So Nikon announced about a million new cameras today, including its first go-anywhere, do-whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-it point and shoot. It's like when Gizmo eats after midnight, except with Nikon cameras instead gremlins. Here's a quick rundown on each of them.
The AW100 is Nikon's first rugged point and shoot. Since we're pretty well behind all-rugged-everything, that's great to see. But what the hell took so long? Anyway, the AW100 is shockproof, waterproof (to 33 feet), and freeze-proof (whatever that means?). It packs a 16.1MP BSI CMOS sensor and has built-in GPS and internal mapping functions, like a travelogue to view your path. So you can use this thing to go snowboarding way out in the middle of nowhere, or like, search for Amelia Earhart.
Our current favorite rugged camera is Panasonic's Lumix TS3, but we we're crossing our fingers that the AW100 will jump into the lead. Its specs look great, and we've been waiting for a rugged cam from Nikon for too long for it to not be awesome. $430 in September.
If the P7100 looks familiar, it's probably because it's a gussied up P7000, with essentially just a 3-inch LCD and a new dial separating the two. But that's not really a bad thing, since the P7000 was a pro-worthy camera, with pretty stunning low light performance for a point and shoot. $500 in September.
Well if we're going to be shoving projectors into just about everything, why not our point and shoots? The S1200pj connects to either your computer or your iPad/Pod/Phone, can pull media from local storage or from online, and is 40 percent brighter than its predecessor. Nikon thinks you're going to use it to play 720p movies in your living room, but, umm, I'm pretty sure even college kids have too much dignity to resort to that. $430 in September.
The S8200 is the option for if you want a solid point and shoot, but don't want to drop $500 on the P7100. It's got decent video capabilities—1080p at 15, 60 and 120fps—and a 16.1MP sensor with optical zoom, but won't handle low light nearly as admirably as its big brother. $330 in September.
The S100 has a sort-of-huge 3.5-inch, 820,000-dot OLED screen and a 5x optical zoom, which should probably make it the ultimate 2AM-in-a-bar, self-plus-one-shot camera. $300 in September.
There's not a whole lot to say about the S6200. It's got a 10x optical zoom, which is nice, but aside from that its features are a little, shall we say, dated? (Shoot in black and white! And sepia!) Still, it's got decent enough specs, and it's the least expensive of the bunch. $230 in September.