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First Look Review

Nikon MSV-01 Coolwalker



Update: Jan 31st, 2005

Thanks to site reader Glen Gagnon for making us aware that Nikon has recently released a firmware update Version 1.2 for the Nikon Coolwalker 30GB Image Storage Device.

Issues addressed with firmware version 1.20

  • In some instances, image data recorded to certain Lexar Media CompactFlash memory cards could not be copied to the Coolwalker.

  • When RAW or TIFF images captured with the D2H were displayed in full-screen playback, the image displayed in the monitor sometimes did not fill the entire screen on the Coolwalker.

  • In rare cases 4 MB or larger files could not be copied from a Macintosh computer to the Nikon Coolwalker or vice versa. (Mac OS 9.x only)

  • When attempting to disconnect the COOLWALKER from a Macintosh computer by dragging the Nikon Coolwalker icon to the Trash, the icon did not disappear and standard disconnection was impossible. (Mac OS 9.x only).

To download the new Nikon Coolwalker firmware see here for WIN and here for MAC systems.

To buy the Nikon Coolwalker visit B&H Photo and Video.
Trusted photographic merchants since 1973.

Detailed First Look Review: July 19th, 2004

Whether you own a digital SLR camera, like the Nikon D70 or the Nikon D100, or you own a high resolution prosumer digital camera, like the Nikon Coolpix 8700, you will most likely want to take a closer look at Nikon's new MSV-01 Coolwalker 30GB digital photo storage viewer.

The Nikon Coolwalker is a stylish portable storage device that offers a welcome solution to the organization of thousands of large resolution image files of all formats produced by today’s high-resolution digital cameras. The device has both outdoor and indoor applications.

Featuring a large 2.5 inch TFT monitor and easy to use Menu, it is ideal for those who need temporary mass storage for high-resolution images, and for those who wish to save images in a portable medium while traveling. Indoors, the Coolwalker MSV-01 is perfect for users who want to manipulate images simply without a PC.

The Coolwalker is compatible with all major image file formats (JPEG, TIFF) as well as NEF (Nikon Electronic Format) Raw files produced by Nikon Digital SLRs and certain Coolpix digital cameras. Other formats include: MOV (QuickTime, Motion JPEG - moving images) and WAV (audio) formats.

The Coolwalker has 30GB of storage capacity, translating to approximately 10,000 images captured at 6 megapixel resolution in JPEG, FINE mode. Images are transferred quickly via the Compact Flash Type I or II media slot. Once files have been transferred from your memory media card, you simply reformat the card and continue shooting.

CF card slot

Optional adapters (third party) are also available for SD, MMC, SM and MS media cards. Files are automatically stored by date, and it is easy to create new folders through the plain language Menu displayed on the Coolwalker's monitor.

Share images
Once your output is organized into an extensive mobile photo album, images are easy to share with family, friends or colleagues without the need of a PC. Just connect the Nikon Coolwalker to a TV or projector (PAL/NTSC), using the included remote control and present your slide show playback.

  • Ample storage space. Holds approximately 10,000 images* with a 30GB hard disk, the MSV-01 gives the user the freedom to store an impressively large number of images. It's compatible with CompactFlash and Microdrive memory cards, and can be combined with a CF adapter** to enable the use of SD cards.

    *Approximately 10,000 x 6-megapixel images can be stored in JPEG FINE.

  • View-anywhere convenience. The 2.5-inch color TFT LCD allows images to be viewed anywhere with the clarity of 117,600 pixels. The Coolwalker can also be connected to a TV (audio/video), so shots can be viewed on a much grander scale. A remote control unit is included, particularly useful when viewing images on a TV.

  • Peripheral performance. Direct printing without the need for a PC is made possible through PictBridge direct print support. The Coolwalker also offers further peripheral performance by acting as a card reader for a PC* and offering Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity to PCs and CompactFlash compatibility - a media widely accepted at stores offering print services.

  • Compact convenience. With dimensions of just 81 X 130 X 35mm (approx.) and a weight of approximately 350g, the Coolwalker is designed to be carried comfortably virtually anywhere, allowing images to be viewed whenever the user desires.

Coolwalker size

  • Easy-to-view GUI and simple operation. With an easy-to-view GUI (Guided User Interface) menu system, and an easy-to-use Multi-Selector accompanied by two function selection buttons, the Coolwalker is simple to operate.

  • Comprehensive protection. The Coolwalker has easy to grip rubber sides and is equipped with an internal hard drive secured by shock absorbers.

Coolwalker Controls

To turn on the Nikon Coolwalker, you simply press the dedicated "Power" button for approximately two seconds. The slight delay is a nice feature, since this prevents the device from accidentally turning on if the Power button is pushed against by mistake. (Ex. While traveling with the device in a camera bag)

Nikon D70 D-SLR JPEG file as shown on the monitor

Browse and Save
The large 2.5 inch TFT monitor makes instant browsing of thumbnails in the field easy and conserves camera battery power for shooting pictures, rather than playing them back.

Coolwalker Thumbnail View
Coolwalker Image View

Full image playback functions are provided on the Nikon Coolwalker. Options include playing back images found on the hard disk drive, thumbnail images on the CF card (9-image display), single images, rotate, zoom (JPEG images only, 2x, 4x and 8x), slide shows, and moving images. Histograms and capture settings can also be displayed.

Coolwalker Main Menu   Coolwalker rename folder

An image search function based on the date when the picture was taken is also available through the menu.

Rename a specific folder or image.

The large screen and the ergonomic four-way Multi selector style pad makes delete, move, copy, rename operations simple, supported by a straightforward 5 language Menu: English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese.

