By Jon Pratt
Aside from the occasional trip to the local pub, riding bikes and taking photographs is how I spend most of my free time. To capture those on-the-bike memories, I’ve tended to look for point and shoot cameras that capture as close to a digital SLR-quality photo as possible. Though DSLRs produce considerably better photos than point and shoot cameras, I find them unusable in most riding scenarios. Thankfully there are some incredibly good small pocketable cameras.
The best I’ve found are in the Panasonic Lumix DMC and the Canon S lines. While all cameras have their drawbacks, each of these gave me the ability to shoot RAW with full manual control and produced incredible images.
So what do I shoot with now you ask? A Nikon AW100. Nikon’s all weather, jpeg only, full auto, GPS enabled, smack it off a rock, drop in a lake, toss it into a mud wrestling match point and shoot offering. All of these images were made with this camera.
Why? If I showed you my credit card bill over the last few years you’d understand. Every six months or so there is a $400+ charge for a new camera. It turns out I’m pretty hard on my gear. There have been times where I’ve had a camera for a little over a month before it became the unwilling victim of a downhill mountain bike crash or of an unscheduled swim in a pocket full of mud and grime.
Nikon’s AW100, so far, has taken some serious abuse and captured some great memories. The photographs aren’t going to end up on the cover of Dirt Rag or Bicycle Times, but they are surprisingly good in most cases. And, I’ve got a couple of extra dollars left over for that after-the-ride IPA.