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Also new and useful is the vastly improved movie mode, which can now shoot at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 frames per second, with electronic vibration reduction for steadier shots. There is also an underwater movie mode that gives enhanced colour for blue-tinted shots.
Many other options can be applied to still images and movie clips in playback mode, such as cropping, resizing, rotating, red-eye removal and digital filters including a surprisingly good soft focus effect.
The W10’s biggest improvement however is in image quality, where it easily surpasses the slightly disappointing WPi. The W10 has a maximum sensitivity of 800 ISO, but it is at 200 and 400 ISO that the biggest improvement in image quality is noticeable, very useful for the low light levels of underwater photography.
At lower ISO settings the pictures are smooth and sharp, and the improved folded-optics lens provides excellent edge-to-edge detail and almost no distortion even at the widest angle setting. The improved image processing engine is a lot less heavy-handed than that of many similarly-specified cameras, and produces extremely natural colour rendition that are naturally sharp rather than over-sharpened.
Focusing and exposure are both very accurate in nearly all lighting conditions, and the built-in flash has excellent coverage and plenty of power, with a maximum range at wide angle of a healthy 3.6 metres.
All in all, the W10 is a significant improvement over the WPi, making it the best waterproof compact on the market. Of course that’s a very small field currently inhabited only by this camera and its two immediate predecessors, but more than that it is also a very competent pocket compact camera in its own right.
The W10 takes the unique abilities of the WP and WPi and improves on them. Better image quality, better movies, better handling and faster overall performance make it indisputably a better camera, while the lower launch price makes it even better value for money. If you’re into skiing, surfing, snorkeling or any other camera-killing lifestyle, but still want a sleek pocket compact then it really is the best option.
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