Main Menu
When you turn the Nikon Coolwalker on, the main menu is displayed after the initial start up screen. The menu includes the following options:

  • Copy CF card to HDD (Coolwalker harddrive)
  • Play HDD images
  • Play CF card images
  • Copy from HDD to CF card
  • Print
  • Slideshow

Coolwalker Main Menu

Print Menu
The Nikon Coolwalker enables a PC-less solution for printing your images. Just plug the Coolwalker in to any PictBridge™ compatible printer for PC-free printing. The Coolwalker's " Print " submenu includes options for:

  • DPOF Print set (tag specific images for printing)
  • Direct Print (PictBridge support)
Slideshow Menu
The Slideshow menu provides options for:
  • Choosing to play all images on the HDD
  • Play all images from selected folders
  • Select specific images for playback
  • Deselect images for playback
  • Set interval transition: Auto playback slideshow intervals can be set from 1 sec to 99 sec
Coolwalker Slideshow   Coolwalker Select Images

The Audio/Video, USB and AC adapter connecting plugs are found under a rubber hinged door towards the top of the device. The Coolwalker offers a fast USB 2.0 transfer connection.

Coolwalker Connections    


In the Box
The package includes the Coolwalker MSV-01 storage device, a Li-ion rechargeable battery EN-EL6 (built-in), an AC adapter, a USB cable UC-E9, an audio video cable EG-CW1, a remote control unit ML-W1, a soft case CF-CW1, a software CD-ROM, an instruction manual and warranty. The bundled software may differ depending on the country of destination.

Coolwalker Accessories

An infrared wireless remote control ML-W1 is supplied. All operations can be carried out using the remote control unit, which features the same buttons found on the Coolwalker itself. There is also a specific button on the remote enabling image rotation during single image playback. The remote control can be used at a distance of up to 5 meters, as long as there is nothing obstructing the signal.

Power Supply
The Nikon Coolwalker can be powered through the supplied AC adapter, or the built-in EN-EL6 Li-ion rechargeable battery (3.7V, 2000mAh).

Coolwalker battery

The EN-EL6 battery provides about 1.5 hrs of continuous playback operation.

The battery automatically recharges when the Nikon Coolwalker is plugged in using the supplied AC adapter, and the units power is turned off. It takes approximately two hours for the battery to reach a full charge.

While the battery is charging, the green "Power" LED light on the Coolwalker blinks on and off. The light turns a solid green once the unit is completely charged. 


The Manufacturer Recommended Retail Price (MSRP) for the Nikon Coolwalker is $599 CAN. Individual dealers are able to sell for less.

From my first impressions of the Nikon MSV-01 Coolwalker, I must say that I really like what I see. The device offers ample storage space with its 30GB harddrive, and the design and operation of the unit seems very intuitive. The Coolwalker's compact size (reminds me of the original Sony Walkman) and lightweight design, makes it very portable and easy to bring along.

The LCD screen is bright and clear, and has a 15 step brightness adjustment for different viewing conditions. With the Coolwalker's high speed USB 2.0 connection, images will copy quickly from your digital memory card to the Coolwalker's harddrive.

The slideshow and direct print capability are useful and practical features, however, where the Nikon Coolwalker really proves its worth, is in terms of a portable storage solution. On a recent three week vacation, I brought two 512MB CF cards and found myself downloading twice to my laptop. I specifically brought the laptop for this purpose, and was saddled with the inconvenience and weight of taking it with me. A storage device like the Nikon Coolwalker would have been a very handy and welcome solution.

Related product:
See our previous coverage of the 40GB and 80GB SmartDisk FlashTrax digital storage devices.

Drive 30GB Hard Disk (2.5-inch) [0.1GB used for system]
Storage Media CompactFlash (Type I/II), Microdrive, (SD card with adapter*)
* Available from a third-party vendor.
Image display 2.5-inch TFT color LCD, 117,600 pixels [490 (H) X 240 (V) pixels], Brightness adjustable
Menu languages English, French, German and Spanish version
Playback data Design rule for Camera File System (DCF) compliant rule: JPEG, TIFF, NEF (RAW)**, QuickTime Motion JPEG, TIFF Wave Format Audio File (WAV)***. Supports file formats recorded by Nikon cameras.
** Supports NEF files recorded by Nikon digital cameras; does not support NEF files created by Nikon scanners.
***Available only for audio files attached to images recorded by Nikon digital cameras. Audio video equipment with an appropriate input required to play audio.
Playback Menu Thumbnail, One frame, Zoom (JPEG still only) 2x, 4x, 8x, Slideshow, Movie, Histogram display, Shooting information display, Search function available by date
Video output NTSC, PAL selectable
Interface USB 2.0 Hi-Speed: works as an external HDD and CF card reader, supports direct connection to PictBridge-compatible printers via USB
I/O terminals CF card slot (Type I/II) X 1, USB (mini) X 1, Audio/Video output X 1, DC input X 1
Remote control Infrared remote control unit supplied (maximum operating distance: approx. 5m)
Power Source Rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL6 (2000mAh), AC adapter (supplied)
Playback Duration Approx. 1.5 hours continuous playback with an EN-EL6 battery
Dimensions (WHD) Approx. 81 X 130 X 35mm (3.2 X 5.1 X 1.4 in.)
Weight Approx. 350g (body with battery) (12.4 oz.)
System requirements Interface:Support for standard built-in USB ports (may not function via USB hub); OS: Windows XP Home Edition / Professional, 2000 Professional, ME, 98SE, Mac OS 9.1-9.2, Mac OS X (Version 10.1.2 or later) pre-installed models.
CD-ROM required for Windows 98SE to install the MSV-01 driver software
Supplied accessories USB cable, AV cable, Rechargeable battery EN-EL6 (installed), AC adapter, Remote control unit, Soft case, Software, CD-ROM, Instruction manual, Warranty

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