Tech

Head to Head: Panasonic Lumix TS4 vs. Nikon Coolpix AW100

Technically our tests and rating system placed the Panasonic TS4 behind the Nikon AW100, but....

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When the Nikon AW100 arrived late last year it became our highest-rated toughcam, ousting competitors like the Panasonic TS3. Now, with the release of the TS4, Panasonic is aiming for the crown once again. But improvement requires change, and the TS4 is very similar to its predecessor. Score wise, the AW100 placed higher than the TS4. But that's not the whole story....

To read our in-depth, hands-on review of the Panasonic Lumix TS4, click here.

To read our in-depth, hands-on review of the Nikon Coolpix AW100, click here.

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Performance

The TS3 lagged behind the AW100 most severely in our resolution test. Panasonic must've been listening, because the TS4 got a major upgrade to sharpness and chromatic aberration performance. In fact this is the only performance metric that's been changed at all. Sadly the sharper images can be attributed to software enhancements, not a better lens. And even then, the AW100 is still sharper. Without any other improvements to image quality, shots from the two cameras look just about the same.

Winner: Tie

Design and Handling

The AW100 is certainly one of the tougher tough-cams, yet the TS4 is slighly more durable: it's waterproof down to 40 feet, shockproof from a 6.6 foot drop, freezeproof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and dustproof. The TS4's GPS functionality is also superior to the AW100's, boasting an altimeter, barometer, electronic compass, and points of interest.

Winner: Panasonic Lumix TS4

Conclusion

Although the AW100 does handle noise in a less destructive way than the TS4, we imagine most users will be operating their toughcams outdoors, and here image quality is essentially identical. So we're left with features. The TS4 offers far more GPS options than the AW100 and, by a narrow margin, is more durable. Despite our overall scores, we think the Panasonic TS4 will be more at home in the outdoors. So, assuming you plan to use the camera for its intended purpose, the TS4 seems to be the best tool for the job.

Winner: Panasonic Lumix TS4