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Underwater cameras test 2011

1 August 2011
Szymon Starczewski

7. Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

Traditionally in our test we didn’t omit to assess the quality of photos and movies on dry land.

Image quality

In order to assess pictures taken on dry land we shoot a photo of two sceneries at different speeds. Comparing the appropriate crops at 1:1 scale we are able to assess more or less accurately how well particular cameras fare here. Of course you must take into account the fact that such an assessment is always subjective to a point. That’s why looking at the crops below you are welcome to verify our marks and correct them according to your personal needs and preferences.

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Let’s start with the „P” mode scene, taken outside at ISO 100, 200, 400 and 800 speed and the focal length set at wide angle. In the case of the Sony the lowest ISO amounted to 125 because this camera doesn’t feature ISO 100. We chose fragments from the centre and from the edge of frames to be compared here.

Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

ISO 100
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
(ISO 125)
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 200
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 400
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 800
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land


At once you can notice that the quality of images from the Fujifilm XP30 is really weak. Already at ISO 100 the camera gives us fuzzy photos without many details. When the ISO increases the situation becomes even worse and, additionally, during taking photos at ISO 200 the autofocus problems we mentioned before made themselves felt. It is clear than even when the scenery is well-lit and the camera is put on a tripod it still has problems with the right focusing. Definitely the Panasonic FT3 performs the best here. The photos taken with it are rich in detail and their degradation, following the increase of speed, is not as noticeable as in the case of its rivals. The Olympus, the Pentax and the Sony keep a good level, but a bit worse than that of the Lumix. In the case of the WG-1 you can see images exhibiting significant blown-out highlights if they are taken at higher speeds because that camera can’t close the aperture above f/4.2 and the minimum shutter speed is only 1/1500 of a second.

The following crops of the same scenery are mainly a test of the cameras’ optics. The first fragment allows us to assess the chromatic aberration level and the way a camera’s software deals with the automatic correction of that aberration. The second crop shows an almost extreme frame corner, where the resolution decrease is the most pronounced and the vignetting- the highest due to imperfections of optical path.

Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

ISO 100
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
(ISO 125)
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 200
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 400
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 800
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land


It is apparent that the cameras deal with the chromatic aberration correction very well. Only in the case of the Olympus, the Panasonic and the Sony you can notice a slight purple rim in the first picture crop; it remains so slight, though, that during normal displaying of photos on a monitor or a TV set it won’t be visible at all.

The optics used in the Olympus TG-810 is especially praiseworthy. By and large you can’t notice any image quality decrease either on the edge or in the corner of the frame. In the case of the Panasonic you can already perceive some minimal deterioration, the Sony fares very badly in the frame corner and the Pentax’s results confirm everything we wrote about its underwater photos. The optics’ quality of this camera leaves a lot to be desired – both in the corner and on the edge we can see a significant deterioration of the image quality.

The Fuji is the worst again because in its corner of the frame, instead of grass there are just greenish patches.

The third test trial was conducted on scenery photos’ crops taken at ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600 (of course if a given camera allowed such speeds) with the focal length set at the equivalent of about 90 mm. It will allow to assess the degree of image degradation at high speeds and the optical properties at the other extreme of focal lengths ranges.

Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

ISO 400
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
(ISO 125)
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 800
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 1600
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
ISO 3200
XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land


At a longer focal length and higher ISO the Panasonic distinctly outclasses its competitors when it comes to the image quality. Although in the photos, taken with it, you can still notice some slight chromatic aberration, its performance remains simply unequalled. Also the Sony TX10 fares pretty well in the frame centre but its performance in the corner of the frame is outrageous. The Pentax’s WG-1 result is surprisingly good – it is obvious at longer focal lengths its optics performs much better. Similarly fares the Olympus which keeps an even level in the frame centre and on the edges alike. The Fuji once again doesn’t meet our expectations.

Quality of dry land movies

In this category the Sony TX10 wins hands down. The Sony offers us a possibility to record Full HD videos. They are rich in detail with a very natural colouring and its autofocus works without any problems, dealing with the zooming and foreground/background changes. The Panasonic fares similarly well when it comes to the colouring and detail rendering but in its case you can notice misfocused moments which proves its continuous AF mechanism is a bit worse. The third place occupies the Olympus which offers HD movies of quite decent quality. Although the images are not as rich in detail as those of the FT3 and the TX10 still you can enjoy watching them. The Fujifilm and Pentax compact are placed in the last positions; the use of Motion JPEG coding means their videos’ quality is weak. Additionally the zooming in the case of the XP30 causes the lack of focus and an irritating sound is recorded in the process; still it is better than in the case of the WG-1 which not allows you to use the optical zoom during recording at all.

At the end of the chapter we present some sample movies recorded with the tested cameras

Fujifilm FinePix XP30
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

Olympus Tough TG-810
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

Panasonic Lumix FT3
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

Pentax Optio WG-1
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land

Sony Cyber-shot TX10
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land
Underwater cameras test 2011 - Quality of pictures and movies on dry land