The estimation of chlorophyll concentration in marine waters is fundamental for a number of scientific and practical purposes. Standard ocean color algorithms applicable to moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery, such as OC3M and MedOC3, are known to overestimate chlorophyll concentration ([CHL]) in Mediterranean oligotrophic waters. The performances of these algorithms are currently evaluated together with two relatively new algorithms, OC5 and SAM_LT, which make use of more of the spectral information of MODIS data. This evaluation exercise has been carried out using in situ data collected in the North Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas during three recent oceanographic campaigns. The four algorithms perform differently in Case 1 and Case 2 waters defined following global and local classification criteria. In particular, the mentioned [CHL] overestimation of OC3M and MedOC3 is not evident for typical Case 1 waters; this overestimation is instead significant in intermediate and Case 2 waters. OC5 and SAM_LT are less sensitive to this problem, and are generally more accurate in Case 2 waters. These results are finally interpreted and discussed in light of a possible operational utilization of the [CHL] estimation methods.