LensTip.com

Articles

Waterproof cameras test 2012 - part I

21 June 2012
Robert Olech

7. Summary

Waterproof cameras test 2012 - part I - Summary

It’s time to sum up the results of our test.

Parameters

Here all the cameras fared very much alike – they offer similar focal lengths ranges, all are equipped with stabilization and a possibility of recording Full HD movies. In every model you can find the same ports and ISO and aperture speed of their lenses are also much the same. In spite of that fact the Canon and the Olympus stick out because of their big LCD screens and the screen of the TG-820 additionally boasts a splendid resolution.

Use, cleaning, wear and tear

Here the product of Canon certainly deserves the highest score – in fact it managed to avoid any scratches or other flaws during a period of intensive usage. The only think you can have reservation about is quite bothersome cleaning. The TG-820 fared a bit worse; although it is solidly built its lens cover has a tendency to get stuck and the LCD protective window is easy to scratch. Fuji cleans easily but it lost points because of its very scratch-prone LCD screen and a casing which gathers water. The Panasonic deserved a similar score – its varnish is not especially durable on the rim of its lens and its screen protective window is stiff.

Please Support Us

The coronavirus crisis has been adversely affecting many businesses and, sad but true, ours is not an exception. Despite that difficult situation we would like to preserve continuity and high quality of publications available on all our websites. Still, we are now aware it might be impossible without additional financial help. That's why we would like to ask all those who visit, read, and care about Optyczne.pl, LensTip.com i Allbinos.com for support - it's enough you send us a small sum of money via PayPal. If a lot people decide to support our websites we think we'll stand a chance and survive next months without any lasting harm. We count on your support and understanding, stay safe and be healthy.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - advertisement - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Special functions

In this category the Panasonic wins hands down – it finally has a good panoramic photo mode and boasts of a GPS module, a compass, an altimeter and a depth gauge. The Canon and the Fuji get one point each, the former for the GPS receiver, the second for the Motion Panorama mode. The Olympus deserves just 0.5 of a point because all the gadgets its predecessor had were pared down and the only thing left is a weak panoramic photo mode.

Waterproofness

The Canon D20 is here an undisputed winner. With that camera you can take photos at a depth of over 30 m. This result is very good indeed – only underwater housings for cameras which cost several thousand Polish zloty boast such waterproofness. The second place goes to the Panasonic and the Olympus cameras, which perform very much alike. The Fuji close the list as you can dive with it only to a depth of 6 metres.

Underwater usage

The Canon and the Panasonic are the most comfortable cameras to use under water. They don’t cause you any problems, they work fast and efficiently. You can have reservations only about the fact that you must enter menu in order to change the mode of underwater photos; in the case of the Panasonic you might need to do it pretty often. The Olympus occupies the next place; it annoys us terribly with the quick menu delays. At the very end there is the XP50 which autofocus problems are unforgivable.

Quality of underwater photos

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to find a camera which underwater photos quality would be perfect. The smallest reservations we have about the FT4 which offers detail-rich images with decent colouring. The TG-820 fared a bit worse: it showed that its photos can have even more interesting details but it lost a lot because of their weak colouring. The Canon, which impressed us with its images taken at greater depths, failed during snorkeling; it couldn’t manage to capture the colouring and dispersed sunlight. Once again the XP50 occupies the last position - it doesn’t render colours well and the number of details in the photos is low.

Quality of underwater movies

In this category the Canon showed its mettle offering great, detail-rich movies with splendid colouring. The Fuji was placed high as well – its movies are characterized by decent colouring. The Panasonic fares similarly well because it renders colours at greater depths very well but it failed to impress us with the number of details. The Olympus fared the worst as it couldn’t manage the colour rendering at greater depths and its autofocus proved to be tricky during the recording.

Quality of dry land photos

The Olympus deserves the highest mark in this category; apparently the results of the change of the sensor are good. The photos from the Panasonic are a bit worse although the test crops in studio showed that momentarily it fares better than the TG-820. The Canon’s performance is weak, just average in the frame centre and a lot worse on the edge. The last place of the Fuji shouldn’t surprise anyone, it’s enough to look at the crops in the previous chapter.

