Underwater Camera Shootout: Olympus TG-2 vs. Panasonic TS5 vs. Nikon AW110

  By Jordan Drake

For the blog this week, I thought I’d have Mark Langridge, who has quickly become invaluable to TCSTV, post his thoughts on the underwater shootout. Go Mark go!

“Given my history with fishing expeditions alongside Chris, I wasn’t terribly excited for the destination for this video. Canmore and Quarry Lake are beautiful, but this wasn’t my first time fishing with Chris, and I’ve never seen Chris catch anything but signposts and trees! I was starting to think all of his fantastical stories were pulled out of a magazine or online forum.

I wasn’t alone in my reluctance. Jordan, as most know, is probably less enthusiastic for the sport than the fish are, and this created a noticable tension between Chris and Jordan. The dismay was only heightened by the fact that neither of these two seemed prepared for the rain that they themselves were hoping for. Of course, I was prepared, so their discomfort amused me as I remained dry and comfortable throughout the day.

The shoot itself went fine. The weather was spotty, but the mix of sun and rain was exactly what we needed to test out these cameras. The Nikon and Panasonic cameras didn’t provide anything surprising, holding up almost exactly to my expectations. This isn’t exactly a good thing for the TS5, although it did seem to have a bit better image quality than its precursor, the TS4. The AW110 could have used better video compression, but otherwise the image was the nicest for stills. What it did need was a more rugged chassis over it’s predecessor, and it got exactly that. Perhaps the Camo paint job was less…necessary.

I was excited to try the Olympus, as it’s been a few years since I’ve handled anything from them, and the older Tough series waterproof cameras should have been marketed as ‘having a slightly better chance underwater than a normal camera.’ The TG-2 didn’t drown at all, and the JPEG processing is fantastic. It actually proved to be a pretty nice camera, despite most of the ‘Magic Filters’ being pretty gimmicky.

This was also the first time I had been able to experience the GH3 in action as a video camera, which I was really looking forward to. It certainly didn’t disappoint, but I was busy running audio so I didn’t get enough hands-on time to discuss the GH3. I suppose this is more about the underwater cameras, anyway. The experience did, however, go a long way into making me reconsider my previous opinions on Barber Tech’s SteddiePod, which we used to film this video. I was a bit wary of this device at first, but after receiving some better instruction from the guys at Barber Tech and being able to experience it during an actual shoot, I’ve come to the conclusion that the SteddiePod definitely has a place for video shooters with smaller cameras. Jordan has more on that, so check out his quick video review.”