Thread: Photo quality from waterproof cameras?

  1. #1
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    Default Photo quality from waterproof cameras?

    I recently came to you for help in deciding between a Canon S100 or Canon sx230hs. You overwhelmingly recommended the S100 based on the lense and resulting photo quality. Thinking my decision was made, I set off to purchase the S100 when my buddy suggested I look at the Panasonic DMC-TS4. Thinking it would be nice to have a rugged, waterproof camera for use when the DSLR doesn't make the trip, I come to you again for input...

    I understand that waterproof cameras have an additional lense cover that can distort, subdue image quality. When considering that my initial choice (S100) has outstanding image quality, I am a little concerned with what I might be sacrificing if I go with the TS4.

    What are your thought re waterproof cameras and more specifically the TS4?

  2. #2
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    I dont have any experience with the TS4, but I do own and have used the Olympus Tough TG-820

    It takes great photos in bright light. Anything that needs the flash, or taken in dim lighting absolutely sucks! The grain makes the images almost unusable. I've used it a few times playing around in a pool and while kayaking, and it does well when the light is good.

    Now I've used the underwater housings you buy for regular cameras and they work awesome! If you're looking to seriously use the camera for underwater images, I might take a look at something like a Canon G series with one of the underwater housings.
    Pat Bonish
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    Exploring North America by Backroads and Trails When We're Not in Cedar Key

  3. #3
    The Panasonic has pretty good image quality. I own the previous generation (I think it's called the TS2) and have been very impressed with it. I also own a Canon S100. The image quality between the two is comparable if you're looking at JPEGS. The big advantage of the Canon S100 is that it can shoot RAW format, which gives you some extra leeway on dynamic range and fine detail in shadow and highlight areas. I do a fair amount of fly fishing, and have need of a waterproof camera. The Panasonic has been my only camera on numerous fly fishing/backpacking trips. I've never been disappointed with the results.

    If you need the waterproof feature, I would recommend the Panasonic. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the image quality it is capable of. You can easily print 10x16 prints with files shot with the Panasonic in good conditions.

    If you don't need the waterproof features, then the S100 will provide slightly higher image quality and the benefits of being able to shoot RAW. (And you can use a small Aloksack to protect the camera from water if needed.) It all depends on what's most important to you, the waterproofness, or the image quality.

  4. #4
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    For clarification, I will likely never use this camera underwater. However, I live in the PNW and it is always wet. The ability to shoot photos in the rain and the added durability of the TS4 make it appealing for those reasons. Glad to hear image quality may be in the same ballpark.

  5. #5
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    did you see the new Olympus TG-1 IHS? no RAW, but f2.0 and 1080p 60fps in a waterproof/rugged cam.

  6. #6
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    I've got one of the original Pentax WP camera. It must be pushing 7 yrs old. Fits in your pocket nicely. 5mp. I've taken surprisingly good photos with it. Any of the newer ones should do the same.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by just eric View Post

    What are your thought re waterproof cameras and more specifically the TS4?
    I have the previous version, the DMC-TS3. From what I can tell, the TS3 and TS4 have the same lens and sensor, the main difference is the TS4 supports SDXC whereas the TS3 only went up SDHC. The TS4 also has an altimeter, barometer and compass. I've been pleased with the picture quality, it's much better than my Pentax Optio W20 and comparable to my Nikon P6000. Attached are some photos to give you an idea.

    P1000768.jpgP1010319.JPGP1010361.JPGP1010400.JPGP1010218.JPGP1010283.jpgP1010285.jpgP1010491.JPG
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  8. #8
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    I have had a couple of the Pentax WP cameras. The older one was better than the newest. I now use a Nikon CoolPix AW100. Much better low light performance and overall I am pleased with image quality.
    None were bad in my opinion. The Pentax W80 had more photos that just didn't turn out and had to be deleted. Less forgiving.

    Nikon AW100: Succor Creek photos
    Pentax W80: Goblin Valley photos
    Pentax W20: Silver City photos

    Most of the fire department cameras are waterproof. We have quite a variety. Pentax W30 and Olympus Tough are two I can think of off the top of my head. Each has its pros and cons. After examining all of the choices, the Nikon is my current pick of the litter.
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  9. #9
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    How much does sensor size actually affect image quality when you're talking about 6.17 x 4.55 mm (TG-1iHS) versus 7.44 x 5.58 mm (S100) sensors? Are there other criteria that one could look at to determine theoretical image quality? I realize looking at the images themselves is the best way to evaluate image quality but the TG-1 wont be out until 3 weeks prior to baby and I want to make a good decision...

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