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80out of 100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 (DMC-FT3) Rugged Camera Review by TR

2011-03-15 12:18
818 reviews
On January 25 2011, Panasonic announced the LUMIX DMC-TS3 (aka DMC-FT3), a rugged camera supporting 1920 x 1080 full-High Definition videos. The 12.1 Megapixels DMC-FT3 is waterproof to 40 feet (12m), shockproof to 6.6 feet (2m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) and dustproof. It also comes with a 4.6x, 28mm wide-angle zoom lens, 2.7-inch LCD at 230,000 dots with wide-viewing angle and Anti-Reflection coating, 1920 x 1080 full-HD movie recording, 3D photo Mode, GPS functionality, a compass, altimeter and even a barometer. 

The DMC-TS3 is listed for retail at $399.99 and is available in red, orange, silver, and blue. Here is the summary of review by TrustedReviews, giving the camera a rating of 8 out of 10:

"With intelligent Auto mode selected, operation of the FT3 is as un-fussy and straightforward as you'd want it to be when you're hurtling down a black run, or metres deep under water. The camera powers up with a press of the recessed on/off button located on the top plate, which again isn't the best option for ease of use when wearing gloves, but obviously it does at least stop accidental activation. Once successfully pressed, the FT3 readies itself for the first shot in just over a second, which is fast for a compact. When you've arrived at the composition you want and are ready to take the shot, a half press of the shutter release button and focus and exposure is determined near instantly, green AF point highlighted with a beep of confirmation. As with the power up time, we couldn't really hope for any faster on this class of camera. The camera is as quick to determine focus and exposure as one would hope. Panasonic claims the auto focus mechanism - the grandly named Sonic Speed AF - is 28% faster than that of its predecessor the FT2. Officially shutter lag is an almost imperceptible 0.005 seconds, while it takes around three seconds for a full resolution JPEG to write to memory. Not the fastest ever but again perfectly acceptable for this class of snapshot camera. 

In terms of default image quality the FT3 may provide similar results to your typical £199 point and shoot then, but for that extra £100 you're getting additional goodies such as its nigh indestructible construction, GPS which makes this a real tool for the traveller, 3D shooting mode (useful only if you own a compatible TV) and Full HD video clips, so you might feel the extra is worth paying anyway for both peace of mind and added creative flexibility. While we couldn't quite replicate exactly the full gamut of rugged tests required to take this camera to its limits it certainly survived the few trials we put it under. And based on past experience with the Panasonic FT2, we're sure The FT3 will be just as true to its hardy word. Ultimately the FT3 has to be the most feature packed toughened camera we've seen to date. We'd suggest there isn't quite enough to warrant users of recent tough models, such as the Panasonic FT2 and [linkout: Olympus mju-Touch 6020], should consider upgrading but newcomers to the market could certainly do much worse. One thing to consider is the more recently announced Olympus Tough TG-810 could very soon be snapping at its heels. So maybe hold onto your pennies for a few weeks yet before making your mind up."... [Source]

