equivalent image stabilized zoom. It's waterproof down to 59ft (18m), shockproof from a height of 6.6ft (2m) and freezeproof down to 14°F (-10°C). It also comes with built-in Wi-Fi for wireless transfer and GPS with an electronic compass and mapping . The AW120 also features Nikon’s Action Control function that allows easy operation with gloved hands.


Body type
Body type Compact
Max resolution 4608 x 3456
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 17 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
ISO Auto, 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600 (3200, 6400 available in Auto mode)
White balance presets 7
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization Optical
Image stabilization notes Lens-shift and Electronic VR (still pictures), Lens-shift VR (movies)
Uncompressed format Unknown
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.) 24–120 mm
Optical zoom 5×
Maximum aperture F2.8 - F4.9
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Center
  • Tracking
  • Face Detection
Digital zoom Yes (up to 4x)
Manual focus Yes (with 99 focus areas)
Normal focus range 50 cm (19.69)
Macro focus range 1 cm (0.39)
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3
Screen dots 921,000
Screen type OLED monitor
Viewfinder type None
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 4 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Aperture priority No
Shutter priority No
Manual exposure mode No
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range 5.20 m
Continuous drive 7 fps
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Videography notes 1920x1080 (30p, 25p, 60i, 50i), 1280x720 (30p, 25p), 1920x1080 (15p, 12.5p), 640x480 (120p, 100p), 1280x720 (60p, 50p), 320x240 (240p, 200p), iFrame 720 (30p, 25p), 640x480 (30p, 25p)
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD / SDHC/SDXC
Storage included 329MB
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Wireless Built-In
Environmentally sealed Yes (Waterproof, Shockproof, Dustproof, Freezeproof)
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description Nikon EN-EL12 Lithium-Ion battery
Battery Life (CIPA) 350
Weight (inc. batteries) 213 g (0.47 lb / 7.51 oz)
Dimensions 110 x 66 x 26 mm (4.33 x 2.6 x 1.02)
Other features
GPS BuiltIn


DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Exposure and focus accuracy
Image quality (jpeg)
Flash performance
Low light / high ISO performance
Performance (speed)
Movie / video mode
73 %
Overall Score

First and foremost, the Coolpix AW120 is an amazing value, packing in a ton of features - most of which well-designed - for less than its competitors. It has a great GPS implementation, Wi-Fi, and 1080/60i video. It does not, however, have a great display, and heavy noise reduction smears away detail in photos.

Good For

Divers and outdoorsy photographers who want a broad feature set at a great price.

Not So Good For

Those taking most of their photos in bright sunlight. Full size image quality inspectors.

User Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
  • Ant Yeung, Apr 2, 2014 GMT:
    Smart little thing!

    I bought the AW120 due to necessity using it in rough conditions... mine sites, where rain and dust is the norm. I had many other point-shoot previously and they did not survive the rough conditions, so I decided on the AW120. I was surprised to find that most reviews on the Internet do not do this little point-shoot camera justice. I would suggest that you download the user manual first to give you an idea what this smart little thing can do. Within its menu system is a plethora of options, ...

    Continue Reading

  • Boofhead, Jun 5, 2014 GMT:
    Best waterproof camera I've owned

    The AW120 is my first Nikon and 10th waterproof camera. I bought it a few weeks ago to take on a overseas holiday, it worked flawlessly. I do have a few suggestions to improve it (see below). WIFI and associated Android app is great. PROS: good image quality, easy to use menu system, great battery life, only had it down to 5 mtrs so can't verify deeper, access door seal and lock appear to be excellent, ability to choose any frame in a video and save it as a still is perfect (saves having to ...

