Olympus TOUGH TG-2 Ken McMahon, April 2014

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

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Olympus TOUGH TG-2 iHS, the Nikon AW1 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 it's 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.

  Olympus TOUGH TG-2 results
1 Olympus TOUGH TG-2 Quality
2 Olympus TOUGH TG-2 Noise
3 Olympus TOUGH TG-2 Sample images

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

The crops from the Olympus TOUGH TG-2 iHS don't hold any surprises, overall the quality and level of detail is what you'd expect from a compact sensor; it's neither fantastically good, nor particularly poor, fairly average, in other words. You can make out medium sized detail like the doors and windows in the chapel of the first crop, but finer detail in the stonework is beyond the TOUGH TG-2's lens and sensor combination and the edges are a little soft.

The lighthouse in the second crop is a little indistinct, but the slightly hazy conditions are at least partly responsible for that. In the middle ground of this crop, however, the roofs and window frames also look a bit fuzzy. In the third crop from close to the frame edge, the detail is less distinct and colour fringing is adding to the problem. Finally, in the fourth crop from closer to the centre of the frame there's a marked imrpovement with cleaner edges to horizontal and vertical lines and and an improved level of detail.

So an adequate, if lacklustre performance from the TOUGH TG-2. But bear in mind that these fairly minor shortcomings will only be visible at close to full size, so unless you're making big prints, or cropping in a lot, it's unlikley to be an issue.

Compared with the crops from the Nikon AW1 alongside 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 it's quality that comes at a higher price (and larger body) than the TOUGH TG-2.

The Panasonic Lumix FT5 / TS5 also does better than the TOUGH TG-2 here, though not to the same degree as the Nikon AW1. It too has cleaner edges and more detail and its 16.1 Megapixel sensor produces slightly larger detail.

To see how these models compare at higher sensitivities check out my Olympus TOUGH TG-2 Noise results.

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

Olympus TOUGH TG-2 results : Quality / Noise

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