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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Summer/Fall 2012 waterproof camera recommendations, with specific needs

    Hi all!

    So I inquired with Photo-John about the status of the Canon D20 review, and thoughts on others cameras via email contact. Added it here for collective knowledge.

    I'm trying to narrow down from the crop of the latest and greatest rugged cameras....

    What's important to me:

    *(relatively, for a waterproof) good image quality
    *easy to use menu and modes to provide the best settings for a pic
    *appropriate "ruggedness" for my uses: backcountry skiing (most important here!), rafting, hiking/backpacking, beach/shallow waters (I don't dive)
    *panoramic mode
    *It's gotta fit in my pocket/coat!

    I have narrowed to these:
    Olympus TG-1, seems to be clearly the best, but $$$
    Nikon AW100
    Canon D20. I LOVED my Canon P&Ss of the past and have been waiting for the D10 update...but does this camera really not have panoramic mode?!?!

    Note that I have read much about the Panasonic TS4 as well...seemed to be highly long as you don't get it wet. Tons of user reviews with bad experiences with waterproofing and subsequent Panasonic support. Sorta a deal breaker.

    Here is what John initially had to say about the Canon D20:
    "That review (Canon D20)" is, ummm, in progress. I've got all the pieces for it but
    I've also got a big backlog. The quick synopsis is - it's a very nice
    camera with the best image quality I've seen so far from a waterproof.
    However, I still like the Olympus TG-1 better. The TG-1's f/2.0 lens
    makes a real difference in being able to shoot in low light and freeze
    action. And it also has great image quality for a waterproof - just
    not as good as the Canon. I think the Olympus has a better UI, too.
    Everyone who's played with both of them seems to feel a little more
    comfortable with the Olympus"

    Thanks all!

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

    Re: Summer/Fall 2012 waterproof camera recommendations, with specific needs

    Thanks for posting your question on the forum, TripleT.

    As you know, I think the Olympus is the best of the three, mostly because the f/2.0 lens makes a real difference in low light and for capturing action. I also think the features and controls on the TG-1 are better than the Canon. That said, I think the Canon works very well and the image quality is a little better - at least until you deal with low light. At that point, the faster Olympus lens is going to make a bigger difference than the Canon's slight image quality edge. The Olympus also has a faster burst rate. If you plan to use it for action then that's going to make a real difference, too.

    They all have panorama modes of one sort or another. The Canon doesn't assemble them in the camera like the Olympus but it does have a panorama mode with a frame to assist you while you compose. It works really well and the benefit is that you get full-resolution panoramic images. You just have to assemble them yourself in post-processing. I do it with Photoshop but I think the included Canon software has a panorama feature as well. The Olympus panoramic mode is very cool and assembles the images in the camera. However, the final panoramas are lower resolution than if you made them yourself. Ultimately, prefer the Canon panorama tool because I want the huge images it delivers.

    All three cameras are plenty rugged and they'll all fit in a pocket. I've had them all in a pants pocket as well as the shoulder pouch I carry on my mountain bike and ski packs. When I reviewed the Nikon it had the best image quality of any waterproof camera I'd used. But both the new Canon and Olympus, which have come out since, have better image quality. I admit I'm a bit torn between the Olympus and the Canon but ultimately, the lens, the UI and the burst rate of the Olympus keep bringing me back. And the image quality difference between the two is pretty subtle a lot of the time. It's only in good light (outdoor photos) where the Canon really shines. In anything less than perfect conditions, I think the Olympus is a far better camera.

    I don't know if you've seen them, but here are galleries of photos I've shot with both cameras:

    Olympus TG-1 Photo Gallery >>

    Canon D20 Photo Gallery >>

    I hope that helps. I understand this is a tough decision. I'll check back in because I'm sure you've got more questions. Plus, these discussions help me write better reviews. So thanks

    Your reviews are the foundation of this site - Write A Review!

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Re: Summer/Fall 2012 waterproof camera recommendations, with specific needs

    Great input John, thanks! The photo galleries are helpful.

    It's a tough choice. I'm far from a photo pro so although you loose a bit of resolution, having automatic panoramic stitching is very appealing to me.

    Sad to hear about the Canon UI...historically it has been my favorite as I've been through 2 Canon powershots. Is the UI on the D20 really a step backwards?

    Sounds like if I'm willing to cough up the extra $$ the Olympus is the way to go.

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