DMC-TS4 vs AW-100
I'm looking for a durable, versatile and extremely easy to use waterproof that my family can use on vacation. Narrowed it down to the DMC-TS4 and AW-100 since the Sony a20 won't be out for another month. As usual, there are mixed reviews on both, so I ordered one of each and will return my least favorite. Here's an overview from my perspective after a week of non-swimming use. I'm not going to regurgitate the specs - you know where to read them. Just the features that stood out to me...
- stuffed with gadgets: Altimeter, barometer, compass.
- decent LCD
- small, light, but rugged-looking
- nicely placed buttons for my big fingers.
- natural finger grip that would be great if I was right-handed
- automatic mode plus lots of special modes - something like 14
- reasonably fast startup
- face recognition
- the quad indicator screen is very cool - right out of a jet fighter cockpit
- but it's a bit too much to have on the screen - a simple view would be better
- flash works well, but only out to about 6 ft.
(make a mental note that I didn't mention picture quality here...)
- chews batteries up quickly
- GPS only works outside, but takes a long time to sync
- effectively using the GPS requires reading the manual and understanding its idiosyncrasies
- picture quality:
--- switches to macro ok, sometimes flashes, sometimes not
--- need to take several macro shots to get a decent one - focus is not dependable
--- mid-range shots on a sunny day are ok, well saturated but not overdone
--- in auto mode, consistently overexposed, especially on cloudy days.
--- shots often look like they need an infrared filter - they have a white haze over them especially when there is indirect sun and/or clouds
--- wide shots are a major problem, and I love to take landscapes. When set to wide, you see two bright, blurry dots on your shot, one on the left about a quarter of the way down from the top, another same place on the right. And usually a semi-circular blur connects the two. I'd bet we're seeing the edge of the lens. Talked to Panasonic support who said to send it back.
--- overall I'd say the shots are generally soft
- larger, brighter, more detailed LCD
- decent button placement and size
- obviously faster power-on to shoot speed
- more powerful zoom
- GPS locks in faster
- lots of scene modes - more than 25
- image quality:
--- better exposed, far fewer exposure problems
--- no bright blurry spots
--- decent focus
- macro focus could be better
- case is plastic, somewhat rugged-looking but not metal
I'd be happy to hear any comments on what may be going wrong with the DMC-TS4 - I expected this to be a tough decision. While it has a better "cool" factor, I certainly can't deal with the image artifacts and am unimpressed by the battery performance.
To be fair I'll post this in the Nikon forum also.
Bright blurry spots in the widest zoom. Very visible.
Chews batteries quickly.
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