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Kid-friendly camera a good phone alternative for wet holiday snaps

With its robustness and bright colours including a vivid blue and striking orange, the Coolpix W150 is aimed squarely at holidaying families with children, particularly on beaches, in pools and general water activities.

You’re never going to take stunning photos with this camera compared to a DSLR, but with 13.2 megapixels the photos are good enough for holiday snaps. You can also take videos.

Above ground, in day and low light, my iPhone takes much better photos in terms of both crispness and colour. But under shallow water, I was impressed with the W150’s ability to capture details of the surface of shells and colours of glass objects.

The camera is rated waterproof for up to 10 metres.

The camera is rated waterproof for up to 10 metres.

This is a point and shoot camera with limited manual controls. However, there are some interesting special effects that took me completely by surprise.

Apart from the usual decorative options to add borders, hearts, starbursts etc, there is the fascinating ‘curve pictures’ effect. The strong, bold vertical lines of my wooden sliding door, with a green backyard and blue sky outside, looked amazing when bent into curves.

The ‘neon effect’ is my favourite option, giving photos of my kitchen a striking neon makeover, vaguely reminiscent of Australian painter Howard Arkley’s technicolour suburban houses.

However, there’s a little lag time when choosing options, long enough to make you think your choice is not registering, but you soon get used to the rhythm of the camera.

You can attach voice messages to photos for a bit of fun, but OMG you can’t take selfies, which may be an issue for some.

The other thing about using phones is that it’s second nature to upload photos to social media. Luckily, the Coolpix W150 can automatically transfer photos to a phone with the Nikon SnapBridge app. This is a fairly easy process to set up.

My worry is the outer waterproof lens will scratch over time. There is nothing to protect the outer lens, not even a clip off plastic cover.

The camera body is also shiny and smooth, which makes for a nice looking camera, but for a camera designed for wet holidays this also means slippery. Despite the W150 being shockproof to withstand falls of up to 1.8 metres, I’d like to see a surface with a bit of grip.

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