Tough Cameras - Image Test
Sony DSC-TX5 Generally well-exposed, quickly taken images from the Sony that had a few issues with areas of highlights and shadow in the same shot
Olympus Mju Tough 8010 A limited dynamic range is on full display here, as detail is lost in shadow and highlight
Fuji Finepix XP10 Whereas below the water the XP10 took some decent photos, above the water the tones were muted and dynamic range quite limited
Pentax W90 Sharp images from the Pentax although the tones were a touch too grey, appearing slightly on the dull side
Casio EX-G1 Anything other than the brightest conditions produced an overabundance of noise, making the EX-G1 the least versatile model
Panasonic DMC-FT2 Bright, punchy and well-exposed images made the Panasonic the pick of the bunch by far
There were two stages to the image test, the first being the underwater shooting and the second a more standard trial. Both posed different issues, as being underwater was somewhat similar to low light in that the ISO would need to be accurately tempered to ensure that image noise isn't overtly obvious.
The Casio EX-G1 was relatively mediocre above ground, turning out some grey shots that lacked punch and tended towards an over-abundance of noise under the slightest provocation. Underwater the EX-G1 was even worse, offering slow, overly picky focus and too much image noise. In a similar sense the Olympus mju Tough 8000 was a big disappointment when submerged, upping noise beyond acceptable levels and taking an age to focus. Outdoor snaps suffered from blown highlights and slightly dull colours, but were otherwise acceptable.
Fujifilm's XP10 didn't take the worst shots of the group, as both underwater and above ground were passable if a little sluggish on the focus side. Varied lighting conditions seemed to pose a problem, with skies often coming out grey and lacking of tone. The Sony TX5 was impressive under the waves by being relatively rapid to focus and producing some sharp results, although the very edges of the lens were prone to softness at the wide angle. The Pentax W90's failing came to light after the majority of the tests had been completed, as the corrosion to the battery and contacts rendered it unusable. Up till then the Pentax had been putting out some impressively sharp images both above and below water, only suffering from a slightly limited tonal range.
Top of the class by a long chalk was the Panasonic FT2, which had a few slight issues when being frozen but produced superbly punchy, sharp images. In fact, the underwater performance barely slowed compared to when being used in a normal, dry environment.