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Panasonic 12.1MP DMC-TS4 Waterproof Camera Review by TechRadar

2012-03-16 05:21 | Source
717 reviews
On January 31 2012, Panasonic announced two new waterproof cameras - the Lumix DMC-TS4 (aka DMC-FT4) and the DMC-TS20 (aka DMC-FT20). The TS4 is a replacement for its 2010-model Lumix DMC-TS3 with the addition of a new manual shooting mode together the Program, Scene, and Intelligent Auto modes of the earlier model. 

The TS4 features a built-in GPS system, compass, altimeter, barometer, plus waterproof to approximately 40 feet (12 meters), shockproof to approximately 6.6 feet (2 meters), freezeproof to temperatures as low as 14ºF, and dustproof. It comes with a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens with a 4.6x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-128mm), a 12.1 Megapixels Hi-Speed CCD sensor, LSI Venus Engine, and shoot 1,920 x 1,080 full-High Definition (HD) video in AVCHD and MP4 formats. The Panasonic LUMIX TS4 is available in orange, blue, black and silver for $399.99. Here's the summary of review by TechRadar, giving the camera a rating of 3.5 out of 5:

"In truth, like most outdoor cameras, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4's toughened specifications should be considered as an extra layer of protection for everyday plus occasional beach and poolside snapping, not really as a licence to throw the camera around and dunk it in drinks at parties. Image quality is also little better than a non-toughened Lumix camera costing half the price. Plus, you have to actively require the toughened qualities and GPS facilities here to consider them worth paying extra for, because for value and picture quality you'd be better served elsewhere. Our advice is therefore to shop around and try to find the best deal that shaves some money off the asking price and makes the Panasonic FT4 less of a risk. That said, and grumbles aside, you might be tempted to take this camera to places you won't even consider taking other electronic gadgets, and therefore get experimental shots that you wouldn't otherwise have even attempted. Which is never a bad thing in our book.

We liked: The Panasonic Lumix FT4's toughened qualities provide a degree of reassurance for those engaged in rough and tumble activities, or likely to place themselves in scenarios where the camera gets wet or particularly cold. Added to that, if you get lost, the camera's built-in GPS may help you find yourself again.

We disliked: The backplate buttons are too small and fiddly to be accurately operated with wet hands or while wearing ski gloves, image quality is no better than a considerably cheaper non-toughened snapshot.

Final verdict: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 is a creme egg of a camera; unless there's plenty of light around to make the best of the fact that this is basically a snapshot camera in wolf's clothing, image quality is soft in comparison to the rock hard exterior. Still, there is the potential to have a lot of fun with it and go where lesser snappers fear to tread."

