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Nikon 1 AW1 Ken McMahon, March 2014

Nikon AW1 vs Olympus TOUGH TG-2 vs Panasonic Lumix FT5 / TS5 Quality

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Nikon AW1, Olympus TOUGH TG-2 iHS, and the Panasonic Lumix FT5 / TS5, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

Both the Olympus TOUGH TG-2 and the Panasonic Lumix FT5 / TS5 were zoomed in a little from their maximum wide angle lens setting to provide an equivalent field of view to the Nikon AW1 fitted with the 11-27.5 zoom with its 30mm equivalent wide angle.

For this test all three cameras were set to Program Auto mode. Image stabilisation was turned off and the camera settings were otherwise left on the defaults.

  Nikon AW1 results
1 Nikon AW1 Quality
2 Nikon AW1 Noise
3 Nikon AW1Sample images

The image above was taken with the Nikon AW1. The camera was set to Program Auto mode and with the sensitivity set to 160 ISO the AW1 selected an exposure of 1/800 at f5. At 100 ISO the Olympus TOUGH TG-2 metered 1/1000 at f3.2 and the Panasonic Lumix FT5 / TS5, also set to 100 ISO metered an exposure of 1/800 at f3.4

Generally, the crops from the Nikon AW1 look clean and crisp and show a high level of detail. In the first crop you can see not only the door and window frames in the chapel, but the individual frames in the window on the end wall. You can also make out some of the detail in the stone work. In the second crop you can make out the distinct white column of the lighthouse despite the atmospheric haze, and the edges of the window frames in the foreground buildings are nice and clean. Edge detail in the third crop is a little softer than in the centre, but not much. And in the fourth and final crop from closer to the middle of the frame the only blemish on an otherwise sparkling performance is a slightly noisy overall texture. Despite that there's plenty of fine detail and the edges are nice and sharp.

Compared with the crops from the two compacts alongside - the TOUGH TG-2 and Lumix FT5 / TS5, there's a clear and obvious difference with the bigger sensor and superior optics of the AW1 delivering cleaner, crisper crops with a higher level of fine detail resolved right across the board. That's what you'd expect and the AW1 doesn't disappoint, though its quality that comes at a much higher price than the compacts.

To see how these models compare at higher sensitivities check out my Nikon AW1 Noise results.

Nikon AW1
Olympus TOUGH TG-1
Panasonic Lumix FT5 / TS5
f5, 160 ISO
f3.2, 100 ISO
f3.4, 80 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f3.2, 100 ISO
f3.4, 80 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f3.2, 100 ISO
f3.4, 80 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f3.2, 100 ISO
f3.4, 80 ISO

Nikon AW1 results : Quality / Noise

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