LCD Screen2.7-inch TFT Screen LCD Display (230,000 dots), AR Coating Field of View: Approx. 100%2.7-inch TFT Screen LCD Display (230,000 dots), AR Coating2.7 inches LCD with 230,000 dots
Memory CardsSD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, 19MB Internal MemorySD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, 40MB Internal MemorySD/MMC/SDHC card, 40MB 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)4,320 x 3,240 pixels (14M), 3,648 x 2,736 pixels (10M EZ), 3,072 x 2,304 pixels (7M EZ), 2,560 x 1,920 pixels (5M EZ), 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (3M EZ), 640 x 480 pixels (0.3M EZ)4000 x 3000, 4000 x 2672, 4000 x 2248, 3264 x 2448, 3264 x 2176, 3264 x 1840, 2560 x 1920, 2560 x 1712, 2560 x 1440, 2048 x 1536, 2048 x 1360, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480
File FormatsStill Image: JPEG (DCF / Exif 2.3) 3D Image: MPO Motion Image: AVCHD / QuickTime Motion JPEGStill Image: JPEG (DCF / Exif 2.21) Image with Audio: JPEG (DCF / Exif2.21) + QuickTime Motion Image: AVCHD Lite / QuickTime Motion JPEGJPEG
Focal Length4.6x zoom, f = 4.9 - 22.8 mm (28 - 128 mm in 35 mm equiv.)4.6x zoom, f = 4.9 - 22.8 mm (28 - 128 mm in 35 mm equiv.). Extra Optical: 5.5x (4:3 / 10M), 6.5x (4:3 / 7M), 7.8x (4:3 / 5M), 9.8x (under 3M)28 - 128mm
Shutter SpeedStill: 8 - 1/1,300 sec Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 secStill: 8 - 1/1,300 sec Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec8 to 1/13000 seconds Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec.
ApertureF3.3 - 5.9 / Iris Diaphragm (F3.3 - 10 (W) / F5.9 - 18 (T)) F3.3 - 5.9 / 2-Step (F3.3 - 10 (W) / F5.9 - 18 (T))F3.3 - 11 (W) / F5.9 - 18 (T)
ISO SensitivityAuto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 High Sensitivity Mode: (1600 - 6400)Auto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 High Sensitivity Mode: Auto (1600 - 6400)Auto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 (High Sensitivity Mode : 6400)
White Balance SettingsAuto / 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) Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / 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)Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set / White Balance Adjustment
Flash ModesAuto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off Auto, 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 - 5.6 m (Wide / ISO Auto), 0.3 - 3.1 m (Tele / ISO Auto)0.3 - 5.1 m (Wide / ISO Auto), 0.3 - 2.8 m (Tele / ISO Auto)5.1m
Shooting ModesPortrait, 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 PhotoPortrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Hi-speed Burst (Image Priority / Speed Priority), Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Aerial Photo, Pin Hole, Film Grain, HiPortrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Night Portrait, / Night Sce
Maximum Movie ResolutionFull-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 pixels1,280 x 720 pixels, AVCHD Lite (SH: 17 Mbps / H: 13 Mbps / L: 9 Mbps): [NTSC] 60p *CCD output is 30p. [PAL] 50p *CCD output is 25p. Motion JPEG: 30 fps1280 x 720, 30 fps, 848 x 480, 30 fps, 640 x 480, 30 fps, 320 x 240, 30 fps
Maximum Movie Frames Per Second30/25 fps30 fps30 fps
Maximum Movie DurationMax. recording time depends on memory card capacityA max. of approx. 2 GB of continuous motion picture can be recorded in Motion JPEG. In AVCHD Lite, rTo capacity of memory card
Macro FocusWide 5 cm (0.16 feet) - infinity / Tele 30 cm (0.98 feet) - infinityWide 5 cm (0.16 feet) - infinity / Tele 30 cm (0.98 feet) - infinity5cms
MeteringIntelligent MultipleIntelligent MultipleIntelligent Multiple
Image StabilizationYes, POWER O.I.S. (On / Off / Active mode (only for motion picture)Yes, POWER O.I.S. (Off / Auto / Mode1 / Mode2)Yes
Self Timer2 sec / 10 sec2 sec / 10 sec10 seconds or 2 seconds
Video Out (TV Playback)Yes, HDMI (mini HDMI), AV Output (NTSC / PAL)Yes, AV Output (AVCHD Lite: NTSC or NTSC / PAL), mini HDMIYes
BatteriesID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 940 mAh) (Included) ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 940 mAh) Lithium-ion Rechargeable
Dimensions103.5 x 64.0 x 26.5 mm (4.07 x 2.52 x 1.04 inch)3.91 x 2.48 x 0.96 inch / 99.3 x 63.1 x 24.3 mm98.3 x 63.1 x 23mm
Weight175 g (0.386 lb)0.37 lb / 167 g without Battery and SD Memory Card162g
Other InfoWater 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)Water Proof: 10.0 m (IEC60529 IPX8 compliant) Dust Proof: Yes (IEC60529 IP6X compliant) Freeze Proof : -10.0 degrees C Shock Proof: 2.0 m (MIL-STD810F Method 516.5-Shock compliant)Continuous Drive 2.3 fps, 5 images
Release Date2011-01-252010-01-262009-01-27

