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Waterproof camera group: Real world comparison

On this page you'll find the first of our 'real world' comparison shots taken with each of the cameras in the group. Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.

  • All taken from the same tripod position at approximately 35mm equivalent focal length
  • Auto White Balance and auto (program) exposure
  • Base ISO (lowest setting)

Base ISO Landscape comparison (all cameras at approx 35mm equivalent focal length)

Canon D10
ISO 80
FujiFilm Z33
ISO 64
Olympus Tough 6000
ISO 50
Olympus Tough 8000
ISO 64
Pentax W60
ISO 80
Pentax W80
ISO 64
Panasonic TS1
ISO 80
   
   

Base ISO Landscape 100% crops:

Note that for this group test we've included two crops; the lower crop shows each camera's ability to capture fine low contrast detail.

Canon D10
ISO 80
FujiFilm Z33
ISO 64
Olympus Tough 6000
ISO 50

Olympus Tough 8000
ISO 64
Pentax W60
ISO 80
Pentax W80
ISO 64
Panasonic TS1
ISO 80
   
   

As with previous group tests it should be said that, although we took the images as closely together as possible, the temperamental London weather does mean that some images are slightly more cloudy than others.

One glance at these crops will tell you that the Canon D10 and Panasonic TS1 are better in terms of sharpness and detail than the other cameras in this group with the Pentax W60 not far behind. Between the D10 and TS1 the Canon is sharper across the frame (albeit aided by heavier sharpening). This is particularly evident at the edge of the frame where the tree crop is taken from. Color balance in this situation between the Canon and the Panasonic is fairly similar with the D10 producing a slightly warmer result.

The two Pentax cameras produce less sharp and detailed results than the TS1 and D10, but more than the other cameras in this group test. Of the two, the lower resolution W60 is better across the frame than the W80 which resolved much less fine detail in the bridge and the trees than the W60. The processing in the W60 seems much more sophisticated, producing more convincing results. The color balance of the two Pentax cameras are similar and lean towards the warm end of the spectrum (but not quite as warm as the Canon).

The two Olympus cameras both (perhaps unsurprisingly) have the same color balance that is, like the Canon, towards the warmer edge of 'neutral'. The Tough 6000 manages to reproduce more fine detail in both the brickwork of Tower Bridge and the foliage than the Tough 8000, though this difference is going to be hard to notice at normal viewing magnifications. Equal worst performer in this real world test with the Tough 8000 is the Fujifilm Z33, which has the same difficulty retaining the fine detail of the brickwork and the foliage. The color balance of the Z33 is the coolest of all the cameras – tending a little too much towards the blue end of the color spectrum.

Most of these cameras perform quite well in terms of chromatic aberration (a property of the lens design that produces colored fringes on high-contrast edges), no doubt helped by their relatively modest zoom ranges. Fringing will always be most pronounced towards the edge of the frame, particularly with the lenses at their widest-angle settings and if you look closely it's there in most of the images, but it is certainly acceptable given that these are all compact cameras.

Telephoto (long end of zoom)

This is less of a direct comparison but shows the effective range of the long end of the cameras' lenses (these were shot from the same tripod position as the previous shots).

Canon D10
ISO 80
FujiFilm Z33
ISO 64
Olympus Tough 6000
ISO 50
Olympus Tough 8000
ISO 64
Pentax W60
ISO 80
Pentax W80
ISO 64
Panasonic TS1
ISO 80
   
   

While most of the cameras in this test reach around 100mm at the telephoto end, the Pentax W60 and W80 manage to get to 140mm. Although the difference between 105mm and 140mm is not extreme, the extra reach combined with the 28mm wide setting means that the Pentaxes are more versatile than the others in this test, bar the TS1 which reaches 128mm and includes image stabilization as well. The W60 and W80 do not have image stabilization in-camera (neither does the Z33) and while this should not be a problem in bright sunny conditions, it may cause blurry pictures due to camera shake in darker and indoor situations and underwater (especially at the longest zoom setting where the lenses let in less light).

The image quality differences between these cameras in terms of sharpness are not as easy to notice as on the wider angle shots (you must look beyond the brickwork of Tower Bridge to the buildings behind to see them). The D10 and W60 are showing some chromatic aberration (CA) at their telephoto settings, but remain the sharpest images of the group, and interestingly the TS1 now falls behind the W60 in terms of sharpness and detail. The Tough 6000 comes in fourth in terms of sharpness, but performs slightly better than either the Canon or Pentax in terms of CA. Next comes the W80 which is noticeably softer than the W60 and Tough 6000 and shows more CA, but performs just slightly better than the Tough 8000 and Z33. The difference between the Tough 8000 and Z33 (apart from white balance) is very slim, with the Z33 coming out slightly better in the sharpness department at this zoom setting.

Wide angle

Five of the seven cameras in the group have zooms that start at equivalent focal lengths shorter than 35mm (both Olympuses, the Pentaxes and the Panasonic start at 28mm). A camera that starts at a wider angle allows you to include more people in a group shot at parties (without having to back up) and to fit more into the frame when shooting scenery.

While the output from all five of these cameras falls off towards the edges of the frame (as seen in the studio shot at base ISO), overall image quality is similar to each camera's performance at 35mm, with the TS1 producing the sharpest and most detailed results (the strength of the TS1 is at the wide end of the zoom range), with the W60 and W80 falling a little behind. The W80 shows extensive CA at its wide-angle setting, however. Of the two Olympus cameras (which are the worst performers of the group on the wide end), the Tough 6000 retains better image quality than the Tough 8000 at the widest zoom setting.

Olympus Tough 6000
28mm equiv.
Olympus Tough 8000
28mm equiv.
Pentax W60
28mm equiv.
Pentax W80
28mm equiv.
Panasonic TS1
28mm equiv.
 
 
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