Waterproof cameras test 2012 - part I

21 June 2012
Robert Olech

1. Introduction

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Waterproof cameras test 2012 - part I - Introduction
Underwater tests in Sharm el-Sheikh

Holidays are approaching fast; small wonder we have been to Egypt for the fifth time to test the newest models of waterproof compact cameras. There are more and more such products every year – that fact forced us previously to divide our test into two parts because during one trip we weren’t able to test all of them. The situation repeated itself this year – since January more than a dozen of new underwater cameras models have been launched. Traditionally we decided to choose the most interesting ones for the first part of our test, taking into account their availability – not all January and February novelties were available in April, when we prepared our journey. We selected the following models:
  • Canon PowerShot D20,
  • Fujifilm FinePix XP50,
  • Olympus Tough TG-820,
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4.

Waterproof cameras test 2012 - part I - Introduction

When our choice was made and all the devices got to our editorial office we only had to pack our bags and let me tell you it is becoming increasingly difficult because during our trips we try to gather materials for different articles about underwater photography.

Waterproof cameras test 2012 - part I - Introduction
Click to enlarge. Packing the bags is becoming more and more difficult every year because there is more and more equipment to be taken. This time we had to pack seven cameras with chargers and memory cards, three lenses, 2 underwater housings, two converters, an underwater flash unit with batteries and a charger, a laptop, diving computers and, of course, all the diving equipment including wetsuits, fins, dive computers and vests.

Let’s look at this chart and compare the parameters of the tested cameras. It shows that the waterproof record, belonging to the Panasonic FT3, wasn’t broken and the new FT4 model is characterized by the same degree of water resistance; the competitors allow you to dive up to 5 or 10 meters under the surface. Despite that fact we decided to enlarge the testing procedure we used in our last year test and we actually checked how deep you can really dive with the tested cameras. It happens very often that the depth declared in specifications can be exceeded. That’s why we added a new category to our summary – ‘waterproofness’. It means the real maximum submerging depth of a given camera where you can still take photos. That’s why in the ‘parameters’ category we don’t take into account submerging level declared in specifications. We just want to emphasize the fact that exceeding a maximum depth, permissible by the producer, might result in damaging the camera or losing the warranty; if you decide to take such a risk you should be aware you do it on your own responsibility.

The rest of our testing procedure didn’t change and, like one year ago, we are going to assess the following features:

  • Parameters: 0–5 points,
  • Use, cleaning, wear and tear: 0–4 points,
  • Additional features: 0–3 points,
  • Underwater usage: 0–5 points,
  • Underwater images quality: 0–10 points,
  • Underwater movies quality: 0–10 points,
  • Dry land images quality: 0–10 points,
  • Dry Land movies quality: 0–10 points.
If you want to know more about the way we test underwater compact cameras and take photos below the surface please go and read the introduction to our last year’s test .our last year’s test.

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