Photo Album: Panasonic Announces Lumix DMC-TS3 (aka DMC-FT3) Rugged Camera Waterproof to 40 feet

Panasonic DMC-TS3 Sample Photos on Flickr

Panasonic DMC-TS3 Camera Reviews Roundup

DigitalReview - Nov 08 2011
"With a rugged protective design, underwater capabilities, GPS tagging and advanced measuring technologies (compass, barometer and altimeter), the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 lends itself well to active lifestyle, family and travel type photography. Based on our tests with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3, the 4.6x optical zoom with Mega Optical Image Stabilizer..." More »
85out of 100
Digital Camera Info - Sep 29 2011
"Panasonic has had a few years of experience in the tough-cam market. The TS1 was tough for the sake of being tough, almost like a test run for Panasonic to prove to themselves that they could put a decent adventure camera together. The TS2 actually took good photos, one of the first tough-cams to pull off that feat. The third-generation TS3 shows a lev..." More »
Not Rated
Steve's Digicam - Sep 11 2011
"The image quality of our outdoor sample images was surprisingly disappointing. Areas of overexposure are evident with just a glance at the photos. When looking closer, we also see some edge softness and a great deal of noise in shadow and lower light areas. Only with the Firehouse shot was the camera able to pull it all together and produce the excellent qu..." More »
Not Rated
ePhotoZine - Jul 04 2011
"The FT3 consistently takes well exposed images with good reproduction of colours. At both ends of the lens detail is really good throughout the images. The digital zoom image below combines both intelligent and digital zoom, for a total of 24.2x optical zoom. When switching the camera to macro mode it can focus down to just 5cm and superb looking macro imag..." More »
80out of 100

Panasonic DMC-TS3 Reviews Roundup [Total 11 Reviews] »

Panasonic DMC-TS3 Camera Recent User Reviews

Great camera, as long as it doesn't get wet..., Courtney Glass - Jul 09 2014
Verified Purchase ( This camera is excellent for land-based adventures. Recently went snorkeling in the Bahamas. I'm not exactly a fan of the water, so I never left the surface, and certainly did not reach the recommended maximum depth of 40 feet. I completed all of the recommended pre-checks before I entered the water, and all went well twice. The third time, no j...

GREAT underwater camera, Matthew Beach - May 20 2014
Verified Purchase ( Bought this for my wife a few years ago, and it still works great. The display on the LCD screen has a slight lag, but the pictures always come out beautiful. i have dropped the camera a few times, and the resulting damage is only a few dings here and there. I've taken it swimming and snorkeling, and never had any problems with this this. DEFINITEL...

I love this camera!!!!, Abby Del Valle - May 20 2014
Verified Purchase ( I bought this camera when i was going on a cruise and at the time i had compared it with the GoPro and it was a better option at the time. GoPro was more video and i wanted more photo while still being able to shoot HD video at 1080p. Now, 3 years later i ended up getting a GoPro 3+ Black edition but I still have my Panasonic Lumix and won't get ri...

if waterproof is important avoid this camera and the new ts5 as well, J. Solberg - May 14 2014
I bought this camera in 2011 to take to the Mayan Riviera snorkeling. Pro's: took some very acceptable photos and video while it lasted. Cons: before leaving for the Mexico trip for which this camera was purchased, i filmed about 15 minutes underwater in the Canadian Rockies when fly-fishing, no problem (amazing video actually, was very pleased and excited at this point). then a...

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