Quality of dry land movies

Here it would be difficult to spot any significant differences in detail rendering. After a longer analysis we decided that we like the Canon movies the most. The Panasonic fared a bit worse and the Fuji and the Olympus lost points because of their problems with focus during zooming.

Final assessment

The tested cameras were awarded points in every category, listed above, according to the following scale:
  • Parameters: 0–5 pts,
  • Use, cleaning, wear and tear: 0–4 pts,
  • Additional functions: 0–3 pts,
  • Waterproofness: 0–5 pts,
  • Underwater usage: 0–5 pts,
  • Quality of underwater photos: 0–10 pts,
  • Quality of underwater movies: 0–10 pts,
  • Quality of dry land photos: 0–10 pts,
  • Quality of dry land movies: 0–10 pts.
Let’s find out how many points out of 62 the particular cameras got

Canon
D20
Fujifilm
XP50
Olympus
TG-820
Panasonic
FT4
Price (according to Ceneo.pl as of 25.05.2012 )
1316 zł
677 zł
985 zł
1450 zł
Parameters [0–5 pts]
4.5
4
5
4
Use cleaning wear and tear [0–4 pts]
3.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
Special functions [0–3 pts]
1
1
0.5
3
Waterproofness [0–5 pts]
5
1
2.5
2.5
Underwater usage [0–5 pts]
4
2
3
3.5
Quality of underwater photos [0–10 pts]
6
4
7
8
Quality of underwater movies [0–10 pts]
9
7
6
7
Quality of dry land photos [0–10 pts]
6
3
9
8
Quality of dry land movies [0–10 pts]
9
6
6
8
FINAL SCORE [0–62 pts]
48
30.5
41.5
46.5


The LensTip editorial team decided to award the Canon PowerShot D20 “The Choice of the LensTip editorial team” distinction for winning this year’s underwater cameras’ test.

Canon PowerShot D20

Waterproof cameras test 2012 - part I - Summary


Although the Canon D20 had a significant slip-up and, as a result, got just 6 points for the underwater photos quality it managed to catch up in the movie categories and its sensational casing, which allows you to shoot photos at a depth of over 30 metres, turned the scales in its favour. Despite that fact the difference between the first and the second place is very slight. Perhaps it is so because the Panasonic FT4 is a very decent camera which never let you down and in every category it got very high marks. You can take it for a walk, you can dive with it more than a dozen meters deep or snorkel with it and you’ll always return with good photos. It is a pity its producers didn’t apply themselves more; it would be enough to use a newer LCD screen, refine the sensor more and the final classification might have looked differently.

The third place goes to the Olympus which, despite much lower price, competed well with the winning devices. The difference between them is just several points and it lost these points mainly in the “Special functions” category. I suppose its affordable price is a result of giving up such gadgets as GPS or a depth gauge. Because of that in our humble opinion the Olympus TG-820 is the best compromise between quality and price. The last place is occupied by the cheapest Fujifilm XP50. This series cameras have always been a great alternative to more expensive underwater devices which won our tests. However here it is not a case. A huge slip-up with the quality of photos is certainly nothing to be proud of.

At the end traditionally let’s try to answer the question: „which camera should I buy?”

  • If you are a certified diver who’s finished OWD or AOWD course and you are looking for a camera you want to take with you on every diving expedition but you don’t fancy paying several thousand PLN for a big and clumsy underwater photography kit run to the shop asap and buy the Canon D20.
  • If you like diving from time to time, you have finished the OWD course but you descend not lower than more than a dozen meters and you like snorkeling as well, buy the Panasonic FT4.
  • If diving is not your passion but you often go on holiday where you like swimming with a mask and a snorkel pipe and additionally you are looking for a cheap camera which would be perfect for every occasion the Olympus TG-820 is something right down your alley.
  • If your budged is rather limited because you’ve spent most of your money on a trip of your dreams and now you find out you don’t have anything to immortalize this trip with there is only one choice – order the Fujifilm XP50.