LCD Screen2.7-inch TFT Screen LCD Display (230K dots), AR Coating / Field of View : approx. 100% Wide Viewing Angle / Power LCD mode, AUTO Power LCD mode2.7-inch TFT Screen LCD Display (230,000 dots), AR Coating Field of View: Approx. 100%
Memory Cards20MB Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory CardSD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, 19MB Internal Memory
Resolution4:3 Aspect Ratio: 4,000 x 3,000 pixels (12M), 3,264 x 2,448 (8M EZ), 2,560 x 1,920 (5M EZ), 2,048 x 1,536 (3M EZ), 1,600 x 1,200 (2M EZ), 640 x 480 (0.3M EZ) 3:2 Aspect Ratio: 4,000 x 2,672 (10.5M)4:3 Aspect Ratio: 4,000 x 3,000 pixels (12M), 3,264 x 2,448 (8M EZ), 2,560 x 1,920 (5M EZ), 2,048 x 1,536 (3M EZ), 1,600 x 1,200 (2M EZ), 640 x 480 (0.3M EZ) 3:2 Aspect Ratio: 4,000 x 2,672 (10.5M)
File FormatsStill Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3) / 3D Image: MPO / Motion picture: AVCHD, MP4Still Image: JPEG (DCF / Exif 2.3) 3D Image: MPO Motion Image: AVCHD / QuickTime Motion JPEG
Focal Length4.6x zoom, f=4.9 - 22.8mm (28 - 128mm in 35mm equiv.) / (30 - 140mm in 35mm equiv. in video recording)4.6x zoom, f = 4.9 - 22.8 mm (28 - 128 mm in 35 mm equiv.)
Shutter Speedapprox. 60 - 1/1300 secStill: 8 - 1/1,300 sec Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec
ApertureF3.3 - 5.9 / 2-Step (F3.3 / 10 (W), F5.9 / 18 (T))F3.3 - 5.9 / Iris Diaphragm (F3.3 - 10 (W) / F5.9 - 18 (T))
ISO SensitivityAuto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)Auto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 High Sensitivity Mode: (1600 - 6400)
White Balance SettingsAuto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set / White Balance AdjustmentAuto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set (Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self Portrait, Panorama Assist, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Hi-speed Burst, Pin Hole, Photo Frame, High Dynamic)
Flash ModesAuto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced OffAuto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Flash Range0.3 - 5.6m (Wide/ISO Auto), 0.3 - 3.1m (Tele/ISO Auto)0.3 - 5.6 m (Wide / ISO Auto), 0.3 - 3.1 m (Tele / ISO Auto)
Shooting ModesPortrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass ThroughPortrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, High-speed Burst (Image Priority / Speed Priority), Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Aerial Photo
Maximum Movie Resolution[HD Video] 1920 x 1080 pixels, 60i (GFS: 17Mbps, FSH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 30p) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 60p (GS: 17Mbps, SH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 30p) / 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps (FHD: 20Mbps / MP4) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 30 fps (HD: 10Mbps / MP4) / [STD VIdeo] 640 x 480 pixels, 30 fps (VGA: 4Mbps / MP4)Full-HD Movie: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, AVCHD (FSH: 17 Mbps / GFS: 17 Mbps): [NTSC Model] 60i *Sensor output is 30p. [PAL Model] 50i *Sensor output is 25p. HD Movie: 1,280 x 720 pixels
Maximum Movie Frames Per Second30 fps30/25 fps
Maximum Movie DurationAVCHD (Continuous recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 100 min (GFS, FSH), 110 min (GS, SH) MP4 (Continuous recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 100 min (FHD)Max. recording time depends on memory card capacity
Macro FocusWide 5 cm - infinity / Tele 30cm - infinityWide 5 cm (0.16 feet) - infinity / Tele 30 cm (0.98 feet) - infinity
MeteringIntelligent MultipleIntelligent Multiple
Image StabilizationYes, Power O.I.S. (On with Active Mode(only for motion picture) / Off)Yes, POWER O.I.S. (On / Off / Active mode (only for motion picture)
Self Timer2sec / 10sec2 sec / 10 sec
Video Out (TV Playback)Yes, micro HDMI, AV Output (NTSC)Yes, HDMI (mini HDMI), AV Output (NTSC / PAL)
BatteriesLi-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 940mAh)ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 940 mAh) (Included)
Dimensions103.5 x 64.0 x 26.5 mm / (4.07 x 2.52 x 1.04 inch)103.5 x 64.0 x 26.5 mm (4.07 x 2.52 x 1.04 inch)
Weight175 g (0.39 lb)175 g (0.386 lb)
Other Info40ft Waterproof, 6.6ft Shockproof, 14 degree F Freezeproof, DustproofWater Proof 12 m (IPX8 compliant) Dust Proof Yes (IPX6 compliant) Freeze Proof -10.0 degree C Shock Proof 2.0 m (based on MIL-STD)
Release Date2012-01-312011-01-25

Panasonic DMC-TS4 Camera Reviews Roundup

Photography BLOG - Jan 31 2013
"Though there is quite a lot going on here for your average snapshot camera - including GPS, Full HD video, HDMI output and 3D snapping - there is much that is familiar from the largely identical FT3. And while that doesn't make the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 a bad camera by any means, the worst we can say is that it's not an especially exciting one. Still, the..." More »
70out of 100
ePhotoZine - Aug 16 2012
"Images are well detailed when shooting wide, a little detail is lost when using the optical zoom at its longest length, but purple fringing is kept to a minimum. The intelligent zoom is good if you are going to resize your images for use on the web. With a minimum focusing distance of 5cm the FT4 is able to get close enough to take an impressive macro shot...." More »
80out of 100
Imaging Resource - Jun 23 2012
"I had a lot of fun tossing the Panasonic TS4 around the pool area in Las Vegas. I literally threw it into the center of the pool--the orange color came in quite handy for retrieving it. I also dropped the digicam many times on the surrounding concrete and the TS4 kept humming along. Shots taken under and near the surface of the water were also good. I shot..." More »
Not Rated
CNET US - Jun 20 2012
"The TS4's photo quality is like that of a lot of point-and-shoots: good with a lot of light, but with a noticeable drop in quality in low-light conditions. Below ISO 400 you'll get very good results with nice color and decent detail. Its main sticking point is with softness; photos -- and video -- never look really sharp straight from the camera. Add in inc..." More »
77out of 100

Panasonic DMC-TS4 Reviews Roundup [Total 9 Reviews] »

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