The Current Issue
Nikon Owner Issue 13
HISTORY OF NIKON by Gray Levett
All-Weather, Autofocus the AWAF and All-Weather Autofocus Data the AWAD.
This gem on an amphibious compact Nikon film camera is examined in this issue
One of my favourite cameras is the Nikon L35 AWAF, which means all-weather autofocus. It was introduced in 1986 and did not exactly set the photographic world alight. After a relatively short period it was discontinued and almost immediately its reputation began to grow and grow.
It is an extremely robust camera (weighing 485g) and is fitted with a 35mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens comprising four elements in three groups. The great thing about the AWAF is that it is completely waterproof. Nikon literature of the time says “you take it along when skiing, fishing, surfing, snow-sledding, swimming, windsurfing and even snorkelling!” I have never used it for any of these activities but I have loaned it to friends for their holidays without a single worrying moment that they would damage it. It has always returned home after heavy use on the beach and on and in the sea without mishap. The great thing about the AWAF is that no matter how dirty it gets you can wash it off and it looks as good as new.
It is very easy to use: load the film into the camera, (it accepts DX-coded film from ISO 50 to ISO 1600), close the “O” ring sealed back, press the shutter once and the film is automatically threaded. After each shot the film is automatically advanced to the next exposure. The shutter speed range is 1/8 to 1/430 sec plus fill-flash function and a self-timer.
If it is too dark to take a picture, a red LED (Light Emitting Diode) illuminates to let you know you need flash. By turning the lever positioned on the front of the body down and pointing to the flash symbol, the shutter locks until the flash is fully charged. A ready light in the camera’s viewfinder alerts you when it is ready to fire.
If underwater photography appeals, you can shoot with the AWAF – down to 10 feet (3 metres). However this requires manual focusing and is the only time you must focus manually.
Nikon also produced a version with a data back known as the L35 AWAD, which permits data imprinting of Year/Month/Day, Hour/Minute or no imprint. Both the AWAF and AWAD were available in a choice of colours: black, blue, or orange.