    Continue Reading

Questions & Answers


Trying to decide between the TG3 and the AW120

TG3 is going to be released June 6th and I'm wondering if I should wait for that instead of getting the AW120. I shoot a lot of kayak videos, so the rugged aspect is more so if the camera gets wet.  Not so much the underwater this is mostly about above ground image/video quality for me. One important consideration is field of view.  I know a lot of cameras crop more then they should to hide quality issues on the edges and to make work image/video stabilization. Anyway to know which has the best REAL field of view? Trying to compare video quality, which is tricky as I can't find references for the TG3 (too new).  I Anyway to compare the two?

smithaa02 asked
2 months ago


Doing some research that I'll share and hopefully others can chime in here. Again, for wide angle, you can't compare literal specs because cameras like to crop edges for quality reasons and many image stabilization programs are over-zealous when it comes to cropping. In this (video) comparison between the Aw110 and the TG-2, the TG-2 has a noticeable smaller field of view. I measured it out and by my estimate the TG-2 only had 93% of the width that the AW110 had, which is significant. Granted, the TG-2 had far superior white-balance, dynamic range and didn't overdarken the shadows which the AW110 is known to do (loook at the branches in the trees). A counter-counter point for the AW110 is that it handled motion much better than the TG-2. Despite this test there is reason to believe the AW series significantly crops pictures and especially videos and I really wish there was an option to disable some motion stabilization to get better wide ... Continue Reading

smithaa02 answered
2 months ago

My TG-1 has focusing issues during video - the AF mechanism often starts hunting rapidly, causing wobbly focus and a clicking sound, like a sewing machine. Others complained of the same problem, and of Olympus not willing to fix it. Don't know if it's an issue with TG-2/3. The cropping goes away if you disable movie stabilization. If movies are a high priority, you may want to look at the Panasonic models. Hope this helps! Continue Reading

BorisK1 answered
2 months ago

Very interesting comparison! The Nikon, Sony, and Panasonic video are best, I found. It is hard to rank one over the other. The worst were Olympus and Pentax. My friends with Olympus Toughs produce a lot of (what I would say are) badly exposed images. In still photos, I would say not. The AW120 is still very soft in the corners at wide angle. Thanks for all the links to videos! I wonder if my AW110 has hybrid stabilization? It produces surprisingly good video. Continue Reading

CAcreeks answered
2 months ago


With the filter attachment for the AW110 fit a AW120?

I bought a AW120 recently and noticed that the AW110 offers a filter attachment but the AW120 does not? The Nikon part number is UR-E25. As the external dimentions and design of the camera has not chnaged much I would assume it would but wanted to check before ordering one ... Thanks in advance

lseries92 asked
2 months ago



Best camera between 4 options

Hey guys, I would like your expert opinion. I was only checking the reviews, but I would like to hear from an expert that knows every number in the specs or have experience with these cameras. Basically, looking for a gps enabled waterproof camera. I found the following ones: - Canon PowerShot D30 - Olympus TG-3 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 - Nikon COOLPIX AW120 Which one is the best option based on specs/experience and why? Other suggestions (newer models, better, etc.) are welcome too, however I believe these above are the only ones that fit my criteria. Thank you!

igorjrr asked
8 days ago


IIRC, DPReview has had an ongoing series on waterproof cameras. They update with newer cameras periodically. Continue Reading

l_d_allan answered
8 days ago

Thanks! I'll take a look but I appreciate with you and others could elect the best one over these 4 options. Continue Reading

igorjrr answered
8 days ago

Just to help others, link: Continue Reading

igorjrr answered
8 days ago

Warranty Information

"No registration or "warranty" card is included or needed with a Nikon D-SLR or Coolpix camera. Keep your original, dated proof of purchase from the Authorized Nikon Inc. dealer in case warranty service is ever needed. These products do include either a mail-in form or a paper with a web link to our registration page:
It's advised to register your product with Nikon so that we can send you information about future updates or service issues that may arise.

Nikkor lenses come with a standard one year warranty and Nikon Inc. lenses sold by authorized Nikon Inc. dealers will have a Nikon Inc. Five Year Extension. To register for the five year extension, one copy of the included form must be mailed in as indicated. Keep the Customer copy of the form as well as the original proof of purchase (sales receipt)."

Read the full warranty.

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